Directed by Vincent Sandoval
Official Selection, 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival
NETPAC Award, 2012 Hawaii International Film Festival
It’s the early 1970s, and President Ferdinand Marcos’ grip on the Philippines is tightening. Student protests rage and dissidents vanish without clue. Meanwhile, deep in the forest is a cloister convent isolated from the rumbling world outside. Radios are banned and news is rare. However, as tensions mount within the convent gates, free will inside and outside begins to mirror each other.
We’re introduced to the convent through new arrival Sister Lourdes, who befriends Sister Remy, whose brother is amongst the disappeared activists outside. Their curiosity about the outside world starts to get the best of them, leading to a brutal assault and aftermath that cuts to the heart of the convent’s faith. Soon, a mystery develops, with the Mother Superior leering about as a shadowy power figure, and questions brewing on the convent grounds about responsibility, guilt, and community.
A stirring allegory about freedom and order, and set in an eerie pressure cooker that feels part church, part colonial prison, APPARITION strikes political, religious, and moral nerves with a haunting quiet. Director Vincent Sandoval sculpts light and shadow with great care, conjuring Catholic mysticism while never straying too far from the teledrama intrigue that makes the film such a biting critique. –Brian Hu
Cast: Mylene Dizon, Jodi Sta. Maria, Raquel Villacencio