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Cinema bridge: East - West

Thy Womb

Posted in Retrospective of Brillante Mednoza

Philippines, 2021, 106 min.

The story of unconditional love, about a Bajau midwife coping with the irony of her own infertility amid the deprivations of her gypsy community in Tawi-Tawi. A saga of island life stuck between the devil of passion and the deep blue sea of tradition.


Posted in Retrospective of Brillante Mednoza

France, Philippines, 2009, 110 min.

Lola Sepa’s grandson has been killed by a cell phone snatcher and she must bear the burden of making the funeral arrangements. She and her family are poor, and there is not enough money for the coffin, nor for a lawsuit against the suspected murderer. But the elderly woman is ready to take out a bank loan to ensure both a proper burial and justice for her beloved grandson. Lola Puring tries to get her grandson Mateo out of jail, who he has been accused of the murder. But the poor and aged woman doesn’t have the bail money. Each time she visits her grandson in prison to bring him proper meals, it breaks her heart to see him wasting away behind bars with countless others. At the first court hearing the two grandmothers must face one another. Both frail and poor, each is determined to do everything necessary for her grandson. The future of the case is dependent on grandmotherly love...

Top of the Lake

Posted in Retrospective of Jane Campion

Australia, New Zealand, UK, 2021, 350 min.

A 12-year-old girl named Tui stands chest-deep in a freezing-cold lake in the wilds of New Zealand, apparently toying with the idea of committing suicide. It transpires that she is five months pregnant. Police detective Robin has been temporarily seconded to her home town. Since she is a specialist in investigating offences involving child abuse, the local police put her on the case. But before she can try to get to know Tui, the girl disappears without a trace. A major search begins. If Robin is to destroy the web of intrigues and machinations, she must first face her own past. Meanwhile, a women’s commune sets up camp in trailers on some enchanted-looking terrain on the shores of the lake. Their leader is a mysterious woman with long, white hair.

With their six-part television series, director Jane Campion and co-director Garth Davis take televisual storytelling to new aesthetic heights. All the elements of a gripping thriller are here but, set in a magical-mystical landscape, Top of the Lake also contains an impressive roster of character studies.

The Piano

Posted in Retrospective of Jane Campion

Australia, New Zealand, France, 1993, 121 min.

It is the mid-nineteenth century. Ada is a mute who has a young daughter, Flora. In an arranged marriage she leaves her native Scotland accompanied by her daughter and her beloved piano. Life in the rugged forests of New Zealand’s South Island is not at all what she may have imagined, nor is her relationship with her new husband, Stewart. She suffers torment and loss when Stewart sells her piano to a neighbor, George. Ada learns from George that she may earn back her piano by giving him piano lessons, but only with certain other conditions attached. At first Ada despises George, but slowly their relationship is transformed and this propels them into a dire situation.