Filmography: Anak (2000)

“Sana sa tuwing umiinom ka ng alak…habang hinihitit mo ang sigarilyo mo at habang nilulustay mo ang perang pinapadala ko! Sana maisip mo rin kung ilang pagkain ang tiniis kong hindi kainin para lang makapagpadala ako ng malaking pera rito. Sana habang nakahiga ka diyan sa kutson mo, natutulog, maisip mo rin kung ilang taon akong natulog mag-isa nabang nangungulila ako sa yakap ng mga mahal ko. Sana maisip mo kahit kaunti kung gaano kasakit sa akin ang mag-alaga ng mga batang hindi ko kaanoano samantalang kayo, kayong mga anak ko hindi ko man lang maalagaan. Alam mo ba kung gaano kasakit iyon sa isang ina? Alam mo bang gaano kasakit iyon? Kung hindi mo ako kayang ituring bilang isang ina. Respetuhin mo man lang ako bilang isang tao. Yung lang Carla…yun man lang.” - Josie Agbisit

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Basic Information: Directed: Rory B. Quintos; Story: Raymond Lee, Ricardo Lee; Screenplay: Raymond Lee, Ricardo Lee; Cast: Vilma Santos, Claudine Barretto, Joel Torre, Amy Austria, Cherry Pie Picache, Baron Geisler, Leandro Muñoz, Gino Paul Guzman, Sheila Mae Alvero, Tess Dumpit, Jodi Sta. Maria, Cris Michelena, Hazel Ann Mendoza, Daniel Morial, Odette Khan, Troy Martino, John Lapuz, Jojo Saguin, Archie Adamos, Jiro Manio, Don Laurel, Nellie Sy, Andrew Chua, Jet Filipino, Manny Mendoza, Ron Christopher Flores, Mark Anthony Madronio, Aida Espiritu, Macy Masucol, Me-an Vargas, Girlie Alcantara, Jessette Prospero, Lawrence A. Roxas, Lui Villaruz, Sarji Ruiz, Mark De Guzman, Yiu Pong Lau, Zott Vincent Cailipan, Renan Giljang, Butch Jarlos, Aimee Marasigan, Ailyngail Mary Navarro; Executive Producers: Charo Santos Concio, Malou N. Santos; Original Music: Jessie Lasaten; Cinematography: Joe Batac; Film Editing: George Jarlego; Production Design: Danny Santiago, Nuel C. Naval; Sound: Ramon Reyes; Theme Songs: “Anak” written and composed by Freddie Aguilar, sung by Sharon Cuneta; Released: 2000 119 minutes color 35mm Star Cinema Productions

Plot Description: The main character is a Filipina Overseas Contract Worker, one of the many residents of the archipelago who is forced to leave her family and take a higher paying job in a more prosperous Asian country. While she is working her employer refuses to let her take a vacation, nor does he deliver her mail to her. She is unaware, therefore, that her husband has died. When she finally returns to the Philippines, she is met with resentment and hatred by her children. The movie studies how she overcomes these feelings and rebuilds the relationship with her family. - IMDB

Vilma Santos in her most dramatic role for a long time is back in “Anak”. She plays a mother trapped between providing to her family and being with them when she is most needed. In contrast to her sacrifices is an ungrateful daughter, played by Claudine Barretto. Also in the cast are Amy Austria, Cherrie Pie Picache, Baron Geisler and Leandro Munoz. - Mininova

This is the story of a mother’s agony and her desperate attempt to piece back the broken fragments of her shattered family. Josie (Vilma Santos) returns to Manila after working as a Domestic Helper in Hong Kong for ten years. Her beloved husband, Rudy (Joel Torre), who died five years ago, was good-natured, loving and kind but was not a good provider. She was forced out of financial need to go abroad and slave under abusive employers in order to provide a better life for the family. But her happy expectation of a joyful reunion with her beloved children is dashed to pieces when she finds that her absence, her family has fallen apart: her first-born, Carla (Claudine Barretto), has run loose and wild for lack of guidance; her son, Michael (Baron Geisler), is in deep trouble in school; and her youngest, Daday (Sheila Junsay), doesn’t even know who she is. Josie is a stranger to her own family. She tries to maintain a happy and cheerful exterior while desperately trying to reach out to her children but they continue to repel her tender appeals. Ironically, it is Daday, her youngest who grew up without knowing her, who first opens her own heart and embraces her into the family. Unknown to Josie, her two elder children harbours a deep and painful resentment toward her.

