As a Filipino I am proud of Brilliante “Dante” Mendoza, the first Filipino to win as Best Director in a Full Length in the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. The award was for his movie “Kinatay” (Butchered). By the title alone, this sure is gory. Again, I say I am proud of him – besting other well known directors like Ang Lee, Pedro Almodovar, Jane Campion and Quentin Tarantino.
However, this is where the big “however” comes in from me. I have not seen, but I have seen his other movies including “Serbis” and I am judging him from this one. I watched “Serbis” during the 2008 Toronto Film Festival and I was totally in shock, scandalized, and flabbergasted. During the Q & A with Mendoza himself, I did understand some of the movie’s merits but I could not agree more to how he showed them on film.
They say a good actor is one who can make you believe in the character. On the same note, a good director brings out the emotions in you when he tells his story through his film. If this is the case, then is Mendoza a good director? Maybe. Mendoza’s movies can make you squirm, make you react, make you take sides. There is no in-between, no grey area. Either you like them and anticipate the next one – or you hate them saying one is enough.
With the award from Cannes, Mendoza now has the license to shoot any movie he feels like – all in the pretense of reality. The thought scares me — but I should not be judging him from 1 or 2 movies alone. Thus, I wish that with the award, Brilliante Mendoza finds a brilliant (pun intended), realistic story that goes beyond poverty, sex, and gore. A movie that uses better metaphors than boils.
That would be a real challenge and another winner.