Manila House Kicks Off Its Film Series With Brilliante Mendoza’s Ma’ Rosa

Arts & Culture

October 2, 2017 | BY Paolo Vergara

The private members’ club aspires to encourage discourse through its regular film screenings


Brilliante Mendoza Metropolitan Museum of Manila Retrospective | Photo: Courtesy of Dorynna Untivero

Last year, Jaclyn Jose garnered the Best Actress award at the 2016 Festival de Cannes for her performance as the titular lead of the realist film, Ma’ Rosa. Directed by internationally-acclaimed filmmaker Brilliante Mendoza, the film has been lauded by reviewers locally and internationally for its distinct style and message. Last September 30, Manila House screened the film with Mendoza making an appearance to shed light on the work’s direction and inspirations.

Mendoza expounds on his style, called “Found Filmmaking” where three elements constitute the movement. First is that the story is always based on a real person’s experiences: the “referent” or main source material of the narrative. From this, the director and writer add the second element by barely relying on a script fixed with specific lines, instead crafting a general narrative and then allowing actors to say what comes most naturally from the situations they find themselves in. Expanding the “referent” to the bigger picture, a Found Film's third element is that it must always be socialised, shedding light on the community and context wherein the characters interact.

6.jpgBehind The Scences | Photo: Courtesy of

maxresdefault.jpgScreencap from Ma' Rosa

Found Filmmaking is an overarching philosophy that guides all the major players in a film’s production, from the sound and score designers to the cinematographer to the production designer, as shared in the question and answer portion before the film.

Lights, sounds, colours, and textures are aligned with creating a viewing experience that makes it appear as if the audience is then and there, a bystander watching the character’s stories unfold in all the grit of the setting, the heat of the sun, the smoke of the streets. The overall impression is more of documentary than a traditional feature film.

BM2.jpgPhoto: Courtesy of Dorynna Untivero

To an audience comprised mostly of the diplomatic community and other expats, screenings organiser Doris Magsaysay-Ho shared that the film, alongside many of other planned screenings at Manila House, is a portrait of the everyman’s daily life and struggles in the streets of the metropolis, especially in light of the recent political and cultural developments.


For more information on planned shows and similar events, visit or call +63 2 958 5007