’Kubrador’ – Complex life of jueteng world

Production Company : MLR Films

Executive Producer: Josabeth V. Alonso

Producer: Rogelio I. Rayala

Director: Jeffrey Jeturian

Screenplay: Ralston Jover

Cinematographer: Roberto Yniquez

Editor: Jay Halili

Production Designer: Leo Abaya

Sound: Ditoy Aguila

Music: Jerrold Jarog

Principal Cast: Gina Pareño, Fonz Deza, Nico Antonio, Ran Del Rosario, Johnny Manahan, Nanding Josef

Amy (Gina Pareño) paces through the ramshackle alleys of her Manila neighbourhood, counting every penny. She collects bets placed on jueteng, a popular numbers game. Betting is illegal, but everyone does it. In fact, when Amy is arrested, the police first impose a fine – then place a bet. Her skill at finessing the situation is what keeps Amy in the game.

Director Jeffrey Jeturian begins The Bet Collector as an observational portrait of one fierce woman. His camera follows Amy as she cajoles neighbours for bets, squabbles with her husband and offers unsolicited advice to a young woman about to marry a foreigner. But as Amy emerges as a more complex, layered character, her story takes on dramatic momentum. She struggles to balance the demands of money and faith, at one point interrupting her jueteng rounds to help the local priest (Nanding Josef) collect alms. She does this even though she is already in serious debt and earns precious little from her work – receiving $1.15 in commission is a bright spot in her day. So when her husband forgets to tell her about a bet that ends up paying off, she is thrown into an impossible predicament.

Jeturian understands the pleasures of melodrama and gives The Bet Collector just enough delicious anguish to satisfy his audience. But his observational style opens up the hothouse atmosphere common to the genre. The film ranges through the streets and homes of working-class Manila, offering an up-to-the-minute portrait of life lived in the hope of one small victory. Jeturian’s greatest asset here is Pareño: like Fernanda Montenegro in Central Station, she builds a deeply affecting portrait of a woman governed equally by necessary strength and overpowering emotion. She has a forceful physical presence, but remarkable delicacy and nuance of expression. Her performance is a revelation.