There had been movies produced about OFWs, but none so far tackled the harsh realities of a returning one, until Tonet Gedang’s Artiste Entertainment, Inc. production of Edna, starring Irma Adlawan with actor Ronnie Lazaro debuting as director.
Probably more than half of OFWs have been or are being treated merely as human ATMs by their families at home. Caregiver Edna faces this hard fact and becomes paranoid, almost schizophrenic when she finds out that everything she expected turns out to be the opposite of what her family was telling her as she toiled abroad. Actor Ronnie Lazaro debuts as director in ‘Edna’
For one, eldest son Julius (Nicco Manalo) did not become the medical doctor she spent for his studies, but a basketball coach who got hitched early with Lyn (Sue Prado). Daughter Camille (Mara Marasigan) continued her affair with a married man despite Edna paying for her freedom. The youngest, Carl (Micko Laurente), is a troubled child,caused by sister-in-law Suzette‘s (Frances Makil) maltreatment . Husband Bobby (Ronnie Lazaro) secretly carries an affair with their godson Ted (Kiko Matos).
All these shatter Edna that in her mind she’s murdering each one of them by feeding them poisoned delicious pansit (upon the request of Carl). As she gathers her senses that her family and everyone around had become strangers, she decides to leave again with the fervent hope that Carl can still overturn at least one dream unfulfilled.
Over bottles of beer
Anthony Gedang (producer of award-winning and internationally-acclaimed movie Ataul For Rent, also Graded A in 2007) and Ronnie Lazaro had been childhood friends and neighbors in Makati.
One evening over bottles of beer, Gedang asked Lazaro if he was doing any movie, then he offered him a directorial job, to which the actor presented a storyline that had been playing in his mind for quite some time, and said that no one else can portray the main character but Adlawan.
Gedang worked closely with Lallie Bucoy for the script. Some major scenes and subplots, like the mahjong sessions, were based on his life growing up, he says, as his father was one of the early OFWS in Saudi Arabia. Producer Tonet Gedang plays a cameo role as too-close-for-comfort-priest-confidante of Suzette (Frances Makil)
When the lead actor considered for the film was not available, Gedang told Lazaro that he should take the role as well. The producer (aside from doing a cameo as priest) also served as assistant director who was at the monitor all the time.
Although the movie was done only in over a week, it’s way above the budget of an indie or pito-pito movie. Yes, P7 million is not a joke to cough up for the businessman-poet-author-bonsai grower-exhibit planner.
Using expensive Alexa cameras, the film shifts from full color to black and white or single color then back again, as way of telling what’s real and what’s imagined in the eyes of Edna.
Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, Edna is hailed both by the academe and the entertainment media for its unusual take on a dysfunctional family. When shown at Adamson University (Tonet’s alma mater), students approached him saying that they now appreciate and understand better the sacrifices of OFWs, whether they have one in the family or none. Edna opens May 20 in selected SM cinemas and other mall theaters.
Click the link to know more about Edna, touted as OFW Movie of the Year. https://www.facebook.com/Edna.Film2014.