Mae Paner, aka Juana Change, totally cracked me up in “Vagina Monologues” when Monique Wilson invited both of us and other colleagues to be part of her pet project last year. Mae brought the house down with her animated portrayal of the various kinds of women on the verge of “climax.” No doubt the seasoned thespian will be even more hilarious on the big screen in “Juana C. the Movie” (opening May 29). During its special screening, even Brillante Ma. Mendoza couldn’t stop laughing.
Mae plays a happy-go-lucky member of an indigenous tribe living in the mountains. Her community pins its hopes on her to save their ancestral land. So she goes to Manila where she reinvents herself as a salon-pampered kolehiyala and becomes a high-class, plus-size escort. Her trade brings her to the doorsteps of Philippine power. Juana will use all of her fabulous 250 pounds to fight the good fight against corruption and apathy.
Her movie is a timely reminder that even we Pinoys, who tend to take things lightly, should also know when to take things seriously. Our good sense of humor keeps us afloat, but we must not lose our other senses to know which clowns to send away.
Why should the public watch your movie?
Because they will have fun watching it and then enjoy talking about it and discussing it long after they’ve seen it. Also, because it is the kind of movie that major studios will not dare produce—a sexy political comedy!
What can you say about celebs joining politics?
I have no problem with that, until power and greed get into their heads.
What unsolicited advice would you give politicos?
To the genuinely good ones— thrive! To those pretending to be good— die na! Now na!
What is dirtier, politics or show biz?
Parang politics siguro kasi mas maraming magnanakaw at mamamatay-tao na politiko. But I could be wrong.
Tell us about your movie.
The movie follows the outrageously hilarious, yet painfully realistic adventures of a student who slowly awakens to her country’s ills and how these are perpetuated by greedy businessmen, corrupt politicians and a complacent majority. Hers is a journey from apathy to awareness to action—triple-A transformation!
What makes it more fun in Philippine politics?
The dynasties, epals, at mga nasa tuwid na daan kuno!
Do you think that poking fun at our politicos would serve as a wake-up call for them?
Poking fun and shaming politicos work for most, but some are truly callous and filled with hubris.
If you could date P-Noy, where would you take him? What would you ask him?
Pinangarap ko yan. Dadalhin ko sya sa isang meeting namin ng mga reform groups and I will make him sit and listen. Then I will ask him to pave the way for the legislation of FOI (freedom of information).
How did you come up with the Juana Change character?
As an advocacy, it started during President GMA’s time. We thought of expanding our audience to the movie-going public who don’t like to watch the news.
Did you ever get in trouble because of Juana C?
Too many to mention, but it’s worth it. I’ve lost some friends along the way, but that’s the price I have to pay for what I believe in.
Give us a sample Juana C speech
Ang mga iboboto natin ngayong 2013 ay may malakas na laban sa 2016 presidential elections. Ang lungkot dahil maraming s__t sa kanila. And we don’t deserve s__t. Do not vote for a candidate who is part of a political dynasty. There is no such thing as a good dynasty! Ang gusto nating baguhin ay dapat nating banggain.