Directed by Brillante Mendoza, Serbis is the first Filipino film to compete in the Official Selection since Bayan Ko by Lino Brocka in 1984. Serbis takes place in an old movie house in Angeles City, in the Philippines, which shows 1970s skin flicks. As the members of the Pineda family, who own the theater, go about their daily activities, we slowly discover their personalities and the difficulties they are grappling with. Tormented by inner demons, they willfully ignore the prostitution trade thriving right inside their place of business.
"Serbis may be viewed from several levels. That the film , as you say, has a dual theme, it is intentional," Mendoza commented. “Specifically, Serbis refers to the rent boys, including minors, who ply their trades inside movie houses. As such, the question of morality comes into play, not to mention the legality of the whole proceedings. In these parts, rules and laws are more often observed in the breaches. But what is morality, or legality for that matter, in a society wallowing in abject poverty and the struggle for survival stares at you in the face? Indeed, the whole thing boils down to a question of economics."
Explaining the choice of the film title, Brillante Mendoza continued, "In a broad sense, "Serbis" can mean "service" of any kind: one’s service to their customers. Or the cinema’s service to moviegoers and others; a citizen’s service to society or country; society’s or country’s service to its citizens; men and women’s service to humanity; humanity’s service to men and women; and so on and so forth…"