Sunday Beauty Queen could win MMFF Best Picture

After watching 'Sunday Beauty Queen' right on the first day of this year's very exciting Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), we're hoping for two things: (1.) that MMFF will continue allowing documentary films as main entries in the next editions of the festival and (2.) that 'Sunday Beauty Queen' will win Best Picture. 

Sunday Beauty Queen's story isn't new. In fact, chronicles of the struggles of OFWs have been told countless times in movies and television. But their challenges continue that these stories have to be told again. Only this time, MMFF's very first documentary official entry, tied the migrant workers' narrative to something close to our hearts -- beauty pageants. 

Tracking the lives of five women over an on-off period of four years, the film presented the unfair conditions of overseas labor in an interesting and sometimes hilarious manner. Although it would be so easy to drown us all in melodrama with its subject, the strength of the film is that it wasn't entirely a sob story. There were inside jokes that helped them survived a day. Even curfews, which is actually a form of abuse for in-house helpers, offered a comedic break when they have to shoo away one intermission performer so they can finish the pageant and go home on time. 

Of the five characters, it was Leo Selomenio who brought them all together. The irony is that she's a lesbian who never dreamt of wearing a dress but has been the organizer of Sunday beauty pageants. Her goal is to raise funds to help Filipino migrant workers who are in need. 

Her pageants brought the other four main characters to the center of the film. They're  the pageant contestants, Cherrie Mae Bretana, Hazel Perdido, Mylyn Jacobo and Rudelyn Acosta. Probably the most memorable of them all is Mylyn who worked for movie and TV director Jack Soo. Her piece is the redemption; that OFWs could be lucky and they also could be treated well by their employers.

What made the film touching is perhaps how bittersweet the narrative went. That despite the movie wrapping the scenes with colorful national costumes and Filipinianas, and funny talent exhibitions and Q&A segments, they're still in a depressing situation that they can't runaway from. 

Alhough it would be like comparing apples and oranges with how broad the selection is in this year's MMFF, Sunday Beauty Queen stands out as the most effective in providing us both entertainment and relevance. 

It reminds us that even with make-up and well-crafted costumes, the harsh side of life can't be concealed. With or without tiaras, we all have to deal with it. 

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About MJ de Leon

Everybody wants to be entertained! So I am publishing, not another entertainment blog, but a rather interesting rundown of the things that you pretend to not care about. I also blog about food, travel and a little bit of style at Peace and love! :)
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