Ma' Rosa TIFF 2016

TIFF 2016: Ma’ Rosa Review


As my colleague Jason Gorber indicated in our review of Toni Erdmann, hype is the real killer. At my screening of Ma’Rosa, a Filipino film directed by Brillante Ma Mendoza, the programmer prior to the film spent a good amount of time proclaiming it to the heavens. He established the director as nothing short of revolutionary and told us that the star of the film, Jaclyn Jose, won her Best Actress at Cannes and was extraordinary in her performance. I’m fairly certain they must have been talking about another film as I didn’t see anything spectacular about this one.

I would like to now make a recommendation that film festivals just not talk up the film beforehand. We bought the tickets, you don’t need to sell it to us. I don’t know if I would have liked this film better if it hadn’t been hyped up to the nines, but now we will never know.

Ma’ Rosa is the matriarch of a family that procures its measly income from selling drugs. Unfortunately, they run into some corrupt police and Ma’ Rosa and her husband need to rack up some bail money to leave the police station. There’s not much more to say, really. The film does shine light on the corrupt police practices in the Philippines, and also demonstrates how poverty is cyclical (since the same people continuously lend and borrow the same amounts of money), but for a two-hour run time and with all the hype surrounding it, I was expecting more. Jose is not a bad actress, by any means, but she is not given much to do here to warrant her getting Best Actress at Cannes: she is only one part of an ensemble cast that all has various moments dedicated to them – why don’t they get acting awards too?


Thursday, Sept. 15, 9:45pm @ TIFF Bell Lightbox
Friday, Sept. 16, 3:00pm @ TIFF Bell Lightbox