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An experimental portrait of a family amidst change, Big Boy is photographer and filmmaker Shireen Seno’s lovingly lo-fi, Super 8 tale of a young boy, pressured by his family to “grow” — not emotionally but physically. 

Set in 1950s Mindoro in the Philippines - a nation just proclaimed independent from the United States - Big Boy chronicles the myths of progress that consume a family, and the violence not just in war and colonisation but also that which is inherent in coming into being.

Director Shireen Seno intriguingly remembers a childhood in the Philippines that she did not experience, having herself grown up in Japan to Filipino parents. By blending a mix of live and ‘found’ sounds and displacing real time sound and image in the film, Seno evokes the recall of memories.

Big Boy is Seno’s first feature, shot on location on an ultra-low budget and taking inspiration from family tales as well as the visual traces left behind by previous generations, to create an evocative coming-of-age tale.

“...the images retain, even after the transfer to digital, a bewitching fragility which opposes all nostalgic closure.” — Lukas Foerster (Deutsches Historiches Museum Berlin) 

  • Year
  • Runtime
    89 minutes
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  • Director
    Shireen Seno