Magazine article Screen International

'Taklub': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Taklub': Review

Article excerpt

Dir. Brilliante Mendoza. Philippines, 2015, 97 mins.

TTyphoon Haiyan was one of the most devastating tropical cyclones ever recorded. It made landfall on the coast of Leyte island in the Philippines on 7 November 2013, and in the resulting storm surges and winds of over 300km per hour, over 7,000 people died or went missing. Prolific Filipino director Brillante Mendoza takes the first anniversary of the disaster in late 2014 as the jumping-offpoint for Taklub (Trap), a choral film shot in urgent, handheld, docu-drama style that illuminates the tragedy and its aftermath via an intertwined series of personal stories

Despite its religious overtones (the film closes with the famous lines from Ecclesiastes about there being "a time for all things"), Taklub is no long lament. It's as much about moving on as looking back – or rather, it's the tension between the two impulses that turns what at first feels like a choppy, disjointed mosaic into a quietly moving journey. That said, without the anchor of the typhoon to give emotional heftto the stories, this loose-limbed collection of survivor narratives would feel a little slight: it's nowhere near as cathartic or incisive as the director's fine 2009 drama Lola. Widespread theatrical action looks unlikely, but its Cannes Un Certain Regard debut is sure to be the first in a long string of festival bookings.

Footage of flattened buildings and UNHCR tents in and around the city of Tacloban, one of the worst hit areas, sets the scene for a film that explodes into urgent drama when one of the tent shelters burns down in a kerosene-lamp accident, killing a mother and her five children.

Bebeth (veteran Filipino star Nora Aunor), a sixty-something woman, joins the futile rescue attempts, then returns home to the cafeteria she runs with the help of her young daughter Angela. From a series of name mugs (a subtle touch), we realise what is never stated outright – that Bebeth had three other children who all perished in the typhoon. …

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