Older of two features from leading Filipino helmer Gil Portes making belated U.S. bows at the San Francisco Asian Festival, “In the Bosom of the Enemy” offers a WWII romance across enemy lines that’s one of his most restrained and effective mellers. Engrossing mix of historical and fictive drama should score some tube and rental sales offshore.
Fisherman Diego (Jomari Yllana) is arrested by Japanese soldiers on suspicion of being a resistance fighter — a false accusation; nonetheless he’s severely beaten. Wife Pilar (Mylene Dizon) pleads for his release, finding a formal yet sympathetic ear in Nippon coastal outpost’s commander Hiroshi (Kenji Motoki), who’s long been stationed here and has married a local woman. The captain’s wife dies during childbirth, leaving him with a newborn to care for. Having let Diego go, Hiroshi prevails upon the grateful Pilar — who has a new infant of her own — to nurse the motherless child. As relations between Pilar and resentful hubby (soon a guerrilla for real) degenerate, sparks fly between her and the upright captain. Climactic reel inevitably edges over the top, but well cast and mounted drama mostly resists potential for histrionics.