Far East Film Festival 20

Udine Italy April 20th/ April 28th 2018
The Film Festival For Popular Asian Cinema
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
Tuesday, April 25, time 10.00 PM

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Seclusion

One believes that the “call of temptation” is strongest on the last seven days before the deacons are ordained into priesthood: the Devil (“Demonio”) will attack their faith and lead them away from the path of holiness. And so, to guard and protect the future soldiers of God, the Church send its deacons off into a kind of “holy fortress”, in a state of “Seclusion”, supposedly far from the reaches of worldly desires...

In 1947, shortly after World War 2, Miguel, a righteous deacon, enters into seclusion to become closer to God. The rules in the Seclusion house are quite strict: a deacon must fast and should avoid to speak, see, smell or hear anything, or the Devil will use his power to bend a deacon’s faith. Miguel steadily obeys, but, on the first night, he is visited by an image of the woman he used to love. Recognising that this must be a devil’s attack, he remains unshaken. But the same cannot be said of the three other deacons going through Seclusion with him. Each one of them (Fabian, Carlo, and Marco) can experience visions of their guilt from the past, gravely haunting their sinful thoughts. ..

That same night, Angela, an innocent young girl said to be a “messenger of God” performing miracles, and her guardian, Sister Cecilia, arrive at the House, as ordered by the Bishop. As there is an investigation on the girl’s miracles and her parents’ death, she is sent here to keep her from harm’s way. However, her presence causes a stir as she tells the deacons it is the Lord’s will that they can bend the rules of Seclusion. On the second night, when Carlo experiences a traumatising attack from the Devil, Angela demonstrates her power by flying to his rescue. Thus she gains the deacons’ trust as she can fly to their aid on every devilish assault. Only Miguel keeps his distance from her, as he has doubts about Angela’s “miracles”. Meanwhile, Father Ricardo , the priest in charge of proving whether Angela’s miracles are real or not, uncovers some secrets about Sister Cecilia’s past, that could mean the girl is in danger under her care. Unfortunately, no one believes him, but he continues to dig deep into the past. What he finds leads him to a shocking truth, of frightening conclusions...

Erik Matti’s latest film, which was one of the most critically praised and successful at the box office of the “new look” Metro Manila Film festival (MMFF), is a haunting descent into the unconscious of the Catholic faith of the Filipino Church, with its centuries old battle between good and evil, between God and the Devil, inherited from the Spanish religious order until today. Stylishly mise en scène by Matti, and stunningly visualised by Neil Derrick Bion in a sumptuous dark cinematography which leaves little place to God’s light, Seclusion is a superb experience in Spanish gothic, where the saints and the devils are not always the ones you believe. The “truth” is never taken for granted, nor the miracles of the angelic Angela...
Whether in a secluded convent or in a zombie movie like Tiktik: the Aswang Chronicles, Erik Matti loves to show the fight between “good” and evil”, between Sin and Redemption, and the double face of the Church, not always in God’s light.  

Erik Matti says about the film:
“I come from the Philippines, a Catholic country. I was born and raised in a Roman Catholic family, and studied in Catholic universities. When I was 10, I joined the Knight of Columbus with the promise that I could get to know God. (...). To this day, I have yet to have a spiritual experience of any kind with our God. It was only when I was 13 that I found out that my father was an Atheist! He would argue with any priest or lay person as to the existence of God, demanding at the top of his voice that only Man created the idea of God!
“When we stumbled upon the idea of Seclusion, I thought it would be an interesting premise for a horror film. Since it has been more than a decade now since I did a film in the horror genre, and with countless horror films already made over the years internationally, I thought it would be nice to see how we can find a new take on a horror film beyond than just doing it as an exercise in style and craft.
“In exploring the topic of deacons being brought to a fictitious “seclusion house” set in 1947 to spend a week of prayer to keep the devil from swaying them not to become priests, I wanted to find a modern insight into this premise, beyond than just the usual demonic apparitions or possessions that this typical idea might predictably suggest.
“I have always been interested in exploring the battle of good and evil in the realm of religion and how God figures into all the chaos that’s happening in our modern world. At the risk of making a Filipino film that dissects the relevance of God and religion in a Catholic country such as the Philippines, we wrote this film that may seem to must as a blasphemy. (...)
“I am not interested in doing an out and out horror film. Just like my other films, I am interested in unraveling a mystery to arrive at not just specific scares but to a terrifying ending that hopefully brings a light an insight in modern day beliefs wrapped in a genre that we are familiar with.”

Note that the version shown in Udine is the “director’s cut”, which integrates a couple of scenes censored when the film was released on Xmas day...
Max Tessier
Film director: 
Erik Matti
Year: 
2016
Running time: 
85

Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8BBW8St1fo&list=PL5qowzmoQxh6RyMGtk4UkEVNT-pvgd_ED&index=17

Photogallery

  • Seclusion 00
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