Thursday, August 17, 2017

Nakauwi na - A 2017 Cinemalaya Short Film

The review may appear biased because I knew the team behind this short film. They were former students who graduated a few months ago. A school project that landed on the stage of Cinemalaya is already remarkable. However, the achievement went beyond expectations. It won Cinemalaya's Audience Choice for short feature film. Hats off to Nicholle, Sean, Martin, Jaynus and the entire team!!! 

Nakauwi na deals with a social and political issue that has become a constant content of the local news, EJK or extra judicial killings. Nakauwi na focuses on the untouched side of EJK. If there is anything that remains unadulterated about EJKs, it's the concealed stories of families behind each death statistic. 

Father and son, Mang Jerry and Emman, depicts the life of a typical Filipino family. Mang Jerry is a struggling yet optimistic jeepney driver, who wanted nothing but for Emman to finish his studies. Emman is the dutiful son about to finish his degree in Engineering. A few days before Emman's graduation, Mang Jerry woke up to the worst nightmare for any parent. Emman's lifeless body was plastered, disgraced and labeled with the usual accusation in those summary killings. 

The film highlighted the reality that most victims of EJKs came from poverty stricken families. It's almost tantamount to saying that poverty begets EJK. Another eye opener was how poverty and EJK can deny anyone even with the least respect. Surviving families cannot even mourn because of financial burdens, legal concerns arising from a crooked justice system that favors those with resources and connections, and the depressing reality that even your remaining support system (friends and relatives) will eventually close their doors. All these happened to Mang Jerry. 

Despite all the inhumanity, Mang Jerry, who has all the right to blame the system, remained meek and honest. He resorted on pitiful measures just to give that decent send off for his lone son. In the end, he stood up and fulfilled that one last mission. The scene was painful yet heart warming, heroic and dignifying. 

The short film is overflowing with themes and sentiments, setting aside the ruthlessness of EJK. The film also emphasized that Mang Jerry and Emman's story represents only one of the thousands in the growing list of death figures. The film does not aim to end all the summary killings or aggravate the hate to the people behind this injustice. There were compelling scenes that challenged viewers to rethink or change their perceptions. A significant part of the film relates that while we condemn all forms of social injustices, we have unconsciously become its silent contributors.

No doubt, 5 out of 5 stars for Nakauwi Na.  

4 comments

  1. Wow! Congrats sa mga former students mo :)
    May trailer ba ito sa youtube? Wala pa man din akong napapanuod na kahit na anong part ng short film na ito, damang-dama na ang story at husay base sa pagkakasulat mo. Sana mas marami pang mga ganitong mapagpamulat na pelikula :)

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    1. Jep, naghahanap din ako ng trailer kasi i-embed ko sana dito. Kaso wala.

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  2. Wow this indie film is very socially relevant based on your post. Nakakalungkot lahat ng EJK na nangyayari ngayon :(

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    1. Hours after publishing this post, the death of the grade 11 kid and the "man slaughter" in Bulacan was all over my FB newsfeed. How sad...

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