Though I did have my pre-favorites in this year’s Cinemalaya lineup and they have proven to indeed be the best of the lot, #iamerica turned out to be my favorite surprise.

Truth to tell pinanood ko lang naman ang IAMERICA in my effort to see as many entries as I can, even to see all 9 if I am able to. To show my dedication to this endeavor, wala akong tinulugan o winalk-outan maski may moments sa ilang entries, na hindi ko na papangalanan, na winish ko eh nasa labas na lang ako ng sinehan dahil andaming pokestops sa cinema level ng Trinoma.

Pero balik tayo sa movie. I was not expecting to be engaged as I was and that is mostly because of Bela Padilla committed performance here. I apologize now na na-prejudge ko ang bata. I had her pegged as one of those artistas cruising along purely on the strenght of the Padilla name (*cough* Daniel*cough*)

Bela here was believable as Erica, one of many marginalized Amerasian, mestisang jologs in other words, yung anak ng GI sa pokpok, na lumaki sa kalye, parang walang ibang marketable skills beyond her caucasian white skin. Napabilib ako. Bela good, bela good, bela good.

The movie, too had it’s moments, turning the anak-ng-GI lore on it’s ear. Oo, for many abandoned Amerasian, pinakamalaking pangarap pa rin ang makarating sa America, pero ngayon, ipinakikita nang meron na silang ibang options beyond following their elders into the flesh trade.

Nakakatuwa para sa akin yung mga group scene ng mga kaibigan ni Erica na though abandoned ng mga ama, judged ng society bilang mga anak ng pokpok at relegated sa isang dingy sulok ng lungsod, they have found a happy family in each other. Accent on happy, dahil maski pinoproblema nila ang kanikanilang hinaharap, may saya rin naman sila sa estado nila. Their situation could be better, pero definitely it is not the pits. Hindi sila lugmok sa dusa, which elevates this movie from being just another poverty porn movie.

Actually feel good movie siya. There are funny moments, real moments, of course melodrama moments and finally a quite, a serinity that leads to a final scene of proud acceptance of one’s self.

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