Tuesday, December 11

Paki: Starting Anew Despite Old Age

By KRIZIA MAICA G. MAGBITANG

photo from assets.rappler.com

AN UNPLEASANT fact in the Filipino society is how common it is for men to commit adultery and how women turn a blind eye. One particular article even remarked at the increasing infidelity rates of married Filipino males and the justification of their act by saying it supplements a man’s machismo. One of the Cinema One Originals 2017 film entry, Paki, takes on this social issue in a contemporary setting and bags the Best Picture and Best Director awards.

The main character, Molina (Dexter Doria), has had enough of putting up with her husband’s womanizing ways. She leaves her home and, for once, stands up on her own even though her family does not approve of this decision. The film’s title, Paki, is translated into two words, “please” and “care,” and it encapsulates Molina’s qualms and current state. In the beginning, Molina questions her existence to her family; she loses her place in their lives, and throughout the film, she becomes a nomad as she seeks refuge in her children’s home but was only met with an unwelcoming aura.

Her two daughters, Des (Shamaine Buencamino) and Ella (Eula Valdez), urge her to reconcile with their father, Uro (Noel Trinidad) for their own selfish reasons. Des and Ella embody the old society’s normalization of infidelity in marriages, with both stating that Molina should just put up with him since he will never change and present to the audience how Uro being a philanderer is known by the entire family yet, does not care to confront him about it.

Doria’s performance as a woman clashing with the stereotypical martyr wife is exquisite. She exhibits neither rage nor sadness for Uro in separating from him. Molina alone contemplates already on what happens next; never did she show an ounce of regret for what she did despite her daughters’ guilt tripping. While in her lonesome state, she battles an inner conflict of which should she love more–herself or her family first?

To have two LGBT couples exist in the family and presenting them as a norm, with Molina hanging out at the club with her grandson and his live-in boyfriend and later engaging her deepest fears exclusively to her daughter’s long-term partner, is quite a sight in the film. Paki expands its view of a modernized family by having these two couples, Randy (Cielo Aquino) and Maxine (Ina Feleo), and Raymond (Miguel Valdez) and Gab (Paolo Paraiso), as lovers who are at ease with their relatives. Their presence is even seen as something the parents and their siblings look up to. Perceived as unorthodox at first, nevertheless, it resonates the desire to make gay couples finally be a part of the modern Filipino family in the society.

From past grievances to present dilemmas, Paki gives the audience a full spectrum of family conflicts through each character in the story. The instrumental background complemented Molina’s melancholic moments, pulling the audience to feel what it is like to be in her shoes. To find a film with so little loose strings is rare as it delivers its theme lightly but also weighs heavily in one’s chest. Despite its overall dramatic essence, the comedic aspect exists through the family’s banter, most especially through Molina’s facial expressions. What makes Paki unforgettable is its courage to engage in crucial social issues and the thought of being never too late to start over life if one ever loses control of it. F

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