Sheryl Rose Andes delivers on her goal to focus on the woman’s persona. That she was supported by a production crew mostly comprised of women was a plus. With the help of an inspirational Iza Calzado, Pandanggo sa Hukay is a remarkable adaptation of Andrian Legaspi’s Palanca-winning screenplay centered on a midwife whose life is threatened by a notorious gang.
It should come as no surprise just how talented Iza is and she makes that very apparent in her third Cinemalaya film. She plays the role of Elena, a single mother who is doing what she can to support her child, naturally. She does not hold back nor does she falter. Representing women around the country, Iza stands firm yet graceful as the pandanggo she masters.
Sheryl struck gold with Andrian’s screenplay, and the story could not have come at a better time. Women, even today, still experience one form of oppression or another. But Mercedes Cabral’s Sharimar and Charlie Dizon’s Tisay—and above all, Iza’s Elena—are proof that women are strong and can withstand any challenge thrown at them. Just as the pandanggo plays with fire elegantly, so do Iza, Sheryl, and the entirety of Pandanggo sa Hukay.
Catch all the films in #Cinemalaya15 from Aug. 2–13 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and select Ayala and Vistas cinemas nationwide.