30 January - 1 February

An experimental portrait of a family amidst change, Big Boy is photographer and filmmaker Shireen Seno’s lovingly lo-fi, Super 8 tale of a young boy, pressured by his family to ‘grow’ — not emotionally but physically. 

Set in 1950s Mindoro in the Philippines – a nation just proclaimed independent from the United States – Big Boy chronicles the myths of progress that consume a family, and the violence not just in war and colonisation but also that which is inherent in coming into being.

Director Shireen Seno intriguingly remembers a childhood in the Philippines that she did not experience, having herself grown up in Japan to Filipino parents. By blending a mix of live and ‘found’ sounds and displacing real time sound and image in the film, Seno evokes the recall of memories.

Big Boy is Seno’s first feature, shot on location on an ultra-low budget and taking inspiration from family tales as well as the visual traces left behind by previous generations, to create an evocative coming-of-age tale.

‘…the images retain, even after the transfer to digital, a bewitching fragility which opposes all nostalgic closure.’ 
Lukas Foerster (Deutsches Historiches Museum Berlin) 

Shireen Seno (1983, Japan) was born in Tokyo to a Filipino family. She studied architecture and film studies at the University of Toronto. Her photo and video work has been shown in various galleries and she has worked with filmmakers such as Lav Diaz and John Torres, for whom she took stills. Her debut film ‘Big Boy’ won the prize for Best First Film at the Festival de Cine Lima Independiente in 2013. Her second feature, ‘Nervous Translation’, was screened at CAMPLE LINE in 2019.

Saturday 30 January 6:30pm – Monday 1 February 6:30pm (GMT) – available to watch (UK only)

Sunday 31 January at 1:00pm – Director Shireen Seno in conversation with Dr Philippa Lovatt, specialist in Southeast Asian and East Asian Cinemas 

Closed captions available for both the film and the live conversation

A PDF transcript of the discussion is available on request


2013, Philippines
Directed by Shireen Seno
89 mins, Cert PG, English subtitles
Closed Captions for d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing available

Tickets – Pay What You Can – £5 / £3.50 / £2 / Free
See our ticket scale here

30 January – 1 February: available to watch online (UK only)
Saturday 30 January, 6:30pm: communal viewing
Sunday 31 January, 1:00pm: Director Shireen Seno in conversation with Philippa Lovatt (live captions available)


Director Shireen Seno in Conversation with Dr Philippa Lovatt


Watch Glasgow Film Festival’s Q&A with Director Rúnar Rúnarsson

Read BFI’s review of the film by John Bleasdale

Watch Echo via MUBI Library (requires subscription) 

Against a clear, dusky sky, a large solitary farmhouse is engulfed in flames. A dark black smoke plumes upwards and leans left, blown by the wind. Dotted across the frozen hillside in the fore and middle ground are several onlookers. The nearest, a solitary man in a pale jacket, stands centre right with his back to us, taking a photo of the burning house on his smartphone.

Our Autumn/Winter Screenings at Home programme was supported by Film Hub Scotland, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and funded by Screen Scotland and Lottery funding from the BFI