“It’s a strange journey into something very Filipino”: Martika Ramirez Escobar on Leonor Will Never Die
Leonor Will Never Die is the wonderfully eccentric feature from Martika Ramirez Escobar that takes the Filipino action movie and turns it inside out, following a topsy-turvy B-movie-infused story that unfolds in the imagination of an ageing film writer stuck in a coma (a phenomenal Sheila Fransisco), whose heyday was in the 80s, playfully pushing the boundaries between reality and fiction. The experimental feature won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2022 for its surprising, utterly creative, but ultimately endearing heart.
The Upcoming spoke with the director about how the feature was heavily influenced by the Filipino action movies she grew up watching and how the meta aspects of the film allowed her to explore a fresh cinematic space. She also shared her desire to put an elderly woman at the centre of her narrative, in contrast to the stereotypical young macho man, and the way the movie both confronts and reproduces the idea of violence as a solution to problems. We further discussed her search to find an ending and how the film’s form also reflects her own experience of the artistic process.
Leonor Will Never Die is released in select cinemas on 7th April 2023. Read our review here.
Watch the trailer for Leonor Will Never Die here: