Director Caleb Ribates / 2021 / Australia,Philippines

Masculinity, race and boyhood simmer in this stylish slow-cinema debut about a Filipino-Australian father and his six-year-old son, who are navigating a family divorce.

Exploring the complexities of family, society and culture that shape young Filipinos, this feature debut from rising filmmaker Caleb Ribates depicts the tender relationship between an immigrant father and his young son as they deal with being abandoned by the boy’s mother. With its evocative black-and-white cinematography, long takes and naturalistic dialogue, Anak follows in the footsteps of slow-cinema masters like Lav Diaz (whose film History of Ha also screens at MIFF 70) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Cemetery of Splendour, MIFF 2015), while finding an intimacy and tonal register that is all Ribates’s own.

Anak suggests Ribates – a VCA graduate and only 21 years of age – as a filmmaker of significant promise on the local scene, with a distinct artistic sensibility and a dedication to telling stories outside of Western culture. Offering a rare, unblinking insight into the struggle of Filipino-Australians within the socio-racial landscape, this micro-budget feature is at once visually striking and emotionally affecting.

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