Enter the sing-song trash-and-slash underworld of Mondomanila or: How I Fixed My Hair After a Rather Long Journey. Definitely, definitively, and assuredly not a film by Khavn De La Cruz, but you should still check it out anyways. More info after the jump!

Official synopsis along with the director’s statement can be read as follows:

“Tony de Guzman is an anti-hero. Life, according to him, is short, brutal. It’s never on your side. Grab what you can, when you can. Settle scores. Be randy. Defy the rules. Cheat the system. Toughen it out. Tony knows nothing but tough times living, as he does, in the bleak circus of the slums he calls home. This is his story and the story of the world he lives in: a hopeless, closed-in decrepit world gone to seed. MONDOMANILA is an unflinching and unflinchingly funny look at life in the underbelly of the urban diaspora … with songs.

Director’s Statement:

I have always wanted to explore Manila and its humanity. Not just its people, majority of whom are mired in poverty, but the whole rationale behind the irrational lives these people experience everyday.

There is the kind of human drama that extends beyond tragedy and plants its feet firmly in the territories of madness. In my film “MONDOMANILA,” I strived to present the truth as gleaned from the cracks in the celluloid curtain. But the “truth,” it is not “out there,” as pundits from the outer realm put it, but in one’s own backyard.

And backyards can shock, specially if one doesn’t go out much. I believe that “MONDOMANILA” offers one of the most horrifying backyards in the tradition of films made by one of the foremost Filipino directors, the late Lino Brocka. If Brocka’s films a decade ago talked about the wounds of Manila, I would like to believe that “MONDOMANILA” belongs to new breed of storytelling that makes one feel as if one has actually touched that wound, a close-up view of all that gangrene and pus.

“MONDOMANILA” takes place in the slums and is inhabited by the denizens of the underworld (the crippled pimp, the lonely housewife, the neighborhood gay and his macho father, the prostitutes, the smalltime politician, the Yankee pedophile).

“MONDOMANILA,” however, is not about a celebration of self-destruction. Far from it. Decadence, after all, is the language of the privileged. Decadence is that which escapes from the clutches of bourgeois order. But what if there is no order at all? In “MONDOMANILA,” there are no happy endings and Death awaits in ambush at every corner. However, in my film, Tragedy lies not at the end but is a given situation. It is, I believe, not the usual “story that needs to be told” but is, in all accounts, simply a backyard full of lovable fuckers.

Khavn on Norman Wilwayco’s critically acclaimed novel MONDOMANILA: “Wilwayco is Palahniuk and Welsh rolled into one dope Filipino fictionist. The novel itself is a post-modern version of ‘Manila: In The Claws Of Neon’. It not only explores Manila and its humanity, it also delves into the whole rationale behind the irrational lives these people experience everyday.”

Khavn on the MONDOMANILA soundtrack: “Somebody made a quip that
MONDOMANILA was like “Glee on meth” which describes the song score better than anything else. I threw in poetry, Bollywood, and Malek Lopez in the mix. And what came out is really old-fashioned pop music, only heightened to a hopped-up frantic extreme.”

Watch the trailer down at the bottom of this page.

Mondomanila, 2012

Khavn De La Cruz