It’s this time of the year again, Cinemalaya on its lucky number 13. Still, it never fails to amaze me with its diverse collections of masterpieces in all platforms possible, particularly the ones that tackles timely events that are happening in our country. And that brings me to one of the full-length films we chose to watch this year – Ang Guro Kong ‘Di Marunong Magbasa (My Teacher Who Doesn’t Know How To Read).
For the past couple of years, we are only watching Cinemalaya movies because of the casts and crew, or the movie speaks our language. There were innate factors that affect our decisions, but it did not mean that they weren’t great (‘cos they’re all amazing nevertheless!)
This time, it was different. Nothing of those sort helped us decide what film to watched, so we had a top 3. After reading the synopsis and watching the trailers, we decided to go with this one. One major aspect that gave it a go for us – a raging cry for education.
Together with my cousin Mimi and her friend, Em-em, we arrived at CCP Complex, 15 minutes before the show started. We took some selfies before shutting down our phones as the movie is about to start. I will try not to spill out spoilers as I go along and discuss what my thoughts are after watching “Ang Guro…”
The movie if I remembered correctly is more or less than 2 hours. It has full of battles in it, from start to finish, literally and figuratively portrayed. It tackles the current issues our country has to date – corruption in the government, violence against women and children, healthcare, poverty, war and conflict, and most of all, the inaccessibility to education of the children on the remote and war-stricken areas in the Philippines.
The story-line was pretty simple actually. Loosely prepared to be exact. It was seemed to be a puzzle compressed and fitted altogether to create a bigger, more important picture, and it surely was not about a teacher (played by Alfred Vargas) who doesn’t know how to even read and write, yet was forced to teach the children in their village due to extreme circumstances. No, it was more than that. At some point, I even think of it as an advertisement, a bothersome and a horrible one, yet done in the greatest way possible. Then comes the question, what are you going to do about it?
We laughed and cried our hearts out the entire time. It hits the nerve, very close to home. We got one word for it: Intense!
If you are looking for an entertainment, this is not for you. It depicts a very strong and unsubtle message that we, Filipinos, tend to neglect or escape from. It made me sad, uneasy, guilty at some point and horrified, as I look them in the eyes of these child actors. The kids are so amazing in the movie, as the movie itself is frightening in real life.
Message received Direk Perry! And I am still asking myself, what am I going to do about it?
And to Cinemalaya, as expected, you never failed to put us on edge. ‘Till next year!