PH entry to Sundance 'In My Mother's Skin' makes a 'strong impression': Variety review


Posted at Jan 22 2023 10:01 PM

‘In My Mother’s Skin’ will make its world premiere in the US at the Sundance Film Festival. Photo from Epic Media.
‘In My Mother’s Skin’ will make its world premiere in the US at the Sundance Film Festival. Photo from Epic Media.

MANILA — The Philippines' entry to the Sundance film festival "In My Mother's Skin" made a "strong impression" with its "gory slice" of Filipino folklore, American magazine Variety said Saturday.

In his review, Michael Nordine said that the film shows a dark take on childhood tales and likened it to movies like “The Wicker Man” in Britain and “The Blair Witch Project” in America to “La Llorona” in Guatemala and “Kwaidan” in Japan.

"'In My Mother’s Skin' isn’t all blood and guts. Its dreamy ambience is evocative of childhood fairy tales, the dark origins of which most of us didn’t realize until adulthood," Nordine said in the article.

He also said there were shades of Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” as well as the work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

“In My Mother’s Skin,” a World War II-set dark fantasy from writer-director Kenneth Dagatan, premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in the United States.

Nordine noted: "No less impressive than Dagatan’s direction is Russell Morton’s cinematography: Much of “In My Mother’s Skin” takes place at night, with Tala and her family bathed in pale moonlight that’s as unsettling as it is gorgeous." 

"There’s a softness to the visuals that emphasizes the characters’ vulnerability, constantly reminding us that whatever might be lurking in the shadows is perfectly capable of burrowing under their skin and piercing their flesh — a fate that befalls more than one of them," he added. 

The film will be the lone non-English language entry in the Midnight section of the festival, according to local producer Epic Media. Midnight, as described by Sundance, is a section that includes “horror and comedy to works that defy genre classification.”

A Philippines-Singapore-Taiwan co-production, “In My Mother’s Skin” is described as “a fusion of physical body horror, suffocating tone and psychological trauma.”

“It is about hope that we will overcome physical and supernatural forces through human compassion,” Epic Media said.

Stranded in the Philippines during World War II, a young girl (Felicity Kyle Napuli) “finds that her duty to protect her dying mother is complicated by her misplaced trust in a beguiling, flesh-eating fairy,” portrayed by Jasmine Curtis-Smith.


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