Set during the time of the American occupation of the Philippines in the early 20th century this film tells a story of a family moving closer to nature. As the mountains offer them refuge from threatening military forces, they re-learn the ways of their ancestors. Inevitably, the war creeps closer and the boy must choose his calling in life. The film portrays an alternative resistance of the times, one that moves away from a history of armed struggle and delves deeper into the opposition of forces, survival of human existence, and a liberation of the true Filipino identity.
The film recreates the look of ‘studio pictures’ of the early 20th century with painted backgrounds and totally constructed foreground sets. The look follows American era sound films that are deliberately staged and shot dramatically. Also in keeping with the style of the era, the film also contains an intermission, shot as newsreel, a documentary that contrasts with the narrative film it punctuates.
Festivals and Awards (selection):
Official Selection Cannes 2009 : Un Certain Regard
Official Selection Toronto Film Festival 2009
Official Selection Rio Film Festival 2009
Official Selection New York Film Festival 2009
Official Selection Munich 2009
Official Selection Bangkok Film Festival 2009
Official Selection Vienna International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection Thessaloniki International Film Festival 2009
Official Selection Torino Film Festival 2009
Official Selection International Film Festival Rotterdam 2010