Friday, May 15

Cannes Surfing: Kinatay, Independencia, stunning Shu Qi

Kinatay movie still via indieWIRE

Wise Kwai of Thai Film Journal recently posted updates on the growing buzz surrounding some of the Asian films in the Cannes Film Festival, which includes a link to Asian Alliance, a feature on Brillante Mendoza among others. Here's a snippet:

But with the three movies going to the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, it's not hard to argue that filmmakers from the Philippines occupy the vanguard of a new wave of Southeast Asian moviemaking.

Director Brillante Mendoza's dark drama "Kinatay" (the word means "butchered" in Tagalog) is one of 20 movies chosen to compete for the Palme d'Or, making "Dante" (his nickname) the first Filipino director ever to descend on the Croissette two years in a row.

Next, "Manila" -- co-directed by Adolfo Alix, Jr., and Raya Martin -- is one of just six movies chosen for a Cannes special screening. And Martin's "Independencia" fills out the Filipino trifecta as one of 20 movies included in the festival's Un Certain Regard section celebrating "young talent, innovative and audacious works."

Mendoza's encore at Cannes is all the more remarkable for the speed with which he pulled it off. Just as with "Serbis" -- which he shot digitally starting last March 21 and finished in time for Cannes 2008 -- "Kinatay" (a.k.a. "The Execution of P" and "Chop Chop") also was shot in no time at all; and for under $100,000.

"I work best when I'm under pressure and doing everything at once," Mendoza told The Hollywood Reporter over the phone from just outside a Manila editing room the day after he learned he'd been invited back to Cannes.

Though the story had been brewing ever since a ghastly murder by ex-military killers hit Filipino newspapers in 2004, Mendoza and "Serbis" writer Armando Lao didn't finish the "Kinatay" script until late January and began shooting "early," at the end of February. "It feels great to be doing it again," Mendoza said.

Producer Ferdinand Lapuz, Mendoza and French executive producer Didier Costet (who also backed "Serbis") always planned to take the film -- which stars former Miss Philippines, Maria Isabel Lopez -- to Cannes; but the morning after the film was accepted, Lapuz admitted: "I didn't even know it was finished!"

Focused, lean and mean is the Mendoza message. No actor on his set is allowed to take up bread-and-butter work on TV soaps until Mendoza's finished with him or her.

"With these films, we can't make back our money in the home market, so I don't encourage my directors to transfer to 35 millimeter from digital until we have the festival invitation in hand," Lapuz said on the phone from Manila, thrilled to be a part of the experiment.

To compare with the guerrilla production of Kinatay, the article also discusses a Thai film outfit's approach to producing Ong Bak.

More good news for Kinatay from THR. The film has been picked up by German sales outfit The Match Factory for international sales/release. Learn more about it here.

independencia poster studies... comments please! on Twitpic

Independencia director Raya Martin posted on his twitpic three poster studies of his film. To see the official international poster, head on to sister-blog KOREAN BUG or visit the director's visual blog Mr. Madlangbayan. You may follow him on twitter here.

Both Brillante Mendoza and Raya Martin were also mentioned in New York magazine's article Cannes 2009: Your Questions Answered. Here's question #3:

3. Where will the next new wave come from?

Cannes is invariably ground zero for tomorrow’s world-cinema hot spot. Two years ago, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days won the Palme d’Or, solidifying a Romanian film renaissance that began two years before that with The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. This year could well herald an international breakthrough for Filipino cinema. Brillante Mendoza, who provoked more than a few walkouts last year with Serbis, about a family-run porn theater, is back with the serial-killer film Kinatay, and there are two other movies from the Philippines in the official selection, one directed by and the other co-directed by a 25-year-old prodigy named Raya Martin.

Festival de Cannes has officialy opened and its official site has a video showing the highlights of the opening ceremony. Taiwanese actress Shu Qui is a part of this year's jury and she is just STUNNING.

Via Zimbio

Here's hoping our films do well at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Say it with me now: Yes, we Cannes! (Argh. Sorry, couldn't help it.)


dodo dayao said...

Go Raya! Go Dante! Hehe. (That Kinatay shot is terrific)

Thor Bee said...

Nakakakilig no na next new wave ng cinema ang mga Pinoy.

Ganda ni Shu Qi. Kabog si Robin Wright-Penn. Hahaha!

dodo dayao said...

Si Lav is almost through editing his new movie Babaeng Hangin. Nakwento sa 'kin yung plot. Can't wait.

Also yung bago ni Raymond Red, Himpapawid is reportedly worth the long wait.

Theo Martin said...

wow. Updates. exciting! :) I hope this new wave prosperrrr !:)

Andy Briones said...

"Say it with me now: Yes, we Cannes!"

-> Yes we Cannes! Let's DOH it! :p

I don't mind if Brilliante loses in Cannes, pero sana maipalabas man lang dito sa Pilipinas yung Kinatay at Independencia. It's a shame if the MTRCB starts acting up again.

Thor Bee said...

It's such a fucking shame really. Didn't watch Serbis in Galleria because several scenes were deleted. I can't stomach watching a movie that morality watchmen think is the cut I should see.

Edwin said...

Where can i get a copy of Kinatay? Salamat!