Official Selection, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2012
"More venomous than any of [John] Waters’ trash and more useful than any of [Alejandro] Jodorowsky’s excesses" — Oggs Cruz, TWITCH
Welcome to Mondomanila! As we are immediately told by a toothless old man, what you’re about to see is dangerous. You will witness shocking events that are as disgusting as they are terrifying. You will meet poor, starving individuals, drug addicts, deformed people, deviants and criminals. Beware not to pity them or stare at them judgingly, however, for they’ll be quick to flip you the finger right back. People have had it up to here with two-bit solutions conjured up by snow-white well-wishers. They don’t give a damn about such condescending compassion. Every day, they paddle like madmen through the illegal cesspool in which they stew. They retain their dignity, accept their lot and, most importantly, are happy.
Very peculiar personalities develop in these shantytowns, not least of which is Tony D., a profoundly cynical teenage junkie with a big mouth and loose lips. His gang includes a stocky dwarf, a deformed peeping Tom rapper, an obsessed zoophile and a gay man persecuted by his homophobic father. They’re constantly getting high, drink without reserve and are always talking about sex. An almost visceral mix of profound friendship and hate binds them together. When Banners, an old and extremely racist white pedophile, rapes Tony D.’s younger brother, the time for vengeance has arrived and the entire herd will be asked to contribute.
MONDOMANILA, from talented rebel filmmaker Khavn De La Cruz, is a true paradox. This may very well be the most controversial and inflamatory piece of work presented at Fantasia since A SERBIAN FILM. On the other hand, everything before your eyes unfolds in such a joyful manner, with occasional musical numbers (the soundtrack is wonderful), that one surprisingly finds oneself smiling at teens getting wasted or felt up by a pervert. It’s filthy in the extreme but demands a necessary reflection on abject poverty and all that it entails. If one were to mix Larry Clark’s KIDS, Yeo Joon Han’s SELL OUT! and a World Vision commercial into a blender, the whole thing generously doused in mondo sauce, the result would look a lot like this. This UFO of a film that unites drama, musical, horror, experimental and exploitation cinema, with a strong propensity for documentary aesthetics and infinitely trashy humour, will leave absolutely no viewer indifferent. You simply won’t be the same after having visited Mondomanila.
— Nicolas Archambault