Delightful and Charming, WHERE’S GRANDPA MÊ? (ASAN SI LOLO MÊ?) Offers A Whimsical Take On Death
A little boy does not know that his grandfather just died. To spare him from grief, his mother brings home a stray goat and tells him it is his grandfather.
Director: Sari Estrada
Cast: Sheenly Gener, Rob Sy, Joseph Dela Cruz, Zachary Ezekiel Diaz
Runtime: 20 minutes
The death of a loved one is a painful reality of life. Believing that her son Bembem (Zachary Ezekiel Diaz) is too young to process the death of his grandfather, Grace (Sheenly Gener) tells him that his beloved grandfather has turned into a goat, all while convincing the rest of her family to play along.
What follows of Where’s Grandpa Mê? is a light-hearted absurdist comedy that reminds us of the importance of keeping a childlike wonder of the world – at least from time to time – even as adults.
The adults in Bembem’s family – his father Bert (Rob Sy) and uncle Ronnie (Joseph Dela Cruz) – are initially against Grace’s idea, believing that even a child wouldn’t accept something as silly as a goat being his grandfather. Yet as the short progresses, Bembem’s innocence proves to be outright contagious for both Bert and Ronnie. Both start dedicating themselves more to the charade not just to protect Bembem’s innocence, but also to use as their own coping mechanism for the loss of their father.
Handed with the balancing act of portraying the pain of loss while delivering on the short’s comedic elements, it is the performances from both Rob Sy and Joseph Dela Cruz as the brothers duo that anchors the short’s premise. One standout sequence in the short is in what starts out as a playful scene between the two brothers slowly pivoting into Ronnie having a full-on emotional breakdown, spectacularly showcasing Cruz’s range in his role.
This, however, is not to discount the performances of the rest of the cast. Diaz’s Bembem is disarmingly adorable and won me over the moment he entered the frame. From dancing around with his four-legged grandfather to innocently asking his mother if he too can be a goat, Bembem embodied innocence worth protecting.
Directly responsible for this is Grace, determined to keep up the lie at least until she figures out a graceful way to break the truth to him. Ironically, she also often finds herself having to inject reality into the household when the men in her family start to take her scheme way too seriously. Gener offers a measured performance of Grace, portraying her character in a stoic light and delicately balancing between both her roles in the family.
Filipino writer and director Sari Estrada uses an array of simple yet effective shots to frame Where’s Grandpa Mê?, with liberal use of blurred backgrounds to bring full attention to the performances. Meanwhile, the short is occasionally accompanied by a jovial soundtrack to complement its overall playful nature.
With all around wonderful performances by the cast and a charming premise, Where’s Grandpa Mê? is a delightful short that is hard not to like. Despite being presented in a childlike manner, the short is more of a fable for adults. Where’s Grandpa Mê? tests its audience on how far they are willing to believe in something completely farcical, while questioning why adults even choose to lose their childlike innocence in the first place.
Where’s Grandpa Mê? is available to watch here