A bus full of dispossessed, agitating farmers disappears on its way to Manila; and a few days later a rare, protected bird in a sanctuary is shot by a young tribal girl in the vicinity. When a young police officer is bent on solving the case of the missing farmers, his superiors insist that he solve the case of the missing bird instead. The nexus between politicians and big business is clear, but never dwelt upon; instead, the plot concentrates on the investigation and the frustration of the protagonist who is compelled to follow orders. And what unfolds is a lean, slow-burn of a movie that unsettles you with its oblique comment on contemporary state of affairs where Evil can always win over the Good by its sheer brute force.
BIRDSHOT (2016, Philippines) is a compelling movie by Mikhail Red (born 1991) who is a significant director to have emerged in recent years from the Philippines. You can also look up his ARISAKA (2021). Both are streaming on Netflix.
Ranjan Das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.