For those who miss out on films by Mendoza, take note of his latest masterwork, Tirador (Slingshot) an intimate glimpse into the lives of criminals who have to deal with police raids and other hardships on the gritty streets of Manila. The film has already been picking up speed in film festivals, including Toronto, Dubai and the US. Filipino viewers will have their day as TIRADOR premieres at the UP Film Institute on Dec 3, 2007. The film stars Jiro Manio, Nathan Lopez, Kristoffer King, Coco Martin and veteran stars Julio Diaz and Jaclyn Jose.
Slingshot (Tirador) dir. Brillante Mendoza; Philippines, 2007. 86 minutes
Opens December 3, 2007 UP Film Institute
TIRADOR / SLINGSHOT
by Tony Rayns
Vancouver International Film Festival
Thirty-odd years ago, when Fassbinder made two or more extraordinary films every year, it seemed phenomenal but not strange. Nowadays to be that prolific seems unthinkable– which is why it’s so remarkable that Brillante Mendoza has made Slingshot right after Foster Child. Both films place experienced actors in real-life settings and generate an almost documentary immediacy, but they are otherwise unalike. Slingshot offers a panoramic snapshot of an entire community living in and around a decrepit tenement in Quiapo, Manila. Most of the people are religious, some are drug addicts, many are open to bribes when politicians come calling–and all of them are petty thieves. It’s a community mired in poverty and social problems.
No disrespect to the late Robert Altman (well, not much), but you ain’t seen multi-strand plotting or heard overlapping dialogue until you’ve watched Slingshot. From the opening scene of a night-time police raid on the building, the film plunges us into a world of non-stop noise and chaos. Some familiar faces stand out from the crowd: Jiro Manio (also in Foster Child) as a suddenly orphaned kid, Nathan Lopez (the young star of The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) as a “jammer” hammered into submission by a very rough cop, and Coco Martin (who played The Masseur for Mendoza) as an advertising side-car driver. These and others get their few minutes of screen time as the hand-held camera darts from one focus of interest to another, but the film is all about the general view. The individual stories are typical, not exceptional, and the film uses them as evidence in its angry but heart-breaking picture of a corner of society with no obvious way forward.