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Jaclyn Jose: Essential films you have to see

Jaclyn Jose: Essential films you have to see

  • Jaclyn Jose, a mainstay of both independent and mainstream Filipino television and cinema, has passed away at age 60

It’s a sad day for Filipino cinephiles. On Mar. 3, it was reported that award-winning Filipina actress Jaclyn Jose (born Mary Jane Guck) had passed away at the age of 60. Confirmation of this news came from her management, PLL Entertainment. 

The statement read, “It saddens us to inform everyone of the untimely passing of Miss Jaclyn Jose. More details will be shared as soon as they are available. The Guck and Eigenmann families are requesting for everyone to please pray for the eternal repose of Miss Jaclyn Jose and for them to be allowed the respect and privacy to mourn her passing, and navigate these difficult times.”

Jose was a prominent figure in the Filipino film and television industry. She made her debut in the 1980s in films like William Pascual’s “Chicas” and Chito S. Roño’s “Private Show.” Early on in her career, she also starred in Lino Brocka’s “Macho Dancer,” which told the story of gay prostitutes in Manila’s red-light district. 

She earned critical acclaim in the ’90s for playing Neneng in “The Flor Contemplacion Story,” for which she got her fourth Gawad Urian and Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards (FAMAS) nominations. 

Jose was also the recipient of international praise when she won the Best Actress Award at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for “Ma’ Rosa.” She was the first Filipino to win the award.

If you’re interested in exploring more of her filmography, here are some films you shouldn’t miss out on. There are a few spoilers here and there, so be warned. 

“Itanong mo sa Buwan” 

In this 1988 film, Jose plays the role of “Josie,” a married middle-class woman who was held hostage during a bank robbery. The narrative she weaves is suspicious, and not all of it is what it seems. This film gave Jose her second FAMAS award nomination. 

“The Flor Contemplacion Story”

The film tells the story of Flor Contemplacion, an OFW in Singapore who was hanged for allegedly murdering her fellow maid. Jose plays the role of “Neneng,” the mistress of Contemplacion’s (Nora Aunor’s) husband. The role earned her a FAMAS nomination for Best Supporting Actress. 

You can stream the full film on Viva Film’s YouTube


“Serbis” is a 2008 independent film directed by Brillante Mendoza that explores the life of a family living in a cinema that shows adult films. It’s a dark, slice of life drama that narrates the comings and goings of the theater’s residents and their more dubious actions. Jose plays “Nadia” in the film, one of the theater’s residents and a member of the Pineda family. 

“Ma’ Rosa”

In her Cannes Best Actress-winning role, Jose plays the role of Rosa, a struggling mother who runs a sari-sari store and sells crystal meth with her husband to make ends meet. After being arrested by police and extorted, it’s now up to her children to pay off the police for their freedom. 

“Patay na si Hesus”

Jose has been lauded as a serious actress throughout her career—especially with her roles in “Ma Rosa”—but her comedic side is also something to bear witness to. “Patay na si Hesus” is a dark comedy about a family from Cebu traveling to Dumaguete for the burial of their estranged father. It’s an almost absurd, awkward, laugh-out-loud hilarious film that’ll strike a hefty chord with a Bisaya audience. It’s a performance that’s not worth missing. 

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