By Lawrence Casiraya
MANILA, METRO MANILA – From Cannes and then Dubai, will acclaimed indie filmmaker Brilliante Mendoza make the Filipino film industry proud once again this time in New York?
Mendoza’s latest film “Lola” (Grandmother) made it to the initial list of 34 films that will be screened in the forthcoming Tribeca Film Festival next month. His film is entered in the World Narrative Feature along with at least 30 other films from around the world.
The San Fernando, Pampanga native is arguably the country’s highly-acclaimed filmmaker at present, after winning Best Director (for his film “Kinatay”) at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival from an illustrious field that included Ang Lee, Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino, who was reportedly so impressed with Mendoza’s film that he even sent the Filipino filmmaker a personal note.
By now, Mendoza is regarded a veteran of the international festival circuit. Lola, a tale of two grandmothers and their respective grandsons, was named Best Film at the Dubai Film Festival last December and was earlier screened at the Venice festival. His earlier work “Serbis” also made it to Cannes in 2008.
His films are imbued with a strong degree of social realism, which, in an interview with CNN, Mendoza says is his way of tackling subject matter not found in mainstream movies. But with healthy doses of squalor, violence and even sex in his films, the reviews are not entirely positive – Kinatay was panned by film critic Roger Ebert.
Nonetheless, even Mendoza, who used to work as production designer for TV commercials, admits his movies are not meant to please every film critic out there. In an interview with Indian film website Dearcinema.com, he says he is hoping to channel all the acclaim he’s earned in affording Filipino movies a lot more exposure to worldwide audiences.
With yet another film festival in his resume, Mendoza is earning some more exposure this time from filmgoers in the Big Apple.
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