As it was in at least two previous occasions, Philippine representation to the 66th Cannes International Film Festival scheduled next month is not just limited to the films to the Filipino films that qualified in the Un Certain Regard, Directors Fortnight and Short Film Corner sections.
The selected Singapore entry in the Directors Fortnight category, “Ilo Ilo”, stars a Filipina — theater and independent film actress Angeli Bayani — as an OFW working as a domestic helper in Singapore. Directed by first-time director Anthony Chen, the English title of the film refers to Iloilo, the home province of her character.
Set in Singapore during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the film’s plot outline revealed that it’s about the relationship between the Lims, a typical Chinese-Singaporean family, and their newly arrived maid, Teresa or Terry.
“Like many other Filipino women, she has come to this city in search of a better life. Her presence in the family worsens their already strained relationship. Jiale, the young and troublesome son, starts to form a unique bond with Teresa, who soon becomes an unspoken part of the family,” according to the outline posted in its official Facebook page.
Bayani, who recently appeared in the mini-series “Bayan Ko” for GMA network, will also appear in the upcoming Visayan film, “Palad Ta Ang Nagbuot (Our Fate Decides)” directed by former actor and TV host Dandin Ranillo and slated for a May release.
The actress won the 2008 Cinemanila International Film Festival Best Actress award for “Melancholia” and was nominated last year by the Gawad Urian for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Ka Oryang”.
This is not the first time that a Filipino actress has starred in a foreign production that was accepted in Cannes.
Last year, Maui Taylor played a maid who has a torrid affair with her boss in the South Korean erotic suspense thriller “The Taste of Money”. Directed by Im Sang-Soo, the film was invited to screen in competition and was automatically nominated for the festival’s coveted Palme d’Or award.
In 2009, Im Sang-Soo’s horror film “Thirst” featured Mercedes Cabral as the lone Filipina in its cast and won the Jury Prize.