Metro Manila

Metro Manila 

UK/The Philippines 2013, 114’, Filipino with English
Directed by: Sean Ellis
Screenplay: Sean Ellis, Frank E. Flowers
Photography (color): Sean Ellis
Editing: Richard Mettler
Production Design: Ian Traifalgar
Art Direction: Alfie Antonio Orseo
Music: Robin Foster
Producers: Sean Ellis, Mathilde Charpentier
Executive Producers: Sean Ellis, Celine Lopez, Enrique Y. Gonzalez
Cast: Jake Macapagal (Oscar), John Arcilla (Ong), Althea Vega (Mai), Erin Panlilio (Angel),Iasha Aceo (Baby), Mailes Kanapi (Charlie), JM Rodriguez (Alfred), Ana Abad Santos (Dora)

Date of First Release in Territory: September 20th, 2013 (UK)

A number of foreign films have been shot in Manila, but usually to exploit the exotic (and cheap) decor for action films taking place “somewhere in Asia.” However, some films show more ambition, dealing with the social reality that one can find in some Filipino films. Such is Sean Ellis’ Metro Manila (2013), which tackles the hard fate of Filipinos who have to come to Manila to find work and money, and maybe love. Just like Julio Madiaga in Brocka’s Manila in the Claws of Light. Sean Ellis is a British director who thought of this story when he came to the Philippines, and saw the armoured cars drivers in real life. 
This is the story of Oscar Ramirez (Jake Macapagal), an ordinary farmer who lives in the Banaue province with his wife Mai (Althea Vega), and his two children. However, as his rice crops don’t bring him enough money to have a decent life, Oscar decides to go to the “Metro Manila” capital city with his wife, to get a “better life.” Upon arrival, they rent a low-cost room offered by some “friend,” but soon the trap closes on them: the room was a scam, and they are evicted by the police for “squatting.” Then they settle in a shanty house in the slums of Tondo, while Oscar finds a job as a security guard, thanks to his military record. He befriends his senior officer Ong (John Arcilla), and accepts to be an armored car driver. But he soon discovers that it’s quite a dangerous life, with constant threats of death, and also that Ong is not the honest person that he seems to be. Oscar’s life becomes more and more difficult, as he is caught with his family in the survival maze of the ruthless city. Even his wife will leave him, after she discovers something...
Metro Manila belongs to the rich history of realistic social dramas that have been kept alive by a number of directors who became masters of the genre, like Lino Brocka or Brillante Mendoza. It’s even more gripping than some of its Filipino models. 

Sean Ellis

British filmmaker Sean Ellis was initially trained as a still life photographer and then moved to music videos and commercials until he made his first short film, Left Turn in 2001. His 2004 short Cashback, a romantic comedy about an art student working a late-night shift at the supermarket, was nominated for the Academy Awards and was expanded into a full-length film in 2006. In 2011, he shot Metro Manila, which premiered in 2013 at the Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim and won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award. His most recent films are Anthropoid, a WWII espionage film, and The Cursed, a horror film set in 19th century rural France.


2001 – Left Turn (short)
2004 – Cashback (short)
2006 – Cashback 
2008 – The Broken
2008 – Voyage d’affaires (short)
2013 – Metro Manila
2016 – Anthropoid
2021 – The Cursed
Max Tessier
Film director: Sean ELLIS
Year: 2013
Running time: 114'
Country: The Philippines
26/04 - 2:00 PM
Visionario, Via Asquini 33
26-04-2022 14:00 26-04-2022 15:53Europe/Rome Metro Manila Far East Film Festival Visionario, Via Asquini 33CEC Udine
ONLINE only in Italy until the end of the Festival