Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Winner Jaclyn Jose ‘Surprised’ With The Award, The First Filipino to Win Best Actress at Cannes

The glamorous Cannes Film Festival has just concluded and it has awarded Filipina actress Jaclyn Jose as the Best Actress for her performance on the indie film Ma’ Rosa.

Ma’ Rosa was a touching story about a mother in the slums who was forced to sell drugs to provide for her family. Jose’s pivotal role has put her on the roster of this year’s Cannes’ best actress nominees. Jaclyn Jose was nominated alongside Cristina Flutur (Cannes Best Actress 2012), Bérénice Bejo (Cannes Best Actress 2013), Julianne Moore (Cannes Best Actress 2014), Rooney Mara and Emmanuelle Bercot (Cannes Best Actresses 2015).

Jose, who worked with her daughter in the film, Andi Eigenmann, was “so surprised” when she was called out on the stage to receive the award. Directed by Brilllante Mendoza, Jose said it was a difficult feat.

Her role in Ma’ Rosa meant that she would have to forget everything that she has learned in acting over the past 30 years because Mendoza needed a more subtle type of acting from her. The crew was not even allowed to put on any make up during the shoot to show they can really embody the characters they were playing. Mendoza’s goal is to make the story as raw as possible.

“The biggest challenge for me was not to act. Especially since I am coming from television shows where I play loud and campy characters.”

The actress said this film was very different from what she was used to. Jaclyn Jose has been in the Philippine entertainment industry for decades now and she has done drama films, sitcoms, and TV soap operas. Most of these projects require her to be bold in acting. That is why playing Ma’ Rosa was a challenge to her.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 22: Jaclyn Jose (L) reacts on stage as her daughter Andi Eigenmann and director Brillante Mendoza applaud after being awarded the Best Actress prize during the closing ceremony of the annual 69th Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 22, 2016 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Thankfully, she withstood the challenges in this role because it has paid off. Jaclyn Jose now holds the title for being the first ever Filipino to win the Best Actress award in Cannes Film Festival.

This was not the first time Jaclyn Jose graced the Cannes Film Festival red carpet. Together with Director Mendoza as well, Jose played a role in The Masseur 11 years ago, and also joined Mendoza’s Serbis drama that competed during the Cannes 2008.

The Brilliance That is Ma’ Rosa

Brillante Mendoza has been praised for providing a preview on the “social realist hustle through the grim streets of Manila,” according to Irish Times.

The movie was created in a way that would show the realness of the situation. Shot in natural light, the movie has highlighted the rough corners of the Philippine poor.

It also diverted away from that traditional movie ending where everyone is happy. The main point of the movie is to show how one mother struggles to keep her family alive amidst the harsh challenges of raising her family in this harsh environment.

It aims to make the audience feel disgusted, angry, inspired and dejected at the same time. After all, Mendoza is portraying what poverty really looks like.

The entire crew has been outstanding. The actors who played Jaclyn Jose’s children in the film just showed how strong family ties can be.

“The film takes a more engaging turn when the Reyeses’ three children Jackson (Felix Roco), Erwin (Jomari Angeles) and Raquel (Andy Eigenmann) are tasked with raising the money to bail out their parents. That there’s been no outward show of affection among any of the family members makes their instant assumption of duty surprisingly touching. While Jackson and Erwin look like mama’s boys at first, they prove more enterprising and resourceful than expected, lifting the mood out of total bleakness,” according to Variety.

The story ended blissfully and the “final shot is a marvel,” according to Irish Times.

[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]