jay, a philipino film in 2009



Neil Postman said that America was the only country fixated on television, I beg to differ. As a matter of fact, the venom of “reality television” that told off over in the late 1990s has been spreading like wild fire. In this funny and made-to-believe-it-is but in reality a non-documentary was a good mix of drama, humour and at times almost horror.

A murdered teacher named Jay left behind a family in grief. The initial sadness was convoluted bit by bit as the reality TV director/producer, curiously also named Jay and his crew visited and filmed the family for his programme like vultures. The anecdotes when the sister of murdered Jay mistook a telephone call as her selection to the “Big Brother” show to various relatives and acquaintances of the dead “reenacting” their grief for the TV programme mocked on the obsession and the near-complete surrender to TV in many cultures. The “staging” of the apprehension of one of the suspects by the police was more than hilarious. If you watch this movie and can relate crack up to the humour in it, it seems natural that your culture, apart from that of the Pilipino and American, has succumbed to the far-reaching daily influence of reality TV are NOT the only two.

In an impoverished province where stable employment is hard to come by, getting famous on reality TV seems natural to the locals as it might bring money and fame and better lives in probably Manila. That is a depressing but sober observation.

This film garnered the best actor and best supporting actor and actress roles of the Golden Screen Awards in the Philippines in 2009.

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