Victory Joe

Victory Joe ★★★★

Really surprised by how much I enjoyed this! It's not a long film at all but I still didn't feel any of the time pass by. And even if its characters are admittedly pretty slight, it's still got a lot more on its mind than I was expecting. It's a shame that no writer is credited on this film because I'd love to give proper kudos. This script has quite a strong grasp on the social dynamics of interracial relationships—specifically, the somewhat scandalous idea of a Filipina woman getting into a relationship with a White American liberator while war is ongoing. A lot of this film is lighthearted in tone (and the comedy actually works most of the time) but its exploration of the baggage that comes with turning into a "jeep girl" is really thoughtful and even-handed. A lot of the characters might blame Rosa, but the film itself reserves a lot of sympathy for her.

The film is also just lots of fun. Manuel Silos's direction is very playful, blocking his characters and having them interact in interesting and somewhat unusual ways (in one scene, Norma Blancaflor starts talking to her reflection, which speaks and moves independently from her). It's still a product of its time, which is mostly seen in how Bob, the main American character, is portrayed as the most earnest and gentle and mature person in the country (((when we know that that would never happen, let's be real))). But Silos's light touch doesn't make this too big a problem. Really enjoyable, should still please anybody willing to give it a shot today!