It's that time of year again, when the city of Toronto rolls out the red carpet for movie stars, and movie makers while tons of movie buffs flock downtown to soak it all in. This year marks the 32nd annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF as most call it), and it features 312 films from 64 countries. Every year, TIFF usually showcases one or two films from the Philippines, and TIFF 08 is no exception with three flicks to pick from. Here is this year's lineup of Filipino films, so check it out while you can. Bonus: Bring your non-tagalog speaking friends and family. All films are subtitled in english! Yay!
Next to the Manila-Cavite Expressway, one of the highways that feeds into Metropolitan Manila, lies the Bernardo dump site. From the viewpoint of a passing car, it is nothing more than a vast wasteland of garbage. But for thousands of slum dwellers, this place provides a home and a livelihood, as they scrounge for junk and recyclables to sell for cash. Living amid such poverty is Adela, a grandmother who is about to celebrate her eightieth birthday. [More...]
Bayan Ko: My Own Country / Bayan Bayan Ko, Kapit sa Patalim
Arturo and his wife, Luz Manalastas, both work in a printing press. After Luz becomes pregnant, Arturo ("Turing") is forced to ask for a raise. When he does so, his boss asks him to sign a waiver stating that he is not part of any Labor Union. Soon after, his friends inform him that they are starting a labor union and that they are inviting him to join them. Because of the waiver, he cannot. He is branded by his mates as a traitor, and is treated badly by them. Soon after, the printing press is closed down, and the hospital where Luz is confined will not let Luz go until Turing comes up with the money to pay them. This leads Turing to pursue a life of crime. (Synopsis courtesy of imdb.com) [More...]
Service / Serbis
Acclaimed Filipino director Brillante Mendoza (Slingshot, The Masseur) is no stranger to his country's urgent and intertwining issues of poverty, class distinction and religion. If his earlier works had captured the raw and visceral quality of modern-day Manila slums by using cinéma-vérité, then Serbis sees Mendoza graduate to the allegorical realm of filmmaking. The frenetic hand-held camerawork that had become his hallmark has been reworked to carefully track the individuals dwelling within a dilapidated cinema house. As such, the sense of interior geography becomes as much a part of the film's character as the constant noise of the traffic outside. The cumulative result is a powerful, provocatively explicit and uncompromising portrayal of a Filipino family at its most desperate – a perfect metaphor for a country under so many economic, social and political upheavals. [More...]
Regular tickets $19.29 (Same-day Student/Senior $16.67) and can be purchased at the box office or on the TIFF website. See the TIFF site for more information.
See you at the movies!
[ED. NOTE: I highly recommend advance ticketing since TIFF is notoriously popular. Both "Adela" and "Bayan Ko" have tickets available for pre-sale as of this writing. "Serbis" is currently sold out of advance tickets, but you can try to get "Same Day Tickets" or "Rush Tickets". Check the TIFF page on "Tickets" for more information. I know I'll be in lineup bright and early on Sunday morning for my Serbis ticket!]