/ Agencies) - The true face of the Muslim population of Mindanao victims of war
between the army and Islamist rebels told through the lives of two women. This
is the goal of "Sinapupan" (Thy Womb), a film directed by Filipino director
Brillante Mendoza, competing at the 69th International Film Festival, taking
place these days in Venice. Written
by author Henry Burgos, the film was shot in a fishing village in the archipelago
of Tawi - Tawi in the Muslim majority southern island of Mindanao. The
film tells the story of a barren wife and fervent Muslim believer (Nora Aunor) who
out of shame convinces her husband to look for a second wife who would give him
a son. The
three characters are played by the famous Philippine actress Nora Aunor, in the
role of the barren wife, Bembol Roco, who plays the part of the husband, and
the young Lovi Poe (23 years), her first film.
The drama of the two women is framed the life of the small village, marked by work and prayer in the mosque, but flawed by the war between the military and the Abu Sayyaf Muslim rebels. The theme of the conflict is in fact introduced by a ship full of soldiers that every day patrols the fishing channels of the port trying to find possible Muslim extremists among the villagers. "When I arrived on the island for the first time - says Brillante Mendoza - I was surprised to see that the villages of Mindanao are not a place of violence or extremism. It is a peaceful and helpful population, with a great culture. It was a real discovery for me and I wanted to share and spread this vision. "
Winner of the Best Director award at Cannes in 2009 with the film "The Execution of P", Mendoza is known for his choice of controversial issues such as prostitution, homosexuality, and corruption. Cineam - he explains - is a powerful tool. "A story is a story. I tell the stories I want to tell whether they are dark or not. The only important thing is that people see the story in film and that the message arrives."
The Muslim-majority region of Mindanao has been a battleground for the past 40 years between the Philippine army and extremist Islamic groups fighting for the independence of the island and to create an Islamic state governed by sharia. Despite negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the historical Islamic separatist movement - Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah have continued to carry out kidnappings and attacks on Christian places of worship and government targets. In recent years the Catholic communities of Jolo and Basilan were often the target of attacks. The most serious occurred July 7, 2009, when a bomb exploded inside the cathedral in Jolo, causing six deaths and 40 wounded.
Sinapupan was screened on the 6th of September, the day before the opening of the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which started yesterday in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).