A Closer Look at LAAPFF’s Spirited Away Program

This unique set of eclectic works do more than define humanity’s relationship with Nature. There’s spirits, wisdom and counter-culture to be found in each.

Film Festival


Set in a rural coastal village in the Philippines, Hilum is about a teen, Mona (Audrey Alquiroz), who is trying to help the family make ends meet. Besides being a coming of age, this tale is a peek at the life of the improvised side of life. This girl is supposed to be a mourner-for-hire, but she can’t shed a tear. After using a trick to induce some wet works, her mother isn’t impressed. She doesn’t even know why she can’t cry until she seeks the help from a Shaman instead of a psychoanalyst. The reason is simple, she can’t afford to see one. 

This piece is rather simple, and I was particularly interested in the symbolism of the moon as it is used throughout. It’s not regarded as a teardrop in the sky, and nor has it been used in indigenous cultures. It’s more often used to represent the shift of time and the changing of the seasons. In this film’s case, it controls the tides and also one’s emotional state. Writer/director 

Don Josephus Raphael Eblahan gives this lunar object in the sky a mythic quality that’s eventually understood as it’s also representative of something lost in this young girl. She never truly mourned before and all it took was a breaking of that wall so she can finally express herself.

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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