Cannes Film Festival – Best actress: Jaclyn Jose in “Ma’ Rosa”

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival – “Ma’Rosa,” directed by Brillante Mendoza wins the “Palme d’Or” for the best actress: Jaclyn Jose. A movie absolutely worth to watch.

The Trailer:

Cannes Film Festival

The International Film Festival was created on the initiative of Jean Zay, Minister for Education and Fine Arts, who was keen to establish an international cultural event in France to rival the Venice Film Festival.
The first edition of the Festival was originally set to be held in Cannes in 1939 under the presidency of Louis Lumière. However, it was not until over a year after the war ended that it finally took place, on 20 September 1946. It was subsequently held every September – except in 1948 and 1950 – and then every May from 1952 onwards.

Today the Cannes Film Festival is one of the 3 most important film festivals in Europe aside Venice and Berlin. A “Palme d’Or” in Cannes is culturally much more worth than an “Oscar” in Hollywood. The Oscar is just another promotion tool to see $$$.

Here is the official 2016 selection:

Cannes Film Festival 2016
Cannes Film Festival 2016
Cannes Film Festival 2016

Philippine movies

In our “Culture page” I wrote that today 9 out of 10 Filipino movies are “Bollywood” style. But the one film out of ten is a piece of art. It’s not always accepted by the average movie goers, but it stands out of the mass production of Mumbay and Hollywood inspired productions. The Cannes Film Festival proves that Pinoy movies can be outstanding.

And more astonishing is the fact that Jaclyn Jose could step out of this mass production. During many years I saw her in these cheap all day soap operas on GMA and ABS-CBN. These most awful TV channels that shower you all day with cheap productions and much more advertisement. Did I really see her? No I just caught a glimpse at her, when I passed by one of this millions of TV sets installed everywhere.

And now, Jaclyn Jose, got the “Palme d’Or” at the Cannes Film Festival. Mes sincères felicitations Madame.

The spoiler

Don’t read this if you want to be surprised by the plot.

Ma’Rosa (Jaclyn Jones) has four children and with her husband Nestor (Julio Diaz) runs a tiny open-all-hours store in a tough neighbourhood of Manila, a business which required the simple but backbreaking business of buying basic items like candy, milk, bread etc effectively wholesale from a local supermarket, hauling it back in dozens of carrier bags and retailing it at a profit to people who need the convenience of a shop nearby. But the economics don’t work: Ma’Rosa also sells drugs through her shop, which has effectively become a way of laundering the cash income from the weed and meth. But the drugs aren’t making her rich: just keeping her above the waterline.

When the police show up and arrest them, Rosa, Nestor and their entire family are dragged off to the station where the officers are absolutely open about this arrest as a mouthwatering opportunity to solicit bribes — called “bail money”. Rosa is told to pay them a large amount of money, or else finger her supplier so he can be dragged in and leant on for a bribe. So it proves, and Mendoza finds the black comedy in how childlishly delighted the coppers are with the discovery of rolls of cash in the drug dealers’ bag, which can be skimmed to pay for an impromptu beer and fried chicken party, before the exact sum has to be logged. But there is no party for Rosa and her family; the children must now be to be sent out into the city to raise the money by whatever means necessary.

In many ways, it’s a fierce and pessimistic satire, in which Ma’Rosa is a sort of Mother Courage, doing what it takes to survive. There is in fact what seems like the beginning of a subplot in which the drug dealer is caught by the officers trying to text the news that he has been caught — to a senior policeman, indicating that the corruption is higher up and more complicated than we thought. But Mendoza appears to lose some interest in that narrative possibility and shifts the focus back to the impassive, determined Rosa and her kids. They must abase themselves in every way to spring their parents from prison, knowing now that all they have to look forward to is poverty, and the experience itself has embittered and hardened them even more than their mum and dad.

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