Friday, August 12, 2016

CINEMALAYA 2016: Review of PAMILYA ORDINARYO: Vicariously Visceral

August 13, 2016




Of the four Cinemalaya films I had seen so far, this one has got to be the shoo-in for Audience Choice award. All its screenings at the CCP have been sold out in advance. Its screening this afternoon at the Trinoma Cinema 2 was a blockbuster. There are no big names in the lead cast so perhaps its popularity has got to be from positive word of mouth. Its trailer alone already packed quite a punch when it went viral on social media.

Aries is 17 years old. Jane is 16 years old. They live by themselves on the dingy streets of Quiapo in Manila. They are the parents of a baby boy they named Arjan, who was just less than a month old. An intrusive gay "benefactress" named Ertha entered their lives and threw them a curveball they never saw coming. The already messed-up lives of Aries and Jane were thrown into further disarray as their fledgling parenthood are put to the ultimate test.

Ronwaldo Martin is following the lead of his elder half-brother and mainstream superstar Coco Martin who also got his start in indie films. In this Cinemalaya alone, the younger Martin is in two feature films in competition, this one and "Tuos" with Nora Aunor. His previous film where he also played lead "Ari: My Live with a King" is also on being showed under the "Festivals Best" program. His Aries is brusque, lusty and rough, just as you would expect a boy living on the street to act. 

Hasmine Killip is so new that I could not come up anything about her acting background. Yet here she is carrying this whole film so ably on her shoulders as Jane. Most of the big dramatic moments were hers and she faced them boldly and nailed them head on. Those harrowing scenes of hers walking around outside the grocery, or those uncomfortable moments she had talking to the sleazy policeman, or that heartbreaking scene of her looking through the contents of a stolen bag -- all so naturally poignant as portrayed. 

The starkly realistic performances of Ronwaldo Martin and Hasmine Killip in their breakthrough roles as Aries and Jane should be the frontrunners in the race for Lead Actor and Actress. Veterans like Lou Veloso, Allen Dizon, Judy Ann Santos and even Nora Aunor herself face tough competition from these two youngsters. They actually look like the street urchins we see on the grimy sidewalks everyday. It was as if they were not acting at all. I think it is safe to say we would be seeing more of them both in more indie films in the future. 

Director Eduardo Roy Jr. creates a masterpiece of cinema verite with this feature. All the while as we watch these two foolishly callow kids trying to survive on the tough streets, we feel we are right there with them, inhaling the same grime and stench and rugby with them. Those silent CCTV footage type sequences were effectively eerie and entrancing in its documentation of criminal activity. Veteran character actors Maria Isabel Lopez, Moira Lang, Erlinda Villalobos, Menggie Cobarrubias effectively portray various despicable vultures, shamelessly picking on the helpless. 

On the debit side, I thought the whole sequence set in a subdivision outside Manila made the film feel a bit too long and was unnecessarily anticlimactic in my opinion. Anyhow, overall, "Pamilya Ordinaryo" remains to be a sobering look at the plight of teenage parents on the streets. We know there are quite a number of youth out there on the real streets in the same exact boat as Aries and Jane. In this movie though, we won't be able to look away. 8/10. 


*** UPDATE (08/14/16): Congratulations for the #Cinemalaya2016 Awards won by Pamilya Ordinaryo:  Best Film, NETPAC Award, Best Director: Eduardo Roy Jr., Best Actress: Hasmine Killip and Best Editing.


20 comments:

  1. I know this movie would be touching because it involves the lives of two teenagers and I can imagine the hardships and hurdles of life they have to go through to make ends meet. It's really a movie to watch out for.

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  2. I love to watch such touching movie sometimes actually.So thanks for sharing it.Worth watching it.

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  3. It sounds like a masterpiece. It reminds me of Slumdog Millionaire. I hope it catches international attention so it could raise more social awareness.

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  4. The plot sounds promising. I like how it touches on realities that a lot of our kababayans face. I also couldn't help notice the detail that was put on the name of the son of Aries and Jane - Arjan ( combining the names of his parents ) is a very Pinoy thing to do. Until when is Cinemalaya? I hope to watch this film.

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    1. Russ, Cinemalaya ends tonight. I know there are plans to show the films in UP later this month.

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  5. Looks good.. I wonder if it is shown here... Very great to create social awareness..

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  6. You got me interested to see Hasmine's performance. But I believe, this being a local film, it would really be shown in the cinemas in Singapore

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    1. These Filipino indie films are subtitled in English and do the rounds of film fests abroad. Hope you get to see this. May be shocking to see people live this way, especially since Singapore may not have people living on the streets.

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  7. Wow i think it is such a great movie ,the plot is touching and maybe i can download this film?

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    1. Please watch Filipino movies in the theaters, or buy their official DVDs if available.

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  8. So Hasmine is a newbie talented actress who totally nailed the character? your review makes me want to watch this film to see how well she has done! but i doubt i can find it in sg?

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  9. I have been hearing about cinemalaya films it's just that, hindi masyado tinatangkilik ng karamihan. :( This one is interesting, I'll try to check its trailer. I bet it's a nice movie since it has been bestowed with best film award.

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    1. Of all the local indie film fests, it is the Cinemalaya that is the most "tinatangkilik", or most popular. Many of the films in competition here screen to sold out audiences, especially in the main venue -- the CCP.

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  10. A lot of young people might benefit in watching this movie. There are many struggles teenage parents face so I hope this movie portrayed such problems well.

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  11. Reality gives the real truth in films with such very dramatic concept. Well, as Filipino, I loved to watch true-to-life story; the same as in novel books.

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  12. That's great indeed. I believe many people would surely benefits a lot from this movie. Thanks for sharing

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  13. I am really appreciating cinemalaya's films now. It's nice to see Coco's brother following his footsteps. This looks really reflect a lot of realism in the society.

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  14. This is what I love about indie films. They shed light to what people go through everyday. I think this is an interesting story to watch and it's definitely worth the time. I'm glad the film was recognized and was given awards.

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  15. Congrats to the movie makers on the award. Sounds like a very deep movie. Not my kind!

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  16. Daily interpretation of India's lifestyle and culture is simply appreciated and analyzed in this movie with remarkable story line. good job by the whole team to successfully have this movie out.

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