On Cannes and other trivialities

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Joyous Jaclyn Jose

Anybody in Jaclyn Jose’s place is sure to be extremely happy. Why not? She is this year’s Best Actress in the recently held Cannes Film festival.

Her unexpected winning (as far as Jaclyn is concerned) is history in the making. She is the first and the only Southeast Asian actress who won the prestigious award while Brillante Mendoza is the first and the only Filipino who won the Best Director award in Cannes.

Jaclyn won the Best Actress award in Brillante Mendoza’s film, Ma’ Rosa. She delineated the role of Rosa, a sari-sari storeowner who sells an illegal drug (shabu) on the side, in order to augment the family income.

Together with her husband, NESTOR, (played by Julio Diza) they use their convenient store as cover-up for selling illegal narcotic, Methamphetamines.

Their fate changes one Saturday night when their neighbor, who works as a fly-by-night parking attendant, begs her to sell him a small pack of Methamphetamine (shabu) without knowing that it’s a ploy for a pending buy-bust operation leading to Rosa and Nestor’s warrantless arrest by a police team.

The policemen command Rosa to rat-out their source of illegal narcotics as trade-off to their freedom. Hesitant, she has no choice but to call JOMAR, (another pusher, played by Kristoffer King), and cooperate with the policemen.

But despite latter’s arrest; the policemen inform Rosa and Nestor that they still need to pay 50,000 pesos for their freedom. Backed against the wall, Rosa seeks help from her children, JACKSON (Felix Roco), RAQUEL (Andi Eigenman and KERWIN (Jomari Umpa) as they do the unthinkable.

Jackson sells all their appliances while Raquel painstakingly borrows money from their poor relatives. On the other hand, Kerwin sells his body to his gay benefactor – all of these just to buy the freedom of their parents.

Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’ Rosa is a hybrid combination of his previous award winning films “Tirador” and “Kinatay”. Mendoza’s brand of film style is indisputably present in Ma’ Rosa.

Jaclyn Jose’s winning in this film is a testimony that Filipino talent is indeed world class and can compete in any of the international film festivals.

Standing ovation for almost 15 minutes and the jury’s verdict

After the screening of the film, the audience gave an almost 15 minute ovation until after the entourage had left the screening venue.

Brillante amidst the thunderous applause could not hold back his tears. He said during an interview, “the film is not about me, it is about the ordinary Filipino family who continuously struggle to survive amidst the ills that plague our society”

It was not all rose colored for Ma’ Rosa. Some critics were unkind with their review of the film. Brillante graciously dismissed these criticisms as he averred that being included in the competition is already a victory for the film.

The critics were saying that Jaclyn’s role was not worthy of a lead and that the film dealt with poverty porn.

“The critics were wrong,” said jury member Donald Sutherland. “It’s a big-time leading role.” “She’s the film,” said Arnaud Desplechin. “She broke my heart.”

During Jaclyn’s emotional acceptance speech, the jury was also moved by her spontaneous expression of gratitude and display of humility. Proof that the award really came as a big surprise.

According to my mole, the group was not really keen on attending the awards night. They were already preparing to do their last minute shopping since they are leaving the following day.

Jaclyn was elated enough that her daughter, Andi, was declared as one of the Best Dressed in the Red Carpet by Vanity Fair magazine.

Until after lunch when Brillante got a call from one of the organizers hinting that the film might get a prize.

Out of curiosity, they started to piece together some hints which prize could they possibly get.

The hints they gathered almost always pointed at the scriptwriter. Even the seating arrangement was such that they almost felt sure that the film would bag the Best Screenplay.

The whole venue broke into wild applause and joyful screams when the name Jaclyn Jose was announced. It was as if the entire universe agreed in unison. And truly it did. The audience applauded in total agreement of the jury’s decision.

It was a moment of triumph not only for the entire cast and crew of Ma’ Rosa but for the entire Philippines. President-elect Rodrigo Duterte immediately congratulated Jaclyn Jose and the Ma’ Rosa Team for the victory.

What a fitting coincidence that Ma’ Rosa, a film that tackled the issue on drugs,

had won an award in an international film festival. This is a gentle reminder to President-elect Duterte to fulfill his campaign promise to eradicate this problem in half a year.

Pest in the Festival, Da who?

In every event there has to be some hitches and bitches. Minor or major, they could serve as a challenge or the realization that nothing in this world is perfect.

The Ma’ Rosa team in the recent Cannes film festival was not spared with the pest. Since this person is known among the Filipinos who compete in the international film fests as a pest, once again she proved her “notoriety.”

While the entourage of Ma’ Rosa was still in Manila, she already demanded to be part of the entourage. So as not to totally reject her, she was accommodated. Then she demanded to be included in the entourage as part of the cast.

The group’s organizer could not accede to her “request” simply because not an iota of her was in the film. Her objective was simply to walk with the cast in the red carpet.

The greatest sin of this pest was she went to the festival in tow of seven more people bragging that she can pull strings and wantonly drops the name of our esteemed director just to attend the awards night.

She even had the gall to bump off the gracious hostess of the entourage as she and her cohorts took the car officially meant for the hostess.

She now earns the title, “PESTEval Queen” or “Pest in Cannes”. They could not ban her from these events because just like other pests she mutates.

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About the Writer

Rene Orobia Durian

Rene Orobia Durian is an educator, publicist and media specialist in the Philippines. He spearheads an effective media and press relation management team with politicians, filmmakers, performing artists, religious leaders and education figures as clients.

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