Pain can be your best friend. Here’s my review of Che Espiritu’s ‘Pan De Salawal’.
The basic premise of the film is about a little girl who miraculously heals people by hurting them. It’s quite entertaining too see how this irony plays out in the film. This little girl is aptly named ‘Aguy‘, which is the Bisaya term for ‘Ouch‘ or ‘Aray‘. She’s a cute little kid, sometimes coy and mischievous, but often cheerful and loving. She’s the star of the show, but that’s not to say that all the attention goes to her.
Throughout the film, we watch her interactions with everyone in her neighborhood, who all seem to have some kind of illness. There’s a lot of them, including a bread maker who has kidney disease, a barber with trembling hands, an elderly woman who is paralyzed, a butcher who has a tumor in his chest and his son who has a limp. Everyone in this neighborhood has an interesting story to tell, which makes the film even more entertaining, especially when we see the little snippets of how they go by with their daily lives.
It feels so good to have a happy ending this time. All of this year’s entries have either been too bittersweet, or too dark. This film brings us something different in the context of this year’s Cinemalaya films. It brings us a glimmer of hope, a silver lining in every hurting moment, in every pain we’ve ever felt. It feels good to finally be smiling at the end of the film, rather than be contemplating about our existence, or to worrying about current issues for once. It’s not that I’m invalidating the other film’s endings, but it’s a much needed break from the hell we all live in these days.
Bodjie Pascua, who we all know as Kuya Bodjie of the children’s show Epol Apple, is back in the limelight. It’s been a pretty long time since I last saw him, and it’s pretty refreshing to see him act once again. Felix Roco and Anna Luna bring a bit of romance to the film, and luckily they have chemistry. They are too many to mention here, but altogether, the whole cast fills the film with heart, naturally feeling like one big family, which is what a community should be.
Pan De Salawal revels in its irony, playing with the idea of bringing pain to alleviate it. It’s a fun, playful, heartwarming film that reminds us never to lose hope, and it feels good to be smiling not just throughout the film, but even long after its over.
My Rating: 9/10
Here’s the trailer for ‘Pan De Salawal’: