Thursday, May 22, 2008


The cast of SERBIS (Coco Martin, Mercedes Cabral, and Julio Diaz at the 61st Cannes Film Festival. SERBIS is the first Filipino film to be in competition in 24 years after Brocka's Bayan Ko. (Top photo by AP; 2nd photo by Christian Hartmann for Reuters (

"CANNES: Toward the end of Brillante Mendoza's "Serbis," the patrons of a dilapidated Manila adult-movie palace are surprised to discover that a goat has wandered in from the street, partly obstructing their view of the naked bodies on screen.

The animal's sudden appearance - which sets off one of several chaotic, hilarious chases in this rambunctious, noisy film - might be taken as a symbol. The cinema can be a place of fantasy and sometimes disreputable pleasure, but reality, as stubborn and hard to corral as that goat, has a way of intruding whether we like it or not.
At the Cannes Film Festival, however, the metaphor often works in reverse. The metaphorical goats, as it were, can be found in the screening rooms, where audiences gather, sheeplike, to witness the frustration, misery and disorder of real life in various parts of the world. The main competition (which this year includes Mendoza's film) and the adventuresome Un Certain Regard side program share a tendency to exalt seriousness and suffering, and some of the strongest entries this year plunge viewers into worlds of private pain, family dysfunction, economic deprivation and social cruelty."
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Of course not to be ignored is Raya Martin's NOW SHOWING which is featured in the Directors' Fortnight section. 4 hours and 40 minutes long, this coming-to-age narrative brings to fore the talents of this 23-year-old director. Best of luck!

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