By now you have probably already heard about Jaclyn Jose winning the Best Actress award at the recent Cannes Film Festival. The veteran actress bested Hollywood stalwarts such as Charlize Theron and Marion Cotillard. The film she won it for is Brillante Mendoza's latest work, Ma' Rosa. The movie tells the story of a married couple (played by Julio Diaz and Jose) who owns a sari-sari store, where they also sell packets of shabu. For people who choose to do these kinds of activities, life is complicated. The movie explores the struggles of "Ma Rosa" and her family as they deal with corrupt cops and drug dealers.
You know those shortcuts that Waze makes you take that makes
your heart skip a bit faster? That's the setting for Ma' Rosa
Sobrang layo sa Finding Dory di ba? The thing about Ma' Rosa is that it feels very real. Maybe even too real sometimes. You think to yourself, "ganito na ba talaga ang buhay sa Pilipinas?" But you already know the answer to that question. The movie paints a not-so pretty picture of life in our country and the sad part is that it doesn't feel like an exaggeration. When you watch the movie, you might even be reminded of some people that you've encountered in real life. Here are a few of them:
1) Walang Sukling Cashier
Also known as the "may piso na lang kayo, sir" cashier. Can you remember the days when transactions only involved you giving the cashier money and then you getting your change in return. Now it's common practice for cashiers to ask you if you have coins when you pay for something. Tinatamad ba sila magbilang ng coins? In the opening scene, Ma' Rosa is buying cup noodles from the grocery and the cashier tells her that she doesn't have 25 centavos so she gives Rosa a handful of candies instead. In this family, every centavo counts so Ma Rosa insists on her change. You know you're hard up on cash when you go beastmode for 25 cents.
2) Tambay Ng Videoke
Ma Rosa's eldest son "Jackson" is introduced as someone who's a bit of a videoke aficionado. He rents out their videoke machine and microphone to the other tambays of the community. We've all seen groups like this before. Pinoys enjoy singing. Shirtless men singing "Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo" in the middle of the afternoon is common here. Sintunado pa.
3) Sugarol Na Ale
The female counterpart of the group of videoke singing men are the women hunched around a table playing cards/bingo. In the movie, some of Ma' Rosa's clients are her gambling neighbors. The local drug trade, apparently, is not gender and age specific and can also include that old woman who sells isaw and betamax at the street corner. That's why you can't get enough of her "secret sauce"!
4) The Meek Junkie
Julio Diaz plays every criminal that has been featured on TV Patrol
Have you ever seen drug addicts or other criminals on TV? When they're caught by the police and presented to the media they look very meek and harmless. You hear them say things such as "Di ko po sinasadya po e," and "Ser, baka puwedeng pag usapan na lang natin 'to." Julio Diaz, who plays Ma Rosa's husband, plays this part perfectly. He resembles every junkie you've seen caught by the police on the evening news.
5) The Nursing Student
Even though she's made to look plain, Andi still
looks every bit the FHM Cover Girl that she is
College students in recent Philippine cinema take only one course: Nursing. Nurses were once in demand in hospitals abroad, these students represent every Filipino family's dream of having someone migrating (and really making it) to a first-world country. You've probably seen them around. They usually walk in groups of three clutching their books on their chest. In the movie, Jaclyn Jose's real life daughter and FHM Cover Girl Andi Eigenmann plays Ma' Rosa's daughter. When her parents go to jail, she and her siblings are forced to look for "bail" money to set them free.
6) Hulidap Cops
Mark Anthony's portrayal of a crooked cop will make Daboy proud
We've all heard of corrupt cops in the news. President Duterte recently named a list of cops who allegedly have ties to drug syndicates. The term "hulidap" was coined after cops were found to be extorting money from civilians, innocent or otherwise, that they have caught. In Ma' Rosa, Baron Geisler, Mon Confiado, and Mark Anthony Fernandez are the hulidap cops and they play their roles to perfection. From taking away your cellphone, to asking you for some beer and pulutan money, to extorting you out of your hard-earned P200,000, it's all just a part of the game for these corrupt cops. And to answer your question, yes, may binigwasan si Beastmode Baron sa movie.
7) The Payb-Six Entreprenuers
Fair or not, there's been a stereotype in the Philippines for Indians riding a motorcycle. Long before motorcycles became prevalent in the country, you may have already seen these people navigating the side streets of Metro Manila in two wheels. No matter what your opinions are about them, they have often been the last resort of the kapit-sa-patalim Pinoys in need of money. Ma' Rosa is no different. When she's exhausted all her means who does she turn to? The Indian guy who lends at an interest rate of 20 percent.
8) The Foul-Mouthed Sari-Sari Store Owner
'Hindi puwedeng umutang! Mga p@#$@$ ina ninyo!'
The titular character is also someone we all know. She's that local store owner who cusses out those who don't pay her on time. She knows every piece of candy inside her jars and knows how much everyone in the community owes her. Aling Edith from across the street? Five hundred thirty five pesos since last month. (That bitch!) Bongbong from the block? Forty seven pesos plus another P5 from this morning for a Coke Mismo. Ma' Rosa knows everything. But unlike her, hopefully that local sari-sari store just a few steps away from your house is not a drug den.
Ma' Rosa has only limited screenings left. As of this writing, the movie is still available at Gateway Cineplex and Power Plant Mall. Hurry and catch it NOW!
Rey de la Cruz Jr. likes talking about films as much as he likes watching them. He runs www.reyview.org, a site that provides Filipino moviegoers with reviews written in a voice that is uniquely Pinoy.