A still from Thy Womb Image Credit: Supplied

Another award-winning masterpiece of the celebrated independent filmmaker Brillante Mendoza is being screened at DIFF today. The critically acclaimed Thy Womb (Sinapupunan) is vying in the Muhr AsiaAfrica category and is expected to be one of the front runners following its success and positive reviews at the Venice film festival.

Mendoza attended the first screening of the movie last Wednesday night at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai where he was warmly welcomed and cheered by fans. The film is essentially a walk through the fine details of a unique culture, of a way of life in the Philippines that is unfamiliar to most people, even to Filipinos.

The film was shot in Tawi-Tawi, an island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Largely because of the long-running conflict between the government and Muslim separatist groups in the area, not many in the Philippines know that Tawi-Tawi is a place where both Muslim and Christians co-exist. This somehow is one of the messages the director wanted to convey, as he gave his audience a front-seat viewing of the colour, the dynamism, the conflicts and the pleasures of a little-known community through the experiences of a working-class woman who is prepared to do everything to give her husband a child.

However, more than the co-existence of Muslim and Christian in this otherwise troubled place, Mendoza delivers the message of unconditional love that was perfectly depicted with the film’s ending scene: a rather simple shot of the lead actress’ face, but one that carried a powerful emotion that truly brought the entire film full circle.

The film stars internationally acclaimed actress Nora Aunor, who is making a comeback in the industry following a long hiatus. She plays a woman struggling with infertility and her husband’s (portrayed by a veteran actor Bembol Roco) desperate wish for a child.