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DIFF Diary: Day 9 – Lola

by Sarah Dawson / 31.07.2010

We’re into the last stretch of DIFF. Tonight is the closing film and gala dinner for presenting awards. There is still a full day of films tomorrow though. Grateful my eyes haven’t exploded.

At this point everyone is abuzz with comparisons, between films, between this year’s fest and previous years, with their favourites list, trying to decide which films they should still try and squeeze in before midnight on Sunday. Overall things are sounding positive for 2010’s experience.

I’ve hardly seen any industry people since I was eating strawberry suckers at 2am on the roof of the Royal on Tuesday night. It’s relieving in a way.

LOLA: Dir: Brillante Mendoza (Philipines)

This is why I love the DIFF. I had never heard of Brillante Mendoza until 2008 when I saw his film Slingshot at the fest, and it probably would have stayed that way if it hadn’t been for DIFF. He’s a Filipino director who’s been to many of the big fests and has made quite a name for himself, but for some reason has remained mostly under the radar outside the festival circuit, as far as I can tell. But I just love his work. Last year I saw Foster Child (which ended up winning best film at the festival), and this year we have Lola.

Lola tells the story of two grandmothers. One whose son has been murdered in a mugging, the other whose son is the murderer. If the mother of the suspect can make reparations for her son’s misdeeds, the charges will be dropped.

He has a wonderfully gritty documentary-style aesthetic. He makes fiction films, but his locations are locations filled with real people, where he has very little control over any of his mise-en-scene, barring his performers. Somehow the camera remains totally unobtrusive. We observe minute peculiarities of daily life in Filipino slums. While the style is to some extent quite frenetic, it remains quite quietly intimate.

Lola is perhaps not quite as powerful as Foster Child, but a wonderful film nevertheless.

Sara recommends for Saturday 31 July:
Nothing Personal – Sneddon – 6pm
Life Above All – Musgrave – 6pm
The Infidel – Suncoast Supernova – 6pm
The Ape – Musgrave – 10pm

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