TIFF 2016 Movie Review: MA’ ROSA (Philippines 2016) ****

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2016. Go to TIFF 2016 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

ma_rosa_poster.jpgMA’ ROSA (Philippines 2016) ****
Directed by Brillante Mendoza

Starring: Jaclyn Jose, Julio Diaz, Baron Geisler

Review by Gilbert Seah

MA’ ROSA (Jaclyn Rose) is a plump middle-aged convenience store owner with a drug using husband and three children who are more enterprising than they let their parents to believe. Rosa does a bit of selling drugs to make ends meet.

When Rosa and her husband are arrested, she and her children do all their best to come up scott-free any way possible which includes bribing the corrupt cops. Mendoza’s (SLINGSHOT) film is done neo-realist style using non-professional actors in a real setting (a poor Manila neighbourhood).

The camera often follows behind each character, very much like in a Dardenne Brothers’ film. The result is a totally absorbing film, depressing (it rains half the time in the film) though, most of the time.

A bit of much needed humour is provided by a bitchy aunt who lends the family money but not before having her voice heard. Jaclyn Rose won her Best Actress at this year’s Cannes which is another reason to see this rare Filipino film.

Trailer: https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=SQ4nqo6FuS8

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