This year’s "Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino" may be over, but the film festival became such a huge success that three films had extended screenings in cinemas: 100 Tula Para Kay Stella, Bar Boys, and Patay na si Hesus, which was the sleeper hit.
Directed by Victor Villanueva, Patay na Si Hesus resonated well with the Pinoy audience, not only because it was able to blend heart and humor, but because it was able to showcase what a modern Filipino family is all about --dysfunctional, sometimes “cray-cray,” but with a lot of warmth. (It is worth noting that the characters spoke in the Cebuano dialect throughout the film, but you won't get lost, thanks to English subtitles and the great acting.)
The movie tells the story of Iyay (exceptionally portrayed by Jaclyn Jose) who forces her three sons -- eldest child Bert, who has Down Syndrome; Judith Marie a.k.a. Jude, a lesbian/trans man; and Jay, the youngest who has failed his board exams thrice -- to attend the funeral of their estranged father, Hesus. As the family makes the long drive from Cebu to Dumaguete, they discover things about each other (relationship woes, hidden problems) and themselves.
Patay na si Hesus is a dark comedy filled with outrageous gags (some jokes may be too crass), but at its core is an emotional and accurate depiction of a mom’s unconditional love for her children. Here are some of the moments that will surely make any mom relate to the movie:
1. There is no negotiating when Nanay says everyone is going. When Iyay breaks the news of her estranged husband’s death to her kids, it’s no surprise that they protest and refuse to attend the funeral. They don't know him, after all. But Iyay puts her foot down, justifying why they should all attend. And because Mama knows best, the kids can’t do anything but follow. And when Jay tries to escape, Jaclyn hilariously beats and drags him inside the van.
2. A child getting lost is a mom's worst nightmare. Bert is a 31-year-old who has Down Syndrome. He is also the most level-headed one in the family, and like any eldest child, he goes out of his way to make sure that his siblings are, well, comfortable. On a mission to do so, he gets lost during the trip, and Iyay almost go crazy looking for him. Every mom knows that feeling of helplessness when you lose sight of your child and the paranoia that sets in once you realize that you might not be able to see him again.
3. Kids fighting? Nay knows staying zen is the answer. Jay is restless throughout the trip and tries to escape more than once. It irks Jude to no end so they clash, and at one point, the two run after each other in the middle of the road. Instead of losing her cool, Iyay patiently waits by the van, telling Mia (the daughter of Jude’s girlfriend) that the two are just out buying vinegar.
4. At the end of the day, mom will choose what makes her child happy. In the film, there were times when Iyay refused to call her daughter Jude, who identified as a man, and instead called her by her real name, Judith Marie. But as the road trip came to a close, Iyay seemingly comes to terms with Jude’s choice and proudly calls him her son while talking to the people at the funeral.
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5. Iyay is every nanay. The film introduced Jaclyn Jose’s character as a feisty and proud single mom who was able to raise her kids without any help after her husband abandoned them. But despite her tough exterior, Iyay, like any mom, has her vulnerable moments. Even if years had already passed, and even in his death, her husband still played with her emotions. But it’s how she rose above it all that shows her true strength -- life may be filled with tough challenges, but a mom survives for the sake of her children.
Planning to watch Patay na Si Hesus? Follow their Facebook page to see the list of cinemas where it’s being screened. Don't forget to bring tissues because you'll be crying tears of joy!