Brillante Mendoza

2012 || France/Philippines/Germany/Great Britain || Color || Feature


Films Distribution




At a beach resort on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, 20 guests, many of them foreign tourists, are kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Islamic separatists fighting for the independence of another island, Mindanao. In the confusion, French social worker Therese Bourgoine and her Filipina colleague Soledad are thrown in the company of the original target of the kidnapping.

The hostages are transported by crowded fishing boat to the island of Basilan, crossing hundreds of kilometers of the Sulu Sea over several days. During the perilous sea journey, everyone is interviewed to determine his/her ransom.

On the island of Basilan, the group is quickly pursued by the military. Refuge is short in a hospital in the city of Lamitan, as a fiery gun battle erupts. The ASG manage to escape with their hostages, also taking with them three nurses and a hospital orderly.

After an exhausting jungle trek in which both hostages and captors face the elements of nature, the group establishes a camp deep in the mountains on Basilan Peak. ASG members and supporters, as well as civilians friendly to their cause, come and go, bringing in supplies and ammunitions. Therese and the others witness the group’s commitment to their cause and their affinity to warfare.

With forces at their heels, hostages and captors are constantly on the run, leaving behind one temporary camp after the other. Due to the indiscriminate firings of the military, the hostages have no option but to stick it out with their kidnappers. As artillery attacks become heavier, it’s evident that the hostages are caught up in an all-out war.

Therese and the other hostages try not to lose hope, but they realize that despite persistent pursuit, the military is not doing much to actually rescue them. Little do they know, their emotionally and physically draining ordeal will end up lasting for over one year…

An unbelievable adventure based on real events from the director of KINATAY (Cannes 09 Best Director), LOLA and SERBIS.


Isabelle Huppert
Katherine Mulville
Marc Zanetta