Kinatay – Cannes Film Festival 2009 – Best Director

kinatay_1A film by Brillante Mendoza

Cast: Coco Martin (Peping)
Maria Isabel Lopez (Madonna)
Julio Diaz (Vic)
Mercedes Cabral (Cecille)
Jhong Hilario (Abyong)


Director: Brillante Mendoza
Screenplay: Armando Lao
Cinematography: Odyssey Flores
Executive Producer: Didier Costet

Brillante Mendoza’s second revival at the Cannes, ‘Kinatay’ explores and kindles with the negative emotions of lust and greed whose after effects constantly keep knocking your mind, even after the movie is over.

The film has showcased a brilliant depiction of untimely and unexpected death which is not angelic but hovers around the darkness in the life of its principal character Peping (Coco Martin). Peping and Cecille’s innocent lives struggling and trying to repent the ropes of kidnapping, torture and final slice of murder form the crux of the story.

Meaning slaughter in Filipino, Kinatay takes a close shot into the life of Peping who becomes a witness to the gruesome murder of Gina; a prostitute by profession. The first 15 mins of the movies reels in à la mode Brillante manner with shots capturing the hardcore slum life of Manila. As we swirl more into reality we get a peek into Peping’s life who is getting ready to marry the mother of his newborn baby. A policy student who is used to earning money on the sly through a drug group, his innocence is reflected as he is trapped by his friend Abyong (Jhong Hilario) for some extra bucks. Poverty and love for his family lures Peping, as he washed away into the darkness of drugs and murder. His first assignment; to his horror includes the murder of Gina a.k.a Madonna (Maria Isabel Lopez), where he stands guard to her human existence till it is brutally made extinct on the orders of Vic (Julio Diaz). Rape and murder assume throttled reality with the nightmarish experience changing Peping’s life all-together

The in-the-face reality of the Manila drug scene as well as the detailed representation of the horrifying acts involved may be a little too stressful for the faint hearted as each moment has been intensified to inane extent through varying camera angles and prolific locations hunted for the shot (especially the one where Gina is bundled in the van). The graphic nature of the movie may be a subjective matter, but Peping’s scorched soul after the incident and his search for his inner self is the motive of the film. The hanging Jesus poster in Gina’s torture room sends out silent signals towards maybe Peping’s existing situation.
Kinatay has been a well received film at the Cannes with Brillante Mendoza winning the Best Director Award for 2009.