A spousal fight escalates to a bloody conflict in the opening scene of Raymund Ribay GUTIERREZ’ gripping debut film. Joy (Max EIGENMANN) is used to this kind of fights with her husband, a small-time criminal with an alcohol habit, but this time he has gone too far: their six-year-old daughter Angel is also hurt in the erupting violence. Finally, Joy takes a stance and reports her husband to the police. However, the odds of finding justice in the sprawling Philippines’ metropole of Manila are very slight.
GUTIERREZ captures the ensuing legal battles in intense shots and an urgent form of editing. His tense film style recalls the work of his mentor Brillante MENDOZA (Kinatay, 2009). This cutthroat depiction of bureaucratic indifference towards victims of domestic abuse garnered him a deserved Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Venice Film Festival.
Raymund Ribay GUTIERREZ (1992, Manila) started out as a graphic designer, but made his way to filmmaking through a film course of leading Philippines director Brillante MENDOZA. His shorts films Imago (2016) and Judgement (2018) were nominated for a Palme d’Or at Cannes. Debut feature Verdict (2019) won the Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Venice Film Festival.