August is the National Language Month. It also happens to be the month of monsoons, strong winds, and typhoons.
(Translation: Work and school suspensions abound)
Everyone is encouraged to stay at home as much as possible to protect themselves from harm and sickness. Unfortunately, people on a fast-paced life are quickly bored at home. Boredom becomes a problem especially when home means a house and lot – Cavitehouse and lot – Cavite, Laguna or other communities far from the city.
Make the most of a rainy day by catching up on needed zzz’s or better yet, why not binge watch some movies. Here are some Filipino movies heavy on the storyline and the drama that will make your tear drop on a guitar.
Director: Maryo J. de los Reyes
Screenwriter: Michiko Yamamoto
Producer: Violeta Sevilla
Magnifico was young Jiro Manio’s claim to fame. The movies center on a boy named Magnifico and his family’s poor living state in a rural area in Laguna. His name means ‘magnificent,’ which gives him a burden of living up to the word. His mom, portrayed by Lorna Tolentino, always talks about their lack of finances. Both his parents don’t think highly of him. He has a brother who’s away for college and a sister with cerebral palsy, but these things don’t bring him down. He does little things to help ease the family’s burden like building a coffin from scratch for his cancer-ridden grandmother. Unfortunately, the touching tale of the young boy comes to a tragic end. You have to see the ending for yourself.
Magnifico is one of the best Filipino drama film of all time.
Director: Rory B. Quintos
Screenwriter: Ricardo Lee, Raymond Lee
Producer: Trina N. Dayrit
Few movies showed the struggle of Overseas Filipino Workers in the early years, yet Anak managed to capture the reality of leaving the family in exchange for abuse and poor working conditions abroad.
The movie tells the story of a mother, played by Vilma Santos, who left for Hong Kong and worked as a kasambahay to Chinese families. Her employer would not let her take vacations, locked her up and took her passport. She became bound to her employer when they took an extended vacation so didn’t receive the letters from her children stating their father was gone.
When she had the chance to return home, she tries her best to keep her family together. However, the resentment and hatred from her children get in the way of rebuilding their family ties.
Anak is a classic. It may not represent most of the OFW stories, but one way or the other each family with a member far from home would relate to the story.
Director: Joel Lamangan
Screenwriter: Ricardo Lee
Producer: Charo Santos – Concio
Another touching movie written by Ricardo Lee, Mila tells the true story of Anita Pamintuan.
The film centers on Mila Cabangon, a public school teacher, portrayed by Maricel Soriano. Mila genuinely cares for her students. She is also generous and benevolent. Most of all, she is approachable and has a good heart. She is a friend to everyone.
A story wouldn’t be complete without struggles, and she definitely has a lot. She was strong and managed to overcome her strife from childhood. She lost her teaching position because of the strike and discovered her lover was an addict who tried to extort their possessions to finance his vice. She wandered the street of Ermita upon losing her job.
She didn’t know why she was there, but she enjoyed teaching the children as well as the prostitutes. She gave and offered help even when she had nothing left. Eventually, poverty took its toll on her. Her body gave up, and she died in the streets.
Mila shows the hardship faced by teachers against the government. Their passion for sharing knowledge reigns even in the face of adversity.
Director: Laurice Guillen
Screenwriter: Shaira Mella Salvador, Laurice Guillen
Producer: Elma Madua
Tanging Yaman tells the story of a family divided because of an inheritance left by their deceased patriarch. Three siblings, now with their families, visit their nurturing and self-giving but ailing and feeble mother whose love is the only thing that binds the siblings and grandchildren together.
The movie successfully displayed the contrast of provincial values and urban traits present in the second and third generation members of the family. Distance and time placed a strain on each relationship, and the characters showed how does family get along in spite of the instances. Tanging Yaman teaches the power of love, faith, acceptance of one’s self, the effects of controlling others’ lives as well as feelings of jealousy and insecurity.
Director: Chito S. Roño
Screenwriter: Jewel Castro, Chris Martinez
Producer: Elma Madua, Eduardo Mangahas
Caregiver is another movie that shows the struggles of an OFW. Set in 2008, a grade school English teacher flies to the United KIngdom to support her husband. Sarah Gonzales, played by Sharon Cuneta, becomes a caregiver in a retirement home. The distance from her son, pressure from the job and the conflicts that arise from the couple opened Sarah’s eyes. Her self-discovery made her an empowered woman.
Sarah’s journey is relatable to Filipinos who recently left the country to give their family a better life. The movie also shows a Filipino kid raised in London whose attitude can be considered problematic but only wants love and affection from his parents.
These five movies are top-notch and guaranteed to form pools under your eyes. Don’t be surprised if your vision blurs in the middle of the film screening. Just make sure to have a box of tissue at arm’s reach.