NOT RATED · 1h 19min · Documentary · 31 January 2007
Filmed in just one day, Squatterpunk follows an eight year old Slum King named Hapon, a cocky would-be gangster with a Travis Bickle haircut, and his rat-bag minions through one of the thousands of shanty towns that spring up between the cracks in the Manila pavements. The manic collage of stunning hand-held black and white images capture kids being kids as they frolic amidst the cardboard and corrugated walls of home-sweet-home and the surrounding debris, human and otherwise. Like watching infants at play at a car crash, it's a mesmerizing, almost seamless collision of social realism and visual poetry. It's a rush to the heart, too, fueled by the mostly improvised punk score by Khavn's outfit The Brockas. The relentless clang-bang drowns the need for dialog or most background noise, leaving a stark impression without comment and, more significantly, without judgment. A vivid and jarring collection of postcards of innocence at the brink of a short and possibly non-existent adolescence, of simple pleasures amidst appalling squalor, of human junk that society ignores in a country the rest of the world prefers to forget.
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