International film: Caregiver (2008)

Carl Smith Valdez reviews Caregiver for this weeks international film.

Carl Smith Valdez
12th March 2019
Image: YouTube

According to the Philippines Statistics Authority, from April to September 2017 over 2.339 million Filipinos travel overseas to find work. Having been released in 2008, Caregiver sheds light to the hidden lives of overseas workers, and it remains prevalent today.

Caregiver is a 2008 Filipino drama film directed by Chito Rono. Caregiver follows the life of Sarah, a grade 5 English teacher, who decides to join her husband in London, working as a caregiver. She sacrifices her teaching career and leaves her son behind to give her family a better life.

The film opens with Sarah bewildered in a dark woodland, circled by crows. The handheld camera follows Sarah in an unstable state. This almost bears resemblance to the cinematography used in The Blair Witch Project. It is unusual to see a drama film borrow horror movie conventions. Yet, this daring approach pays off to capturing Sarah’s fear within herself. She is doubtful of her decision to go to London, at the risk of losing a close relationship with her son. This serves as a visual metaphor for the uncertain future waiting for Sarah abroad.

Caregiver is a compelling, poignant and intriguing movie.

A deserving mention is to Sharon Cuneta’s portrayal of Sarah. She encapsulates a loving and caring mother who is willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the future of her family. She continues to become the caregiver not only to her lonely patients, but also for her family and friends despite all the burdens piling at her. It is no surprise that Cuneta won Best Actress in 2009 in the Star Awards for her performance in this movie.

Caregiver is a compelling, poignant and intriguing movie. It provides a new standpoint to internationals working abroad. It encapsulates the everyday trials workers abroad must tackle in exchange of a better future.

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