The Danish film “Rosita,” in which acclaimed actress Mercedes Cabral plays the title role, will have its Asian and Philippine premiere at the 12th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival on August 13, Saturday, 6:15 p.m. at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater).
Cabral, who portrays a Filipina mail-order bride torn between an old man and his son, will grace the film’s screening, which is part of Cinemalaya’s “Indie Nation” section. She is known for her remarkable roles in Brillante Mendoza’s award-winning films “Serbis,” “Kinatay,” and “Thy Womb” before she won her first Best Actress award at the 2015 World Premieres Film Festival for Alvin Yapan’s “An Kubo saKawayanan.”
It was Mendoza who recommended Cabral to Danish filmmaker Frederikke Aspöck when they met at the Marrakech Film Festival in Morocco. Aspöck eventually won Best Director for “Rosita” at the Moscow International Film Festival last year. She broke into the international film festival scene when she bagged the Premier Prix de la Cinéfondation at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004 for her short film “Happy Now.” The female director’s feature film debut “Labrador” (Out of Bounds) also made the rounds of international film festivals and also got favorable nods from critics worldwide.
In “Rosita,” Cabral stars with internationally recognized Danish actors Jens Albinus, who portrays the middle-aged widower Ulrik, and MikkelBoeFølsgaard, who plays the role of his son Johannes, along with Julie AgneteVang, Mads Riisom, LiseBaastrup, and Jacob Moth-Poulsen. Since the story is set in a small fishing village in the northern tip of Denmark, Cabral and her manager Shandii Bacolod, also an independent filmmaker, stayed for two months in Copenhagen and the fishing town of Hirtshals, where adjustment to the weather became their major problem.
“It was winter when we went there for the shoot. It was snowing hard and we were able to experience how they shoot films in Denmark. They are very professional. They shot for eight hours a day. Sometimes, it would only take them six hours before packing up,” Bacolod recounted.
“Rosita,” which premiered last year at Copenhagen in Denmark, is Cabral’s third international project after working with celebrated South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook in the vampire thriller and Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize winner “Thirst” in 2009 and appearing alongside Hollywood star James Franco, acclaimed Chinese actress Maggie Cheung, Colin Salmon, Ingvar Eggert Siğursson, and Simon de Pury in Isaac Julien’s installation film “Playtime” in 2013, which was played during New Year’s Eve on an electronic billboard at Times Square in New York. She has since starred in the Kuwaiti drama series “Saq Al Bamboo” (The Bamboo Stalk) and will soon appear in another international production, “Tilt” by writer/director Samir Arabzadeh of Sweden.
Apart from Cinemalaya’s opening film, “1-2-3” directed by Carlo Obispo, and its closing film, “Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli,” Gil Portes’ historical drama, Rosita is the only other festival exhibition film that will be screened at the CCP Main Theater. Cinemalaya, an all-digital film festival and competition, is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation and the CCP in partnership with Ayala Malls Cinemas. Regular ticket price is at 150 pesos and 100 pesos for students.