Filmmaker Jewel Maranan observes the contradictions in this changing landscape and their effect on the lives of various characters who share the same fate.


Jewel Maranan captures everyday violence in struggle for survival in Tondo

By Ted Alcuitas

Monday, May 6, 2019 – 6:00pm

Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.)

Extreme poverty and the struggle to survive is an everyday occurrence for most people in the Philippines and where they live are familiar sites.

In her film In the Claws of  a Century Wanting, director Jewel Maranan trains her camera on the port in Tondo, arguably one of the poorest districts in the country.

It is also here that President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs claimed many victims – nameless poor workers like what one sees in the film.

“In the backstreets of Manila’s busiest port, thousands of people — many of them migrants from the Philippine countryside — live under precarious conditions. For the residents of the impoverished district of Tondo, an industrial cacophony permeates daily life as children look for scrap metal and coal, women prepare meals for their families, and men watch television before their night shifts at the docks. From their makeshift homes (with no gas or electricity) they see and hear a flow of international cargo ships, stacked containers, moving cranes, and goods that come and go. It’s the sight and sound of global capitalism and the promise of a better future. The port is thriving, but its planned expansion will displace thousands as the surrounding area is demarcated for development.

Filmmaker Jewel Maranan observes the contradictions in this changing landscape and their effect on the lives of various characters who share the same fate. Her camera follows the plight of four families as the government forces their resettlement, casting a critical look at the everyday violence that precedes the construction of a globalized city. Among the struggle, her contemplative cinematography finds resilience and poetry in the quotidian. The camera catches a glimpse of a crane against the sky through a corrugated sheet of iron, then lingers on the sight of a busy road overpowered by the deafening sounds of rain. A layered study of unbridled capitalism, In the Claws of a Century Wanting reveals the imprints of systemic forces on ordinary moments. -MS”

Director Jewel Maranan will be in attendance and will participate in a post-screening dialogue with Vanessa Banta, PhD Candidate in Geography at UBC.

“Makeshift shanty towns built of corrugated iron, wooden slats and plastic sheets sprawl along the edges of Manila’s giant commercial harbour. The people who live here are poor, work as day labourers or load containers at night. The harbour is flourishing, its facilities are expanding, and the people are forced by the government to resettle. Five protagonists open up perspectives right into the heart of the reality of a marginalised environment. And whenever the camera – through the tarpaulins and sheets of corrugated iron – gives us a glimpse of the gantry cranes and piles of containers behind the houses, we also get a glimpse of the frowning face of the globalised world economy.”

About the Director

Jewel Maranan is an independent documentary filmmaker and producer from the Philippines. She began working on independent documentaries in 2008, tackling conflict situations in Manila. Over the years, she has developed a deep interest in the ways by which history inches through ordinary life. Maranan is also an active participant in efforts to help develop Southeast Asian documentary through SEA DocNet, a network of documentary filmmakers in the Southeast Asian region.