Philippine filmmaker Raya Martin directed this stylish and stylized study of a pivotal moment in his nation's history. In 1898, in the wake of the Spanish-American War, the United States took control of the Philippines, only months after American representatives had declared the islands would maintain their newly won independence. Rather than cooperate with the occupying forces, a woman (Tetchie Agbayani) and her son (Sid Lucero) flee to the mountains, hoping to live in freedom away from civilization. In time, they're joined by a young woman (Alessandra de Rossi) who is running away after an American soldier raped her. As the boy grows to be a man, he falls in love with the woman, and when his mother dies, he becomes the head of the small household in the hills, helping to care for the child that resulted from the rape. Martin has shot and staged this story in a purposefully unrealistic manner, using black and white film stock, painted backdrops and old-fashioned lighting techniques so that this story of life under forced American rule resembles a Hollywood potboiler of the 1930's. Independencia was one of two films from Raya Martin that were screened as official selections at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.