A Slice of Filipino Life

I often lamented (lamented wtf?) the fact that Philippine cinema and TV was just a bit too escapist. Most of our TV shows and movies reflected the worlds of the elite, the rich kids and fairy tale stories of the amo and the maid getting it on. I wanted a bit more realism in local cinema, and two films gave me that during the bagong agos indie sine film festival (wow they should really shorten that).

Kubrador

Kubrador is a movie unafraid to show the Philippines for what it is, a dirty, stinking cesspit of corruption where desperate people give up whatever money they have in order to get a shot at winning a small fortune via jueteng. The film itself focuses on Ami, a “kubrador” or bet collector, and follows her as she goes about her rounds, henpecking people to bet on their lucky numbers. The film is well made, but what strikes me is that nothing really stood out for me. The movie flows well until the rather open ended finish, but there’s nothing striking about it at any point. Nothing that really pulled me in.
Gina Pareno (who incidentally was at the screening I watched) gives a bravura performance as Ami, and so does the rest of the cast.

But the most astonishing acting came from the local folks, who managed to subsume their natural Filipino tendency to mug for the camera at every chance they get.  Props to the filmmakers for managing to pull that off.

ICU Bed #7

If Kubrador was a slice of Class E life, ICU gives viewers a glimpse into the middle class of Philippine society. What the movie does right is that it manages to squeeze in every bit of melodrama the average Filipino family encounters without feeling too schizophrenic.  Teenage pregnancies, drug use, getting kicked out of school, second families, it’s all here, and none of it feels forced in any way.

The only thing that really annoyed me about this movie was the guy they cast as the “son”.  Damn he’s annoying.  I mean, he’s supposed to be seventeen but his voice cracks up every 5 minutes or so, he can’t act for shit (and when he tries I want to slap him upside the head), and he just looks…retarded.  I dunno.

Lastly, Eddie Garcia’s being in the hospital was the key to holding all of the disparate stories and drama together.  Once he was out and about, it sort of felt anti-climactic, and I was itching for the movie to end as soon as possible.  Still, it’s worth a watch, and since there were around ten people watching with me in the cinema it’s safe to say that you’ll have your choice of seats.

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3 Comments to “A Slice of Filipino Life”

  1. hahahah, amo and maid getting it on! pero ry, remember that’s sureball hit telenovela fodder!

  2. “Kubrador” was good but man, it was depressing. Didn’t the camera shots make you dizzy? They gave my friend a headache. Hehe.

  3. Not really, but then I don’t get dizzy much. 😀

    oo therese surebol yun. kaya nga walang pag-asa ang pinas eh. 😛

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