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5 disturbing realities that will make you cringe in ‘Pamilya Ordinaryo’

The film, Pamilya Ordinaryo, depicts the everyday life of teenage parents, Aries and Jane Ordinaryo, as they struggle to raise their child through pickpocketing until fate decides to give them a dose of their own medicine.

Pamilya Ordinaryo is a heartbreaking sketch of a Philippine reality. If you are well aware of this reality already, then this movie serves as a reminder that things are getting worse. If you are aware but uninformed, then this film will disturb you. If you are neither aware nor informed, then this will move you to tears; if it doesn’t, melt your heart with compassion. Here are five realities portrayed in the film that will make you wince:

WARNING: May contain spoilers.

Reality #1: There are many illiterate and homeless children in the country.

Street life
© Screenshot from the film’s trailer

Yes there are many homeless kids out there. You can see them roaming around the streets, sleeping on the sidewalks, knocking on your car window, or begging for food or coins as you pass by. They live on the streets and their life is on the streets. Most of them do not know how to read or write. And you can expect that their sentences are marred with foul words. Pamilya Ordinaryo gives you exactly that picture. No sugar coating. It is as we see it happening in reality.

Reality #2: There are a lot of teenage parents these days and children born out of wedlock.

Pamilya Ordinaryo 01
© Screenshot from the film’s trailer

It is no secret that there is a higher rate of teenage pregnancy than before. There are moms as young as sixteen raising children born out of wedlock. Even worse is the fact that it is rampant in all classes – rich, middle class, and poor. The upper classes have the means to sufficiently provide for the kid. But what about those people living on the streets like Jane? We know it is a lot worse for them and their children.

Reality #3: The weak and poor are often taken advantage of.

© Screenshot from the film's trailer
© Screenshot from the film’s trailer

It was annoying to see how the police, who are supposed to help, serve, and protect people, abuse the poor and the powerless in this film. It will make you shake your head in anger and frustration. But we know that it happens. Pamilya Ordinaryo gives viewers a glimpse of this reality when Jane came to the police for aid in searching for her baby. The police did help her but for the price of her dignity.

Reality #4: Most of the time, we are more selfish than selfless.
In this film, there is a thin line between selfishness and selflessness. Probably when Aries and Jane were pilfering so they have food to eat, it looks very selfish. But when they start doing that so they can find and get their baby back, do you think it is still a selfish act?

© Image from the Facebook page of Director Eduardo Roy Jr.
© Image from the Facebook page of Director Eduardo Roy Jr.

Pamilya Ordinaryo paints a picture of how a seemingly selfless act can turn out to be a selfish one. People were helping them because they will gain something out of it. For the radio and TV stations, it was good press. For others, it was money and pleasure. In the end, there are only a handful of people who will help without expecting anything in return.

Reality #5: A good mother will do everything to get her child back.
Losing a child is a real heartbreaker for any mother. In this film, there were two moms that were depicted, Jane’s mother and Jane herself. Jane’s mom is one of those mothers who care more for their vices than their kid. It was the reason that Jane opted to live on the streets.

Jane 01
© Screenshot from the film’s trailer

Jane, on the other hand, though a teenage mother, sets an example of what it is like to be a good mother. She will do everything to get her child back. Of course, I do not agree with all her actions, but her love for her child motivates and compels her to act. She was duped, maligned, and taken advantage of, but she kept going and looking for her baby, Arjan.

Among all the three full length films I watched during the Cinemalaya Film Festival, this affected me the most. It didn’t bring me to tears, but it broke my heart over and over again as I was watching it. It deserved the four awards it garnered in the Full-Length Feature Film category: Netpac prize, Best full-length feature film, Best Director: Eduardo Roy Jr, and Best Actress: Hasmine Killip.

Perhaps, this film is one of those that I will not easily forget. Particularly this question Aries Ordinaryo posited to Jane: “Paano kung okay ang buhay ni baby Arjan doon sa pamilya na iyon. Maaalagaan siya maigi, maibibigay ang mga bagay na hindi natin kayang ibigay, kukunin mo pa ba siya?”

If you were in their shoes, what would you do?

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