It is both a timeless and timely subject of discussion in literature across the world that teaching is more than just an honorable profession; it is a lifelong vocation. Such stories evoke realizations on the relevant ongoing struggles of educators. These discourses enlighten possible courses of action for the people involved (or have a desire to be involved for that matter), and establish hope for the overall well-being of each society where educators are basically the foundations of. Tapping on various themes such as poverty, passion, and patriotism to name a few, that notion cannot be any truer in MAESTRA (2017).
The film is based on the real-life stories of three teachers (maestra in Spanish) at different stages of their career whose threads of lives were beautifully woven together by fate through the direction of Lemuel Lorca.
Iah Seraspi is A fisherman’s daughter from Romblon who topped the board exams whose story became viral on Facebook. Iah is layed by Anna Luna who wonderfully draws the burning drive of the youth to break away from the seemingly overwhelming challenges of poverty. And there’s Espie Bautista, an 80-year-old former principal, a college dean, and an inspirational speaker who refuses to retire from teaching played spot-on by Gloria Sevilla. But it was Angeli Bayani as Gennie Panguelo, an Aeta who had helped established and taught in a school located at the peak of Mt. Pinatubo for over 25 years before passing the board after more than 20 retakes that took the film to another level. Angeli embodies her character. Her eyes pictures her situation, dreams, and dilemmas of the katutubo. Her tears held the weight of the struggles of a dreamer. The essence of her character’s success is proof that an individual of any background can strive for greatness.
Apart from the direction and performances, what makes the film gorgeously effective is Tey Clamor’s breathtaking cinematography. Clamor’s lens captures the majestic provinces, figuring in the isolation and virginity of its landscapes. and the everyday hustle and bustle of the Metro. More than just a worthy story, the selection of the angles, distance, and movements juxtaposed to the right music – which in this film is by Vehnee Saturno – put together a scene is that pulls explodes with emotions.
I have met a lot educators who went above and beyond their jobs. These people ensure that their students take with them what is beyond the books. They bring their profession to a higher level by transferring higher knowledge about life and how to face it, head on. It was partly because of them that makes us who we are today. And this is what makes MAESTRA a heartwarming salute. Its three intertwining stories generates more than just overflowing respect and gratitude to every educator out there.
Maestra is written by Archie Del Mundo and produced by Dr. Carl Balita. It will be screened on December 8 and 9, 2017 for Cine Lokal by the Film Development Council of the Philippines in partnership with SM Entertainment on the following SM Malls: SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM Sta. Mesa, SM Mall of Asia, SM North Edsa, SM Fairview, SM Southmall, and SM Bacoor.
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