In the movie, Gabby, the protagonist, develops a pair of wings after bringing an old beggar to a hospice run by nuns.
Director Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr, whose Christian-themed movie Flight of an Angel was screened here recently, tells Darren Boon more about the film
A late friend had recounted to Filipino writer-director Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr his experience of carrying a frail beggar to a charitable home. There, nuns cared for the poor and dying.
This incident became the basis for Del Mundo Jr’s film, Flight of an Angel (Paglipad ng Anghel) which he wrote and directed.
Filipino director Clodualdo Del Mundo Jr
“I wanted to do a film about goodness. Just what does it mean to be good?” the Catholic director told CatholicNews on the sidelines of the March 2-31 Southeast Asian Film Festival.
“I think I’m more interested in a cinematic experience in which viewers will connect with a good character or find the idea of goodness ‘cool’.”
Flight of an Angel is one of several Christian-themed movies screened at the festival, held at the Singapore Art Museum.
The others are Trespassers, Fable of the Fish and Baby Factory (see story below), says Philip Cheah, one of the curators and organisers of the event.
Del Mundo Jr pointed out that while there are many films dealing with the theme of good versus evil, he wanted to “explore the idea of the good within the character and the dilemma that the character experiences from a ‘what if’ situation”.
In the movie, Gabby, an ordinary salaried worker, develops a pair of wings after bringing an elderly beggar to a hospice run by nuns.
His attempts at removing his wings prove futile, and word later gets around that his wings have healing properties. Although Gabby does good deeds, he does not want to be recognised for them, said the 64-year-old director.
“I’m thinking of a reluctant angel in Gabby’s character. He says he wants to remain human without wings. I guess he doesn’t know what it means to be human – that every person is meant to move towards the divine. Eventually, to be human is to be divine,” he mused.
The director said that in making this movie, he was reminded of how “man was made in the image of God”. Furthermore, faith requires one to believe that there is the “divine” in the person, he added.
Although there are many Catholic images in the film, he stressed that it goes beyond the idea of what it means to be Catholic. The movie is also not a commentary on Philippine society.
Through fantasy, he was trying to explore the question of what goodness is all about, he said.
His previous works, such as screenplays, however, contained social commentaries, while his documentaries focused on issues such as corruption, poverty and working overseas.
Del Mundo Jr had taught screenwriting De La Salle University in Manila. He had previously directed one feature film and several documentaries that included Maid in Singapore, on domestic helpers. He is professor emeritus and university fellow at De La Salle University.