Lola (2009) - Movie Review

Jul 3, 2016
Lola Brillante Mendoza

'Lola' (Filipino word for "grandmother) is arguably Brillante Mendoza's most harmless feature. While the film points out the usual themes the director is known for such as crime, poverty and the slow government procedures, neither of it was presented by using any violence or exaggerated class crisis. Instead, it was implemented through two grandmothers, Sepang (Anita Linda) and Puring (Carpio), whose murder incident involving their grandsons leave a huge burden to their struggles.

Lola Brillante Mendoza

The crime sets as a template to explore the plights of these two individuals. Sepang's grandson was mugged and killed by Mateo (Ketchup Eusebio), the grandson of Puring. Puring, a vegetable vendor seek possible ways of avoiding the repressed condition of his grandson, holding on for hope of the seemingly impossible way out of incarceration.

Lola Brillante Mendoza

While both Lola Sepang and Puring share the same troubles financially, their characteristics were distant from one another. Sepang is more of a hot-tempered individual opposing to Puring's non-expressive, relaxed way of coping of personal situation. It is expected for an encounter between the two become complicated, but surprisingly it is not what happened. In the latter part of the film, the two meet up at a food hub to deal court issue of their grandchildren, instead of arguing conflicted interests, the two converse about their health, seniority and risky foods. For a brief moment, the film sees a blur light and a hint of joy amidst its pile of real-life problems and solemness.

Lola Brillante Mendoza

Mendoza frequently uses lengthy, unbroken takes throughout the film to exhibit the realness of the premise, even to the point where it became unnecessary to the story at times. In the opening sequence, the camera follows Lola Sepang walking throughout the streets of Manila with his grandchild, taking a jeepney ride that sees a robbery echoing the cause of his grandson's death, and the trip to the funeral parlor. With minimal use of dialogue, Mendoza effectively captured the character of Sepang fully just by capturing her routine. 

Lola Brillante Mendoza

'Lola' ends with the opposing characters finally reaching a point of agreement. As happy as it sounds, the film never wants you to feel that way. This part is only a fragment of the characters' ongoing struggle, and maybe the start of something more.

Lola Brillante Mendoza

The geek rates it 7/10! 

Lola Brillante Mendoza

LOLA (2009):

Directed by: Brillante Mendoza

Starring: Anita Linda, Rustica Carpio, Tanya Gomez, Jhong Hilario, Ketchup Eusebio

Cinematography: Odyssey Flores

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