Saturday, December 25, 2010



i stopped watching Filipino movies a long time ago. i can't remember when i last watched a local film (not counting two movies i watched on account of me losing my friends - blackmail is a terrible thing) and unless it's an independent film i would find really interesting, i rarely go. it's the mush and commercialism that i avoid. people don't make any good movies anymore, locally, that is. so i shun from the movie theaters completely when the Manila film festival starts.

kudos to Albert Martinez for a great film.

The movie Rosario is based on the life of the grandmother of Manny V. Pangilinan. her life started out to be promising: daughter of a haciendero, studied in New York, she had her whole life ahead of her until she fell in love with the administrator of her father's estate. of course, being the only daughter, they wanted better for her. at the time, you either studied in Paris, Spain or the Americas or stay in the convent, which was either an honor for families who wish to serve God or punishment for their loose daughters. Rosario eloped with Vicente, had kids and lived a happy life with her family even though she was cursed and shunned by her parents. when her husband gets sick with tuberculosis, she starts working to help provide for her family but she ends up cheating with her cousin's boyfriend. it was a hot scene, actually. also, back in the day, if you cheat and are caught, you get divorced and shipped off to Hong Kong. cool, right? so she and her paramour have a kid and stay in the HK for a while before going back to Manila where they try living again, but with not much luck. she takes in laundry for the other tenants in the building and the guy leaves her. the landlord's nephew has a crush on her but doesn't really make his move, except for the occasional laundry and invites to go to a music recital (where her first daughter plays and she eventually finds out that after her divorce, her ex-husband and cousin hook up) and receives her rent. however, the landlord, who also digs her and doesn't make her aware that somebody else is paying her rent, takes advantage of the fact that she doesn't know her rent's been paid for. he tells her that the only solution is to, well, sleep with him and she does. landlord's nephew finds out and almost beats his own uncle to death. Rosario and her child decide to leave, never come back.

there had been talk before this film that the actress who plays the main role, Jennilyn Mercado, won't be able to pull it off. but the lady can act, very remarkably so, too.  she held her own, with a whole cast of big name stars supporting her and Albert Martinez, as director. plus, the cinematography is amazing. every drop of sweat, every breath of smoke, inhaled, exhaled, you can feel it, you can see it. and i don't even know a thing about film making, but as a spectator, i was blown away.

the movie also brings me back to those times when we didn't have TV or the internet and people were focused on learning to read and write poetry, learning to read and write music, the arts. when you woo someone, you wrote good old-fashioned love letters and going out on clandestine trysts were more exciting then because you can hide. nowadays, kids do it anywhere without any fear or shame that they may offend anyone. kids respected their parents then, and even when they did disobey their parents, they (we) felt remorse and the urge to prove themselves in order to return to their parents as better people. while they were stubborn, they had conscience. kids these days are just stubborn period. they don't think of consequences. those were simpler times.

if you're out to see a movie this Christmas season and you're not really that crazy about any of the other films in the festival, you can see Rosario for depth.