Mary Jane Santa Ana Guck has just become the first Filipino to win the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Better known for her stage name - Jaclyn Jose - the Philippine born actress was recognised for her role in the 2016 film Ma’ Rosa. The 52-year-old actress plays a drug-dealing struggling mum who is living in a Manila slum and trying to make ends meet.
“This is the Cannes film festival. This is big. I mean, especially in my country, not everyone can have a competition here or be nominated as a best actress. So this is big in my country right now,” she told ABS-CSN News.
“When they called my name I got surprised, and I got emotional,” she said.
In the film, Jose’s character gets caught up in police corruption. The actress says that it showed how Filipino families coped in spite of poverty. The award winner was very emotional when collecting her award and stood with her daughter, actress Andi Eigenmann on stage.
Jose's win goes beyond the Cannes Film Festival. This win is timely with the current political climate in the Philippines. Rodrigo Duterte has recently been elected as the Philippine's President and is known for his tough stance on drugs and fighting crime.
Peter Bradshaw’s movie review described the film as, “a cold, hard look at what it means to be poor."
The film delivers a powerful message displaying the drug problem in the Philippines and how it destroys families and the lives of the young. It presents a message that supports Duterte’s stance on drug dealing in his country, even though the film was made before his running for president.
Before the film festival, Jose was already a popular soap star in the Philippines. In her Ma' Rosa role as a struggling shopkeeper who turns to drugs in order to feed her four children, the actress played a very different role to what she's used to.
There has been much praise for Jose’s acting. Social media has filled the online space with support.
Watch the trailer below: