6 user 7 critic

Bitter Melon (2018)

Bitter Melon is a "home for the holidays" dark comedy where a Filipino-American family plots to kill an abusive member.


H.P. Mendoza


H.P. Mendoza
1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jon Norman Schneider ... Declan
Patrick Epino Patrick Epino ... Troy
Brian Rivera ... Moe
L.A. Renigen ... Tiva
Theresa Navarro Theresa Navarro ... Shelly
Josephine de Jesus Josephine de Jesus ... Prisa
Amelie Anima Amelie Anima ... Mina
Sohr Picart Sohr Picart ... Divina
Jonathan Enerva ... Boy
Esperanza Catubig ... Jeannie
Anna Ishida Anna Ishida ... Lisa
Corey Jackson ... Marcus
Ryan Morales Ryan Morales ... Lionel
Safiya Fredericks ... Julie
Vint Carmona Vint Carmona ... Rogelio


BITTER MELON is the third feature film from filmmaker H.P. Mendoza (Colma: The Musical, Fruit Fly, I Am a Ghost). It is the story of a Filipino-American family who reunites for a Christmas party at the family home in San Francisco only to find out that Troy, the second oldest child, has been ruling the house with fear-intimidating everyone who lives there-including his mother, and even physically abusing his wife. What starts as a fun holiday reunion turns into a darkly humorous crime scene as Declan, the youngest son, leads the family as they conspire on how to best murder the violent and abusive Troy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dark | See All (1) »


Comedy | Crime | Drama

User Reviews

wild, entertaining, dark and exceeding the odds
8 October 2020 | by MichelleMeowSee all my reviews

I love this film for a lot of reasons. Asians and API folks get boxed into stereotypes when it comes to specific genres. The roles are not necessarily diverse and taking risks with our imaginations as filmmakers aren't necessarily rewarded. I'm pleased with the fact that the filmmaker juxtaposes traumatic issues within a cultural framework that resonates with the audience as a whole. It's not easy to weave themes such as masculinity (including toxic masculinity), homophobia, misogyny, and domestic violence into storytelling that is entertaining, funny, dark, terrifying, and serious at the same time.

Timing is incredibly appreciated in this film. From the delivery and performance of the actors/actresses (you should know much was shot in single take) to the score, it's obvious the filmmaker is a genius- add his guerrilla-like filmmaking training from his DIY days. This kind of passion in filmmaking is far from the automated formats you see these days.

Be prepared for some monologues but from my perspective, it gives you the experience of live theater- something I'm sure we're all missing these days.

The references to SF Bay Area Filipinos, 90's API love, and Filipino food and culture is on spot. A film to be proud of no matter who you are.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

7 December 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bitter Melon See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ersatz Film See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Surround 7.1



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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