Filipiñana / press

Press reviews and interviews for Filipiñana by Rafael Manuel


Berlinale Press Conference – Award Winners 2020
photo-call at 06:42
interview at 07:50


(…) „Filipiñana is an exploration of inaction and the role that it plays in the perpetuation of objective violence; a structural violence without any clear perpetrator or victim, a violence devoid of any obviously violent act, a violence that has been normalised and gentrified. “ (…)
interview with The New Current


(…) „Moving in a languid pace that reflects the aimless ennui of Isabel herself, the film possesses a sense of melancholy that is similarly reflected in Isabel’s fellow workers, who in their leisure time are depicted as sleeping, or slumped into various corners. A great sense of irony lies in the fact that in a picturesque resort the only thing Isabel seemingly longs for is escape.“ (…)
film review by Matthew Chan for Sindie


(…) “Filipiñana” uses the golf course setting as a kind of microcosm of the Philippines. It’s an ironic take on how only a select few get to enjoy and profit from fertile land that’s toiled by the working class. Diving deeper into this narrative will let us explore the nitty gritty of exploitation and marginalization in the Philippine social strata. Aside from that, the film is said to primarily focus on “the power distance exercised by women on women within this social milieu.” “Filipiñana’s” first teaser lets us step into this discourse. In a perfectly framed scene of golf players hitting their respective goals in sync, we see the tee-girls doing their jobs on the ground—seemingly robotic, like helpless, emotionless jellies. (…)
Jelou Galang for scout


(…) In the official Berlinale award winner press conference, Manuel spoke of how he saw the film as tackling principally political issues. For starters, the Philippine golf course is colonial in origin: “When you look at the history of golf courses in the Philippines…they were given to us by Americans. The first golf courses in the Philippines were actually in American military bases.” Manuel explained. Partly due to such a history, the vast inequality that plagues Philippine society makes itself known within this smaller world of the golf course.
Describing the film as a compact version of a narrative that he plans on expanding into a full-length feature, Manuel spoke of a particular crowd found in golf courses and country clubs—those elite spaces occupied by the country’s economic elite—that he hopes to explore in the future: “In [Filipiñana] we contained the milieu in the golf course, but beyond that there’s a whole country club milieu that would be interesting to explore as well. Their ballrooms, their swimming pools—I see absurdities there as well.”
 Film Development Council of the Philipines


From the London Film School comes Filipiñana (Philippines/United Kingdom), Rafael Manuel’s film which follows the fortunes of a girl new to working on a Filipino golf course. It’s a wonderfully observed film, that takes in notions of social class and dashed dreams and wraps it all up with a dash of the surreal. Manuel is a talent to watch out for in the future.
Laurence Boyce for Cineuropa


Filipiñana, directed by Rafael Manuel, won Silver Bear Jury Prize for Short Film in the 70th Berlin Film Festival (BIFF) during the closing ceremony held at the Berlinale Palace in Germany on Feb. 29. The Silver Bear Jury Prize is the second highest award after the Golden Bear (…)
Filipiñana is the story of “tee-girls” played by Jorybell Agoto (Isabel), Micah Musa (Micah), Sunshine Teodoro (Susan) and Elle Velasco (Charlie) who fulfill their duties in a golf course, a self-contained cosmos that reflects social conditions.
Manuel is a director, screenwriter, producer and editor. He studied philosophy and visual communication at the Ateneo de Manila University before taking up a masteral degree in filmmaking at the London Film School. His other short film credits are Sadie Makes a Baby (2017) and Dogeater (2018).
Celso de Guzman Caparas for Phil Star Global


Der mit dem Preis der Jury ausgezeichnete Kurzfilm „Filipiñana“ von Rafael Manuel führt durch den Arbeitstag eines jungen Mädchens namens Isabel auf dem Golfplatz. Wie ihre Mitarbeiterinnen hat auch Isabel ein weißes Kostüm und Kniestrümpfe an, legt den Golfern die Bälle zurecht und trägt ihre Schläger. Isabel sitzt in einer der Golfbuden, die Kamera blickt auf sie von unten durch die gespreizten Beine eines der Männer. Dieses Bild demonstriert die Überlegenheit des Mannes, seine Macht dem Mädchen gegenüber. „Filipiñana“ nutzt den Golfplatz als den einzigen Schauplatz des Films und zeigt treffend soziale Klassenunterschiede. Die Mitarbeiterinnen massieren die Füße der Ehefrauen und bestätigen immer wieder, wie gut diese spielen. Sie beobachten auch deren privilegierte Kinder, die von klein an versuchen, Golf zu spielen. Isabel spaziert über den Golfplatz, legt sich auf die Wiese, wird aber auch ständig mit der Bemerkung konfrontiert, dass nur die Gäste und nicht das Personal sich so benehmen dürfen.
Ieva Šukytė (Berlinale Blogger 2020) for Goethe Institut Litauen


Den Silbernen Bären erhielt der philippinisch-englische Kurzfilm „Filipiñana“. Der Regisseur Rafael Manuel erzählt in schönen, sanften Bildern eine Coming-of-Age-Geschichte eines Mädchens, das sich in ihrer Arbeit auf einem Golfplatz in eine strenge Hierarchie einordnen muss, aus der es aber stets auszubrechen versucht.
Doreen Matthei for Testkammer


short review on RBB Inforadio (in german)


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