In their minds, their mother does not care for them. She had left for abroad even when they cried and begged her not to, and she did not even bother to come home to be with them for their father’s funeral. But Carla and Michael do not know their mother’s side of the story. Josie was devastated upon hearing of Rudy’s death but she had been unable to go home because her employers cruelly kept her locked inside the house. And she had endured another five years of hard labour knowing that her family would need money then, more than ever. Josie’s problem, despite all her desperate efforts, becomes worse and worse. She loses all of her savings in a failed business venture, Michael is kicked out of school, and worst of all, Carla becomes pregnant by one of her many lovers. Josie is horrible aggrieved when Carla, in a fit of helpless fury, throws at Josie’s face all her years of pent-up anger and resentment. She blames Josie for the aimless, ruined life. Josie was never here to give her love, she says, that is why she seeks it in the arms of men. Finally, Josie admits defeat. She has failed bitterly in her role as a mother. What is the right thing for her to do? Should she stay or should she go? Will she have the courage to try to reclaim her family, or will she take the easier way out and return to her familiar life in Hong Kong? – Star Cinema

A mother in anguish makes a last-ditch effort to piece back together the broken fragments of her shattered family. After ten years of working as a domestic helper in Hong Kong, she comes home to Manila but not to be greeted with a joyful reunion with her loved ones. She longs for her late husband who was kind and loving but not a good provider. Her firstborn has run wild for lack of guidance. Her only son is in deep trouble in school. Her youngest doesn’t even recognize her. She comes to realize that her children harbor resentment toward her as she left for abroad despite pleas for her not to and for the crucial fact that she missed their father’s funeral five years ago. Despite all indications to the contrary, she is determined to overcome all hindrances to still succeed in her maternal role. – UP Shots 6 Film Artists from Diliman (READ MORE)

Film Achievement:  Philippines’ Official Entry to the Foreign Language Film Category to 73rd Academy Awards (OSCAR); Philippines’ Official Entry to the 2001 Fukuoka Asian Film Festival; Philippines’ Official Entry to the 2001 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival; Philippines’ Official Entry to the 2001 San Francisco Asian American Film Festival; 2000 STAR Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 2000 FAP Best Screenplay – Ricardo Lee, Raymond Lee; 2000 FAP Best Supporting Actress – Amy Austria; Best Picture – 2000 Catholic Mass Media Awards; 2000 PASADO Best Picture – Star Cinema; 2000 PASADO Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 2000 GMMSF Box Office Queen – Vilma Santos

Other Film Achievements: 2000 FAP Best Actress nomination – Vilma Santos; 2000 FAP Best Picture nomination – Star Cinema; 2000 URIAN Best Actress nomination – Vilma Santos; 2000 URIAN Best Supporting Actor nomination – Baron Geisler; 2000 Film Ratings Board – Rated B; Record-breaking box office revenue of 1999

