The Bet Collector (2006)

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The Bet Collector (2006) Poster

In this starkly realistic narrative, director Jeffrey Jeturian presents a captivating portrait of a once-proud woman, haunted by memories of a dead son and hounded by the police, and her fragile and lonely life as a "kurador".


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9 December 2007 | gonzagaext
| If a Great Filipino Film Is Made But No One Watches It, Does It Still Exist?
We Filipinos are ashamed of our contemporary national cinema and love to complain about how horrible it is. "It hasn't been the same since the grand old days of Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, and co.," we say. (These 'grand old days' were in the 70's and 80's.) Then we turn around and watch "Chuck and Larry", seriously consider Ashton Kutcher a good actor, and think the world of bubblegum-pop-singer-turned-actress Mandy Moore.

Bear with my bitter(sweet) grumbling. It's just quite frustrating. If a great Filipino film is made but nobody watches it, does it still exist?

Jeffrey Jeturian's "Kubrador" is a landmark film that a lot of Filipinos have probably heard of but few have seen. It garnered a lot of press from traveling the international film festival circuit, albeit not the major ones, and winning some awards both locally and internationally. In fact, it is one of the most-publicized non-commercial films in recent memory, second only to Auraeus Solito's much-beloved "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros". Both films, in my opinion, are cornerstones in contemporary Philippine cinema.

While there have been attempts to resuscitate the industry, only a handful have made significant marks. Names like Crisaldo Pablo, Mel Chionglo, Jose Javier Reyes, Michiko Yamamoto, and Lav Diaz and titles like "Dekada 70", "Muro-Ami", "Babae sa Bubungang Lata", Jeturian's own "Pila-Balde", "Jologs", "Panaghoy sa Suba", "Bagong Buwan", and "Batang West Side" come to mind. It really wasn't until 2005's "Maximo" though when things started to get really interesting. For me "Maximo" signaled the possibility that there could be more to this cinema than Brocka and Bernal. "Kubrador" assured me that "Maximo" wasn't just a fluke.

Veteran actress Gina Parreno defines "Kubrador" and I'm not just referring to the fact that she is the titular 'kubrador' here, the bet collector. It's impossible to imagine this film without her. With the histrionics school of acting deeply entrenched in the industry, Parreno defies with a very low-key performance. Tough, caring, emotional yet too busy with life to stop and cry, sociable yet occasionally abrasive, annoyingly stubborn and bossy at times, she plays the typical matriarch, Amy (ah-mee--the Filipino pronunciation). She is endearing because she is real. Jeturian expertly weaves her story amidst the maze of slums. Or is it the other way around? The story of the slums intertwined with hers? Cinema verite style, we follow her as she plies her route as her neighborhood's 'jueteng' (an illegal numbers game favored by the poor) collector. It is the view into another world here that gives "Kubrador" most of its magic. The ordinary is the extraordinary.

The acting is superb and amazingly realistic as to be almost documentary-like, from the leads right down to the extras, with a negligible slip-up or two (which, ironically, includes Johnny Manahan, an occasional actor and one of the main players in ABS-CBN/Star Cinema, one of the 2 biggest film studios in the country). For me, some of the scenes are already instant classics: the apo's (grandchild) 'concert', the funeral, and the last few minutes of the film.

"Kubrador" may be too quiet or too depressing, too poor, too ugly, for some, but exactly why it should be watched by all, Filipinos especially, even if--especially since--this is the farthest thing Ashton Kutcher and Mandy Moore would star in.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


THe movie has been accepted by a total of 16 international film festivals: 1. World Premiere at the 28th Moscow International Film Festival, Russia June 23-July 2, 2006 where it won the FIPRESCI Award 2. Asian Premiere at the 8th Osian-Cinefan International Film Festival, New Delhi, India, July 14-23, 2006 where it bagged Best Picture, Best Actress and its 2nd FIPRESCI Prize 3. North American premiere at 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, Canada from September 7-16, 2006 4. 2006 Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada from September 28-October 13, 2006 5. Turkish premiere at the 2nd International Eurasia Film Festival in Antalya from September 16-23, 2006 6. Bollywood premiere at Mumbai's 5th Asian Film Festival from October 12-19, 2006 7. 2006 Pusan International Film Festival, Korea from October 12-20, 2006 8. UK premiere at the 50th London International Film Festival, October 18-November 2, 2006 9. US premiere at the Louis Vitton-Hawaii International Film Festival From October 19-29, 2006 10. Latin American premiere at 30th São Paulo International Film Festival / 30ª Mostra Internacional de Cinema, Brazil from October 21-November 3, 2006 11. Balkan premiere at Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Greece From November 7-23, 2006 12. Western European premiere at the 33rd Brussels International Independent Film Festival from November 7-12, 2006 13. French premiere at the 26th Festival International du Film d'Ameins (in competition) from 10-19 November 2006 14. Italian premiere at the Asiatica Film Mediale in Rome from November.18-26, 2006 15. Iberian premiere at the Sección Oficial of Spain's 51st Valladolid International Film Festival from October 20-28, 2006 16. Kubrador will be competing for the Golden Kinnaree award for Best Film in Competition during the 2007 Bangkok International Film Festival from January 26-February 5, 2007.


Plot Summary




Release Date:

12 January 2007


Filipino, Tagalog

Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Metro Manila, Philippines

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