The Better Life: Rosita

I have seen the tragic conditions of my country, to see mothers desperately slaving themselves for their children to ensure them a better life, but many of these cases remain homebound in the harsh climate of Philippines and thus they endure through a life that is worse than what their own parents had endured. Those that are determined and have been met with great fortune, has found their way outside, seeking a new and hopeful life, an opportunity to create a new and forgeable path, while also generously helping those that have been left behind.

 

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The sophomore film by Frederikke Aspock, titled Rosita (played by Mercedes Cabral), demonstrates the desire and determination to create this new path, as the titular character steps into a lonesome town in northern Denmark. Despite the fact that this film shares its focus on the two men that surrounds her in this new life, her new lover, Ulrik (Jens Albinus), and his son, Johannes (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard), she was the figure that gripped me, the development that maintained my engagement, to witness how a portrayal of this Asian character of similar kin to mine would evolve and find its resolution.

Under Aspock’s direction, she injects a needed assertiveness and strength in a would be easily passively drawn character, with Rosita taking on the fish out of water element in this new familial dynamic, to view her take charge in her own silent way to ensure that her aspirations and needs would be met is exhilarating, and along with it, Aspock creates a snapshot of the Filipino culture of sacrificing ideal passion for practical security in a manner that is authentic. The film’s core complication lies in the attraction of Johannes and Rosita, one that conflicts with her “responsibility” to remain faithful to Ulrik and insert herself appropriately in the family dynamic, to take hold of the role that she was meant to be given. It is in this conflict of passion and practicality, notably in the baggage that also lies back home in Manila, that allowed this character to gain this sense of genuineness, and though for some cases of the film, she becomes a passive observer in this heat, especially since a language barrier exists, but by its conclusion, her ability to choose is still present and Aspock allowed this to be palpable.

 

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The primary reason why this film fails to completely thrive and shows some signs of crumbling, is because of the familiarity of the narrative’s progression. As it advances past the halfway mark, we see the established relationships and the driving complication mould into scenes of foreseeable instances of conflict and emotional expression. The film loses a strand of its notable naturalness that shaped its earlier portion, and opts for a more easy route in leading its audience towards a particular mode of resolution. It is a shame since there is already so much from this I adore, and to see these cracks be revealed, it sinks my heart.

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