Films & Schedules

  • Adela

  • Adolfo Alix, Jr.

The Philippines
90 minutes

Production Company:
Bicycle Pictures
Executive Producer:
Noel Ferrer, Adolfo Alix, Jr.
Arleen Cuevas
Adolfo Alix, Jr., Nick Olanka
Production Designer:
Adolfo Alix, Jr., Jerome Zamora
Albert Banzon
Aleks Castaneda
Mark Locsin, Ditoy Aguila
Principal Cast: Anita Linda, Jason Abalos, Joem Bascon, Kenneth Ocampo, Ricky Davao

International Sales Agent:
Visit Films

Friday September 0508:00PM AMC 9 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0709:15PM AMC 2 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1303:00PM AMC 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Next to the Manila-Cavite Expressway, one of the highways that feeds into Metropolitan Manila, lies the Bernardo dump site. From the viewpoint of a passing car, it is nothing more than a vast wasteland of garbage. But for thousands of slum dwellers, this place provides a home and a livelihood, as they scrounge for junk and recyclables to sell for cash. Living amid such poverty is Adela, a grandmother who is about to celebrate her eightieth birthday.

A well-known radio talent back in the fifties, Adela now lives alone along the edge of the dump site. On this particular day, she is waiting for a birthday visit from her family: a daughter who works as a housekeeper and the grandchildren of her eldest son, who works in Qatar. Her neighbours are friendly and well-intentioned; after Adela successfully helps deliver a baby, she is invited to celebrate with them. As she goes about her daily chores, we glimpse both her restrained honour and her loneliness. In one brilliantly understated scene, she receives a phone call during a karaoke party. We do not hear her conversation, but as she sits back down on a bench, the expression of disappointment and sadness etched on her face is unmistakable. Such moments are what make Adela both compelling and heartbreaking.

Director Adolfo Alix, Jr. – whose previous films include the award-winning Donsol, the Philippines' official submission to the Academy Awards® in 2008 – has crafted a deeply compassionate portrait of the plight of the elderly in the Philippines. It is a powerful treatise on how destitution and corruption have forced families apart, and how the aged are often left to fend for themselves. The film is anchored by a quietly powerful performance from Anita Linda, whose screen credits include the late Lino Brocka's Jaguar and Three, Two, One, as well as Mario O'Hara's Woman on a Tin Roof. Adela follows the neo-realistic tradition of Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thieves to show us the simple dignity within one of the forgotten corners of the world.

Raymond Phathanavirangoon

Adolfo Borinaga Alix, Jr. was born in Makati in the Philippines. He graduated from the University of the City of Manila with a degree in mass communications before becoming a screenwriter for various television programmes and feature films. Since his debut as a director in 2006, he has become one of the most prolific young Filipino filmmakers. His debut film, Donsol, was selected to represent the Philippines in the best foreign-language film category of the 2007 Academy Awards®. His other films include Kadin (07), Drumbeat (07),Batanes (07), Daybreak (08) and Adela (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award