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Canadian Premiere
  • Philippines
  • USA
  • 2012
  • 84 mins
  • HD
  • Tagalog / English
  • English (subtitles)
Hosted by Director/Writer Ron Morales and more.

Official Selection: Tribeca Film Festival 2012
Second Place Audience Award Winner - Narrative: Tribeca Film Festival

“Uncompromisingly intense... vigorously breathless” — Matt Barone, COMPLEX POP CULTURE

Marlon is the long-time chauffeur of the wealthy Chango family. His poor wife is dying in a decrepit hospital room. His boss, Manuel, is a well-known politician, recently embroiled in a shocking sex scandal. The chauffeur, being involved in the aforementioned turmoil, loses his job. If that weren’t enough, Marlon’s little girl is kidnapped at gunpoint before her father’s horrified eyes. In order to see her alive again, Marlon must now lie to the police if he wants his ex-boss to pay the costly ransom. However, the intention of this crime goes way beyond the usual financial gain. The captors are out for retribution. No matters how bloody or brutal it needs to be. And they won’t quit until they have their prey. The black cloud floating above Marlon’s head never really seems to go away. It only gets bigger.

Adultery. Pedophilia. Murder. Prostitution. Poverty. Organ traffic. Corruption. With its uneasy themes, the Filipino film GRACELAND is no picnic in the park. It’s a powerful drama in which life is cheap and disposable, morality is a distant abstract to many, liars are legion and revenge is salvation. Take a pair of broken men, solidly portrayed by Arnold Reyes as the distraught Marlon and Menggie Cobarrubias as the deteriorating Manuel. Between them, place Dido De La Paz as the tough-as-nails cop on the scent of the kidnapping case. With his HD naturalist approach (almost Dogme-style, not unlike BABEL’s Alejandro González Iñárritu), Ron Morales, acclaimed director of SANTA MESA (with RED STATE’s Melissa Leo), drops the viewer right into the thick of things to witness first-hand the poignant and horrifying events of his effective, unpredictable plot. Sorrow, despair and wrath are all wrapped together in what could very well be one of the most wrenching crime dramas of the year. Upsetting stuff — not for the faint of heart.

— Kristof G.