The Woman in the Septic Tank

Director: Marlon Rivera | Countries of production: Philippines | Year: 2011 | Length: 87 min
Language: English, Filipino, Tagalog with English subtitles | Age: 12+ years

As far as their film school final project is concerned, these three students have only one goal in mind – international fame, including Oscars and festival prizes. They know what foreign audiences expect from Philippine cinema – prostitution, abuse, rubbish tips and slums – and apply this magic formula to develop the ultimate in misery porn. A mother, battered by life, sells her child to a sex tourist; a story as harsh and realistic as it is rousingly emotional. The only thing missing is a big-name star, but famous actresses can be such divas …

The Woman in the Septic Tank is the most successful independent film in the history of Philippine cinema, and a rare example of an intelligent film-within-a-film plot that takes an illuminating behind-the-scenes look at filmmaking. Highly entertaining and hugely self-deprecating, this comedy draws on ingrained clichés in order to shamelessly exploit them.

A cheeky parody of Philippine cinema.
The Hollywood Reporter

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