Philippine cinema is at it again: Adolfo Alix Jr’s Mrs., which won the best picture and best actress award at this year’s Sinag Maynila Film Festival, will be screened at the Gateway/Dragons & Tigers section of the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) in Canada.
The Vancouver International Film Fest is one of the five largest film festivals in North America, screening films from the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems from more than 70 countries.
The Gateway section is dedicated to “compelling cinematic worlds envisioned by some of East Asia’s most adventurous artists.”
Mrs. stars Elizabeth Oropesa as the titular mrs., an aging woman haunted by her missing activist son as she deals with real-life happenings such as her pestering sister, an equally-troubled maid, and the fact that her house stands along the fault line.
Tony Rayns describes the film on VIFF’s website as:
Veteran star Elizabeth Oropesa gets her best latter-day role as the widowed Mrs. Ventura, ensconced in an inherited house in Manila. She lives there, but her mind is usually elsewhere, fixated on Sonny Boy, her long-lost son who left to fight in Mindanao as a political activist; she doesn’t know if he’s dead or alive. Some of her time is spent fending off her needy sister, who’d like the house to be sold, but her more immediate problems are cracked walls (earthquake damage) and her live-in home-help Delia (Lotlot De Leon), who’d like to keep her job and her free accommodation despite being pregnant and not yet married. For an old lady whose mind is elsewhere, these small everyday problems mount up.
There are distant echoes of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? in Adolfo Alix’s powerful drama, especially in the central relationship between Mrs. V and Delia, but it’s not what you’d call a horror film. Alix is unusual among the Filipino directors of his generation, much less committed to low-life melodramas than most and able to tailor his visual style to the specific needs of his subjects and scripts. Here, he opts for a slightly heightened realism with understated elements of fantasy. It’s not a horror movie, but there will be blood.
Oropesa stars with Lotlot De Leon, Anita Linda, Angela Bayani, Rosanna Roces, Daria Ramirez, Sebastian Castro, Gigi Locsin, Sharmaine Arnaiz, and Ross Pesigan.
Mrs. will be screened on October 9 and 12.
Watch the trailer below:
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