Lola (Grandmother) is a Filipino independent film about two grandmothers living in the slums of Malabon, Manila, who are trying to cope with the “loss” of their respective grandsons. Directed by Brillante “Dante” Mendoza, with a screenplay by Linda Casimiro, the film was the surprise pick at the 2009 Venice Film Festival as well as a winner in the 2009 Dubai International Film Festival.
The movie revolves around two grandmothers, Lola Sepa (Anita Linda) and Lola Puring (Rustica Carpio), who have to deal with a crime involving their two respective grandsons—Lola Sepa’s grandson was killed by a cellphone snatcher, who turns out to be Lola Purings’s grandson Mateo. The two grandmothers then have to deal with their losses in a very concrete manner: Lola Sepa pawns her pension card to find enough money not just for her grandson’s burial but also for the case against Mateo, whom Lola Puring cannot bail out of jail also due to the lack of money. The two only come face-to-face inside the courtroom during Mateo’s trial, where they would have to resolve the case to reach a favorable outcome for the two of them.
Audience Reception and Critical Acclaim
Coming on the heels of another of Mendoza’s films, Kinatay (The Execution of P), the film was the surprise pick at the 2009 Venice Film Festival; Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera called the performance of the two lead actresses “extraordinary.” It was also named as the top film in the Asia-Africa Category at the 2009 Dubai International Film Festival, and was invited to the 2009 International Thessaloniki Film Festival, and 2010 Fribourg International Film Festival.
Lola was also one of the nominees for the official film to represent the Philippines in the foreign-language category of the Oscars; however, the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) chose Soxy Topacio’s Ded na si Lolo instead.
Locally, Lola is cited by Fidel Antonio Medel in a review on PEP.ph for veering away from the violence and sex that has characterized several of Mendoza’s recent films such as Kinatay and Serbis. Yet, Medel writes, Mendoza’s strength as a director is displayed in Lola for even without the violence and the sex, the film still delivers its powerful message to its audience.
Directed by: Brillante “Dante” Mendoza
Starring: Anita Linda, Rustica Carpio, Tanya Gomez, Jhong Hilario, Ketchup Eusebio
Release date(s): 2009
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