Passport to World Cinema brings a handpicked selection of the best international titles from around the globe to the Prince Theater Black Box for their first and often only opportunity to be seen on the big screen in Philadelphia. To enhance the viewing experience, in-depth discussions led by distinguished film critics and scholars follow the film screenings.
Brillante Mendoza | Philippines | 2016 | 100 MIN | Filipino with English Subtitles
September 20 | 7:30 PM | Prince Theater Black Box
Veteran actress Jaclyn Jose deservedly took home the Best Actress prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Ma’ Rosa, the riveting new film from director Brillante Mendoza. Exploring the widespread corruption and chaos of the Philippines in the Duterte era, the film follows Rosa Reyes and her husband Nestor (Julio Diaz), owners of a tiny convenience store who supplement their meager income by selling small amounts of “ice” (a.k.a. crystal meth). Eventually the couple gets caught and hauled away by police, who are more interested in collecting bribes than eradicating crime. With their parents locked away, it’s left to Rosa’s children to scrounge together the money to pay off the police and free their parents, by any means necessary. Mendoza thrusts the audience into Rosa’s desperate situation, and the film has a deliberately grubby look and feel that vividly captures the squalid conditions of the overcrowded slum. Anchored by Jose’s quietly forceful presence, Ma’ Rosa offers a fascinating, troubling vision of life for poor Filipinos, with all of its violence, brutality, and moments of quiet grace.
Following the September screening, there will be a discussion led by programmer Travis Trew and Brad Baldia. Baldia is a cofounder of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, the largest Asian American film festival on the East Coast. He is also President of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of PA & Southern NJ, VP of Governmental Affairs for the Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce, and was appointed to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.