In Maratabat, the first film by journalist Arlyn de la Cruz, one family—Abubakar—rules a fictional yet familiar province in Muslim Mindanao. The father is Governor, the eldest son Congressman, the younger son Mayor. Their power appears to be absolute; they don’t so much govern the province as hold it hostage. Early on the Governor (Julio Diaz, switching between charm and malevolence so fast it makes your head spin) has breakfast with a young relative. All is friendly until the younger man confirms that he intends to run for mayor against the Governor’s son. The Governor casually shoots him in the head and leaves. No witnesses come forward—“It happened so fast.”
Motherhood, Money and Medicine
How many movies have we seen in which a bitchy, overbearing woman is revealed in the end to be a tender-hearted softie hiding behind a veneer of toughness? Thankfully, Zig Dulay’s M (Mother’s Maiden Name) is not one of those movies.
Zsa Zsa Padilla is terrific as Bella, a successful lawyer and single mother who discovers that she has late-stage cancer. “How did that happen?” she asks her doctor. “I eat expensive food. I seldom drink, and only expensive liquor.” Thus she sums up her upper middle-class notion that her lifestyle will protect her from anything really terrible. That’s what she thinks. In M, everyone is vulnerable to illness regardless of socio-economic class; however, money will determine the quality of medical treatment.
Read our column at InterAksyon.com.
Today’s reviews are brought to you by the letter M.
* * * * *
M (Mother’s Maiden Name) and Maratabat will screen at the New Wave (in other words, indie) section of the Metro Manila Film Festival, December 17-24, 2014 at Glorietta in Ayala Center, Makati and Megamall in Mandaluyong.