The twenty-first century has seen a renewed fascination with the art of filmmaking and the very essence of cinema. This has led to a number of films which have been both a celebration of the process and enjoyed breaking the fourth wall. To exit one narrative and enter a completely new one. This form of meta-cinema allows a director to access places they wouldn’t normally be able to go. It is used brilliantly in Leonor Will Never Die.
Leonor Reyes (Sheila Francisco) was once a big name in the then fledgling Filipino film industry. Now, in old age, she is all but forgotten. Life has become a bit of a struggle. As has paying the bills. The untimely death of her son hasn’t helped matters either. When she hears about a screenwriting competition, she dusts off an old script, but a falling TV gets in the way. In a coma, she wakes up inside her film and then the action begins.
Leonor Will Never Die is a scrappy low-budget meta-action romp which, despite its flaws, is highly entertaining. There’s a playfulness in writer/director Martika Ramirez Escobar’s clever yarn. There’s also a lot of heart. Everyone is clearly having a whale of a time and this comes across on-screen. What really impresses though, between bouts of magic realism and violent horseplay, is the sheer inventiveness of Leonor Will Never Die.
Leonor Will Never Die is out in US cinemas on 25 November.