Nakauwi Na is a short film by Marvin Cabangunay and Jaynus Olaivar which depicts the struggle of a jeepney driver, Mang Jerry (Bobby Tamayo), to get the body of his son Emman (Marc Felix) out of a funeral home after he became a victim of extrajudicial killings as a result of the government’s war against drugs.
I must say for the record that Nakauwi Na did not have the best cinematography. It suffered from abrupt transitions in editing and at some point, even garbled audio. However, what made the movie a standout was its message.
Nakauwi Na depicts the flipside of the government’s war against drugs when killings have become commonplace and no trials are needed to mete out justice against perceived offenders. The story talks about what happens to the families of the victims, like Mang Jerry, who struggles with helplessness as he wrestles with his personal sense of injustice, but has to hold all those feelings in just so he could send off his one and only offspring in the hopes that he finds peace in the afterlife.
The scene where Mang Jerry goes door to door to beg for financial support, and the fact that he had to swallow his pride and face ridicule and non-cholance from bus passengers as he told them of what happened to his son was heartbreaking and made me re-evaluate how I respond to similar incidents in real life.
My favorite scene was the last scene, where Mang Jerry is finally able to send Emman off, and the accompanying original score which pretty much summed up the tragic journey of father and son.
All in all, despite its technical imperfections, I believe Nakauwi Na is one of the best entries in the short film category of Cinemalaya 2017. It manages to shine the spotlight on real life social issues through a story that is both compelling, moving and relatable.