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Patay na si Hesus: A revival of realism in hilarity

People often say that life, with its fair share of stopovers and detours, is one hell of a joyride. Director Victor Villanueva gives this saying a rather literal interpretation as Patay na si Hesus squeezes a faulty Cebuano family, a dog named Hudas, and a couple dozen nonsensical (sometimes forced) punchlines in a shabby, old minivan.

It’s a simple road trip film of a family from Cebu to Dumaguete on the road to attend a funeral. Sure, it’s surreally funny and will have you cracking up like a faulty, revving car engine, but beyond that lies the element of realism in the characters that takes the cake.

The film did a remarkable job not only in portraying a typical Filipino family, but also with characters that are too real that they can be just like us. Jaclyn Jose plays the role of a typical middle-aged badass mom named Iyay and needless to say, she plays it exceedingly well. The eldest son, Hubert (Vincent Viado), who has Down Syndrome, loves dancing and proving that he can do better than what the social stereotypes on intellectually challenged people dictate. Next up is Jude (Chai Fonacier), a lesbian who has his own hardships but is nonetheless accepted and treated normally by his family. Their youngest brother Jay (Melde Montañez), is that laid-back deadbeat in his twenties who embodies the usual irritating kuya trope we all love and hate.

The soundtracks and cinematography combined give the movie a lighthearted (but sometimes serious) feel to it. The most notable musical piece is Gian Ale’s rendition of HAHAHAHasula by Kurt Fick.

Even with names like Hesus and Hudas, this film has not an ounce of religion in it (sans the crazy nun relative who joins the ride). However, that doesn’t stop people from coming up with outrageous yet not too farfetched symbolism theories. Some even regard the movie as blasphemous, and thus despite the booming popularity and positive feedback, Patay na si Hesus has its fair share of doubters. Whether the names of the characters have an intended double meaning is another matter entirely.

Posing as one of, if not the funniest movie of the year, Patay na si Hesus is one completely devoid of any deep, mind-boggling philosophy. It’s funny, it’s real, and it teaches a thing or two on how to treat people that are different from you. And unless the film’s twisted naming sense has any other purpose than catching attention, what you see is pretty much what you get.