Mondomanila, or: How I Fixed My Hair After A Rather Long Journey (4 stars)

Mondomanila, or: How I Fixed My Hair After A Rather Long Journey

Wild and extreme pseudo-documentary about the Filipino capital’s underclass

Khavn De La Cruz’s Mondomanila, or: How I Fixed My Hair After A Rather Long Journey has got to be a contender for the wildest film of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. Based on the Norman Wilwayco’s cult novel, Mondomanila is, as its title suggests, a sensational pseudo-documentary exploitation film about the mad, the bad and the beautiful of the Filipino capital’s underclass and subculture.

It is here that you will be introduced to Tony de Guzman, a streetwise street kid living in the shanty town of the Philippine capital who knows he’s been shafted by the authorities and so advocates an appropriately punk attitude, to wit: steal, cheat, shag and get wasted. It’s through Tony that we meet his neighbours, the pimps, prostitutes and paedophiles, who are the heroes of this film. At the extreme end of the extreme end of things, there’s Mutya, the too-cool-for-school breakdancing amputee midget who earns a living by selling children to paedophiles.

It’s a picture of life at its most seedy. But it’s also a celebration of a crazy circus, of life lived by those that have the least at their most defiant. And so De La Cruz dresses his pseudo doc up with appropriately garish party colours and a series of upbeat hip-hop song-and-dance numbers. This a film that revels in the outlawed and the unwholesome, which viewers will either find delightful or detestable, depending on their personal proclivities. But hey! It’s a mondo movie! Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Showing at Edinburgh International Film Festival, Fri 22 & Sat 23 Jun.

MONDOMANILA | this is not a film by khavn | trailer

Mondomanila, or: How I Fixed My Hair after a Rather Long Journey

  • 2012
  • Philippines, Germany
  • 1h 15min
  • Directed by: Khavn de la Cruz
  • Cast: Tim Mabalot, Marife Necesito, Palito, Alex Tiglao, Stefan Punongbayan, Jonathan Reyes, Whitney Tyson, Tony Hunt, Pango, Jim Rocky Tangco, Rodney Aquino

All-stops-out splatter-punk cinema from one of the most prolific and versatile talents of the Philippines. Based on an acclaimed novel by Norman Wilwayco, Mondomanila is a messy, grotesque, high-energy tour of a criminal demimonde. 'Khavn … exaggerates poverty, turning it into a carnival, a spectacle, an extravaganza. By…