A foreign family dramedy directed by Filipino-American filmmaker H. P. Mendoza, “Bitter Melon,” will have a special, one-time screening at the ongoing Cinema One Originals festival this Saturday (October 20), 9:30 PM at TriNoma Cinema 4.
The film revolves around a Filipino-American family who reunites for a Christmas party in San Francisco—in the family home—only to find out that the second oldest child has been ruling the house with fear, intimidating everyone including his mother, and even physically abusing his wife. What starts as a fun holiday reunion turns into a darkly humorous crime scene as the youngest son leads the family to conspire on how to best murder the violent and abusive sibling.
“Bitter Melon” made its world premiere as a Centerpiece Film at CAAMFEST36 in San Francisco in May this year. It was first introduced in the Cinematografo International Film Festival (CIFF) in November 2017.
Mendoza shared that he wrote the “Bitter Melon” story in 1997 based on personal experience. He said, “It was a wacky script that explored the cycle of domestic violence that existed in my family, both in the Philippines and in San Francisco, prompting people to ask me why I felt the need to laugh at these experiences. I’d say: I need to laugh at them. Because if I don’t, I’ll cry.”
H. P. Mendoza is best known for his micro-budget work as screenwriter, composer and lyricist on “Colma: The Musical” (2007), as well as his award-winning directorial effort, “I Am a Ghost” (2014).
According to Dennis Harvey of variety.com, the film is “always interesting and often invigorating.” He also commended the film’s “assertive authorial voice and panache of execution that makes “Bitter Melon” worth rooting for.”
Tim Sika of San Francisco Film Critics Circle also hailed the movie, in an Instagram post, as “an absolutely beautiful movie about how monsters are created.”
The film stars Jon Norman Schneider, Patrick Epino, Brian Rivera, Josephine de Jesus, L.A. Renigren, Theresa Navarro, Sohr Picart, Amelia Anima, Anne Ishida, Corey Jackson, Ryan Morales, Safiya Fredericks, and Vint Carmona.
Do not miss the exclusive screening of “Bitter Melon” at the C1 Originals.