Movie: Oros

"Oros"

The film set in a decadent world where even death becomes a provider.  In a country where a cadaver may serve as license for holding a sakla operation (illegal gambling) in wakes, people may exploit the dead in order to generate income from the profits of gambling, and possibly pay for its burial.  In Oros, a funeral parlor owner sells an unidentified body to Makoy, a kasero in a saklaan, who, along with his reluctant brother, Abet, set the stage for a three-week long fake wake holding the illegal saklaan.  The sakla personnel deals with everyone involved, including Linda, an impoverished homeowner, as they agree upon a fictional story which will “legitimize” the wake.

I know the writer and the director of this film, and because of that, I will be biased if I talk about the story or the direction. So, instead, I will focus on something else: the acting.

Kristoffer King is a revelation in this film. I’ve heard of him, having worked in the local entertainment industry for almost six years now, but I’ve never actually seen any of his movies. So watching the film, I was impressed with his acting range. Independent cinema does produce a lot of quality actors. There is nuance in King’s portrayal of Makoy, as the man who must make ends meet through any means necessary. And I especially like the vulnerability he gives his character in the end, when realization dawns upon him a little too late.

Teen actor Kristoffer Martin holds his own alongside King. And while his character is very vital to the story, it doesn’t really demand a lot from him. It just needed him to be a teen who is tired of his way of life.

The other revelation in the film is actually reality search alumnus Diva Montelaba. Unlike her contemporaries, Diva rarely gets a break in showbiz. So seeing her shine in the two scenes she was in, I was impressed. Diva made the most of her material, and made her character so grounded in reality that viewers might believe she’s just playing herself. Knowing her in real life, and knowing she is nothing like the character she portrays (not even in the littlest bit), impresses me even more.

But it was Jelson Bay, as the embalmer, who really stole scenes with his constant side comments.

People might write Oros off as poverty porn. And affirmation might come from the trailer. But it’s really not.

Oros is a story about people exploiting the dead–to stay alive. But more than that, it’s the story of two brothers with different world views–one who has given up on striving harder for what’s readily available, and one who wants to leave the life that’s leads them to death every day. It’s a study on how the poor might perceive their fates, and what they have to do to survive.

Catch the film at these dates, time and venue:
July 25: 4:00PM – Greenbelt-5 / 9:00PM – Little Theater (CCP)
July 26: 12:45PM – Main Theater (CCP) / 9:00PM – Greenbelt-3
July 27: 9:00PM – Greenbelt-5
July 28: 10:00AM – Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP) / 4:00PM – Greenbelt-3

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