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MilaJoel Lamangan's Mila is a drama about the teaching profession. No doubt, it was shown this early in the school year to affect both teachers and students alike. The audience though that will enjoy this most and will fill the theaters are of course Maricel Soriano die-hards and fans of the current slew of ABS-CBN melodramas.

Even people who don't watch Pinoy movies especially drama will find this one not bad. If you've seen all the foreign movies this week, watching this one will not be a mistake.

It boasts something rarely seen in Philippine films: a good story. It is about one teacher, Mila Cabangon, and her life when the public school teachers of Metro Manila go on strike.

As usual Maricel Soriano's portrayal is a stellar performance. She is equally adept at being an adorable teacher, wielding a cleaver to her husband and soliciting tears from the audience.

Though it focuses on Mila's life, the movie was able to weave the lives of people around her without sacrificing theme that also resulted in slowing its pace. With a few scenes it also encapsulated the lives of Mila's co-teachers to the street children and prostitutes of Ermita. Indeed it not only showed the plight of underpaid teachers but also the decrepit state of Metro Manila, the poverty and crime.

Mila is one of the best Pinoy movies in recent months. It's not for everyone but if movies like it become the trend rather the exception then there is hope for Philippine cinema.

July 2001


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