Arts & Culture
Venice Film Festival Flicks, Plus 'Ang Babeng Humayo' Come to Manila
From July 25 to 31, the Venice Grand Canal Mall will screen four films per day from the Venice Film Festival. Tickets for morning and early afternoon screenings are free. Tickets for late afternoon and evening screenings are P50.

Lav Diaz’s Ang Babaeng Humayo made major waves in local cinema last year, having become the first Filipino film to win the Golden Lion, the top prize at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. It was an exclamation point to a year that saw the Philippines’ independent film scene’s resurgence reach new heights.

According to Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson Liza Dino-Seguerra, however, Diaz’s masterpiece was barely seen on local screens. But next week, Manila-based film fans will be able to watch it—along with a few other festival darlings—as the Venice Film Festival makes an official stop in Manila on July 26 to 31, 2017, at the Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill, Taguig.

The Venice Film Festival in Manila is made possible through the combined efforts of the FDCP, the Embassy of Italy, the Societa’ Dante Alighieri Comitato de Manila, and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines. It will feature a selection of seven films from last year’s event, including Ang Babaeng Humayo.

Among the 2016 entries at the festival are two Golden Lion nominees: Piuma (Feather), a comedy about two teenagers navigating through the ups and downs of an unplanned pregnancy; and Questi Giorni (These Days), a coming-of-age drama in which four college-aged girls from a quiet countryside town lay the foundations for their future lives on a trip to Belgrade.

L’estate Addosso (Worn Summer) is another road-trip drama, where two Italian teens in America encounter a gay couple escaping their past and decide to travel with them. Tommaso tells the tale of an actor whose own insecurities cause him to sabotage his own relationships and career until a young student becomes a disruptive presence in his life.

The comedy Orecchie (Ears) features Daniele Parisi’s award-winning performance as a man who tries to piece together the events that led to him waking up with a ringing in his ear, a dead friend, and a missing car. Liberami (Free Me), on the other hand, is a chilling documentary on Vatican-approved exorcists and the work they do, examining the ever-blurring line between superstition and reality.

Two timeless classics from the Venice Film Festival’s archives will also be screening in Manila. Profumo di Donna (1974), the film on which the Al Pacino-starring Scent of a Woman was based, tells the story of a young army cadet who serves as an assistant to a belligerent blind captain on a journey to Naples, where the captain aims to end his own life. Processo Alla Citta’ (Trial to the City, 1952) is a murder mystery taking place in turn-of-the-century Naples, where a young judge risks falling victim to the city itself in his pursuit of justice.


Also screening at the festival are two Filipino films that were previously shown in Venice: Brillante Mendoza’s Sinapupunan (Thy Womb), which tells the struggles of a childless couple living in a rural town in Tawi-Tawi, Mindanao; and Francis Xavier Pasion’s Jay, a film that tackles the issue of media exploitation through the murder investigation of an impoverished gay man.

The Venice Film Festival in Manila is part of a larger framework of events celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and the Philippines. It also marks the first time that the Venice Film Festival is hosted in Southeast Asia, with the approval of La Biennale di Venezia, the festival’s official organizing body. The groundbreaking project is the result of an impassioned effort to uplift local cinema culture through continued exposure to renowned global works, as well as the Filipino films at par with them.

From July 25 to 31, the Venice Grand Canal Mall will be screening four films from the festival per day. Tickets for movies screening in the mornings and early afternoons are free, while tickets for late afternoon and evening screenings will cost only P50.

The three-and-a-half-hour Ang Babaeng Humayo will be screening on July 26, at 6:00 pm. For the full schedule of the Venice Film Festival in Manila, visit its Facebook page here.

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Marco Sumayao
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