10th edition CIFF – 10-14 April 2024

Nervous Translation (2018 Feature Film)

Shireen SENO | Philippines | 2018 | color | DCP | 90′ | Filipino | e.s.

SCENES OF SENSES_Sensitive, sparkling film that captures the confusing and magical moments alike in the life of a child who, while preferring to be by herself, deep down also longs to be heard. The events of 1987 in the Philippines play a role in the background, but shy Yael is more concerned with her absent father, her uncle who is a rock star and a pen with special powers.

Eight-year-old Yael is shy and not always at ease. She prefers writing letters to performing dances for her applauding Filipino family. She listens endlessly to the cassette tapes recorded by her father, who is spending years away from home working in Riyadh. Her uncle, a rock star with the band The Futures, acts as something of a surrogate father. When she hears an advertisement for a pen that will give her a ‘wonderful life’, she decides to spend all her savings on this miracle pen. 

Shireen Seno gives a voice to this quiet little girl in her perceptive, playful film full of jump cuts, sensitive sound design and ’80s music – and even the odd surrealist intermezzo. 

The sparkling Nervous Translation is set in 1987, not long after the People Power Revolution that led to the fall of president Marcos. Seno depicts this precarious time purely through Yael’s childish eyes, which understandably reduce the threats to manageable proportions. 

Place: The Cinemas 4

Date: 12 April 2018

Time: 13:15

Duration: 1:09

Place: The Cinemas 3

Date: 14 April 2018

Time: 19:30

Duration: 1:09

Place: The Cinemas 5

Date: 15 April 2018

Time: 13:15

Duration: 1:09

Year in



Shireen SENO


Albert Banzon
Jippy Pascua
Dennese Victoria


Jana Agoncillo
Angge Santor
Sid Lucero




John Torres
Shireen Seno






Itos Ledesma


John Torres
Ronald Arguelles

Production Company

Los Otros Films
Creative Programs

Production Design

Leeroy New


Los Otros Films


Shireen Seno

Sound Design

Mikko Quizon

Year of Production


Shireen SENO (1983, Japan) werd in Tokio geboren in een Filipijns gezin. Ze studeerde architectuur- en filmgeschiedenis aan de universiteit van Toronto. Haar foto- en videowerk is tentoongesteld in diverse galeries. Ze werkte eerder met filmmakers als Lav Diaz en John Torres, voor wie ze stills maakte. Haar film Big Boy (2012) werd op vele filmfestivals vertoond en won de prijs voor beste debuutfilm op het Festival de Cine Lima Independiente 2013. Nervous Translation is haar tweede speelfilm. 



(selection) Big Boy (2012), Shotgun Tuding (2014, short), Nervous Translation (2018)