As quarantine continues worldwide, we here at Banner Media scour Netflix and other streaming services for hidden gems to enjoy and review. One of them is Cinemalaya’s Best Film of 2016 “Pamilya Ordinaryo”. Let’s take a closer look.
Plot Summary: Jane and Aries are homeless teenage parents making a living out of petty crimes in Manila
Director: Eduardo Roy Jr.
Cast: Ronwaldo Martin as Aries, Jasmine Kilip as Jane, Raymond Lee as Ertha
Set in the rough areas of Manila, Philippines—Pamilya Ordinaryo/Ordinary People takes a look at the systemic discrimination of the poor as well as their harsh realities.
Meet 17-year-old Aries, first introduced to us dressed in rags while sniffing rugby off a plastic bag. Next to him on a littered bridge is his 16-year-old skanky and raggedy wife, Jane who’s holding their 1-month-old baby. Aries gives Jane a wet kiss with his halitosis, dirty lips, and unbrushed teeth. In the next scene, we see them having sex on the sidewalk with a carton as a bed. These are just some of the disgustingly grotesque imagery that director Eduardo Roy Jr. has put on screen. And whether or not he commodified the poverty of the Philippines through this film—that would be another conversation.
I can only imagine what the cast and crew went through to get these shots. The acting by Jasmine and Ronwaldo is spot on. They run through the streets with no shoes on, they lay on dirty streets and they go through a lot of harsh treatment from their families, the media, and the chief of the police station. Jane cries her heart out when her baby gets stolen while Aries acts like an inconsiderate jerk to her. And as Aries’ fury gets washed offshore, we see him try so hard to win back the love and trust of Jane. And while we know how poisonous these characters are from the moment we meet them, we can’t help but feel a little empathetic towards them.
It’s quite intriguing to see the underground market being explored here. His husband steals a cell phone then Jane is tasked to conceal it from the owner and sell it to the market. And knowing the price of that phone in that market baffled me. And for them to get way less on what they stole is heartbreaking considering how we all pay for our gadgets. I just wish we got more of these scenes to have a better understanding of these markets.
Overall, this movie was quite enjoyable. It may be considered as poverty porn, but it was well-written, well-acted, and well-directed nonetheless.
Pamilya Ordinaryo gets an 8/10
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