VIFF 2016 | Mrs.

Posted by Patricia Lim & filed under VIFF.

Credit: viff.org
Credit: viff.org

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Mrs.
Dir: Adolfo Alix Jr. | Gateway | Dragons & Tigers | Philippines | 2016 | 80 mins
Showtimes:
Oct. 12, 1:30 pm | Vancity Theatre

At the beginning of the film, Mrs., 70-year-old Virginia (portrayed by veteran actress, Elizabeth Oropeso) seems the very epitome of unflappable strength, compassion, and wisdom. For much of the film, director Adolfo Alix Jr focuses on the small and seemingly inconsequential moments and details in Virginia’s life. The life of an elderly woman may not be particularly exciting, but many scenes are devoted to Virginia’s phone calls and visits with her two daughters. The relationship that receives the most attention is Virginia’s exasperated, yet loving relationship with her long-time live-in maid, Delia (Lotlot de Leon), who is pregnant but hoping to get married soon. Alix Jr. makes use of natural light and sound (including the ever-persistent noise of crowing roosters) to emphasize the ordinary and day-to-dayness of Virginia’s life.

Soon enough, however, these everyday details accumulate towards a creeping atmosphere of dread, horror, and absurdism. Little details are casually tossed around, such as the fact that the ancestral house (which Virginia refuses to leave) rests on an earthquake fault line, one of Virginia’s daughters belongs to a cult which worships an entity called “Mrs.” and Virginia has been receiving mysterious phone calls about her son, Sonny Boy, who has been missing for years. As Virginia, Elizabeth Oropesa is the emotional anchor and numerous close ups of her face allow her to convey myriad emotions of anger, confusion, annoyance and joy. Her performance in the film deservedly won her the Best Actress Award at the Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival Best Actress.

Mrs. is not a film meant for those who want resolution or even a discernible plot. Instead, this film serves as more of a slow-moving character profile of a woman in crisis. Come for the nuanced and emotive performances but expect to be disturbed and a little flabbergasted when you reach the end of the film.

About Patricia Lim

Patricia Lim
Patricia Lim is a sometime librarian and full-time culture vulture; she enjoys letting her mind wander and scamper about.

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