ma' rosa

As always, I’m gonna pretend to be a serious movie critic just to piss off readers because, you know, may time and energy ako na gawin yan. This time, ang napili kong imassacre ay ang Ma’ Rosa, I'm sure you've heard of it. Jaclyn Jose won Best Actress at the Cannes film festival for her role in it. If you haven't seen it... go see it, or not. Hind kita didiktahan sa buhay mo.

Right off the bat, I’ll say it: I love this film, this is my kind of thriller movie. Thriller talaga? All the bashing and poking fun that will follow is done out of love.

To start, I won’t tell you who should watch this movie, but I’m gonna tell you who SHOULDN’T watch this movie: mga taong anal about trivial stuff like cleanliness, neatness, tidiness, morality, etc.

If you're that type of person at pinanood mo to, consider yourself #triggered because Ma’ Rosa contains scenes that will make you uncomfortable. Sure, may konting idea naman ako bago ako manood nito, at sabi ng MTRCB warning, ang pelikula ay naglalaman ng mga (SPOILER ALERT!) maseselang tema (krimen), lenggwahe (murahan), karahasan (police brutality), seksuwal (chupaan), horror (going to jail) at droga and more more droga (like shabu in fun sachets). But no, MTRCB did not tell me that there will be a scene kung saan mababasa ng tubig-ulan ang bigas. Aaargh!

Ganito kasi yun. Sa umpisa, Ma’ Rosa (Ate Jaclyn) Reyes and her son were doing groceries. Any sane person would know na kung maggogroceries ka at magcocommute ka pauwi, a rainy night is not the best time to do it. But then again, ang theme ng movie ay desperation so I guess yun ang dahilan bakit sila nag-grocery.

So bitbit ang pinamili pauwi sa gitna ng ulan nagtatakbo sina Ma’ Rosa. Ang galing lang nung juxtaposition ng pagkabitbit ni Ma’ Rosa sa groceries amidst the crowd in a depressed suburban area. Sumasalamin talaga siya sa totoong buhay ng mga Pilipino or something. Thank you Lord, nagamit ko na rin ang juxtaposition.

Maisingit ko lang, aside from desperation, another prevailing theme is Filipino culture. And I’m not just talking about the Pinoy’s traits of being happy despite poverty or our resilience through life’s harshest times. I’m talking about that very Filipino trait sa grocery kung saan kapag kulang ang barya, ang isusukli sa iyo ay candy. That is so Filipino. But you know what makes it even more Filipino? Nung inaway ni Ma’ Rosa yung cashier at tinanggihan ang candies!

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more Pinoy than that, after saying “Ang laki ng grocery nyo wala kayong barya” (or something to that effect), wala lang rin syang nagawa kaya kinuha nya na lang yung mga kendi.

But the most Pinoy thing in that scene is… nung kinain nya lang rin yung kendi LOL.

Anyway pagkasilong Ma’ Rosa mula sa ulan, ipinatong nya yung basang groceries sa ibabaw ng bigasan and that’s it. It just ruined the movie for me. Aamagin yung bigas!!! What are you thinking???

That’s just one of the many things that were about to go wrong that fateful night for the Reyes family. Ominous kasi yung isang dumaang truck sa harap nila na may advertisement ng Pepsi at nakalagay ang “Araw mo to!” dahil it turns out, isa nga yun sa araw na hindi nya malilimutan like ever (or in the next few months or so).

Another ominous thing I noticed (which I doubt other watchers noticed because they weren't as serious as I was): noong pauwi sina Ma’ Rosa, may nadaanan silang nagkakantahan sa videoke at ang kanta ay “Laklak ka nang laklak, mukha ka nang parak!” Given the things that were about to happen, this little detail is genius foreshadowing. Yes nagamit ko na rin ang foreshadowing.

Pagpasok ni Ma’ Rosa sa bahay, it was a mess, like the daily ordinary life mess, but somehow bothered sya that one time na hindi marunong maglinis ng bahay ang mga kasama nya. You know when Jaclyn Jose won the Best Actress award and people say it's because her acting was very subtle? I agree. She has a very subtle and gentle way of expressing her disgust sa bahay nilang magulo:

Mga wala kayong pakinabang lahat mga putangina nyo.

Kung kanina nung nawalan ako ng gana dahil sure akong aamagin yung nabasang bigas, sa bitaw ni Ate Jaclyn ng linyang yan, ginanahan akong muli. Sabi na eh, this movie is a rollercoaster of emotions.

Like any Filipino logical thinker, ang unang inasikaso ni Ma’ Rosa sa mga groceries ay ang ice cream, very Pinoy level 80%. Binili nya yung 3-in1 kind dahil birthday bukas ng asawa nyang si Nestor (Kuya Julio Diaz), very Pinoy level 90%. Inutusan nya yung isang batang babae, “Ipaki-ref mo nga ito kila Aling Melba”, very Pinoy 100%.

If you have been following my narrative so far, matapos maggrocery, magtatakbo sa ulan with the groceries, at dumating sa bahay na magulo, nadatnan ni Ma’ Rosa ang asawa nya na, you know, just hanging around and chilling while doing a very casual me time = shabu time.

But no, hindi bothered si Ma’ Rosa doon. Mas bothered pa sya na hindi nakasalansan nang maayos ang paninda nila sa sari-sari store. Typical Nanay.

Maya-maya, dumating ang kanilang shabu delivery guy, si Jomar. Keeping it all casual, like Oh kumusta si kumpare etc eh si kumare etc dinner ka muna sige see you later bye.

Bumili si Ma' Rosa ng ulam, tapos sabi ng tindero, "Kulang ang pera mo…" So sabi nya, "Kuha ka na lang ng yelo sa tindahan." Sumasalamin ito sa katotohanang laganap na ang droga sa ating bayan at pwede mo na itong ipambili ng ulam.

Also, isang kita ko pa lang kay Nestor, parang gusto kong maligo. Yes adik na adik ang itsura nya pero mas naalibadbaran ako na parang nanlilimahid sya that time. Mukha talaga siyang nasa laylayan ng lipunan. Sumasalamin naman ito sa ilan sa aking very close friends.

Di ba indie film ang Ma’ Rosa? And diba most indie films are slow and dragging? Here’s what happened next: may isang binatilyong ang ngalan ay Bong-Bong na nagpupumilit  bumili ng “yelo” (as in “ice” as in shabu) kahit ayaw ni Ma’ Rosa (foreshadowing?) but because of her maternal instincts, binigyan nya pa rin ng shabu si Bong-Bong and in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sequence, suddenly napaligiran sila ng mga pulis. Inaresto sina Ma' Rosa at Mang Nestor at ang pink cellphone ni Andi Eigenmann. And the movie has officially started.

During the police car ride to the station we see Ma' Rosa contemplating whatever it is that women like her contemplate and then suddenly nandun na sila sa police station, but not through the front desk where regular kriminals like mandurukot and rapists go, but in the VIP lane sa likod ng building where the drug pushers go. Escorted by no less than Mark Anthony Fernandez, Mon Confiado, and his excellency Baron Geisler, they were given the special treatment: pera o kulong.

On a serious note, talagang nakakatakot yung police interrogation scene. You can see Ma' Rosa struggling, torn between getting the fuck out of there and surviving the outside world when they get out, and keeping her and Nestor's answers in sync. Ayaw nilang makulong, pero wala silang P200K na nakatabi somewhere (because surprise! poverty) so binigyan sila ng pangatlong option: name your supplier. Ang tawag dito ay palit-ulo. You can ask your drug pusher friends and they can explain what palit-ulo means.

So pinili nila ang option na pinakamadali: ituro yung dealer nila. Keysa naman mangutang sila ng pera sa kamag-anak, magbenta ng mga gamit o kaya magputa ang anak nila para lang makaipon ng pera right?

Binitag nila ang kanilang supplier, na alaga pala ng isang Major (plot twist wow this is so unthinkable like hinding hindi mangyayari in real life. Buti na lang, may naitabi si Jomar na nasa hundred thousands. After some complicated math, their task was simplified: magbayad ng P50,000 at pwede na silang umuwi at ipagpatuloy ang kanilang buhay.

Habang hinihintay ang pera, nag-inuman kainan, at videoke muna ang mga pulis. Eto na yung "Laklak ka nang laklak, mukha ka nang parak!" Seriously, these cops were scary. They mean business. Literal money-making business. They don't want to waste your time same way that they're not wasting theirs.

So the three children get to work. You know those fairy tales where the king had three sons and each one had to prove himself worthy of the crown? Ganitong ganito yun. Ang kinaiba lang, yung mga anak ay nangutang sa kamag-anak, nagbenta ng gamit and yes, nagputa. Eto ang kanilang fundraising activities.

Eventually, matapos i-shake ang camera habang sinusundang maglakad ang bawat character, ni-reveal sa atin kung bakit nangyari ang lahat: kagagawan ng putanginang si Bong-Bong. Remember, yung mapilit bumili ng shabu? Nahuli rin pala ang kuya nya last week, at para makalaya, kailangan nilang mag-palit-ulo. At ang maswerteng napili nya ay si Ma' Rosa.

Nang makaipon sila ng pera, bumalik sila sa presinto para tubusin ang mga magulang nila. Eh kulang pa sila ng 5K. Ayaw naman pumayag ng mga pulis. Ma' Rosa was like, watch me, gagawa ako ng 5K. At nakakuha sya ng 5K sa tulong ng pinaka-underrated character sa pelikula: Andi's Eigenmann's pink cellphone. In a land where shabu is currency, whoever holds actual money is king and in this case, the king is the Bombay 5-6 guy. Salamat sa Bombay na nagsilbing deus-ex-machina. Thank Lord nagamit ko na rin ang deus-ex-machina.

Aware naman ako sa poverty porn aspect ng mga indie films but what makes this movie uniquely Filipino is that it shows how we Filipinos deal with poverty: lahat de-cellphone, lahat naka-Facebook, lahat nagvi-videoke. We're probably the happiest of the poor.

Isa sa mga bagay na napansin ko ay kung gaano ka-totoo ang pagkaka-portray sa istorya right down to the very details, like the props. Yung notebook ni Mang Nestor? Authentic, it's so intense. Yung pink cellphone ni Andi Eigenmann? On point. Yung basang bigas DAMN ayan naalala ko na naman. In short, pinapakita sa pelikula ang mga maliit na detalye sa totoong buhay na madalas hindi na natin napapansin.

Its dark humor serves the movie well. Dahil basa ang damit ni Mang Nestor, pinagbihis nila. Ang T-shirt na pinasuot sa kanya? Uniporme ng pulis. Kailangang tawagan ni Ma' Rosa yung drug dealer, wala syang load. Yung nasa kalagitnaan ng shock at trauma sa pagkahuli sa kanila, nakapagremark pa si Ma' Rosa kay Nestor ng "Birthday mo pa naman bukas."

Another memorable and undeniably Filipino scene ay noong nangutang si Andi Eigenmann sa tiyahin nyang si Aling Tilde (Maria Isabel "Red Carpet Goddess" Lopez). Mangutang sa kamag-anak, very Pinoy level 80%. Mapagalitan ng tiyahin dahil sa kasalanan ng magulang, very Pinoy level 90%. Matapos bungangaan, pinahiram pa rin ng pera ("Yan isaksak mo sa bunganga ng Nanay mo!" or something suggestive like that), very Pinoy level 100%.

Apart from Allan Paule's blowjob skills, another emotionally sentimental and poignant detail is when the kids went to the police station and what did they bring? Food. Alam nilang gutom na ang mga magulang nila. This is life. This is what really happens. None of those tearful teledrama reunions. Pagkain agad.

To end, when Ma' Rosa stopped for squid balls and totally cried while eating, I understood it. I've been there, done that, literally. Noong college, me and my friend Khikhi, kami ang kilabot ng mga sidewalk tusok-tusok, including isaw, chicken skin and squid balls. At hindi rin kami choosy, where's there tusok-tusok, we're gonna tusok-tusok the shit out of it like we're really trying to have diarrhea. Kumain ng squidballs habang lumuluha? It's so Khikhi.

For a film about poverty, this film is so rich.

By the way, to those who criticise Andi Eigenmann's acting, tignan nyo ito. Hindi ba ito ang mukha ng teenager na inagawan ng cellphone? Andi's acting is just right, leave her alone:

Screencap from the Youtube trailer/clip.

PS habang kumakain si Ma' Rosa ng squid balls, pinagmamasdan nya yung mag-asawang nagliligpit ng paninda sa sidewalk. Tinatapalan nila yung paninda nila ng tarpaulin. Tangina baligtad yung tarpaulin aargh I can't. #triggered

Hindi pala talaga ito feel good movie.

The End.

7 comments. Post your comment here.:

Diane Writes said...

Salamat sa review!! Dahil d ko siya mapapanood eh at least oriented naman ako sa blog post mo. Hindi ko makakalimutan ang theme "very filipino"

And yes sa subtle acting ni Jaclyn Jose na once upon a time eh naging favorite na i-spoof ng mga kapatid nating beks :p

Please don't stop writing movie reviews (asarin natin siya lalo) bwahahahaha I've been reading your reviews.. kahit review dun sa carinderia delivery sa lugar nyo na .... hindi kasama ang lasa sa pagkain na tinitinda hahaha

pnx said...

Nice. I like how an actor portrays things realistically. Hindi kelangan magdrama at humagulgol para lang maging Best Actress. Magmura lang ng malutong pwede na hehe

Kiko Ryvan said...

Bravo.. excellent pangcannes din ang paggawa ng movie critique na ito.. love it...

khantotantra said...

hahahaha... mukang nahook ka sa basang bigas at di mo ito malimutans.

wala na sa sinehan ng galleria yang ma rosa.... malamang sa alamang, kung napag-interesan ng pirats ay saka ko palungs mapapanoods. pero since indie, medyo maliit ang chance. you know, main stream pinoy peliks lang pinipirata nila.

nyabach0i said...

buti na lang! umasa ako na magrereview ka nito. buti na lang ginawa mo. shet ka. hindi ko napapanuodin. okay na ako sa walkthrough mo. mwahugs.

Senyor Iskwater said...

Very familiar ang VIP lane sa likod ng building where the drug pushers go...I've been there... And the palit-ulo thingy??? Grabe.. very real! May na-miz tuloy ako!

Jenny said...

Nu ba yan, may naalala tuloy ako, naalala ko nung nakulong ang kuya ko dahil undas non, tabi kami ng sementeryo syempre san sila tatambay edi sa may sementeryo, eh sakto nagkaramble, dumating si Mayor at mga barangay members, dinampot ang kuya ko, hinampas pa ng sumbrero ni Mayor. Hmp! To think na nakatambay lang naman sila, lakas makaindie di ba? hahahaha Share ko lang.

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