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Isabelle Huppert stars in this true story of 20 hostages kidnapped by an Islamic separatist group in 2001.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

Image gallery

  • Director Brillante Mendoza
  • Producer Didier Costet
  • Screenwriter Brillante Mendoza, Patrick Bancarel, Boots Agbayani Pastor, Arlyn de la Cruz
  • With Isabelle Huppert, Kathy Mulville, Marc Zanetta
  • France-Philippines-UK-Germany 2012
  • 120 mins
  • Sales Films Distribution

In 2001, members of the Abu Sayyaf Islamic separatist group abducted 20 holidaymakers from the Philippine island of Palawan, holding them hostage for the subsequent 12 months at a makeshift camp in the depths of the mountain jungles. In his restaging of these infamous events, prolific filmmaker Brillante Mendoza explores the plight of the destitute prisoners, at odds with their captors, and under constant attack from the Filipino army. Fearing the unlikelihood of a military rescue, and with no idea how long their ordeal will last, they begin to lose hope. At the film’s emotional and moral centre is Therese Bourgoine (Isabelle Huppert), a French national and a volunteer social worker, arbitrarily caught up in the conflict. Huppert gives in a typically visceral and affecting performance, while Mendoza’s verité approach brings a palpable sense of panic and urgency to the story.
Michael Blyth

Director statement

The events depicted in Captive are based on the hostage crisis situations that have taken place in the Philippines, such as the 2001 Dos Palmas kidnappings in Palawan and other abductions by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and similar separatist organisations. Official reports vary, but during the course of a year or so, there were numerous raids and more than 100 people were kidnapped and held captive for ransom in various places. Dozens of hostages, soldiers and abductors were killed during the whole ordeal. For Captive, I treated the whole film as a single real event. The script was based on my intensive research on certain kidnapping events and where they actually happened, and the testimonies of survivors, captors, the military and others who witnessed and/or were part of the crisis. About 25% of the film consists of fictional elements; mostly characters and scenes that I felt were necessary for enhancement and dramatization purposes.
Brillante Mendoza

Director biography

Born in 1960 in San Fernando, Philippines, he studied fine arts, majoring in advertising, at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He started his career as a production designer in feature films, television, theatre and eventually in television advertising. His production design work (initially credited to Dante Mendoza) was featured in acclaimed local films such as Flirting with Temptation (1986), Private Show (1986), Olongapo (1987) and The Great American Dream (1987), before he became one of the most sought-after and in-demand production designers in TV advertising. In 2005, he formed a small independent production outfit called Centerstage Productions, and that year his first feature film, The Masseur, won a Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival and played at the LFF. His second feature, Summer Heat won the Netpac award at the 2007 Jeonju Film Festival in South Korea, while his documentary The Teacher won the Cinemavenir at the 2006 Torino Film Festival and Best Picture and Director awards at Cinemanila. Serbis, invited into the main competition at Cannes in 2008 became the first Filipino film to compete since 1984, while Kinatay earned for Mendoza the Best Director award at Cannes in 2009.


2005 Masahista (The Masseur)
2006 Manoro (The Teacher) [doc]; Kaleldo (Summer Heat)
2007 Pantasya; Foster Child; Tirador (Slingshot)
2008 Serbis (Service)
2009 Kinatay; Lola (Grandmother)
2010 Ayos ka [s]
2011 Quattro Hongkong 2 (ep Purple only); 60 Seconds of Solitude in Year Zero (one ep only)
2012 Captive; Sinapupunan (Thy Womb)

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