Archive of films Woman in the Septic Tank / Ang babae sa septic tank

2011, 90 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2012

An independent Philippine comedy about how to shoot a social drama on child prostitution that will move the West to tears. Tears of laughter, that is. The director employs the "film within a film” shtick to play a clever game about the misuse of poverty for the acquisition of personal glory. The movie was selected by the Philippines to compete for the Academy Award.


Jocelyn, Rainier, and Bingbong are getting ready to shoot their first film and they really want to make a splash. Since they came up with the story idea over an expensive cup of coffee, they feel that their movie deserves to play the prestigious festival circuit, but that’s not all: they want Eugene Domingo, a local film diva, to play the lead. What better way to provoke Western audiences and an actress accustomed to luxury than through a combination of slums, septic tanks, and mothers forced into selling their own children? The comedy pokes fun at the stereotypical heart-wrenching dramas commonly produced in Third World countries that exploit actual suffering, but it also lampoons the machinations of filmmakers who will do pretty much anything for a stroll down the red carpet. Indeed, they may even allow their actress to deliver a heartrending monologue from the bottom of a septic tank. Although the picture parodies the recipe for a sure-fire route to the Academy Awards, it was in fact selected to represent its homeland at the Oscars. The Woman in the Septic Tank is the most successful independent film in the history of Philippine moviemaking.

About the director

Marlon Rivera

Marlon Rivera (b. 1967) graduated in Manila in 1987. He then produced two theater plays before moving on to making commercials. After this he had a seven-year stint teaching at university, but he has also worked as a designer for Philippine Fashion Week. The Woman in the Septic Tank, which he wrote in close cooperation with screenwriter Chris Martinez (with whom he owns Cinemalaya Productions), is his directorial debut.


Quantum Films, Inc.
Unit 2207 Philippine AXA Life Center, 1286 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., 1200, Makati
Tel: +63 028 810 239
Fax: +63 028 870 420
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Marlon Rivera
Screenplay: Christopher Martinez
Dir. of Photography: Larry Manda
Music: Vincent de Jesus
Editor: Ike Veneracion
Producer: Chris Martinez, Marlon Rivera, Josabeth Alonso, John Victor Tence
Production: Martinez Rivera Films
Cast: Eugene Domingo, Kean Cipriano, JM De Guzman, Cai Cortez
Contact: Quantum Films, Inc.


Eugene Domingo



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