FICCI 56 Pays Tribute to Filipino Director Brillante Mendoza

The 56th edition of the Cartagena International Film Festival (FICCI) will take place on March 2-7 and will feature a tribute to Brillante Mendoza, one of the most prolific and influential filmmakers to come out of the Philippines in recent years. Audacious and highly original, at 55 Mendoza has already garnered awards at the world‘s most prestigious festivals, from Cannes and Berlin to Locarno and Venice. With the support of Revista Kinetoscopio, this year FICCI audiences can enjoy nine of his most highly acclaimed films and talk to him in person at Salon FICCI.
Mendoza (Philippines,1960) started out as a production designer for film and theater and also worked as an art director on commercials. It wasn't until 2005, at age 45, that he directed his first feature film, The Masseur (Masahista). Influenced by neorealism, yet deeply personal, his debut marked the beginning of a successful career. In just ten years, Mendoza has directed no less than 20 films that have taken home awards on the international festival circuit.

Unafraid to tackle topics more commercial filmmakers tend to avoid, like the harsh reality of life in the more marginalized sectors of Filipino society, Mendoza portrays his characters with a fresh eye that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. The critics have applauded the refreshing darkness and sensuality of his style, characterized by grainy textures and a hand-held camera. His is a socially engaged cinema that incorporates thought-provoking experiences that move the spectator; an instinctive type of filmmaking that oftentimes discards the screenplay in the interests of greater spontaneity and realism.

FICCI 56 brings audiences an exclusive selection of nine of Mendoza's feature films, none of which has been screened before at movie theaters in Colombia: The Masseur (Masahista, 2005), which won a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Festival in Switzerland; Summer Heat (Kaleldo, 2006), Manoro, 2006 and Foster Child, 2007, award-winning films about prostitution and grieving, the foster care system, family ties and traditional trades. Audiences can also see the films that won him awards for two years running at Cannes: Service (Serbis, 2008), a family drama about bigamy, incest and unwanted pregnancy set in an old movie theater, and Kinatay, 2009—which earned him Best Director—about a young man who is about to get married, but who becomes entangled in a ruthless crime in an effort to get hold of some extra cash.

Completing the round-up are Lola (2009) and Thy Womb (Sinapupunan, 2012) which competed for a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and his latest release Trap (Taklub), which won the Ecumenical Jury Prize-Special Mention in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes in 2015. Recently decorated a Chevalier des Arts et des Letters by the French government, Mendoza is one of the most prominent directors of the so-called "Third Golden Age" of Filipino cinema, along with the director Lav Diaz.

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