|The Songs We Sing in a Different Land
|Inshallah P. Montero
|Sound Editing and Mixing
|Margaryta Kulichova and Tarun Madupu
|Portugal, Belgium, Hungary
|Year of Production
|VDP Selection Year
‘The Songs We Sing in a Different Land‘ sensitively focuses on a group of girlfriends who work as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s) in Lisbon get together over lunch on their only day off on Sundays. They talk about living abroad, their work as household cleaners or nannies, their far away families and even their avid support for the president of the Philippines, Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Jr., the son of the late dictator of the Philippines. Through songs and conversation, this documentary presents how these women see the world and the deep motherly wound that the Philippines carries.
Inshallah P. Montero
Inshallah has been making films and commercials since 2012. Her films have earned her the National Award for Cinema given by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in the Philippines. She was named a Film Ambassador by the Film Development Council of the Philippines in 2018. Her films have been screened in various places including the United Nations and COP21 Climate Change Conference 2015. She has also worked on various journalism projects for Vice News, HBO, and the Washington Post where she and her team were finalists for the Asian Publisher’s Awards in the Women’s Issues Category. She has recently finished her scholarship in Docnomads, a joint master’s program for Documentary Filmmaking in Europe where she graduated Cum Laude. She is currently trying her best to make it possible to live away from the city.
Interview with the Director
What were your reasons for making your documentary?
How did come to focus on the topic in your documentary?
I have always admired women and have placed them at the center of many of my films. This is because my mother worked three jobs to support our family while my dad stayed home to take care of me. I realized that in the Philippines a lot of women are the breadwinners of their family.
The recent Philippine elections in 2022 also devastated me. I felt disowned by my country for voting in the son of a dictator. And so, I wanted to make this film, to try to understand his supporters and their personal stories; to see how we walked on different paths and arrive to a different understanding of what is right for our country. What unfolded were beautiful moments shared despite political views. This is the most important thing because it allowed discourse, deeper understandings of each other, and a shared respect of what each has gone through in their lives.
Professor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, Cultural Anthropology
Set in Lisbon, this film depicts the interactions among Filipino women working as domestic labor in foreign homes. Their relationships with their families and country are woven into their conversations. Visually, more than the depiction of their lives in the foreign country itself, or their relationships with their families, what is reflected here is the emotion that can be read in their demeanor and expressions. The film painfully conveys how the women try to overcome their various sorrows and frustrations by laughing together during the days away from their own families and country.
Edward Paciano Delos Santos Cabagnot
Film Educator, Festival Programmer, Writer, Artist
The core of successful documentary filmmaking lies in its handling of The Human Experience. “The Songs We Sing in Different Lands” is no exception. Though many works, both fiction and nonfiction, have tackled the subject of the Pinoy diaspora, this technically polished oeuvre gave us refreshing insights into the OFW phenomenon. We’re introduced to an interesting mix of diverse Filipinas, each one with distinct political views and passionate advocacies. They are all willingly to set these aside -in typical Filipino manner- over food, song, and heartfelt sharing. More than the issues put on the table for discussion, a documentary truly works if what remains with you after the credits roll are the endearing people you met in the viewing.
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