SINAG MAYNILA 2019 REVIEW: Jino To Mari shows dirty side of porn industry

Oliver Aquino and Angela Cortez portray sex workers who feel exploited in the Sinag Maynila 2019 entry Jino To Mari.


The topic of prostitution has been tackled on the big screen many times, and filmmakers have all tried to put a human face on what is known as the world’s oldest profession.

In Jino To Mari (Gino and Marie), an entry to the 2019 Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival, director Joselito “Jay” Altarejos pushes the envelope to dig deeper into the topic.

Gino (Oliver Aquino) and Marie (Angela Cortez) are sex workers recruited to star in a porn film, and they readily accept the offer as they badly need the P10,000 that they’ll receive as talent fee.

Gino is an 18-year-old out-of-school youth who supports his younger sister’s studies, as well as his grandmother’s daily needs.  Marie is a 25-year-old single mother whose only joy is to give the best to her only daughter.

They get to know each other during an arduous trip (first by bus then by boat) to an island in Quezon province. They are welcomed by Aling Sonia (Ruby Ruiz), who then leads them, by foot, to a resort.

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At the resort, Gino and Marie are introduced to the porn film’s supervising producer (Perry Escano), its Japanese director (Mitsuaki Morishita), and the rest of the crew.

The shoot goes smoothly at first, except for Gino’s ejaculation scene, which is then remedied through improvisation.

Just when Gino and Marie think that their work is done, a group for masked nude men enter frame for their orgy scene.

Gino protests, and tells the supervising producer that he and Marie aren’t told about the orgy scene.

In response, the irked supervising producer reminds the pair that they’re prostitutes, anyway, so they shouldn’t have limitations.  

With a heavy heart and through tears (and vomit), Gino and Marie do what the director tells them to do for fear of not getting their talent fee.

Direk Jay succeeds in presenting not just the lead characters’ poverty-stricken lives but as regular folks who work to make ends meet.

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But those scenes, like Marie’s step-by-step trip to the bus station to meet up with Gino, could’ve been tightened and maybe shortened.

His use of stylized shots and classical music in depicting the first part of the porn film underscores the easy rapport between Gino and Marie, thus they seem like actually making love.

He then shifts to a blunt approach in the orgy part to show how Gino and Marie feel exploited but helpless.

It’s surreal seeing the characters creating porn amidst the soul-stirring operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Peter Schubert. After watching Jino To Mari, you’ll never think of “Ave Maria” the same way ever again.

Lead stars Oliver Aquino and Angela Cortez make breakthrough performances in the movie. They both put in a lot of heart and commitment to their characters.

In an interview with PEP.ph, Oliver said he put on weight so his Gino character won’t look like a gym rat with six-pack abs, and, in the process, may take the attention away from his facial expressions. Good call!

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Angela’s win as Best Actress (tie with Sylvia Sanchez for Jesusa) is proof of how she remarkably essayed the role of Marie, and why she should be getting more acting jobs.

Jino to Mari won three more awards at the Sinag Maynila 2019, such as Best Screenplay, Best Musical Score, and the Sinag Maynila Box-Office Award.

The festival runs until April 17. The Sinag Maynila 2019 entry Jino To Mari will be screened at Cinema ‘76 San Juan on April 14 at 7 p.m., and at Cinema Centenario in Quezon City on April 14 at 9 p.m. and April 17 at 4 p.m.

Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.

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