In the eyes of a child there is joy, there is laughter. There is hope, there is trust, a chance to shape the future. For the lessons of life there is no better teacher. Than the look in the eyes of a child...
I reckon you remember that Air Supply song right? It feels fitting that's all. One thing I like about children is that, once you asked, they rarely fail you. Like this child for example. She was happy to give me that smile. In his eyes, I was just a snooping, trying hard photographer. In my eyes, he's my impetus.
The only place I feel truly happy is when I am inside the cinemahouse. I could live there for all I care. As long as I am seeing good films that would bring me to places and offer new perspective—I am there.
Last night, I went to Gateway to see two more entries at the Cinemanila Film Fest: Vietnam’s Chuyen cua Pao (The Story of Pao) and Philippines’ Foster Child (which I’ve been looking forward to see, having seen most of Brilliante's flicks).
Chuyen cua Pao (The Story of Pao)
This is a coming-of-age film about a Hmong tribe girl named Pao who is on the search of her birth mother because her father has fallen ill. She was raised by her stepmother. Along the way the movie flashbacks to the old times and finding secrets about her family. She comes to deal with something she never thought she'd ever face. I got particularly interested in this film because the actress who portrayed Pao is Do Thi Hai Yen, most famous for her role in the movie "The Quiet American" with stars Brendan Fraiser and Michael Cain.
This is the debut film of Vietnamese actor Quang Hai Ngo, whom I believe is also the husband of Do Thi Hai Yen. The primitive landscape in the mountainous provinces of Vietnam is simply breathtaking. It reminds of the1999 Chinese film, Postmen in the Mountains which takes place in the remote mountains of Hunan, China. The landscape and the atmosphere are amazing. I am sucker for these places. Ah, suddenly, I am craving to go to Vietnam!
Like the movie Tribu, this movie reveals the Filipino soul, our sub-culture. It tells the story of foster parents for hire in a third world country like the Philippines. Foster parents work under a Foundation that pays them P1,500 a month as caregiver, on top of providing the baby milk, diapers, vitamins, and other expenses for the taking care of the child. This is in preparation for the adoption of the child.
I got curious and was awed by the whole idea of the film, the first time I heard it. I didn’t even know that there is such thing as "fosteering in the slums" until I saw the whole movie. There’s this question that haunted me: Do these abandoned babies fit to grow in this kind of environment? 1-3 years old are crucial stages in every childhood, why are poor families the ones fostering abandoned babies? Brilliante Mendoza was there last night ready to take some questions. But I was too tired to ask, I was all packed up and ready to go home.
One thing I appreciate about the film though is its focus not merely on poverty and social conditions among many Filipinos, rather, its focus on how we value family and staying together. How amidst, poverty we still manage to smile and continue to have a positive outlook in life. The movie is a tear jerker. I did not cry though, but I was deeply touched.
By the way, Cherry Pie Picache did a stunning, realistic portrayal of her role that she bagged the best actress award in India. Foster Child was shown in the Director’s Forthnight at the Cannes Film Festival.