Town in a Lake (" Matangtubig")

Canadian Premiere
  • Philippines
  • 2015
  • 86 mins
  • Filipino
  • English (subtitles)
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Official Selection: New York Asian Film Festival 2017, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017, Taipei Film Festival 2017

“A meaningful combination of art-house and crime aesthetics... a very interesting film” - Panos Kotzathanasis, ASIAN FILM VAULT

In the dark of night, a father witnesses something strange: a group of men bring two 16-year-old girls to a car, and take off into the jungle. The very next day, one of the girls is found murdered, and her companion has vanished without a trace. Nothing like that has ever happened in the serene, seaside town of Matangtubig, Batangas, Philippines, where the crime rate is reportedly zero (is it?). The community is shaken to its core; search parties are organized; memorial vigils are held and press from Manila invade the mournful quietude to get a glimpse of the crime scene. Meanwhile, the sole eyewitness is faced with a difficult decision: stay quiet, or change his town forever…

Jet Leyco’s third feature, TOWN IN A LAKE, is an atmospheric and enigmatic crime thriller unlike most. A subversion of the genre’s formulas and expectations, with crucial touches of magical realism, it is also a critique of the media and political circuses that too often develops around tragedies such as the disappearance of a child. TOWN IN A LAKE is a vision of a tropical paradise suddenly turned hellish by human evil, unexplained phenomena and indifference, in which the luxuriating vegetation becomes an oppressive backdrop against which to examine corruption, alienation, isolation and the ways in which the mind wanders when seeking to explain the unexplainable. The international revelation of a major talent in Filipino cinema (who has worked under Lav Diaz and Kavhn de la Cruz in the past), TOWN IN A LAKE is not to be missed.

- Ariel Esteban Cayer

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