"Nars," a little-seen, independent Filipino film from 2007, captures the daily life of hard-working nurses at a Philippines hospital. The film presents a fictionalized but nonetheless realistic and moving story about five young nurses and their personal and professional struggles. The characters are unique in their decision to stay and work in the Philippines; most Filipino nurses choose to go abroad in search of work.
The film's story centers around five nursing students -- Liam, Marissa, Noel, Ella and Adrienne -- who are part of the same study group. The characters must work in a San Juan hospital during their final year of nursing school; this brings them closer together as they experience all the trials and tribulations that come with being a nurse. Each student has his or her own monumental experiences that shape them.
Each of the film's characters a different reason for choosing a career in nursing. Ela, for one, doesn't love the idea of the profession, but thinks it is her chance to escape poverty. Adrienne feels neglected by her family, and wants to work as a nurse in Australia to get back at them. Liam is of Filipino descent but born in the U.S.; he goes to the Philippines to study because it is cheaper. Noel is a young gay nurse who dreams of escaping to Europe. Finally, Marisa is a doctor who chooses nursing because she plans on moving to the U.S., where the process of getting a job as a nurse will be easier than as a doctor.
Cast and Crew
"Nars" -- written by Agnes de Guzman -- was directed by prolific Filipino filmmaker Adolfo Alix, Jr. ("Presa," "Donsol"). Jennylyn Mercado stars as Ela; Jodi Sta. Maria appears as Adrienne; Coco Martin plays Noel; Jon Avila portrays Liam; and Agot Isidro plays Marisa. Other actors featured in the film include Jaclyn Jose, Allan Paule, Jeffrey Hidalgo, and Joseph Bitangcol. The film was produced by Carl & Carl Productions, run by Carl Balita and Carlo Maceda.
"Nars" premiered on Oct. 22, 2007, which is Nurses' Day in the Philippines. According to the "Manila Standard Today," the film was something of a surprise hit in the Philippines; the film competed well against the Hollywood fare it was up against at local megaplexes in its limited run. Despite the film's success at home, "Nars" has not garnered an international release nor a good deal of international attention.