Los Otros: Shireen Seno and John Torres

The first major UK retrospective of filmmakers Shireen Seno and John Torres, whose studio, film laboratory, library and platform Los Otros is one of the most invigorating forces in Philippine cinema today.

Feature film 20th Sep · 15:45 (100 mins)

Years When I Was a Child Outside

John Torres

Years When I Was a Child Outside is a meta-film following Torres’ perspective as the son of best- selling self-help author Rodolfo Torres, whose instructional books and tapes made in early 1980s Philippines aimed to ‘help raise brighter children’. Upon learning that his father bore illegitimate children, the narrator decides to run away. The film is not only a chronicle of stories through foreign regions but also a probing letter from outside circles; an honest account of illegitimate views from uneven terrain; and a narrative-driven exploration of the nooks and peripheries of the body, geography and weather. As the journey progresses, the film increasingly traverses the countries of revelation, film, and heart—to where all journeys are meant to end with.

Q&A with filmmaker John Torres

Feature film 21st Sep · 15:00 (89 mins)

Big Boy

Shireen Seno

America has ‘liberated’ the Philippines and the islands have just been proclaimed a new republic.

Every morning, at the crack of dawn, Father and Mother stretch Julio, pulling his limbs in opposite directions. They make him drink a concoction made from the liver of codfish, believed to stimulate growth in children. He stands in the blazing heat of the sun.

The family swells in size to six children. Father hunts for food while Mother tends to domestic duties, leaving Julio and his siblings alone, exposed to their lush natural environs. Soon enough, the youngest two are taken away and distributed amongst the two aunts without offspring of their own.

Big Boy chronicles the growth of a family, the myths of progress that consume them and the violence not just in war and colonization, but also that which is inherent in coming into being—for a boy, a man and a nation.

Q&A with filmmaker Shireen Seno

Feature film 23rd Sep · 11:45 (85 mins)

Lukas the Strange

John Torres

‘Lukas, in the middle of the film, the actress will pay a visit. You’ll fall in love with her. And you’ll understand your father. I’ll become your memory. I haven’t shown you the middle yet’. Thus begins John Torres’s latest dream of a documentary, a highly experimental, gloriously free-form coming-of-age story. Shortly after the arrival of a film crew that throws his tiny, usually quiet village into a frenzy of commotion, Lukas’s father, Mang Basilio, announces that he is a ‘tikbalang’, the half-horse, half-man of Filipino folklore. When Mang Basilio disappears, the awkward, baffled Lukas sets out on a journey of self-discovery that will include a ‘river of forgetting’, invisible voices and a hallucinatory blurring of reality and fantasy. Torres has already carved out an idiosyncratic niche for himself in the thriving world of documentary-fiction hybrids, and this is his most personal and expansive work to date. — Film Society of Lincoln Center

Q&A with filmmaker John Torres