Brillante Mendoza's "Captive" : Even A Choice Is Not An Option

Captive is about self-preservation, about survival in the face of hardships and situations beyond one's control. Directed by the 2009 Cannes Film Festival Best Director winner, Brillante Ma Mendoza.

The story of Captive is adapted from the Dos Palmas kidnapping of two US missionaries by the Abu Sayyaf Group in 2001.

On May 27, 2001 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group abduct 20 local and foreign tourists from the DOS Palmas resort in Palawan and transport them via a fishing boat across the Sulu Sea to the island of Basilan.

On the boat, the ASG demand ransom from the hostages. One of the hostages arranges an easy transfer of the ransom to a bank in Zamboanga, the reason why the group makes a stopover in Lamitan City hospital en route to their hideout in the mountains. A bullet mistakenly shot by one of the ASG leaders at a passing military truck triggers a military assault on the hospital that lasts the whole day the next day.

Amid the firing, three hostages are freed after what is implied as payment of ransom. Four more hostages are taken from the hospital staff when the group leaves, even if the kidnappers release three others with orders to arrange ransom for their loved ones whom the kidnappers are taking with them in the mountains. Two are left behind after being wounded from ambush assault by the militia.

The first natural casualty of the kidnapping is an old Filipina social worker, who dies during the journey. Her companion, Therese Bourgoine, a French social worker, wins a score over the kidnappers when she succeeds in giving Soledad a Christian burial.

On the eve of Philippine Independence Day, the kidnappers beheaded one of the foreign hostages, a result of a failed negotiation with the government.

Finally, the military manages to stage a daring rescue. Only Therese Bourgoine and the missionary Sophie Bernstein are saved alive from the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Isabelle Huppert as Thérèse
Maria Isabel Lopez
Joel Torre
Mercedes Cabral as Fiancee
Sid Lucero
Bernard Palanca
Kristoffer King
Ronnie Lazaro
Mon Confiado
Baron Geisler
Raymond Bagatsing
Evelyn Vargas
Perry Dizon
Madeleine Nicholas

The film was screened in competition at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2011. Star Cinema will be distributing this film on September 5, with MTRCB rating PG 13 and Rated A by CEB.  It also got endorsements from National Artists Bienvenido Lumbera, F Sionil Jose and Senator Loren Legarda.

Brillante Ma Mendoza is a Filipino film director. He has directed sixteen films since 2005. He won the award for Best Director for his film Kinatay at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. His 2009 film Lola won the award for Best Film at the 6th Dubai International Film Festival.

"Captive"  is a film only proves Mendoza's ability to mount productions that are bigger than what he usually does.

In a Bloggers Conference held at Patio Carlito Restaurant, Quezon City one of the country's respected film makers, Director Brillante Ma Mendoza shared his experiences in doing this film. He also shared his realizations as an artist, director and filmmaker.

"It took a year of research before the film was shot. The Captive movie was shot in different parts of Luzon and the post production was in Paris. It took 25 back-breaking days to simulate the kidnapping and the experience of being held captive from resort to city to boat ride and up to the forest.

"We went to the camp nakita ko yung mga military. I had dinner with the generals and Muslim brothers, sa ganoong paraan ko pinag aralan yung buhay nila," Brillanate said.

"I went to Basilan kasi maliit lang ang alam ko tungkol sa Mindanao. Takot ako kasi baka di na makabalik. Nung nakasakay ako sa police car akala ko safe ako pero di pala. I'm just putting myself in danger," he added.

He said that the film has 200 members including the 40 actors/actresses like Isabelle Huppert, Ronnie Lazaro, Angel Aquino, Coco Martin,  Sid Lucero, Raymond Bagatsing, Maria Isabel Lopez, Mercedes Cabral, Kathy Mulville, Rustica Carpio and Timothy Mabalot.

In terms of philosophy, religion, government, marami akong realizations in doing this film. It has a bigger budget, bigger than Indie. Almost 40-60M Php in budget. Considering that he owns a small company, he realized he can make a big film "Captive."

"When I make a movie it's an extension of my soul."  Brillante Mendoza said.

Check these Captive Teasers in YouTube.

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