The Short List #14: “Sanctissima”

A gruesome tale about an abortion that goes to hell—literally.

The Short List #14: "Sanctissima" (2015, dir. Kenneth Dagatan)
Ligaya Rabago-Visaya in "Sanctissima" // Cinema One
Short film featured:
"Sanctissima" (2015)
Ligaya Rabago-Visaya, Chai Fonacier
Kenneth Dagatan
The Short List #1: "Sweet Things" (2018, dir. Henry K. Norvalls)

The Short List is our running list of notable short features available online. Every week, we share one short film which we think deserves to be watched by many. The short films included in our list can come from any country but has to be publicly available online. 

Click here to see the full list of short films—you can also submit your own.

What happens to Rosemary after bearing the spawn of Satan? In its own way and context, Kenneth Dagatan’s “Sanctissima” directly confronts that mental impression, and then some.

Here, the Mia Farrow character, Marisa, played by Ligaya Rabago-Visaya, is enslaved to do her husband’s bidding. Never mind that she birthed the child of the actual Devil. She is, as others like her, a woman relegated to domesticity.

The Short List #14: "Sanctissima" (2015, dir. Kenneth Dagatan)

O.K., let’s dial back a little bit. Marisa is an abortionist living in a desolate part of a rural town. She keeps a steady stream of clientele—women who come to wistfully “undo” their past decisions.

But wistful Rutchel (Chai Fonacier), was not. And it’s perhaps this unwitting dauntlessness that Marisa’s all-seeing husband presumably takes a shine on her. One thing leads to another and quickly we’re onto the film’s climax, which ends beautifully to a recreation of Michelangelo’s Pietà, a work that’s typically acquainted with a certain notion about motherhood.

Dagatan premiered “Sanctissima” at the 2015 Cinemalaya where it won the Audience Choice Award. Cinema One, however, decided to upload the full short in its YouTube channel, which is why we’re able to feature it here.

The Short List #14: "Sanctissima" (2015, dir. Kenneth Dagatan)

It would be three years later before Dagatan’s debut feature, “Ma”, a similarly perversive film about womanhood, gets released. That film is available on iWant.

I highly recommend watching the two together.

Watch Kenneth Dagatan’s “Sanctissima” in full here:

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