Movie Review: Pamilya Ordinaryo
The dirt, grime, and filth are so real you can feel them on your skin and in your soul.
On the other side of the world that we, the educated/working class, don’t see or close our eyes to, live two people so steeped in reality they have no space in their lives for the abstract—such as opinions or dreams.
They only struggle to survive, day after day, receiving or deflecting whatever comes. They are deprived of morals and vocabulary, the subtle nuances of language and emotions. So they curse when they’re angry, sad, or frustrated—about the only feelings they are familiar with. And because joy simply trickles in, they have no words to express it.
Pamilya Ordinaryo robbed me of sleep the night after watching it at the Cinemalaya (Philippine Independent Film Festival) 12, especially because the director and writer, Eduardo Roy, Jr., chose teenage parents (ages 16 and 17), still children in my circle, to show us life at its rawest.
Rugby-sniffing Ariel (Ronwaldo Martin) and Jane (Hasmine Killip) live on a scungy sidewalk with discarded cardboard for bed and stolen discards for furnishings. Where they poo or pee is not shown, but the answers are lodged in our mind.
They have a less-than-a month-old baby, Arjan (a coined name after theirs), who gets stolen by a gay man, one of those alley prowlers who prey on the weak and the poor.
The rest of the well-crafted movie follows Ariel and Jane in their difficult quest to recover the only thing they ever owned. They are thrown into mainstream society, but are never welcomed. Here, where they don’t belong, they are soiled further. Apathy, scam, rape—adeptly portrayed sans melodrama—drive the hopelessness into the pits.
I had hoped for redemptive grace in the end, a short sigh of relief, but that hope was dashed when the scene shows Ariel and Jane escaping from captors in a moving bus—probably headed to nowhere, the place that awaits them—among passengers as stoic as they are, lost in their own thoughts.
In that ultimate scene, you sort of wait for what would happen next. But it ends, depicting what has become of humanity.
It is one of the more powerful indie films I have had the chance to watch this year. Not only because of the authenticity of the scenes, dialogues, silences (through the CCTV device), and actors, but because it is too intrusive to ignore.
Kudos to the other members of the cast for their noteworthy performances: Maria Isabel Lopez, Sue Prado, Ruby Ruiz, Moira Lang, Karl Medina, Erlinda Villalobos, Domingo Cobarrubias, Paolo Rodriguez, John Bon Andrew Lentejas, John Vincent Servilla, Rian Magtaan, Myla Monido, Alora Sasam, and Ruth Alferez.