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Glimpses at the impact of COVID-19 via ‘Namnama en Lolang (Grandmother’s Hope)’

“Namnama en Lolang (Grandmother’s Hope)” – by Jonnie Lyn Dasalla – is a simple story of a “lola” (grandmother), Keyag Kudyaman, who lives with her baby grandson Eli Kudyaman during COVID-19. The six-minute film’s “simplicity” is… alluring; though I’d dare say it’s also why this film’s quite limited. Here, then, is a look at whether this one works or not.

“Namnama en Lolang (Grandmother’s Hope)” – by Jonnie Lyn Dasalla – is a simple story of a “lola” (grandmother), Keyag Kudyaman, who lives with her baby grandson Eli Kudyaman during COVID-19. She may be saddened by the lockdown, but she tries her best to do her daily chores, topped by looking after her grandson who she desires will soon see his parents (Landon and Grace) again.

The six-minute film’s “simplicity” is… alluring; though I’d dare say it’s also why this film’s quite limited. Here, then, is a look at whether this one works or not.

PROS

  • The telling of a story occurring outside imperial Metropolitan Manila (i.e. Baguio). The emergence of local filmmakers is always, ALWAYS welcome.
  • Use of another language (not just Filipino and/or English). Representation is always, ALWAYS welcome.
  • Here, then, is another look at the coping with COVID-19.
  • Occasional “poetic” shots, e.g. granny and baby against the light by the door, etc.
  • Related to the latter, shots highlighting the beauty in the “mundane”, e.g. raindrops, puddles, etc.

CONS

  • There’s no “grand” story here; we just see glimpses in the life of a granny who’s looking after the child of her grandchild – e.g. her harvesting goods from the backyard, cooking food, looking after a baby, etc.
  • Self-conscious actor, e.g. I caught “lola” looking at the camera in a few shots.
  • Unnecessary “shock factor” via the chicken’s slaughter. Yeah, I know that it was supposed to be included to showcase “pinikpikan” (a local delicacy), but that we focused only on the burning of the chicken (as opposed to the entire process) makes me question the… “convenient” inclusion.
  • Sorta “preachy” – e.g. granny telling us to look after the environment, because (since we didn’t) just look at where our “kapabayaan” brought us.
  • This latter point is actually also simplistic – e.g. the effects of COVID-19 ought to also be blamed on various factors, including a healthcare system unable to look after the people, continuing corruption of resources even while majority of the people are suffering, greed of Western countries to hoard vaccines, etc.
  • Also because it’s “preachy”, you’d be forgiven to think you’ve been “manipulated” – e.g. Oh, okay, fine, this is a tribute to health workers…

IN THE END

In a time when people dissect online uploads like that fight of Maria and her escabeche slapping, and the eventual making up with the caterer, it is always good to know there are those who attempt to make contents that actually attempt to say something. And yes, Dasalla’s “Namnama en Lolang (Grandmother’s Hope)” would qualify as such. It isn’t… great, though I’ve definitely, DEFINITELY seen worse (even from Cinemalaya), so I’d say it’s not a bad way to spend six minutes of your time watching it…

“Namnama en Lolang (Grandmother’s Hope)” is part of the 17th edition of Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, running until September 5 ktx.ph (https://www.ktx.ph/).

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