Fantasia 2017: Town in a lake (2015 – Philippines)

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for Cinetalk.net

Jet Leyco’s Matangtubig (Town in a lake) is a slow paced, atmospheric and enigmatic piece on a tropical paradise suddenly turned upside down.

The peaceful balance of a remote village is challenged by a brutal murder, abduction case becoming the focus of national media coverage.

The gorgeous scenery is the backdrop for a metaphor on political turmoil and struggles against the country’s tradition and faith, more than it is about the crime’s resolution. It depicts corruption, alienation within a tight-knit micro society bound by what seems like an omertà. Collective conscience is at stake since the community knows more than it is whiling to admit. It faces dilemmas with a desire to return to normal activities, just like nothing happened, under extraordinary circumstances.

Director Jet Leyco succeeds in creating a claustrophobic atmosphere using the beautiful savagery of nature, suggesting it is more powerful than anything that might happen in the next frame. Less successful is some of his conclusions by introducing fantasy elements that he obviously does not master completely. Other flaws, that will have to be excused, comes from the supporting cast (this is obviously a shoe string budget film) that is simply uneven. Some of them (obvious non professional actors) act like they are out of place, probably from watching too much American TV shows.

Taken for its overall ambiance and context, Town in a lake is a peculiar and honest film.

Festival screenings:
July 25 • 9:40 PM Salle J.A. De Sève (Concordia University)
July 27 • 5:30 PM Salle J.A. De Sève (Concordia University)

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