MOVIE REVIEW: Kung ang Ulan ay Gawa sa Tsokolate (2016, CineFilipino)

“Kung ang Ulan ay Gawa sa Tsokolate” Review
Written and directed by Prime Cruz and Galileo Te
CineFilipino Film Festival 2016

In the not-so-distant future, the Philippines has become a global labour force due to the fact that Filipinos are now being literally exported overseas in the same way goods and produce are being exported today. Filipino labor has become quite an economic commodity, and because of poverty, more and more people want to jump the bandwagon.

The film opens with single mother Maita, and is shown waiting in line for her to be able to submit her application for a known healthcare company. The company has a special requirement: you have to be a mother to apply. Maita gets hired and enters a medical facility, ready for processing.

The film shows them to be living in a tenement, along with other families who are all living in poverty; with absolutely no sign of decadence in sight. Maita’s struggle is shown on her face as she receives a notification telling her that her electricity will be disconnected, and ends up being swallowed by darkness as rain pours down on their derelict residence. The sound of thunder scares Mika incessantly, and Maita sings “Kung ang Ulan ay Gawa sa Tsokolate” (Tsokolate changes to lollipop, or any other sweets depending on Mika’s whims), a lullaby she always uses to soothe Mika, to get her to sleep.

The film is implying that Mika and the people around her were already aware that she got hired and needs to leave, but Mika withdraws the full details from Mika. Maita then brings Mika to a posh boarding school (which is supposedly owned and managed by the company who hired Maita). Mika senses that Maita will leave her there, and so Maita once again assures her daughter that she’ll stay and will always be by her side. She then proceeds to sing her the lullaby they love the most for the very last time, and leaves as soon as Mika drifts off to sleep.

She is then shown to be in the final stages of processing, with her being a mother used to the company’s advantage. Her memories and emotions are tampered with, and bit by bit, her memories of Mika are changed: as soon as it’s done, it will only register the little girl she’ll be taking care of overseas, obliterating any trace of Mika’s existence forever. The film closes with Maita stroking a Caucasian girl’s hair while humming “Kung ang Ulan ay Gawa sa Tsokolate.”

It’s amazing how a film so short in length can affect audiences on a deeper level. It takes a more futuristic approach on how some parents even give up custody of their child (like having them adopted by a more affluent family at birth) to make sure their children enjoy a better and more fulfilling life. The film’s use of future possible tech was refreshing, if not absolutely unusual and unexpected. Nevertheless, it explored the pain and the sacrifice a mother or any parent is willing to risk in order to ensure that their children do not suffer the same plight.

cinefilipino 2016 kung ang ulan ay gawa sa tsokolate poster

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