By KRIZIA MAICA B. MAGBITANG
THOUGH TECHNOLOGY has come a long way, this does not waver nor eradicate a Filipino’s belief in the supernatural or any local superstitions shared by the urban and rural communities. One reason as to why one still holds onto these beliefs that are dubbed as illogical notions is a person’s optimism of possibly making the supposed genuine folklore happen before their eyes.
This suspension of disbelief manifests in one of Cinemalaya’s 2017 entry, Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha or The Family That Does Not Weep with Sharon Cuneta portraying a despondent woman named Cora, who decides to search for the Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha. Believing the barangay’s stories about the family’s powers of bringing any lost relative, loved one or even a dead dog come back to the home the family stays at, Cora is desperate in locating the family’s whereabouts. Along with the pursuit is Tiyo Biboy (Niño Muhlach), a private investigator paid to find the missing family and Bebang (Moi Marcampo), a maid Cora hired solely for companionship and to take care of her daily drunken stupor.
What stands out in the film is its penchant for making the audience bubble with laughter every time Cora and Bebang appear on the screen and bicker in their everyday routine. At first, the relationship the two have is clearly between a master and slave as Cora belittles and mocks Bebang who also dislikes her in return. As the two bond over liquor during the film’s progression, they finally acknowledge each other’s worth with Bebang growing to care and express sympathy towards Cora who has been abandoned by everyone she loves.
Later in the film, their situation of who has the upper hand is further diluted by their endless comedic banter. Marcampo emanates a delightful atmosphere in any dreary scene while Cuneta effortlessly shows Cora’s constant maudlin state. The chemistry between the two is undeniable. Director Mes De Guzman undoubtedly flaunts this throughout the film’s entirety but, this causes the audience to focus only on the smaller details rather than the big picture of the plot.
It is noted how the film’s dramatic essence is lessened since the audience are never given the chance to create an emotional attachment towards the Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha, given that the family had little screen time and was shown only in vague scenarios that are left unexplained from start to finish. Cora’s pursuit for the family lacks effort and emphasis as well since she does not experience any struggle in finding the family and only waits for Biboy’s phone calls for updates on the family’s whereabouts.
Cuneta’s performance as a woman swallowed by her loneliness is praiseworthy. She and Marcampo raise the film to its supposed dramatic standpoint during the film’s climax as Cora reaches her breaking point with Bebang as the only one who eases her away from the pain. The two may have stolen the spotlight from the family, but it is the audience who gets to decide whether they consider this as good or not. With the film’s pleasing end, Ang Pamilyang Hindi Lumuluha sends out the message of never losing hope despite abandonment and to the possibility of rebuilding what is already broken. F