Thy Womb (Sinapupunan)
Award-winning director Brillante Mendoza is a national treasure in the Philippines, a filmmaker whose prolific output can only be matched by the likes of Michael Winterbottom.
Mendoza's films have become mainstays of international A-list festivals and he is the only Filipino to win the coveted Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival (for his controversial film Kinatay).
His latest film follows the fortunes of a humble Muslim fisherman and his wife. A lyrical tale of love and beauty, Thy Womb questions how far someone will go to fulfil their social destiny and dreams. Shaleha (played by Filipino megastar Nora Aunor) is a barren midwife who has embarked on a quest to find a second wife for her husband who will bare him the child they so desperately want.
Set in the remote archipelago of Tawi-Tawi, Mendoza's film uses Shaleha's quest as a simmering backdrop for this intimate portrait of a Bajau community that literally survives off the sea that surrounds them. The daily rituals of the women weaving colourful straw mats, the political unrest in the town and the elaborate ceremonial events such as a local marriage are captured with a timeless perfection by Mendoza's longtime cinematographer, Odyssey Flores.
Thy Womb premiered in competition at the 69th Venice Film Festival where it won three prizes including the Bisato d' Oro Award for Best Actress (for Nora Aunor). It has also been recently honoured at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards winning Best Performance by an Actress and Achievement in Directing.