The trailer for “Leonor Will Never Die,” a wonderfully weird homage to ‘80s Filipino action flicks, was released on Wednesday.
The film follows a once-celebrated action film director named Leonor Reyes (played by Sheila Francisco) who is inspired to finish an unfinished script after seeing a newspaper advertisement for screenplays. After she gets hit in the head by a television and falls into a coma, Reyes wakes up as the hero of the very story she sought to finish.
Director Martika Ramirez Escobar’s debut feature-length film was screened at the Sundance International Film Flestival – where it was awarded the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Innovative Spirit – in January. It was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
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Escobar, who is a cinematographer by trade, was inspired to make the film after noticing the unforgettable “natural fashion” of her lecturers during her time at the Mowelfund Workshop.
“Our lecturers would come to class looking like action stars. It’s their natural fashion: brushed up hair, sunglasses, boots, belt with a big buckle,” Escobar told Filmmaker Magazine in January. “I had this shallow realization that maybe it’s because they feel like they’re in a movie.”
This awareness prompted Escobar to consider the ways in which film has embedded itself into the fabric of Filipino society, especially with the influence of actors-turned-politicians like former Philippine president Joseph Estrada.
“So there’s something about the movies that make us feel like we’re in them – something makes us feel like we can be saved when action stars are elected as our leaders,” Escobar added. “So the film is asking, how does Leonor feel when she’s in her own movie?”