The Philippines, 2007, 86’, Filipino
Directed by: Brillante Mendoza
Screenplay: Ralston Javier
Editing: Charliebebs Gohetia
Photography (color): Jeffrey dela Cruz, Brillante Mendoza, Gary Tria, Julius Palomo Villanueva
Production Design: Harley Alcasid, Deans Habal
Music: Tere Barrozo
Producer: Ferdinand Lapuz
Cast: Coco Martin (Odie), Jiro Manio (Caloy), Kristoffer King (Rex), Nathan Lopez (Leo), Harold Montano (Rod), Jaclyn Jose (Zeny), Julio Diaz (Diego)
Date of First Release in Territory: December 3rd, 2007
Yet another film about “low life” in certain parts of Manila is Slingshot (Tirador), directed by Brillante Mendoza, regarded as a master of neo-realistic noir cinema in the Philippines, with films such as Service (Serbis), The Execution of P (Kinatay, awarded in Cannes in 2009), or Ma’Rosa (2016).
Set during the Holy Week in the Quiapo area, Slinghshot revolves around four boys who are caught in a kind of spider web, at the time of elections in Manila. Odie (Jiro Mano), Caloy (Coco Martin) Rex (Kristoffer King) and Leo (Nathan Lopez) are a gang of small time criminals in Quiapo (a very popular district, with a lot of illegal activities and some wild aspects, but also home to the famous Quiapo Church, the most popular one in the Philippines), and their side activities are overlapping with the corrupt atmosphere that typically marks any election time in the Philippines, when money and corruption are reigning. The ever moving cameras of Brillante Mendoza and his cinematographers lively capture the mood of the boys and their actions, without dehumanising them, while their ”machismo” is still kicking. A great piece of cinema and social comment, typical of Mendoza’s talent.
Brillante Mendoza’s extensive filmography chronicles the vast spectrum of the modern Filipino. One of the most lauded Filipino filmmakers, both in the Philippines and worldwide, he debuted with The Masseur (Masahista). Service (Serbis), about a family operating a run down porn theater, competed at the official selection of the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, the Philippines’ first since 1984. The film won him the festival’s Best Director award. In 2016, his film Ma’Rosa, about a family involved in the drug trade, won Jaclyn Jose the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. His 2021 film Gensan Punch – about a Japanese man with a prosthetic leg who trains in the Gensan, a place which has produced many iconic Filipino boxers – was screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival.
2005 – The Masseur
2007 – Slingshot
2008 – Service
2009 – The Execution of P
2009 – Grandmother
2012 – Captive
2012 – Thy Womb
2015 – Trap
2016 – Ma’Rosa
2021 – Gensan Punch