Brillante Mendoza already brought honor to the Philippineswhen his film Foster Child was included in the Director's Fortnight ofthe Cannes Film Festival in 2007. He once again showcasedFilipino talent when his previous film, Serbis, became an official entryin 2008.
This year, his film Kinatay (The Execution of P) was able toenter the main competition of the 62nd Cannes IFF, making him the firstFilipino director to bring a film to competition at Cannes two years in a row.
Not only that, Direk Brillante was named the Best Directorfor his work on Kinatay. This ranks him among past winners such as MartinScorsese for the film After Hours (1986) and Ingmar Bergman for the filmBrink of Life (1958).
The Filipino filmmaker managed to impress not only thejudges of Cannes but also his fellow contender, Quentin Tarantino.
In 2007, Tarantino arrived in the Philippines to receive the LifetimeAchievement award during the 9th edition of the Cinemanila International FilmFestival. He is familiar with Pinoy movies, especially the works of CirioSantiago.
Tarantino (whose best known works include Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction)defended Kinatay, the Filipino film that received both praise and harshcomments from critics covering Cannes.
In the website of Metro France, an article titled J'ai trouvé Kinatayextraordinaire was posted on May 22, 2009. In this piece, Tarantinorevealed that he found Kinatay to be "extraordinary."
Incidentally, last year's Cannes jury head, Hollywood actor-director Sean Penn,also had the same observation about the Pinoy film Serbis. In his letterto Direk Brillante, Sean wrote: "I was glad to speak with you at theclosing night of the festival. Serbis is something extraordinary."
Here is the translation of the interview of Quentin at theaforementioned website, which posted the original article in French:
Metro France: You know already [all the good things]that people say about Inglorious Bastards. Quentin Tarantino remains oneof the biggest cineastes of his generation. A well informed cinephile also, whohas spent much time in Cannes theaters these past few days...
Is there a film that you've particularly liked since youarrived?
"I can't really speak about the other films in competitionbecause if I mention two, they will ask me why I didn't mention two more! Butif there is one that I would gladly defend, it's Kinatay by BrillanteMendoza because it seems [to be] receiving the worst critics up to now. But me,I found it extraordinary."
Precisely, what is your critique [of the film]?
"For a film that puts you in the witness position, Ibelieved it from the beginning to the end, an impression strengthened by thefact that the story is told in real time. The situation is at the same timehorrible and ordinary, almost boring. And it is rather crazy that such a thingcould be boring! In some aspects, Kinatay reminded me of Outrages,the film of Brian de Palma. We are witnesses of a murder of this prostitute inManila, a "disposable" being, if we refer to the world she lives in.And the filmmaker [makes] us aware of her humanity, showing her pain. I alsoadored the flight in the car, in the dark, exciting because we can make out theforms and the sounds."
Do you still go as often to the movies?
"From age 17 to 22, I was filling up a detailed list of allthe films I would see in a year. I wasaveraging 197 to 202 per year and at that time I was broke! I am doing muchless today. In real life, my own movies get in the way and one has to be a journalistto see so much!"
(Click HERE to view photos of the world premiere of Kinatay in Cannes)