Acclaimed abroad, banned at home

Here’s an interesting article written by Emma-Kate Symons at the Wall Street Journal’s Arts and Entertainment section about Brillante Mendoza’s Kinatay and the Filipino film industry.

Real to Reel
Philippine cinéma vérité: Acclaimed abroad, banned at home

MANILA – Brillante Mendoza, the fearless director at the forefront of a new wave of Filipino independent cinema, is accustomed to extreme reactions to his films.

When “Kinatay” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, the movie critic from National Public Radio in the U.S, John Powers, refused to attend because he said the film promised “no fun at all just brutal nastiness.” Veteran critic Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times pronounced it the worst film ever shown at Cannes. Other critics denounced “Kinatay” (“The Butchered”) — which follows a day in the life of a young criminology student who gets caught up in the rape, murder and cutting up of a prostitute’s body — as “wretched” and “unwatchable.”

But Mr. Mendoza was vindicated. The festival’s programmers compared him with cinéma vérité legend, the late American actor and film director John Cassavetes, and awarded the Filipino the best director prize. He edged out such established names as Hollywood’s Quentin Tarantino and Ang Lee, and Spain’s Pedro Almodovar, as well as South Korea’s Park Chan-wook and China’s Lou Ye.

Read the rest at the WSJ website.

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