Small Voices

Rated 3.0 Young, idealistic Filipino schoolteacher Melinda (Alessandra de Rossi) moves from Manila to a rural farming village where children are valued more as laborers than academic graduates. She bumps up against social barriers, the matriarchal will of the school principal (who sells ice candy to the students for her own profit) and the exploitative nature of two co-teachers (who turn some students into their personal house cleaners) while trying to keep kids in class. A regional singing contest provides Melinda a chance to bolster village dreams of a better future and to finance much-needed school improvements. The dramatic aspects of the film are rather flaccid, but this insider’s view of a community and its many shackles is intriguing. Directed and co-written by Gil Portes.