P14-M on Opening Day – The latest movie of Lipa Mayor Vilma Santos, “Anak,” grossed P14M when it opened last Wednesday, making it the third-in-a-row smash hit offering from Star Cinema. Two other big hits produced by Star Cinema were the Sharon Cuneta-Richard Gomez starrer “Minsan, Minahal Kita” and “Tunay Na Tunay, Gets Mo, Gets Ko,” which starred Robin Padilla and Jolina Magdangal. Moviegoers who went to watch “Anak” (Star Cinema’s latest offering for Mother’s Day) were only women, but also men. It was also heartwarming that people of all ages and from all levels of society are undoubtedly drawn by the heart-rending theme of the movie. The dramatic film tackles the plight of an overseas Filipino worker (played by Vilma Santos) who comes home again to a family in shambles after working in Hongkong for several years. “Anak” is directed by Rory Quintos from a well researched screenplay by Ricardo Lee and Raymund Lee. It also stars Claudine Barreto as the self-destructing and rebellious daughter who turns her mother’s (Vilma’s) homecoming into a veritable hell. Observes Malou Santos, managing director of Star Cinema, producer of Anak: “Siguro ang appeal ng ‘Anak’ stems from its plot, with which Filipino families can easily identify. May kamag-anak man silang overseas worker o hindi. Kasi, more than dealing with the story of an OFW, ‘Anak’ tackles family disputes, this time set in a contemporary setting and situation.” “Nakatulong din na parehong magaling sina Vi at Claudine sa pelikula. Pati na ang kanilang mga co-stars na sina Baron (Geisler), Cherry Pie (Picache) and Amy Austria. Kahit na si Joel Torre, na very special lang ang participation sa pelikula, proved to be a standout,” Ms. Santos further stated. – Sol Jose Vanzi, May 14, 2000 (READ MORE)

“…Anak, the movie by ABS-CBN’s film outfit Star Cinema, is a box-office hit. On its first day alone, the movie garnered more than P14 million at the tills. The Vilma Santos-starrer is the centerpiece of the projects and services being offered by the network and its various subsidiaries for Overseas Filipino Workers. Fittingly, the premiere of Anak was held in Hong Kong where a large number of Filipina OFWs are based. The global premiere was sponsored by ABS-CBN International, Forex Cargo and Marigold Commercial Enterprises…” – The Philippine Star, May 19, 2000 (READ MORE)

P160 million – “…Star Cinema’s “Anak,” directed by Rory Quintos and topbilled by Vilma Santos and Claudine Barretto as the mother and daughter at odds, will be submitted for consideration as the country’s entry to next year’s (73rd) Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. It will have to compete with more than a hundred other films from countries around the world for the five slots as finalists. Anak was unanimously chosen by the Board of Governors (BOG) of the Film Academy of the Philippines as the country’s lone entry. The BOG picked Anak over two other films, Mike de Leon’s “Bayaning Third World” and Carlitos Siguion-Reyna’s “Azucena.” The film’s subtitled print will be sent to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in California next month. “Anak” is the highest-grossing (more than P160 million) Star Cinema project, shown in various parts of the world. It dramatizes the plight of OFWs and the effects of their absence on their families here….” – Ricardo F. Lo, October 04, 2000, The Philippine Star (READ MORE)

2000 Box Office Queen – “…The Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is staging the 31st annual Box Office King and Queen of Philippine Movies coronation night on April 4 at the UP Theater. Telecast date is on April 21 on RPN-9. This private foundation is headed by civic leader Corazon M. Samaniego, daughter of the late Guillermo Mendoza who was once a noted politician and philanthropist in Bulacan. Middle of this week, the members of the board of judges of this award-giving body (with Necy Marco Llarena as chairperson) sat down to deliberate on the winners of this yearly popularity contest. Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos was voted Box Office Queen because of the strong showing at the tills of her film Anak last summer. Produced by Star Cinema and directed by Rory Quintos, Anak was one of the top-grossing films of the year 2000. Robin Padilla, on the other hand, was voted Box Office King of Philippine Movies. Padilla’s two movies last year were big winners at the box office: Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw with Viva Films and Tunay na Tunay — Gets Mo, Gets Ko, released under Star Cinema…Veteran performers Dolphy and Gloria Romero are also being honored as All-Time Favorite Actor and Actress. Dolphy may have lost in the Best Actor race in last December’s Metro Manila Film Festival, but he still made quite a splash in Gil Portes’ Markova: Comfort Gay. And Gloria? After so many decades, she’s once more the toast of the town – thanks to Tanging Yaman…Maribeth Bicharra should also be very happy with the list of winners in this year’s Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation awards rites. Her VIP was voted almost unanimously as the Most Popular Dance Group. In the television category, Rudy Fernandez’s Kasangga on Channel 7 was picked as the Most Popular TV Program…” – Butch Francisco, The Star, Feb. 25, 2001, Reposted by: Sol Jose Vanzi (READ MORE)

