Michael De Mesa (I) - News Poster


Tiff 2016. Wavelengths Features

  • MUBI
This was a busy year at Tiff, where I was a juror for Fipresci, helping to award a prize for best premiere in the Discovery section. Not only did this mean that some other films had to take a back burner—sadly, I did not see Eduardo Williams’ The Human Surge—but my writing time was a bit compromised as well. Better late than never? That is for you, Gentle Reader, to decide.Austerlitz (Sergei Loznitsa, Germany)So basic in the telling—a record of several days’ worth of visitors mostly to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienberg, Germany—Austerlitz is a film that in many ways exemplifies the critical theory of Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. What is the net effect for humanity when, faced with the drive to remember the unfathomable, we employ the grossly inadequate tools at our disposal?Austerlitz takes its name from W. G. Sebald’s final novel.
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Venice Film Review: ‘The Woman Who Left’

Venice Film Review: ‘The Woman Who Left’
Time is an elastic element in the cinema of Lav Diaz — not just in the sprawling, searching spread of his films’ historical purview, but the liberal, some might say liberated, scale of the films themselves. Weighing in at 228 minutes, a restrained runtime by the Filipino director’s standards, “The Woman Who Left” is more contained than much of his work: Its personal and political concerns converge powerfully in the story of one woman, reacquainting herself with her socially ravaged homeland after unjustly spending 30 years in the slammer. At the same time, the film’s deliberately rambling heft evokes the lingering, far-reaching sorrow of an entire nation. That doesn’t entirely quell the sense of strong material being over-extended, particularly in a murky middle stretch, but this occasionally transcendent opus finds Diaz’s formal powers — not least his own incisive monochrome lensing — at full strength.

A filmmaker who sees no harm
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Home Entertainment News: December 16, 2013: On The Job, Ender’S Game

  • Film-Book
Well Go USA has announced its plans to release Erik Matti‘s On the Job (2013) February 11, 2014. The crime thriller stars Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Joel Torre, Joey Marquez, Michael de Mesa, Leo Martinez, Angel Aquino, and Vivian Velez. Marquez and Pascual play a police sergeant and a federal agent investigating the assassination [...]

Continue reading: Home Entertainment News: December 16, 2013: On The Job, Ender’S Game
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Film Review: ‘On the Job’

Plunging the viewer headlong into the sweat and blood, cynicism and corruption of Metro Manila’s mean streets, “On the Job” is a gritty, convoluted but steadily engrossing crime thriller from Filipino genre maven Erik Matti. Although this fast-paced actioner takes a while to sort out its parallel plotlines, extending from an unusually porous prison system to the highest political offices, it ultimately fires on all cylinders as a tense, well-acted B-movie whose strong local flavor is unlikely to survive the inevitable offshore remake. Well Go USA Entertainment snapped up North American rights at Cannes, where the pic’s Directors’ Fortnight berth afforded Matti his broadest international exposure yet.

The brutal mob hit that opens the film takes place in broad daylight, in a crowded square in Quezon City, where middle-aged assassin Tatang (Joel Torre) initiates young thug Daniel (Filipino-American actor Gerald Anderson) into the ruthlessness of their particular trade.
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Cannes: Well Go USA Lands N.A. Rights To ‘On The Job’

  • Deadline
Well Go USA Entertainment acquired all North American rights to Erik Matti’s On The Job, a Filipino crime action-thriller, ahead of its world premiere in Directors’ Fortnight on Friday. The film is set for a fall 2013 theatrical release. Written by Matti and Michiko Yamamoto, On The Job was inspired by a real-life corruption scandal involving the temporary release of inmates so they could work as contract killers for crooked politicians. It stars many of the Philippines’ mainstream actors including Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Rayver Cruz, Shaina Magdayao, Empress Schuck, alongside vets such as Joel Torre, Angel Aquino, Vivian Velez, Joey Marquez, Leo Martinez, Michael de Mesa, Al Tantay and Niño Muhlach. “On The Job reiterates that it is an exciting time for Filipino cinema,” said Doris Pfardrescher, President of Well Go USA Entertainment. Said Matti: “All the hard work and patience has paid off. After almost four years, we
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