Leonor will Never Die (2023)

April 4th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Martika Ramirez Escobar; Cast: Sheila Francisco, Bong Cabreara, Rocky Satumbides,c Anthony Falcon, Rea Molina, Dido De La Paz; Philippines 2022, 101 min.

This tongue in cheek love letter to the TV films of the 1980s comes from first time Philippine writer/director Martika Ramirez Escobar. It follows one time filmmaker Leonor (Francisco) who hasn’t worked in the industry since her heyday in late twentieth century.

A well known figure in her neighbourhood Leonor lives with her son Rudy (Cabrera) who one day finds out from the ‘ghost’ of her other son Ronwaldo (Falcon) that a competition for new screenplays is due to be launched on national TV.  Keen to get back in the saddle, Leonor dusts down an old script entitled “The Return of the Kwago”. But the re-write is curtailed when a freak accident puts Leonor in a coma. Even then, the catatonic Leonor refuses to give up. Aided and abetted by various corrupt politicians like the local mayor (De La Paz), and the helpless Isabella (Molina), and yet another son – who lost his life in one of her previous endeavours, giving the piece a macabre twist – Leonor trail-blazes her return to glory.

Escobar runs riot with her curio, switching ratios in the style of the 1980s in a series of wacky episodes set in different time frames, DoP Carlos Mauricio working miracles with the complexity of it all. Leonor will Never Die may be not be for everyone, but will go down a treat for fans of bad taste. AS



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