Big Success – “…Goodbye, Dragon; hello, Snake!…The movie industry, like its counterparts in all of Asia, got a much-needed shot-in-the-arm when the FPJ starrer Ang Dalubhasa ushered Year 2000 in with a merry ring at the box office (followed by half a dozen others as the months rolled by, such as Star Cinema’s Anak, Tunay na Tunay and Kahit Isang Saglit; Viva Films’ Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw, etc.; and Regal Films’ Laro sa Baga, etc.). The industry hasn’t fully recovered yet from the prolonged “slump” but it’s getting there, thank you!…The Big Success Of Vilma Santos In Anak. Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos scored a smash hit by playing an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) who comes home after years of working as a domestic in Hong Kong to a hostile daughter (played by Claudine Barretto). Anak was the year’s biggest hit, raking in more than P150 million, shown to capacity crowds not only from Aparri to Jolo but also in other countries (like Japan, Hong Kong, Italy. etc.). There’s hope for the movie industry, yes?…Happy days are here again!…” – Ricky Lo, Philippine Star, Dec. 31, 2000, Reposted by: Sol Jose Vanzi (READ MORE)

Star Awards – “…At about the same time last Saturday night (March 10) that a nervous contestant at the 2001 Bb. Pilipinas Pageant was telling an excited SRO audience at the Araneta Coliseum to “Keep quiet!” while she tarried to answer a simple question from judge Gloria Diaz, 1969 Miss Universe (you know, “Which would you rather be, beautiful but not too smart or smart but not too beautiful”), the members of the Philippines Movie Press Club (PMPC), led by President Nora Calderon, were giving away trophies at the 17th PMPC Star Awards For Movies at the nearby UP Theater in Diliman, Quezon City. As in the Bb. Pilipinas Pageant, the winners at the Star Awards caught a lot of people “unaware,” turning that little Saturday night into one of big surprises such as, “What!?! Tanging Yaman won only one award (that of New Movie Actress of the Year for Janette McBride)?” And how can a member of the movie press be chosen, ehem, Darling of the Press? A case of, you know, “I love my own?” Anyway, will the Urian Awards come up with more “surprises” (they have to be “different,” you know) or the Film Academy Awards or the FAMAS? Movie of the Year: Bayaning Third World (Cinema Artist Phil.); Movie Director of the Year: Mike De Leon (Bayaning Third World/Cinema Artist Phil.); Movie Actress of the Year: Vilma Santos (Anak/Star Cinema); Movie Actor of the Year: Carlos Morales (Laro sa Baga/Regal Films); Movie Supporting Actress of the Year: Angel Aquino (Laro sa Baga/Regal Films); Movie Supporting Actor of the Year: Jeffrey Quizon (Markova: Comfort Gay/RVQ Production); Ulirang Artista Awardee: Boots Anson-Roa…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, March 12, 2001 (READ MORE)

