Monday, 29 October 2012

The Pinay Mom in Filipino movies

     I remember watching an old  Charito Solis film where she potrayed a self-sacrificing mother forced to marry an abusive husband. The husband (played by actor Leroy Salvador Jr.) sold her only child to a rich family.  I don't remember other details  of the film anymore but I do remember that I cried watching Charito's predicament. The film was produced in the 60's and options available for women in abusive relationships were not discussed in the film.

     I wonder if women shelters were available during those times in the Philippines. Sanctuaries and safe places for abused women may have been provided by religious groups. Shelters, such as the Women's Crisis Center, provide a lifeline for women in abusive relationships.

         The self-sacrificing mother who would do anything for her children was a constant theme among  Filipino movies, especially those produced by film studios LVN and Sampaguita. Numerous actressed have played these roles - from Charito Solis, Lolita Rodriguez, Anita Linda ( who played Sisa in the Gerry de Leon film, Noli Me Tangere). 
The mother is potrayed as a martyr, someone who would do anything for her children to the extent of remaining in relationships that are abusive. 

      A film adaptation of Nick Joaquin's article " The House on Zapote Street" featured a mother ( potrayed by Charito Solis ) who was not able to defend her daughter from the abusive father. The film, Kisapmata, was directed by  Mike de Leon.
     It was in the early 80's where I was able to watch potrayals of Filipino mothers and women who were feisty and determined to fight for the rights of their family. The late film directors Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal and Marilou Diaz Abaya were in the forefront of bringing to the big screen, portrayals of resilient Filipino women. I knew back then that there were many women who refused to be cowed into submission in unjust situations.


     Much as I am a Nora Aunor fan , I also love the films of another Filipina actress, Vilma Santos who potrayed strong liberated women characters.  In Dekada 70, she potrayed a mother who stood by her children through the turbulent 70's and in Bata bata Paano Ka Ginawa, she potrayed a mother working for a women's shelter who refused to be bound by what society dictates on unmarried mothers.


These are women with real life experiences. This short video produced by the Women's Crisis Center presents the accounts of the survivors of domestic violence:                                       


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