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REVIEW: Terrific acting, storytelling made us understand schizophrenia in MMK’s “Anino”

Living in a pitiful, delusional state is one curse any person would dread.

For a family who subsist and depend on a father who had actually slid down to such a mental disorder as schizophrenia, the burden is so much greater.

In the MMK episode Anino, we are brought not only in the difficult life of a family faced with such a burdensome challenge, but into the mind of the person afflicted with the disease as we try to comprehend and seek redemption.

Ideal family man

Victor (Zanjoe Marudo) had been the ideal family man, seeking to provide the best for his wife Marites (Isabel Oli) and kids Carlo (Lance Lucido) and Sarah (Chunsa Jung). He was much too kind and generous to a fault that even unscrupulous strangers had taken advantage of it.

Victor had opened the doors of his home to a homeless old lady Maring (Eva Darren) and her son Ben (Zeppie Borromeo), whom he accepted just like they were part of his family. And, here, Maring and Ben, a known drug user, exploited Victor’s kindness and stole all of his earnings from the bakery he had put up and fled.

Depression

This led to Victor’s depression and self-guilt as he totally changed from being a responsible father to a compulsive gambler. He then experienced hallucinations and other delusional visions the further shut him out from the real world. What’s worse is that he would become violent to his 7-year-old son Carlo, as he did bizarre activities, such as digging corpses and burying statuettes of saints.

Victor’s actions not only made Marites and their kids suffer, it placed them in the spotlight in their tightly knit community in Iba, Zambales. Their children would even get bullied over their father’s sorry state.

Despite the horrors, Marites remained as the dutiful wife and loyal carer of her husband. She would endure her husband’s constant maltreatment, rage, and inexplicable actions as a result of the disorder. She would also tell their children to understand their father, who is just sick and can get well.

Diagnosis

She then decided to seek medical attention for Victor and the doctors diagnosed his illness as paranoid schizophrenia and major depression, a condition he refused to accept. Especially the hearing word, baliw, which townsfolk had described him.

As Victor worsened, Marites opted to have him confined in the mental institution. This turned out to be the best decision she could make, as Victor improved through the three month confinement and is showing signs of a full recovery.

While they may have lost everything, with Marites selling their possessions and closing down their bakery to concentrate on Victor’s recovery, having Victor back means more to them than anything. As Victor returns bit by bit with his condition getting better, his family still looks at a bright future redeeming what was lost and themselves healed from life’s difficulties.

Scourge

In “Anino,” the scourge of schizophrenia was so effectively exposed with impressive storytelling and deeply felt and effective acting, all made possible by the wonderful director Elfren Vibar. The script written by Akeem Jordan del Rosario and Arah Jell Badayos truthfully reflects the journey of the afflicted and how the condition affects those who surround him.

The biggest and salient “bridge” of this effectiveness was how the actors portrayed their roles. Isabel Oli was a big revelation in the episode as she exhibited the right amount of facial acting and effective verbal delivery in depicting the suffering wife. She deserves more challenging dramatic pursuits.

Of course, the biggest toast goes to Zanjoe Marudo, who was utterly exceptional in his portrayal of the schizophrenic Victor. You can just feel and understand his pain through his eyes, a sign of his genuine depiction. All in all, we can see that Zanjoe did not really play the part, he actually became the pitiful, troubled, delusional person we tried to sincerely understand.