Gloria Romero’s First Gawad Urian – “…Veteran actor Eddie Garcia and actress Gloria Romero bagged their very first Gawad Urian award for best lead actor and best lead actress Saturday night at the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino’s (MPP) 24th Gawad Urian awards at the University of the Philippines Theater in Quezon City…Romero, who won for her performance in “Tanging Yaman,” was in a tight race for the lead actress award with seven-time Urian best actress awardee Vilma Santos. “This is my first time to receive an award from the Manunuri and I would like to share this especially to Ms. Vilma Santos who I think deserves this as much”…Other major awards were given to Regal Film’s “Tuhog” for best picture; Laurice Guillen, best director for “Tanging Yaman”; Monique Wilson, best supporting actress for “Laro sa Baga,” and Jeffrey Quizon, best supporting actor for “Markova”…Urian’s sidetrack was the honoring of films, directors, and performances for the past decade via the Gawad ng Dekada. This segment pulled out acting recognitions for Richard Gomez, Vilma Santos, and Nora Aunor…This year’s crop of film critics comprising the Manunuri were MPP President Agustin Sotto, Grace Javier Alfonso, Butch Francisco, Mario Heranando, Bienvenido Lumbera, Ellen Paglinauan, Miguel Rapatan, Nicanor Tiongson, Rolando Tolentino, and Lito Zulueta…” – Sol Jose Vanzi, March 26, 2001 (READ MORE)

Film Reviews: Anak: Akting Lang ni Ate Vi – Sabado ang aming regular movie day at ang SM Megamall ang paborito naming theater complex na pinupuntahan dahil nga for the usual amenities-restoran, shopping mall at iba pang panoorin. Tunay ngang kamangha-mangha ang aming nasaksihan nang Sabado ’yon, May 13, 2000 dahil punum-puno ang apat na sinehang pinaglalabasan ng pelikulang “Anak” ni Vilma Santos. The movie opened May 10, 2000, Wednesday. Kasama ang ilang kaibigang Vilmanians, hindi namin ininda ang hirap at haba ng pila ng mga manonood. Sa totoo lang, may advantage na agad sa mga manonood pag pelikula ni Ate Vi ang panonoorin dahil nga Vilma Santos ’yan. Pangit man ang istorya basta ang bidang aktres ay si Ate Vi, may mapupuri ka namang akting. Sa puntong ito, hindi ka bibiguin ng aktres, at kadalasan pa nga lalagpasan pa niya ang ating expectations gaya sa Anak. Masasabi naming sa akting lang ni Ate Vi, sulit na ang oras mo sa pelikulang ito. In fairness, well made for a melodrama ang Anak. At saka worth the price of admission na Php 50. Kung tutuusin, kasabay noon ang pagpapalabas ng pelikulang Music of the Heart na pinagbibidahan naman ni Meryll Streep na magkatulad ang tema-tungkol sa mga single mothers na nagtataguyod sa buhay ng kanilang mga anak. Pero kung akting at akting din lamang ang pag-uusapan, hindi naman mahuhuli si Ate Vi kay Meryll Streep. Kahit sabihing paborito namin ang numero unong aktres at long time fan niya kami.

Produced by Star Cinema and directed by Rory B.Quintos from a story by Ricky Lee and Raymond Lee, Vilma again plays a mother. This time in conflict with her three children who can’t accept the reality that their mother has to sacrifice the family to work as a domestic helper in Hongkong, only to come home 6 years later finding in shambles the same family that she’s working hard to keep intact. Ate Vi plays the role of Josie, a DH in Hongkong who, for a number of years, has not come home in her desire to bring more dollars to her family. Pagakatapos ng anim na taon bilang DH sa Hongkong, bumalik sa Pinas si Josie para makapiling ang mga anak pero hindi na sila nagkakilanlan ng mga ugali. Slowly, she realizes that her children resented her absence. Her eldest, Carla played by Claudine Barretto has become a rebellious adolescent. Naging adik at palipat-lipat ng lalake. Maiinis ka talaga sa kanyang pagrerebelde. Isinisisi sa pagtatrabaho ng ina sa Hongkong ang kanyang panlalake, paglalasing, paninigarilyo at pagkawala ng direksyon sa buhay. Her second child, the only boy, Michael played by Baron Geisler has turned to be a wayward kid. Her youngest na si Daday played by Sheila May Alvar hardly recognizes her.

Simple lang ang istorya. Pinatingkad lang ang pelikula ng matitinding dialogues. Tamang-tama ang pasok ng flashback scenes na nagpapaliwanag sa behavior ng mga tauhan.Kung tutuusi’y hindi na iba ang tema ng pelikula, pero ang pagkakaiba nito ay ang mga artistang nagbibigay buhay sa papel na kanilang ginagampanan. Damangdama namin ang panonood, naluluha-luha na kami sa mga eksenang napapanood. Grabeng lines, nanggagaling sa puso kaya tumatagos sa puso. Pagdating sa pagliltanya ni Ate Vi nang tuhog na tuhog, yung makapanindig-balahibong linyang marami siyang pinalampas na pagkalam ng sikmura para lang maipadala niya ang pambili sa kanyang mga anak. Ibang klase.Masikip sa dibdib, tahimik kang luluha dahil sapul na sapul ka ng kanyang pagganap. Sa tunay na buhay nga nama’y mas masakit at nakakakuha ng simpatiya ang paimpit na pag-iyak, at yun si Josie na ginagampanan ni buong ningning ni Ate Vi. Walang pakialam ang aktres sa magiging hitsura niya sa telon. Sinunod ni Ate Vi ang kagustuhan ng direktor. Ginawa niya ang hinihingi ng papel na maging deglamorize para mas maging makatotohanan ang kanyang pagbibigay buhay. Sa kanyang pag-iyak ay masisilip mo ang nagagait din niyang mga ugat sa leeg at kamay niya. Sa eksenang talagang sinusumbatan na niya si Claudine, she still amazes us on how she delivers the lines with varying degree of intensity na naaayon sa bawat bitiwang salita.

Alam namin at ng lahat kung gaano kahusay ang isang Vilma Santos, pero sa pelikulang ito ay ipinakita niya, she’s not just an instinctive actress, she’s soooo brilliant. Maririnig mo ang kaliwa’t kanang singhutan at sipunan ng mga katabi ko sa upuan. Hindi ko sila pinapansin dahil tahimik din akong nagpapahid ng luha para hindi mahalata. Bakit sila lang ba ang marunong umiyak? Remarkable din ang akting na ipinakita ni Claudine. Si Baron ay ginulat kami sa quiet acting niya. Amy Austria and Cherry Pie Picache delightful as the earthy DH friends of Josie. The movie is a certified tearjerker. I even found myself on the verge of tears in a couple of scenes. There’s nothing great about it. But what makes this movie worth watching is the transformation of Ate Vi as an actor. Anak ang pamagat ng pelikula pero kuwento ito ng isang ina. Lahat ng nakapanood ng pelikulang ito ay isa lang ang kanilang halos na pakorus na sinasabi, ibang klase talagang aktres si Ate Vi, kapos pa kung tutuusin para sa kanya ang taguring Star for All Seasons, dahil walang ibang makagaganap sa ganung uri ng papel ka natural, kungdi isang Vilma Santos lang. Paminsan-minsan mang gumawa ng pelikula si Ate Vi ay sulit naman, wala kang itatapon. ’Yun naman kasi ang tatak ni isang VILMA SANTOS, ang paggawa ng mga obra maestrang habam panahon nating maaalaala. Basta ang lahat ay pinag-uusapan ang tungkol sa pelikula dahil sa word-of-mouth component ng movie audiences. Anak grossed Php 14 Million on its opening day. Umabot ng Php 200 Million na nationwide box-office take, ranking number 2 sa box-office champion of all times. Talagang ayaw pa rin paawat at nakagugulat ang top box-office performance ng No.1 star-actress ng bansa for so many years now. May mga nagsasabing Php 5 Million ang ibinigay na bonus ng Star Cinema kay Ate Vi at may nang-iintriga naman kung ano daw ang talent fee ng aktres ay iyon din ang katumbas ng bonus nito, Php 10 Million? Naging very generous naman si Ate Vi to share her blessings sa mga miyembro ng showbiz media, na isa rin kami na tumanggap ng biyayang yon galing sa aming hinahangaang aktres. – Willie Fernandez, V magazine, Issue No. 5 2006

