You Won’t Go To Hell
“Patay Na Si Hesus”
By Tim Henares
As a concession to indie films after the dismal MMFF last year that was mostly a self-fulfilling prophesy to begin with, this years Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino has been quite a powerhouse showcase for great Filipino films we can be proud to show off to the rest of the world.
“Patay Na Si Hesus” is generally regarded as the best of the lot, and with good reason. Jaclyn Jose as a rule always delivers, and this road trip of a family reluctant to pay respects to their estranged father is an amazing cinematic tour de force despite what some people assumed to be a blasphemous title (newsflash: “Hesus” is the name of the father, and doesn’t refer to Christ).
Here are 8 reasons why watching it would be a great experience, and totally not send you to hell…
It humanizes dysfunctional families instead of glorifying or demonizing it.
Iyay and her brood are many things, but a “typical” family, they are certainly not. With this in mind, it’s pretty impressive how in spite of having a ridiculously dysfunctional family, we end up relating to Iyay, Hubert, Jude, Jay, and of course, Hudas, simply because we’ve all been there at one point or another.
Outside and in, through and through, it’s close family ties that cuts across all the themes of the film, proving once and for all that old saying of family: can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
A matter-of-fact presentation for Hubert and Jude
At no point was the fact that Hubert has Down’s Syndrome or the fact that Jude is a trans man ever used as the punchline to a joke. While the comedy was certainly irreverent, none of it was ever mean-spirited towards anybody, and neither did the film make a big deal out of either situation. It just was, and that’s how representative casting should be: it just is.
Everything was treated with disarming levity
From Hesus’s death to the road trip that seemed to never end, to everything else that happened thereafter, we are treated to a kind of irreverence that would keep conservative people on their toes. Instead of confirming their worst fears, though, what they are treated to is an amazing levity to the proceedings that never makes you feel for one moment that this movie takes itself seriously.
The off-screen hilarity over the title.
Naturally, the title has drawn some funny reactions (read: outrage) on social media. All this sanctimony. Over a title.