“No way. Okey na ako sa Pilipinas.”
Of course, Jaclyn Jose was just joking when Funfare talked to her early yesterday morning (4:30 in Cannes) by phone when asked how she would react if she got an offer from a Hollywood producer after she won Best Actress (for Brillante “Dante” Mendoza’s Ma’Rosa).
It’s not impossible because every May, the whole cinema world, including filmmakers from around the globe, monitors the events in Cannes and sees who the major winners will be. A lot of Cannes winners (both actors and directors) usually get juicy offers from Hollywood.
“I’m okay where I am,” added Jaclyn, the first Filipino actor to bring home a best acting plum from Cannes, with Mendoza as the first Filipino director to win an award from the same filmfest in 2009 for Kinatay (Butchered). “I don’t want to leave my granddaughter,” referring to Elli, daughter of Jaclyn’s daughter Andi Eigenmann who is a co-star in Ma’Rosa and was named one of the Best Dressed Stars in Cannes by Vanity Fair magazine.
“Who knows,” said Jaclyn, “Andi might be the one who would get a Hollywood offer because she has been having pictorials with the international media every day.”
There was some criticism that Jaclyn should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress, with Karin Badt writing on The Blog/Huffingtonpost, “The greatest surprise was the award for Best Actress to Jaclyn Jose in Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’Rosa. As a journalist objected to the jury: ‘But she was just in a supporting role.’ In a festival where there were so many extraordinary performances by women in leads, a common expectation was that the contest would be between Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and Sonia Braga (Aquarius).”
Saying the critics were wrong, juror Donald Sutherland said, “It’s a big-time leading role.”
Allan Hunter of Screen Daily wrote (before the winners were named): “Jaclyn Jose cuts an imposing figure as Rosa, a bustling, no nonsense woman who is known throughout her neighborhood. She is the force of nature who keeps the family together. She remains the heart of the story, and it is a compelling enough tale but just when you should be feeling the unbearable tension of what is at stake, Ma’Rosa seems to take a breath and surrender its intensity.”
Another critic, Boyd van Hoeij of The Hollywood Reporter, wrote: “Jaclyn Jose (as Rosa Reyes), whose collaboration with Mendoza stretches all the way back to his first feature, is resilient yet understated throughout — might have helped the film pack a greater emotional punch and given more of a sense of the individuals’ plights within this family.”
Heather Chen, a journalist with the BBC in Singapore, asked your Funfarer two questions.
Here are my answers:
What does Jaclyn Jose’s Best Actress win at the Cannes Film Festival say about Filipino talent on an international stage?
“Jaclyn Jose’s winning Best Actress in Cannes validates and affirms the glaring reality that the Filipinos are world-class not just in the ‘beauty’ field but also in the art of film. In fact, after 2009 when director Brillante Mendoza won in Cannes for Kinatay (Butchered), the first Filipino to achieve that honor, film lovers around the world have been keeping an eye on Filipino filmmakers, thus paving the way for more Filipino artists to shine on the world film stage. Jaclyn is the first Filipino actress to win (for Ma’Rosa, directed by Brillante who competed for Best Director) and she should inspire Filipino actors to follow in her footsteps.”
Ma’Rosa has been described by critics as “a cold, hard look at what it means to be poor in the Philippines.” What are your thoughts on this, given the current political happenings in Manila right now, paying particular attention to incoming President Duterte’s promise to bring down drugs and the people who supply them?
“Ma’Rosa delivers a strong, timely message maybe unwittingly in support for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s vow to minimize if not totally wipe out drug problem that destroys families, especially the young, not just in the Philippines but all over the world. The film only brings into sharp focus corruption in government and the oh-so-slow grind of justice. Duterte should lead in the free public screening of Ma’Rosa.”
Jaclyn’s manager, Perry Lansigan (photo) was not surprised by Jaclyn’s win.
“I have always believed in the superb acting skills of Ms. Jaclyn Jose. I know for a fact that including her in my roster of talents will add luster to my role as a talent manager.
“Because talent is what Ms. Jose demonstrated by winning over critically-acclaimed actresses such as Marion Cotillard and Charlize Theron and others.
“She has not only proven her worth as an actress but she has successfully risen above actresses of commendable acting prowess.
“With this Cannes win, as the first Filipina Best Actress, she has already created a niche for herself in both Philippines and global filmmaking.”
Before Cannes, Jaclyn has won every award there was to be won…in film and television. But her Cannes victory tops them all, Cannes being the world’s biggest film festival. That makes Jaclyn the biggest Filipino actor winner in an international film festival, bar none.
As of yesterday morning, Jaclyn sounded as if her landmark victory hadn’t completely sunk in yet.
“Wala lang,” she said, still incredulous, repeating that she didn’t expect to win at all. “Sleep muna ako.”
By this time, as she and the Ma’Rosa delegation take a flight back home (they are arriving today), Jaclyn must have realized what a big, big honor she has brought to the country.
(E-mail reactions at email@example.com. You may also send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)