At first, the film by Rae Red is somewhat another story about the poverty that prevails in the city. However, there is more to it.
As the title suggests, the film centers on the struggles and everyday mundane life of a sales lady portrayed by the Kapuso actress Janine Gutierrez.
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It is noteworthy to spotlight the beautiful camera shots and even how the scoring managed to paint a world that is crumbling down on Gutierrez’s character. Her life is a series of meaningless routine. Apart from dealing with her manager each day (who never fails to pick on her), she had to commute from home to work. That’s already an ordeal itself.
One evening, she found a gun at the doorsteps of her boarding house. She hesitated to get the gun at first, but only after she met a traumatic experience at work that she finally took it.
Gutierrez’s character is a classic example of someone whose perception got affected in committing the act of holding a gun. Jessica K. Witt, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University, says: “Perception goes beyond just what a person sees. Awareness of this change in perception could keep people from getting hurt.”
The film was able to establish the background story of the .38 caliber revolver and how it eventually landed in the hands of the female lead (which remained unnamed throughout the movie). The weapon symbolizes power. It provides the kind of psyche that whoever possesses a gun can heighten a man’s testosterone level. Gurierrez may be a woman, but generally speaking, she is still human.
A study by a former psychology student Jennifer Klinesmith and her professors at Knox College, Galesburg put it as far from definitive, its results suggest that guns may indeed increase aggressiveness partially via changes in the hormone testosterone. Sonny (Allan Paule), the father of Miguel (JC Santos) have drawn their confidence and strength through the gun. Even the teenage vendor Jun (Elijah Canlas) of boiled developing duck embryos (usually called Balut) had a heightened courage when he held the gun and poked it at Miguel.
Perhaps, what is laudable about this film is its storytelling. Red succeeds in strengthening his premise about the gun’s capacity to empower any human being, including the female lead.
The previous screenplay intended for shorts is quite impressive. Red was able to weave a longer story apt for a full-length film. It painted a scenario of how the strong ones eat the weak. It’s like being thrown into the lion’s den. Humans need to draw strength to survive, but always coming from the space of love and good.
Also, kudos to her for concluding the film by making her point that good still triumphs over evil.
It is noticeable that Canlas showcased too much promise in his acting. He was able to give the same intensity as that of Santos.
In the recent awards night of the said festival, Babae at Baril earned the recognitions of best director for Red, best actress for Gutierrez, and the Gender Sensitivity Award.