I Am a Ghost
H.P. Mendoza / USA / 2011 / 72 min / English / Color / HDCAM* / World Premiere
I AM A GHOST, a film of unfastened expectations and uncanny surprises, is a supernatural ghost story in an experimental frame. It marks an unanticipated departure for H.P. Mendoza, the writer/director previously known for the much-loved musicals COLMA (Special Jury Prize SFIAAFF 2006) and FRUIT FLY (Audience Award SFIAAFF 2009). GHOST doesn’t showcase the delightful song-and-dance numbers that made Mendoza’s prior efforts instant favorites with cinemagoers, but its eerie, atmospheric soundtrack and visuals demonstrates that Mendoza is a musical talent without limitations and a filmmaker uninterested in simply resting on his laurels.
GHOST centers on Emily (Anna Ishida), a ghost with a mysterious past, and Sylvia (Jeannie Barroga), the medium hired to help Emily to the other side (and out of the Victorian home in which she is a currently an unwelcomed resident). With frosty cinematography and a meticulous mise-en-scene, GHOST foregoes well-worn horror theatrics in favor of a thematic focus on the slippery significance of memory and the arresting terror of routine existence, eerily encapsulated by a series of visual repetitions. These repetitions, centered on Emily’s everyday activities, offer one of the film’s creepiest twists, demonstrating, in the deceptively quaint tradition of David Lynch, that what appears entirely normal can, on review, turn out to be quite terrifying indeed. To give away any more would be to ruin the fun, as well as the spine-tingling conclusion that promises to raise more than a few hairs.
With COLMA and FRUIT FLY Mendoza revitalized the Asian American musical, and with I AM A GHOST Mendoza anticipates the burgeoning of a more sophisticated, inclusive kind of horror.
Attending guest (3/9, 3/10): Director HP Mendoza
Co-presenters: Manila Heritage Foundation (3/9, 3/13)
- Director: H.P. Mendoza
- Producer: Mark Del Lima, H.P. Mendoza
- Cinematographer: H.P. Mendoza
- Writer: H.P. Mendoza
- Editor: H.P. Mendoza
- Cast: Anna Ishida, Jeannie Barroga, Rick Burkhardt