Filipino director Brillante Ma Mendoza has gone a long way since his directorial debut in 2005 with the film The Masseur. By 2008, he entered the Palm d’Or Category of the Cannes Film Fesival with Service and by 2009, he finally grabbed the best director award of the same category with the film Kinatay.
In succeeding years, he had regularly shown at the biggest international film festivals around the world including those of Venice and Berlin on top of Cannes.
Indeed, Mendoza is now the Philippines’ most acclaimed Filipino filmmaker with an international following.
Another proof of this is his participation at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival where he will have a retrospective screening of his award-winning films.
Dubbed “The World of Brillante Ma Mendoza,” the screenings are part of the special section “Crosscut Asia.” Titles include for TIFF audiences include Foster (2007), Service (2008), Grandmother (2009), and Thy Womb (2012).
The director’s latest film, Taklub (Trap, 2015), which was also selected for Un Certain Regard section in the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, will also be shown.
It tells the lives of the survivors of the horrendous aftermath of the Super Typhoon Yolanda. They are left to search for the dead, while keeping their sanity intact, and protecting what little faith there may be left.
Only on its second year at TIFF, Crosscut Asia showcases hidden cinematic gems that portray contemporary conditions in Asia, and focus on the work of specific countries, directors, actors and themes. This second showcase focuses on the rich cinema of the Philippines, now experiencing its “Third Golden Age,” concentrating on recent masterpieces.
Besides the Mendoza titles, other local films will also be shown including this year’s Balikbayan #1 Memories of Overdevelopment Redux
III.5 (2015) by Kidlat Tahimik, Invisible by Lawrence Fajardo, and Kid Kulafu by Paul Soriano. Paul Sta. Ana’s Balut Country is set to have its International Premiere at the Crosscut Asia section.
A highlight of Crosscut Asia is the showcase of the digitally restored version of Himala (1982), Ishmael Bernal’s iconic film starring Nora Aunor.
Besides the screening, a symposium discussing the current film industry of the Philippines was also held on October 26.
TIFF started in 1985 as Japan’s first major film festival and the only Japanese film festival accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations. Since then, it has grown to become one of the biggest film festivals in Asia.