At the press screening of Kusina in August, lead star Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, who came out of her two-year hiatus, emphatically stated, “As you get older, naghahanap ka ng mga pelikula na magpapangiti sa puso mo…I’m so thankful na binuhay nitong Kusina ‘yung passion ko for acting.”
To hear this from the seasoned actress, plus the fact that Kusina was nominated for Best Film at the Cinemalaya Film Festival, is an indication that this latest offering from Viva Films and Cinematografica is a movie worth seeing.
Kusina tells the story of Juanita whose life literally began in the kitchen where she was born in the 30s, and where she continually chooses to spend all her time up to the present. Juanita’s passion for cooking is due to the influence of her grandmother who raised her after her mother died from childbirth. She always bears in mind her grandmother’s advice: “Kapag nagluluto ka, lagi mong iisipin kung sinong pinagluluto mo. Kapag nasagot mo na ‘yan, alam mo na kung anong lulutuin mo.”
Through the years, Juanita comes up with different recipes for her family (her aloof father, her supportive grandmother, her husband and children) and friends, and in the process, the evolution of her relationship with them is revealed. But while she busies herself to feed and meet the satisfaction of the people she loves, even strangers who take momentary refuge in her home, how does catering to her own taste figure in her priorities?
Cenon Palomares and David Corpus directed the movie from Palomares’ screenplay that won the grand prize at the 56th Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature in 2006.
The most favorite Filipino dishes, like pinakbet (meat vegetable stew with shrimp paste), sinigang (pork and vegetables in sour broth), dinuguan (pork blood stew), and adobo (stewed chicken or pork in soy sauce and vinegar), are just a few of the dishes you can feast your eyes on in this film. Almost all of the scenes are shot in the kitchen based on the stories of the people who come in and out of Juanita’s kitchen. The audience can visualize what is happening outside.
Joining Judy Ann is Gloria Sevilla as the grandmother, Joem Bascon as Péles, the husband, and Luis Alandyas Alejandro, the other man in Juanita’s life. (MS)