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8th edition: 10 April - 14 April 2019

Nervous Translation (2018 Feature Film)

Shireen SENO | Philippines | 2018 | color | DCP | 90' | Filipino | e.s.

SCENES OF SENSES_Sensitive, sparkling film that captures the confusing and magical moments alike in the life of a child who, while preferring to be by herself, deep down also longs to be heard. The events of 1987 in the Philippines play a role in the background, but shy Yael is more concerned with her absent father, her uncle who is a rock star and a pen with special powers.

Eight-year-old Yael is shy and not always at ease. She prefers writing letters to performing dances for her applauding Filipino family. She listens endlessly to the cassette tapes recorded by her father, who is spending years away from home working in Riyadh. Her uncle, a rock star with the band The Futures, acts as something of a surrogate father. When she hears an advertisement for a pen that will give her a 'wonderful life', she decides to spend all her savings on this miracle pen. 

Shireen Seno gives a voice to this quiet little girl in her perceptive, playful film full of jump cuts, sensitive sound design and ’80s music – and even the odd surrealist intermezzo. 

The sparkling Nervous Translation is set in 1987, not long after the People Power Revolution that led to the fall of president Marcos. Seno depicts this precarious time purely through Yael’s childish eyes, which understandably reduce the threats to manageable proportions. 

Place: The Cinemas 4

Date: 12 April 2018

Time: 13:15

Duration: 1:09

Place: The Cinemas 3

Date: 14 April 2018

Time: 19:30

Duration: 1:09

Place: The Cinemas 5

Date: 15 April 2018

Time: 13:15

Duration: 1:09

Year in Festival
Shireen SENO
Albert Banzon
Jippy Pascua
Dennese Victoria
Jana Agoncillo
Angge Santor
Sid Lucero
John Torres
Shireen Seno
Itos Ledesma
John Torres
Ronald Arguelles
Production Company
Los Otros Films
Creative Programs
Production Design
Leeroy New
Los Otros Films
Shireen Seno
Sound Design
Mikko Quizon
Year of Production
Shireen SENO

Shireen SENO (1983, Japan) was born in Tokyo to a Filipino family. She studied architecture and film studies at the University of Toronto. Her photo and video work has been shown in various galleries. She has worked with filmmakers such as Lav Diaz and John Torres, for whom she took stills. Her debut film Big Boy (2012) screened at IFFR and won the prize for Best First Film at the Festival de Cine Lima Independiente in 2013. Nervous Translation is her second feature.


(selection) Big Boy (2012), Shotgun Tuding (2014, short), Nervous Translation (2018)