Those hoping to leap directly into the new wave of Filipino cinema will find a thrilling entry point in Brillante Mendoza's latest film. Shot on handheld digital video, Slingshot has caused multiple critics to cite British director Paul Greengrass. Indeed, Mendoza's film has all of the kinetic, frenetic energy of Greengrass's The Bourne Ultimatum, but its attention to atmospheric detail places it squarely within international art cinema. The atmosphere in question is a Manila slum, a cramped maze full of junkies, thieves, and their loved ones. The film follows these characters as they lie, cheat, and steal, the fluid camera capturing their desperation with a documentary-like intensity. It's against the constant backdrop of political elections that Mendoza displays his knack for comic absurdity and reveals the great disconnect between the stump speech and the reality of the street. When the politicians speak-offering blustery rhetoric about national prowess and religion-they seem horribly out of touch with daily life. Sound familiar, America?

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