Saturday, January 10, 2009

KUBRADOR (THE BET COLLECTOR)

KUBRADOR
(THE BET COLLECTOR)

Gina Pareno, Fonz Deza, Nanding Josef, Domingo Landicho


Cinema One




Normally I don't watch local movies. Why not? Well there are several reasons which I rather not discuss. But as I was waiting for hubby to come home, I was flipping the TV remote and chanced upon "Kubrador" on Cinema One. Fortunately it just started so for want of something to watch, as well as knowing fully well that it won raves and awards in the international film festivals circuit, I stayed put to view the film.

It tells the story of Amy, a bet collector of the illegal numbers game, jueteng. Amy is an interesting character of contrasts - she is deeply religious yet earns her living through illegal means. She puts up a tough bossy exterior yet she is also easily affected by grief.

The slums or the depressed areas as we like to refer to it in this country is the main setting of this bleak film. A film that doesn't hide behind glossy technical aspects. Through shaking hand held cameras, it vividly presents the tiny alleys of the congested surroundings, the squalor, the rampant corruption and the daily grind of ordinary slum dwellers. It also features a myriad of supporting roles essayed by good actors, thespians known in the theater as well as the celluloid industry.

But kudos goes to Gina Pareno for convincingly depicting a humanely resilient character complete with valid fears, immeasurable flaws, yet driven by a fatalistic belief in God and in mankind. Her personification of a mother who earns a meager income through jueteng is very poignant, sympathetic and emotionally powerful. The typical matriarch of a dysfunctional family who just keeps on giving her very best even when she is ill. She defines the whole film and she truly deserves all the awards she has accumulated so far.

Although the main essence of the film is Amy. It also puts an indelible mark on the ills of Philippine society where sadly poverty, corruption and injustice take center stage. And Jeffrey Jeturian, the director makes no qualms nor excuses about presenting this 'ugly and raw' side of the Philippines to the world through his thought provoking film.

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