Termitaria (aka The Youngest)
PRODS Joseph Laban, Ferdinand Lapuz, Derick Cabrido, Ariel Bacol, Jedd Dumaguina, Jade Valenzuela
SCR Joseph Israel Laban
CAM Marco Felipe Villas Lopez
ED Derick Cabrido
PROD DES Jaime Habac, Jr.
MUS Diwa De Leon
PROD CO onebigfight Productions / Cinemalaya Foundation, in association with One-dash-Zero Cinetools, Monoxide Work
Joseph Israel Laban has been a noted investigative reporter for TV in the Philippines (check his Wikipedia entry for details), and his move into filmmaking in recent years has been guided squarely by his journalistic background and instincts.
The Youngest is inspired by a news report about a nine-year-old girl who was made pregnant by her father and became the youngest child-mother on record in the Philippines. The film presents itself as fiction, and it certainly uses the devices of fiction when it reaches for its psychological insights into the thoughts and deeds of the girl’s parents, but the sense that we’re close to uncomfortable truths runs like a steady back-beat throughout.
Krista (Barbara Miguel, astonishing) is living with her parents Dolores and Moises and her kid sister Nina in a village when she develops inexplicable pains in her gut. She’s encouraged by the local quack Loleng (veteran star Anita Linda) to blame them on goblins. But when the real root of the problem becomes clear, Krista is taken into care, and her father Moises (a fearless performance from Jake Cuenca) is arrested. He’s a lay preacher-turned-slaughterhouse worker (he gets fired for stealing meat) and a sex addict. His closing statement from his prison cell, taken with Krista’s thoughts on forgiveness and lasting pain, give the film an impact way beyond its modest scale.
— Tony Rayns