Kidlat Tahimik, 77, has nothing but praises for the Brillante Mendoza film “Mindanao.” The Philippines’ National Artist of the Philippines for Film, also dubbed as the country’s Father of Alternative Cinema, was one of the special guests during the celebrity screening of the Metro Manila Film Festival 2019 entry at The Podium in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila on December 9, 2019.
“I have to congratulate Dante for this kind of (film that is) ambitious pero hindi pumalpak (but it did not fail,” Tahimik said after watching “Mindanao.” “Kung minsan (Sometimes) the idea looks great on the script pero (but) the final orchestration para magsama lahat ng elemento (for all the elements to come together) is difficult.”
Starring Judy Ann Santos and Allen Dizon and introducing Yuna Tangog, “Mindanao” marks the first time animation was featured in a film directed by Mendoza. Tahimik particularly liked how it was executed not in the conventional way as seen in Disney animated movies.
Written by Honee Alipio with Armando “Bing” Lao as the creative consultant, “Mindanao” is about Muslim mother Saima Datupalo (Santos) who is taking care of her cancer-stricken daughter Aisa Datupalo (Tangog) in a temporary home for children with cancer called the House of Hope in Davao. Saima’s husband Malang Datupalo (Dizon) is a combat medic who is in an offensive operation in Maguindanao.
“She was able to maintain ‘yong alam mong strong woman siya pero at the same time tinuloy niya ‘yong kanyang moving forward (her being a strong woman but at the same but she continued her moving forward),” Tahimik said of the portrayal of Santos, a Christian actor, of a Muslim character. “I think that in spite of different Christian or Muslim orientations, it worked. It worked.”
For this role, Santos won the Best Actress award at the Cairo International Film Festival 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. Including “Mindanao,” 153 films from 63 countries were screened at the festival from November 20-29, 2019.
This made Santos the second Filipino actress to win Best Actress at the Cairo International Film Festival. Nora Aunor won the same award for her performance in “The Flor Contemplacion Story” in 1995.
Aunor starred in “Thy Womb,” which was directed by Mendoza. The film won several awards at the MMFF 2012 including Best Actress for Aunor and Best Director for Mendoza.
“Mindanao” is executive produced by Mendoza under Center Stage Productions. Watch the full interview with Tahimik about the MMFF 2019 film here: