by Stefano Ortiz
In this year’s first-ever online edition of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) will be screening numerous films across 14 different sections. This variety of sections aims to display the diversity of Philippine Cinema and consists of the following: PPP Premium Selection, Classics, PH Oscar Entries, Tribute, Romance, Youth & Family, Genre, Bahaghari, PPP Retro, Documentaries, From the Regions, PPP Short Films, Special Screenings, and CineMarya. To introduce these films, we will be spotlighting various films screening at PPP4 throughout the festival’s run at the FDCP website.
Several subscription options are available for those wishing to attend PPP4. Cinephiles may find the Full Run Pass (PHP 599) valuable, as it offers a 16-day access to all films including the Premium Selection films and events and other scheduled screenings, free panels and workshops, trailers, and other content. Meanwhile, the Half Run Pass (PHP 299) provides an eight-day access to the short films library and full-length scheduled screenings. PPP4 also offers a Day Pass (PHP 99) for access to the short films library and scheduled screenings for one day.
For those buying tickets early, PPP4 provides a discounted Early Bird Rate for the Full Run Pass for PHP 450 until October 15. After this date, senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) may avail of a 20% discount while students receive a 30% discount. PPP4 also offers a Free Pass which provides access to the calendar and other free content such as the PPP Short Films
Today, we are spotlighting a film from PPP4’s PH Oscar Entries section, the award-winning Brillante Mendoza film, “Ma’ Rosa.”
Ma’ Rosa (2016)
Directed by Brillante Mendoza
PPP4 PH Oscar Entries Section
“Ma’ Rosa” premiered in the main competition of the 69th Cannes Film Festival held in 2016, during which the film received a nomination for the prestigious Palme d’Or — the festival’s highest award. It was director Brillante Mendoza’s third film to compete at Cannes, following “Serbis” (2008) and “Kinatay” (2009), and it continued the building of a critically successful filmography.
The film stars Jaclyn Jose, whose performance as the titular Rosa Reyes won her the Cannes festival’s Best Actress award. She plays this role with a supporting cast featuring Julio Diaz, Baron Geisler, Mercedes Cabral, and more in a film displaying the hardships of Philippine urban poverty alongside a corrupt police force in charge of a war on drugs.
The narrative primarily revolves around Rosa and her family’s attempts to gather enough money to bribe corrupt police officers. After a local sting operation leads to the arrest of Rosa and her husband (played by Diaz) for engaging in small-scale drug dealing, their family is forced to find ways to gather enough bribe money to avoid severe jail time. In telling this story, Mendoza chooses a stripped back, documentary-like aesthetic which heightens the narrative’s sense of realism. Mendoza’s camera covers the frantic world of Rosa and her family, as they try to survive in a pitiless world through whatever means.
In many ways, what separates “Ma’ Rosa” from other films of its ilk lies precisely in Rosa’s grittiness and strength. Mendoza’s filmmaking, rather than overpowering Rosa’s narrative with pity or moralizing from above, instead chooses to follow her and allow Rosa’s fortitude to break through to us, the audience. Unlike other social realist films choosing to make a particular political point, the film remains content with engaging from about, therefore showing us a slice of life from Rosa and her family’s perspective.
Since its release, “Ma’ Rosa” has received countless nominations and awards from film festivals at home and abroad. Apart from the award and nomination at Cannes, the film also received nominations at the 2017 Gawad Urian Awards, 2017 FAP Awards, 2017 Star Awards for Movies, and more. It was chosen as the Philippine entry to the 89th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category, and will soon be screening at PPP4.
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