As part of the Tribunal’s celebration for CY 2019 National Women’s Month, the SET Gender and Development Focal Point System (GFPS) spearheaded a film screening for employees last 22 March 2019 at the Senate Electoral Tribunal Session Hall.  Thereafter, insights and reflections conveyed by the film were discussed in a focus group discussion headed by the GFPS-Technical Working Group.

The chosen film,“Barber’s Tales,” narrates the story of Marilou (Eugene Domingo), who lives completely subservient to her husband Jose (Daniel Fernando), the only barber in town.  Jose is the master of their loveless and lonely marriage.  After their first born died of congenital infirmity, Jose abstains from sexual contact with Marilou and seeks sexual pleasure instead with Rosa (Sue Prado), a prostitute. Marilou turns a blind eye to Jose’s extramarital affairs.

With the death of Jose, Marilouinherits the town’s only barbershop from her husband. With no other means of support, she reluctantly decides to be the next barber in town.  Despite the endorsement of the parish priest Fr. Arturo (Eddie Garcia), men hesitate to entrust their hair to a woman believing that a barber is a man’s occupation.  Rosa urges her prostitute friends to pressure their male clients into patronizing Marilou’s barbershop.  They grudgingly oblige for fear that their infidelity will be exposed to their wives. 

The film also features the struggles of women in the same town, such as Cecilia (Iza Calzado), the battered wife of Alfredo (Nonie Buencamino), the philandering mayor; Marilou’s often pregnant best friend Susan (Gladys Reyes); and Marilou’s spinster friend Tessie (SharmaineBuencamino).

“Barber’s Tales” is among the films recommended by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) as it exemplifies the relevant objectives and focus of the celebration.  It documents the systematic oppression of women and the patriarchal structure of Filipino families. It depicts the voiceless woman who suffers in the sidelines.  It portrays the traditional gender role of a woman, i.e., to be married and have children, or become a housemaid.