100 Best Filipino Films Directed by Women, Top 10

10     Sana Maulit Muli (Olivia Lamasan, 1995) 

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Agnes (Lea Salonga) and Jerry’s (Aga Muhlach) relationship becomes distant when Agnes migrates to America.

9     Anak (Rory Quintos, 2000) 

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After working in Hong Kong for a decade to support her family, Josie (Vilma Santos) returns home to find her children’s lives in ruins. Since their father’s death five years ago, her daughters (Claudine Barretto and Shiela Junsay) and son (Baron Geisler) have made their way through life without their mother. But with a lack of parental guidance, they’re on a path to destruction. Can Josie ever repair the damage her long absence has caused?

8     Brutal (Marilou Diaz-Abaya, 1980) 

Brutal

A woman (Amy Austria) who killed her husband and two other men in a Manila apartment becomes the newest media sensation. In a post-traumatic shock, she refuses to communicate with anyone. A journalist (Charo Santos) with feminist ideals is drawn to the case and vows to uncover the truth behind the triple murder. She is unfazed by the silence of the accused and seeks out others who may be able to shed light on the gruesome incident.

7     Minsan Lang Sila Bata (Ditsi Carolino, 1996) 

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The lives of random children from different parts of the Philippines, facing the same predicament of living life of arduous labor to cope with the harsh realities of poverty. The filmmaker recorded small children working under excruciating conditions in slaughterhouses, sugarcane fields, and ship docks in order to add to their family income.

6     Bunso (Ditsi Carolino, 2005) 

Bunso

The documentary is about three boys—Tony, 13, Diosel, and Bunso, 11—struggling to survive in a crowded Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Cebu, alongside adult rapists and murderers. The street-smart boys paint a picture of the world of children caught between extreme poverty and the law.

5     Salome (Laurice Guillen, 1981) 

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A persistent suitor is stabbed to death by Salome (Gina Alajar), the wife of a coconut farmer. From the simple crime of passion three conflicting versions of the truth are given – by Salome herself, by the people of the small fishing village, and by her own husband. Each version contributes a piece and facet of the truth, and slowly reveals to us the real character of Salome and her husband, and the true nature of their relationship.

4     Sunday Beauty Queen (Babyruth Villarama, 2017) 

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The documentary follows a group of expatriate domestic workers in Hong Kong as they prepare to take part in an annual beauty pageant.

3     Karnal (Marilou Diaz-Abaya, 1983) 

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A groom (Philip Salvador) takes his city bride (Cecille Castillo) to his hometown to settle in his father’s house. Struck by her uncanny resemblance to his dead wife, the patriarch (Vic Silayan) is driven to lust after his daughter-in-law. When things come to a head, a violent family quarrel ensues and leads to tragedy. A middle-aged spinster (Charito Solis) recounts the tale to reveal her identity and trace the downfall of the landowning clan trapped in the past.

2     Minsa’y Isang Gamu-gamo (Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara, 1976) 

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A young nurse (Nora Aunor) questions her planned emigration to the United States, and her country’s post-colonial conditions, following her brother’s fatal shooting by an American soldier from the nearby military base.

1     Moral (Marilou Diaz-Abaya, 1982)

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Joey, Kathy, Sylvia, and Maritess are not only classmates – they are the best of friends. Joey (Lorna Tolentino) is a drug user who sleeps around. Kathy (Gina Alajar) is a mediocre singer who will stop at nothing to fulfill her dreams of going big-time. Sylvia (Sandy Andolong) is a liberated woman who finds security in the love of her ex-husband who is now living in with another man. Maritess (Anna Marin) plays the role of a conventional housewife who is reduced to a baby-making machine. In the span of three years – from 1979 to 1982 – the film traces the lives of these four women through their seemingly disparate but also interwoven experiences and in their attempts to resolve their individual problems are mirrored the different faces of the woman in our society today.

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