To promote Filipino independent films and create awareness on social issues happening in the Philippines today, SM City Bacolod will hold a Brillante Mendoza film festival featuring the director’s internationally-acclaimed and multi-awarded films on October 10-11, 2011 at SM Cinema 4.

SM is inviting university students to attend the screenings as a way of educating the youth on pressing issues in the society and encouraging new breed of Filipino filmmakers.  Students will also be given the opportunity to interact with Director Brillante Mendoza after the showing of each film. The schedule of screenings are October 10, 2011 at 01:00 – LOLA, 04:30 - FOSTER CHILD, October 11, 2011 at 10:00 - KALELDO and 12:00 – MANORO.

LOLA tells the story of wwo elderly women bear the consequences of a crime involving their respective grandsons— one is the victim, the other is the suspect. Both weak and poor, they laboriously solicit money in the midst of a storm — one for the victim’s burial, the other for the suspect’s bail bond. As the story unfolds, Lola Sepa, together with her 8-year-old grandson, lights a candle on the spot beside a bridge where an elder grandson was killed by a cell phone snatcher the night before. After praying, she arranges the funeral and files a formal complaint to the police. Then she wades through the bad weather to collect money for the burial and court hearing. Meanwhile, Lola Puring painstakingly raises funds for the temporary release of her grandson, the assailant, who refuses to languish in jail. A pro-bono lawyer advises her to work for an amicable settlement since the criminal case is non-bailable.

FOSTER CHILD features Thelma, husband Dado and teenage sons Gerald and Yuri who belong to an urban poor family. They were hired by a local Foster Care Facility to provide temporary home and care to abandoned babies pending the latter’s formal adoption. The inevitable separation is always a heart-rending event to the foster family. This is the story of such event, when Thelma’s latest foster child John-John is to be turned over to his adoptive American parents. Every moment with the 3 year-old John-John becomes precious as Thelma goes through the day fulfilling her duties for the last time – bathing John-John, feeding him and bringing him to school where the boy participates in a school presentation. Accompanied by the social worker Bianca, Thelma and Yuri deliver John-John to the plush hotel where the elderly American couple is billeted. The bitter-sweet turnover, underscored by the luxury of the place, delivers the painful truth that love and life are not equal.

KÀLELDO gives the viewer a glimpse of the nature of life. The film tells the story of a motherless family a decade after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo inundated the town of Guagua in Pampanga with lahar—a clear singular display of the force of nature. Mang Rudy, the widowed woodcarver, wields an iron hand over his three daughters: the fun-loving but rebellious Grace, the youngest, who goes through the throes of adjusting to married life; the feisty and headstrong Lourdes, the middle daughter, who succumbs to an extra-marital affair; and the subservient and discriminated on eldest, Jess, a lesbian who brings home her girlfriend to take care of the father after he succumbs to a heart attack. The story unfolds in a series of events (a wedding, a santacruzan, a parade, the annihilation of the summer cogon by fire, a death) that marks the beginning (early summer—"Kàleldo"), the middle (midsummer—"Maleldo") and the end (late summer—"Kauran") of summer. This confirms the film’s statement that life, like the various turn of events that govern the char­acters’ lives, is as changeable and volatile as the seasons.

MANORO dates back in the 2004 presidential election where Jonalyn, a 13-year old Aeta, fresh from her elementary graduation rites, teaches middle-aged and elderly Aetas to read and write, enabling them to cast their votes for the upcoming election. To her dismay, her grandfather prefers to hunt wild boar to feed every member of the Aeta community, thus missing his chance to exercise his birth right. Months later, the result of that exercise is put to suspicion because of the alleged rampant cheating. Apologies are said for lapse of judgment yet nothing has come out of it to-date.

Director Brillante Ma Mendoza is a living national treasure of the Philippine alternative cinema being the first Filipino to win the most coveted Best Director Award for his film “Kinatay” at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. Billante’s films depict social realities about the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary situations against the backdrop of issues that plague the country.
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