After receiving a special commendation from the Ecumenical Jury at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Brillante Mendoza’s film Taklub (Trap) will be screened during the opening night of the 20th French Film Festival on June 3 at Greenbelt 3 Cinema 1. The annual event is organized by the French Embassy together with Alliance Française de Manille and Institut Français.
The French Film Festival, which reaches a significant milestone this year as it celebrates two decades of bringing the best of French cinema to the Philippines, kicks off with an invitational screening of Eric Lartigau’s award-winning hit comedy film La Famille Bélier (The Bélier Family), also at Greenbelt 3 Cinema 1, at 5 p.m., followed by the red carpet opening ceremonies at the Fashion Walk, at the ground floor of Greenbelt 5, at 6:30 p.m.
For 20 years, the French film festival has been providing a venue for the Filipino audience to appreciate critically acclaimed and blockbusters from the French New Wave, the classics, auteur films, and contemporary releases like La Famille Bélier, as well as Filipino films showcased in international film festivals in France such as Taklub. At the same time, the event also celebrates the developing bilateral relations between France and the Philippines.
Taklub is the only Philippine entry in competition at Cannes this year, officially selected to the Un Certain Regard category, and one of only two Filipino films screening in this year’s edition of the prestigious film festival, the other one being a restored version of Lino Brocka’s masterpiece Insiang, which was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section.
Mendoza’s film, which stars Nora Aunor, tells the story of three survivors of typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban, Leyte. The independent jury honored the advocacy film with a special commendation “for the sensitive portrayal of individuals and communities working for life in the midst of suffering and death in the shadows of natural catastrophes in the Philippines.”
Serving as one of three Cannes juries, together with the official jury and the FIPRESCI critics group, the Ecumenical Jury is made up of President Barbara Lorey de Lacharrière and Marie-Nicole Courboulès, both from France, Chiara Fortuna from Italy, Jonathan Guilbault and Andrew Johnston, both from Canada, and Jolyon Mitchell from the United Kingdom. The jury members were nominated by SIGNIS for the Catholics and Interfilm for the Protestants.
Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre (My Mother) from Italy, an entry in the main competition, won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, while Stéphane Brizé’s The Laws of Contract from France, which is also entered in the same category, received a special mention like Taklub. Grimur Hakonarson’s Hrutar (Rams) from Iceland won the Un Certain Regard top prize.
Taklub is Mendoza’s fourth Cannes entry, after Foster Child, Serbis, and Kinatay, for which he won Best Director in 2009. This is also his fourth time to win an award of such nature from a film festival, after winning the Interfaith Award for Masahista at the 2006 Brisbane International Film Festival in Australia, the SIGNIS award for Foster Child at the 2008 Las Palmas Film Festival in Spain, and another special mention citation from the Ecumenical Jury for Lola at the 2010 Fribourg International Film Festival in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, La Famille Bélier is about a sixteen-year-old girl living with her deaf-mute family who discovers she has a gift for singing. Her teacher encourages her to join a prestigious Radio France singing competition, which may lead to a college degree, a good career, and a better future. However, this would mean leaving her parents and brother who have depended on her as an indispensable interpreter especially in running their dairy farm.
The film won Best Female Newcomer for Louane Emera at the 2015 Cesar Awards, Best Actress for Karen Viard and Best Female Newcomer for Emera at the 2015 Lumiere Awards, and Salamandre d’Or (Audience Award) at the Sarlat Film Festival in November 2014.
This year, the event will run from June 3 to 9, at the Greenbelt 3 and Bonifacio High Street cinemas, offering a selection of 20 films, both recent and classic releases, and CINEMIX, a special DJ event fusing cinema with electronic music.