Ma' Rosa

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    Ma' Rosa

    Directed by



    110 min

    • Filipino

    Crime, Drama

    Toronto IFFKarlovy Vary IFF

    Ma' Rosa is the de facto head of a family struggling to keep their small convenience store afloat in tough economic times. As a means of survival, Rosa has diversified the family business by venturing into the street-drug trade. When Rosa and her drug-addled husband are arrested and hauled off to a labyrinthine, makeshift police station, they unsurprisingly discover that the cops are greedier and crueller than any junkie or dealer: in addition to pressing Rosa for the names of her connections, they also demand a huge sum of cash in order to "settle this." Sent back out onto the streets to dig up the requisite bribe, Rosa embarks on a tragicomic quest reminiscent of De Sica's classic Bicycle Thieves as she is roundly rejected or lectured by the various members of her family to whom she turns for help.


    • Best Actress (Jaclyn Jose) - Cannes IFF
    • Best Director - Gijón IFF



    Jaclyn Jose
    Julio Diaz
    Baron Geisler
    Jomari Angeles
    Neil Ryan Sese
    Mercedes Cabral
    Andi Eigenmann
    Mark Anthony Fernandez
    Felix Roco
    Mon Confiado
    Maria Isabel Lopez
    Troy Espiritu
    Odyssey Flores
    Diego Marx Dobles

    Director's Statement

    As an artist I believe we are just an instrument to show what’s around us. I am a reflection of my environment, and where I live. I’ve been told so much that I dwell on poverty, that I don’t make films about good life and all that, but in fact if you are living in a country where eighty percent of the population are poor and only ten percent are the very rich—and there’s this wide disparity between rich and poor—I think it’s just right to make a story of the majority. As a filmmaker I always believe and recognize that I am from a developing country. I’m not a filmmaker from a first-world country, so why would I tell stories about people living a good life? For me it’s not just dwelling on poverty, it’s actually telling a story of real people who happen to be poor. I think there’s a big difference. You may happen to be poor, but you are still a human being. That’s my take on social realism, and that’s why it always shows in my films and is very recurrent in my films. I’m showing a poor life, but with dignity. They are not people whose story I exploit; I want to show them in my films. I think there’s a big difference between that.



    A cold, hard look at what being poor actually means, and how few options there are for escape.

    Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

    Brillante Mendoza uses neorealist techniques to provoke outrage and explore corruption in Manila’s poorest slums.

    Ben Croll, The Wrap

    A work of understated confidence that will not disappoint.

    Maggie Lee, Variety

    Brillante Mendoza

    Brillante Mendoza


    Born in the Philippines in 1960, Brillante Mendoza is one of the leading authors in new Filipino cinema. After completing his studies at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, and beginning his career in the field of advertising, he made his debut in cinema, inaugurating an extremely prolific filmography and soon becoming a leading protagonist of international film festivals. His debut film THE MASSEUR (2005) won the video competition prize at the Festival of Locarno. His next film SUMMER HEAT (2006) was screened in the Extra section of the Rome Film Festival, and MANORO (2006) won the CinemAvvenire award at the Torino Film Festival. In 2007 he was in Cannes for the screening of FOSTER CHILD in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs section, in 2008 for SERVICE and in 2009 with THE EXECUTION OF P, for which he won the award for Best Director. The Berlin Film Festival welcomed him in 2007 for SLINGSHOT, presented in the Forum section, and in 2012 for CAPTIVE. In 2015 he screened at Cannes IFF again with his film TAKLUB and again in 2016 with MA' ROSA, where it was nominated for the Palme d'Or.

    Selected Filmography