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The film Lilet Never Happened is a character driven story about Lilet, a maladjusted Philippine street-girl, who becomes Manila's most famous child prostitute. International social worker Claire desperately tries to safe Lilet from the sex industry but she falls again and again. Though Lilet gets many opportunities to quit, she stubbornly chooses the hard way.Written by
Jacco Groen has created a film that addresses, point blank, the heartbreaking story of a small girl facing sexual exploitation. He rejects all the standard Hollywood cliché of portraying the children as helpless objects of our pity, to be rescued by a male hero like Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise does appear in this movie, but only as an image torn from a magazine. Lilet is on her own.
Sandy Talag is probably the most natural, dynamic, and beautiful child actor since Peter Bartholomew or recently, Dakota Fanning. Your heart aches for this fragile girl in this terrible, ugly environment. And yet Lilet has not an ounce of self pity. A real child in a broken, abusive environment has no time for tears. Children adapt quickly to any environment, and learn their own ways of surviving.
The entire cast and crew worked together in this indy film to show Lilet as someone who, at an early age, refuses to follow the adults And when you meet the adults in her life, you will understand. But Lilet cannot differentiate between her saviors and her captors, refusing even those who would help. No matter what, she is determined to make her own choices, even the wrong ones. And that spirit is one of the most inspiring things to capture on film this year.
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