Brillante's 'Lola' wins grand prize in Miami filmfest
His film “Lola" was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 27th annual Miami International Film Festival held from March 5 to March 14, according to the event's official website.
Eleven other films from up-and-coming filmmakers in the World Competition vied for the prize of US$25,000 from the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
One of his winning films, “Kinatay," was also shown in the festival's Cutting the Edge category, which featured "provocative films and stirring visual presentations guaranteed to test limits and take viewers to the extreme."
Mendoza made history with Kinatay, which won him Best Director at last year's Cannes Film Festival in France. He was the first director from the Philippines to get the award, and the first Asian director to be included in the official competition for two years in a row. His film “Serbis" (Service) was nominated in the festival in 2008.
In Lola, cinema icons Anita Linda and Rustica Carpio are two grandmothers each doing what grandmothers do best, which is lavish their grandchildren with love. However, tragic fate places them in the aftermath of a robbery-homicide where their grandsons are the victim and the accused.
The film, which in terms of graphic violence is less "cutting the edge" than Mendoza's other works, was well received by critics. It was an Official Selection at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, and won the Best Feature Film award at the 2009 Dubai Film Festival.
Like majority of Filipinos, the film's heroines are poor and go through the painstaking process of scraping up money, one for a burial, the other for bail.
Like most of Mendoza's other films that are intended more to inform than to entertain, Lola was filmed in the almost-always-flooded streets of Malabon City in Metro Manila.
Lola was a surprise entry in the Venice Film Festival, and the opening film for the 11th Cinemanila International Film Festival last October. Produced by Didier Costet’s Swift Productions and written by Lynda Casimiro, the film arrived at the festival in the nick of time after being shot in only three months.
Lola was Mendoza's quick follow-up to the controversial Kinatay, which was lauded internationally but has yet to be screened commercially in the Philippines due to its brazen, some say overdone, treatment of the already shocking subject of rape and murder.
While his previous films were generally dark and gritty, characteristics that would not draw in the pusong mamon Pinoys, Lola is shot with a welcome dose of tenderness. Though still heavy, reviewers have said this social commentary framed as a drama leaves the audience in tears instead of squeamish, unlike the emotions elicited by Kinatay, Serbis, and Tirador. - LBG, GMANews.TV
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