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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Three Pinoy Films in the Cannes Filmfest, and a Singaporean movie entitled "Ilo Ilo"

The 66th annual Cannes Film Festival is scheduled to take place in Cannes, France from 15 to 26 May 2013. Two Filipino films are included in the Un Certain Regard section of the 66th Cannes Film Festival, namely; Adolf Alix Jr.'s Death March and Lav Diaz's Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan.

The Directors’ Fortnight has revealed the line-up for 45th edition running May 16-26. Among the list are the movies "On The Job" directed by Erik Matti, who hails from nearby Negros. And then there is his movie from Singapore entitled "Ilo Ilo" [READ THE FULL ARTICLE AFTER THE JUMP]

"Ilo Ilo" is directed by Singaporean director Anthony Chen, who is inspired by the phenomenon of Filipino nannies. Chen’s short film "Ah Ma" (Grandma) received a special distinction award when it screened in the competition in 2007, and Haze, about a teenage couple's relationship over the course of a hot and hazy day, which took part in the Berlin film festival's short film competition in 2008.

"Ilo Ilo" is about the relationship between a Singapore family and their newly arrived Filipino maid in the midst of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Starring Yeo Yann Yann, Chen Tianwen and Pinoy theater and indie film actress Angeli Bayani as the main Filipino protagonist role, the film is inspired by Anthony Chen's memories of being brought up by a maid who comes from Iloilo.

If the burden of expectations about his debut feature is proving too much to bear, he is not letting it show. He says: "With most of my shorts doing rather well at major international festivals, of course it is hoped that this film can be presented at an established international film festival as well.

"But I'm not giving myself pressure, at least not in terms of box- office earnings. It's a rather personal film and I do feel that Singaporeans will somehow connect and relate to the piece, the characters, the scenarios."
Ilo Ilo, partly funded by the Singapore Film Commission's New Feature Film Fund, has the budget of a "mid-sized local film", says Chen.

"I gave a lot of heart and soul, sweat and even tears to this film, so I guess I'm just happy that it is going to be realised. Whatever happens, I guess the work will have its own life."


Adolfo Alix's "Death March" depicts the 70-mile forced march of American and Filipino prisoners of war by Japanese forces during World War II. It stars Sam Milby, Sid Lucero, Jason Abalos, Felix Roco, Luis Alandy, Ejay Falcon and Carlo Aquino and Zanjoe Marudo.

In 2009, Alix's film "Manila" was included in the Out-of-Competition (Special Screenings) of the 62nd Cannes Film Fest. He and Raya Martin co-directed the movie. Alix also helmed "Donsol", the Philippines' official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards.

"Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan" is a four-hour film which also has a war theme, same with Death March, stars Sid Lucero, Archie Alemania, and Soliman Cruz. It was filmed on location in Ilocos Norte.

Diaz is known for critically acclaimed films such as Batang West Side and Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino.  His film Melancholia won the Best Film Award in the Orizzonti Section of the 65th Venice International Film Festival.

Produced by Matti’s Reality Entertainment and Star Cinema, “On the Job” features mainstream stars Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Rayver Cruz, Shaina Magdayao, Empress Schuck, alongside veteran actors and indie favorites like Joel Torre, Angel Aquino, Vivian Velez, Joey Marquez, Leo Martinez, Michael de Mesa, Al Tantay, NiƱo Muhlach, among others.

“On the Job” was inspired by a real-life corruption scandal that involved inmates being released for a day to work as hired killers for crooked politicians.

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