Squatterpunk is a daring and adventurous film shot in the kind of slum neighbourhood where police protection is rare. The film, energetic and funny in a place that is supposed to be depressing, does not exactly fit into the social awareness approach of a direct cinema documentary. The score of the film is loud if not deafening. And not in vogue. Director Khavn, the enfant terrible of Filipino cinema, brings us back to the ‘no future’ eighties of authentic anarchic punk. But it is consistent in its style of black-and-white images and its rhythmic montage that is clearly driven by the music-based sound track. Compared to the ironic collage way of working in most of Khavn’s other films, this one is crystal clear if not neat. Well, only in comparison with his other sometimes exuberant experiments. By any other standard, it is a wild and pulsating film. Squatterpunk shows something of life in the slums in a quite special way. It shows how poor, forgotten and ignored children can have a good time. Playing and swimming in rotting garbage can apparently be fun. So it is not the cliché image of tears in a child’s eyes that makes us aware of this disgraceful situation but the vitality and pleasure of the protagonists. In addition, maybe even stronger than pity, this pleasure enforces the inevitable message: no future.
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