The Philippines, 2017, 101’, Filipino with English
Directed by: Mikhail Red
Screenplay: Mikhail Red, Rae Red, Zig Dulay 
Photography (color): Mycko David
Editing: Jeffrey Loreno, Mikhail Red
Production Design: Daniel Red
Music: Paul Sigua, Myka Magsaysay
Producers: Nicole Runi, Sara Santiago
Executive Producers: Katrina C. Ponce Enrile, Sally Ponce Enrile, E.A. Rocha, Fernando Ortigas
Cast: Eula Valdes (Irma), Timothy Castillo (Toto), Rocky Salumbides (Raul), Jess Mendoza (Dugo), Angeli Bayani (Irene), Angeline Andoy (Gina)

Date of First Release in Territory: October 20th, 2017 

In the series of recent films painting a bleak portrait of Manila today, Mikhail Red’s Neomanila is one of the most revealing. Written by Mikhail Red, Rae Red and Zig Dulay (another good indie director: Paglipay, Bagahe), the film  was shot in 2017, at the beginning of president Duterte’s “bloody war on drugs,” which resulted in thousands of dead, mostly among the poorest people, to “make an example,” and protect the big shots involved in the traffic. 
We follow the busy life of Toto (Timothy Castillo), a street orphan who tries to raise money to bail out his brother Kiko from jail, as he is afraid to be killed by drug trafficking gangs chasing him and Kiko. Then, he meets Irma (Eula Valdez), who is a professional “hit woman”: she tells him that she was a friend of his dead mother, with whom she had been working in illegal goods traffic, very common in the most popular areas of Manila, like Quiapo or Recto.
Actually, Irma’s human targets to be shot down are set up by one of the corrupt police officers, “Sarge.” She takes Toto under her protection, and even trains him to become a “hitman” himself, in a world where you are either killing or being killed… Toto sees Irma as his “surrogate mother,” replacing the real one. As expected, a tragic ending seals the destinies of those damned characters in a world of survival. 
Only the third film of Mikhail Red (after Rekorder and Birdshot), Neomanila shows his renewed interest for the lowlife of characters who actually exist in a Manila that foreigners rarely visit. The atmosphere of the film also owes much to Mycko David’s stunning cinematography, which is almost expressionist in revealing the shadows of a world hardly touched by the light. M. Red (the son of famed indie director Raymond Red) likes to make a “strong social commentary” in gender films, to better reach  the audiences. 
Neomanila has a lot in common with other films with a similar approach, such as Brillante Mendoza’s Slingshot (Tirador), also part of this program. 

Mikhail Red

Mikhail Red is one of the most exciting Filipino filmmakers of his generation, starting his career with Rekorder, which won him the Best New Director award at the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival. But it was in his second film Birdshot that registered his signature as a filmmaker who produced films with remarkable technical proficiency. Birdshot, an “environmental western” in Southern Philippines, was sent as the Philippine entry to the 90th Academy Awards. His 2019 zombie flick Block Z was the first Filipino Netflix film. In 2021, he released Arisaka, a revenge Western that premiered at the 34th Tokyo International Film Festival.


2013 – Rekorder
2016 – Birdshot
2017 – Neomanila
2019 – Eerie
2019 – Dead Kids
2020 – Block Z
2021 – Arisaka
Max Tessier
Film director: Mikhail RED
Year: 2017
Running time: 102'
Country: The Philippines
27/04 - 2:00 PM
Visionario, Via Asquini 33
27-04-2022 14:00 27-04-2022 15:42Europe/Rome Neomanila Far East Film Festival Visionario, Via Asquini 33CEC Udine
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