The film starts by stating, “In some rural Philippine communities, boys are circumcised not at birth, but at the age of ten.

The story takes place in one of those communities, where grownups bet on cockfights and children in spider fights, although without actual betting. 10-year-old Rene-boy is one of those children, and is about to be circumcised, by his father nonetheless.

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As he gets to a place near a small lake, where the “ritual” takes place, along with his friends, he becomes increasingly terrified, and after he listens to the other boys’ screams, he escapes. This action makes him a pariah in the community, with the other children calling him Supot (uncircumsized) and his father wanting nothing to do with him.

In his struggle to regain his fathers appreciation he searches for the biggest spider he can find, in order to become the champion in the fights. In order to do so, he has to win against his brother, who is constantly bullying him.

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Giordano directs a 12,5 minute film that works as a kind of a rite of passage, focusing on the relationship between father and son, and the courage one must muster in order to do what must be done. Although the above are evident, I could not ignore the cruelty of this ritual, which is stressed even more by the repeating image of the father sharpening his razor on a rock, with the sound making the sequence even more onerous.

In that fashion, it is quite difficult to identify with a kid that has to face his fears in order to become circumcised by his own father. The fact that his brother is bullying him and his mother asks him to be courageous, make the story even crueler.

 

Technically, the short is quite impressive, with great cinematography by Malay Prakash, who portrays realistic images of the rural Philippines. The fact that the film has been shot in many different locations, including the lake, the jungle, a field, and the village is quite impressive and a distinct proof of the work that has been done on the film.

The scenes with the circumcision and the last duel of the spiders are the most impressive.

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Andrei Fajarito as Rene-boy makes a wonderful debut, realistically depicting all of his character’s conflicting emotions

 

Supot is screening at the Busan International Film Festival.

 

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