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March 2, 2010

Kinatay, 2009

kinatay.gifThe opening sequence of Brillante Mendoza's Kinatay provides an intriguing foil in its organic, intersecting stories that mirror the chaos of the city, as a young working class couple (and new parents) Cecille (Mercedes Cabral) and Peping (Coco Martin) make their way to city hall to get married and, along the way, encounter a news crew reporting on a potential suicide jumper. With a year left to his police academy training, Peping is eager to make a good impression on his superior officers, even helping out in their daily routine of intimidating street vendors to extort money. However, when an officer recruits him for an unspecified operation involving an exotic dancer, Peping is soon initiated into a darker world of drug dealing, prostitution, and violence, and is forced to confront his complicity in the systematic corruption. Similar to Mendoza's previous film Serbis, Kinatay provides an illuminating, if truncated regional panorama of a contemporary Filipino city - in this case, the industrial city of Mandaluyong. Interweaving cultural landscape and moral ambiguity, the film finds kinship with Orso Miret's Le Silence in its well-intentioned, but ultimately impotent social critique. Indeed, by abruptly shifting from the organic approach of the opening sequence to a distilled, linear (if not myopic) perspective that dominates the rest of the film (except for a tire changing scene near the conclusion), Mendoza oddly supplants his fascinating and detailed cultural observation with a far more conventional psychological portrait of guilt, and in the process, creates a sense of indirection not unlike the dilemma faced by his indecisive protagonist.

Posted by acquarello on Mar 02, 2010 | | Filed under 2010, Film Comment Selects


When will this be released? Also how much of the film actually takes place in a car and how graphic is the murder? I really want to see this but it's nowhere to be found.

Posted by: juju on Jul 25, 2010 9:41 PM | Permalink

I'm not sure about a release date; I saw it as part of Film Comment Selects which is mostly a program of unreleased films. I'd probably lump a third of the film as being in transit, which is the crew in the van, going through toll booths, getting out to urinate, get beer, food... (opportunities for the rookie to do the right thing) The murder isn't particularly graphic, it's more the prolonging of it that probably disturbed people (the moral dilemma annoyed me more than anything).

Posted by: acquarello on Jul 26, 2010 4:47 PM | Permalink

Thanks. I liked "Serbis" quite a bit and frankly this film seems right up my alley. Who knew anyone had the audacity to commit a third of one's film to a car ride. Also considering almost all Filipino films are made for local consumption (like a lot of third world Asian countries) it's nice to know there are some that are trying to do something unique. Mendoza and Lav Diaz I guess.

Posted by: juju on Jul 29, 2010 5:53 AM | Permalink

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