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DEATHROW

Philippines, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus)

Director: Joel Lamangan

Sonny Corpus, 16, orphaned and loose on the streets of Manila, makes a near fatal mistake when he offers to be a lookout for a group of pals planning a home invasion. An elderly woman is killed and a policeman wounded when the thieves botch their getaway. Only Sonny is nabbed and, due to the fact that he cannot produce a birth certificate, he is tried as an adult and sentenced to die.

Sonny is tossed into Manila's hellish national prison, an innocent amongst ruthless and hardened convicts. His only hope is the affection of Sinat, a 70-year-old former gang leader, feared and respected by all the inmates. Deathrow is a harrowing film offering a glimpse of life inside, reminiscent of Midnight Express (1978). Sonny fights for justice, seeking an appeal with only an alcoholic attorney in his corner. In prison he fights to keep his humanity when only animal instinct seems to guarantee survival.

"Performances, pacing and atmosphere make Deathrow a compelling look at a very different incarceration system." - Variety

Joel Lamangan acted and directed for the stage and television before moving into feature filmmaking. Previous works include Darnas (1991), Pusong Mamon (1999) and Sidhi (1999).

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