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T500FC, 450th: Grandmother [Lola] (Brillante Mendoza, 2009)

March.11.2011

The Brillante Mendoza is definitely on a roll. In 2008, we saw the dirtiest secrets of a torn down theatre in Serbis. In 2009, we saw the excruciating dismemberment of a prostitute in Kinatay. And on that same year, he gave us Lola, a simple yet complex story of two grandmothers that are affected by their grandsons. A very significant factor in this movie is the director’s approach to the film, a movie created by him without showing skin.

Lola intertwines the different sides of the story of a victim and a pursuer. The victim’s story, who was killed by the pursuer, gives us his grandmother’s struggle on two things, first is giving justice to her grandson and the other with her trying to acquire enough money for her grandson’s burial. The other story gives us the pursuer’s grandmother in her own quest to save her grandson from rotting in prison.

The heightened sense of Mendoza’s, the director, trademark scenes are invisible in this film. A mis-fortunate sense of gloominess falls upon the mostly flooded areas of the victim’s story. As we wouldn’t want to identify ourselves or even try to tell ourselves that what we are seeing is pure fiction, at the back of our minds, we might think that this is possible probably, and obviously, in the urban poor areas.

With this film having been nominated and won in a number of impressive awards worldwide, one can definitely identify why this film garnered such prestige. Who would’ve thought that a story of the dilemma of two grandmothers would prove engaging and much more, provides us with a good sense of reality wherein a person’s survival plus its own moral upbringing would definitely raise eyebrows on the viewer but we all know things like this happen.

Rustica Carpio, the actress who played the pursuer’s grandmother, was definitely effective. The ultimate manipulator was what her character wanted and she nailed it albeit lightly and sometimes devilishly unrecognizable in some instances. It was also nice that Mendoza cast Ketchup Eusebio as the pursuer. At least he won’t be stereotyped in the funny role, as he was able to characterize a masked innocent, much like Carpio. And finally we have Anita Linda as the grieving grandmother of the victim. It was just right for Mendoza to cast her as such.

I know the movie’s climax wasn’t the greatest solution to the film. I’ve wanted to go to the positive ending, one where it ends as morally right. But it is not always the case, where Mendoza hits you on the face and tells you that the truth is always the best solution, even if it was just his version of the story.

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