Previous Work
Big Boy

Not available for screening anymore

Big Boy

Directed by Shireen Seno

  • Philippines 2012; 89 min
  • Original version: Filipino
  • Genre: Drama

  • From the director of NERVOUS TRANSLATION presented at CineMart


America has 'liberated' the islands, and the Philippines has just been proclaimed a new republic. Every morning, at the crack of dawn, Father and Mother stretch Julio, pulling his limbs in opposite directions. He is made to 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. Meanwhile, Julio's remarkable height is used to advertise his parents' homemade growth concoction. 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.

Director's Statement

There is a certain silent violence at the heart of every Filipino, but that from which possibilities can emerge. BIG BOY is a meditation on a history of violence – not just in war and colonization but also in creation, in coming into being. It is a questioning of the tight-knit family unit which the Philippines is synonymous with, and how this myth of family might parallel the myth of a nation. The preoccupation with height and outward appearance, the belief in a better life elsewhere, these are some of the myths of growth and progress that are present in the Philippines until today. The film will present an alternative history or rather, a collision of histories that uncover the persistence of, yet ultimate mayhem, that is memory.



    Ronald Arguelles