From director King Louie Palomo comes the short film Nene. It’s the story of a family coming together over a series of unpopular life choices.
Set in the Philippines, Nene (Flora Gasser) is an 81-year-old painter. She prepares for her daughter and grandson’s arrival by going into town and running a few errands, like buying fresh bottles of paint. Meanwhile, in another part of the country, Nene’s daughter (Mercedes Cabral) and grandson (Azmyth Jake Tanabe Hernandez) embark on the long bus ride to Bulacan, where Nene lives.
During that long ride, the grandson talks about how excited he is to see Nene as it’s been forever since they were last together. He most likely has very few memories of her. His mother recounts how she and Nene have not seen one another because Nene disapproved of her daughter’s choice of husband.
“…not seen one another because Nene disapproved of her daughter’s choice of husband.”
The short film is about the journey leading to the ultimate reunion of mother and daughter. The script, by Palomo and Dani Alvarado, remains grounded throughout. While there is the anticipation of a happy reunion, it’s never overly dramatized to tell a Hollywoodized story. We are merely watching a mother and son on a bus, much like if you or I were riding in a car going to grandma’s house. The story is told in our three lead characters’ faces and the oh-so-simple, sometimes mundane, conversations along the way.
Simple and straightforward is the best way to describe Nene as a short film. It’s beautiful in its presentation. The camerawork is remarkable in the way it follows characters in motion. In its simplicity, Palomo allows us to fall in love and invest enough emotional capital for the payoff at the end. Nene is an example of good storytelling and acting, all within 15 minutes.
"…allows us to fall in love and invest enough emotional capital for the payoff..."