CANNES – Brillante Mendoza of the Philippines on Sunday picked up the best director prize at the Cannes film festival for his dark movie “Kinatay.”
“Kinatay” (meaning “massacre”) notably features corrupt cops hacking a prostitute to pieces with blunt kitchen knives.
Mendoza, at Cannes for the second year running, again split the critics, drawing both hisses and applause for “Kinatay”.
Last year’s “Serbis” was set in a Manila porn-theatre with long close-ups of festering boils and overflowing toilets, as well as the poverty and distress on the streets.
Still determined to portray the social reality around him, Mendoza in “Kinatay” traces 24 hours in the day of a trainee policeman, happily beginning with his wedding in the morning to close with the young man’s first outing at night with a band of corrupt colleagues.
To his surprise, fear and anguish, they pick up a prostitute accused of betrayal and wind up torturing, raping, killing and hacking her before disposing of the body parts across Manila.
“This is not just entertainment, these kinds of stories are real,” Mendoza said at Cannes.
Last year was the first time since 1984 the Philippines had a film competing for the top prize at Cannes, the Palme d’Or.