What the other critics said about Vilma Santos’ Anak…

Where to begin? Anak (or ‘The Child’ as it is known in the West) is an absolutely amazing movie, a movie so powerful that it deserves to be watched by everyone. The Story is set around Josie and her family, Many years ago – Josie had to leave her family and become a domestic over-seas so she that she could provide money to support her family, when Josies husband dies, Josie returns to her family to take over her job as mother, but when she returns, her family is anything but loving and welcoming. The acting in this movie is magnificent, I had never heard of Vilma Santos until I watched Anak, however after seeing it I had to rent out some of her other movies, the emotion shown by Vilma, and the other actors is amazing and at times, you really can find yourself believing that this family is real. There were times in the movie I laughed, times I cried, but I loved every second of it, and it blows almost every Hollywood movie out of the water. Anak just goes to show that a movie does not need to have sex, drugs & violence, and also not be a Children’s movie to be excellent and a must-see for the entire family. – Astrid Flava, LA, CA USA, 28 November 2004, IMDB Web site

There are drawbacks in Anak, small aspects that could be left out or be more emphasized; but forget that petty cash because…Just as I had forgotten the reason for making movies, that not all movies are justified merely as a moneymaking device where profit, spin off products and the inclusion of at least one major Hollywood movie star are dominant ingredients in the narrative formula; just as I had misplaced the argument for film production itself, Anak puts it all right again. Quintos peels away every superfluous non-significant element and leaves us with a nucleus so pure, so strong and so universally true that it touches all of us. Separation from loved ones, sacrifices and the complexity of family relations are key components of the narrative that, propelled by brilliant acting, drives this highly realistic and touching story forward. And realism and emotions are clues to what makes Anak such a gripping tale. In other, more conventional, ‘touching’ films I often feel left off with an awkward, almost embarrassed, feeling of having been tricked to tears by elementary storytelling mechanisms. But the feeling of a natural, almost improvised acting in Anak, conveys everyday life as well as the intense moments with an exceptional credibility which makes the overall narrative so strong it should leave its audience feeling that this is one of the primary reasons for storytelling. – Thingstad, Melbourne, Australia, 6 July 2004, IMDB

I absolutely loved this film! At first, I was a bit skeptic, but man….what great acting!! It seemed so real…not far from reality. Claudine did a great job as the snot nose brat of a daughter and Vilma was awesome as the loving, but misunderstood mother. It’s a great movie…go rent it! – Donna, Maryland USA, IMDB

The Philippine president praises the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) as hero. This is nothing more than delusive. The reality of OFWs is almost slavery exporting. In this film, Josie, the mother, was locked in the house while her master and his family were on long vacation. That was why she could not attend her husband’s funeral! Total remittance from the OFWs, who send most of their earnings from such humiliating work, amounts nearly US$ 10B annually. This film raises a serious issue in Philippine society, however, I think most of Philippine politicians may not even recognize how desperate a country which relies on exporting their people for such slavery jobs. They leave their family because they love family. Mother leaves her children whom she wants to embrace always, and works for them sacrificing everything. Children feel they are abandoned by their mother even they know their daily life is supported by her remittance. Mother’s love ends up with broken relationship. What a tragedy! The life of the family looks not bad in Philippine standard. In fact their house is large enough even in Japanese standard. However, their father, who looks a good man, do not have stable job, if not minimal income which is hard to afford their life. In fact, even working abroad as a maid is a kind of status. I don’t understand why the mother does not cancel going to Hong Kong and choose yet another life, to live with her family with less income, after reconciliation with her daughter. Unless Filipinos decide to quit working overseas for little money, I think this country would not become better. By the way, this is the first film I saw Vilma Santos. Her performance is superb. Few actresses can act both comical and serious sides of the same character. - Furuya Shiro, Kumamoto, Japan, IMDB

A topical dilemma for Filipinas — whether to take lucrative long-term jobs abroad and provide for their families’ future or stay home and play a more active role in their children’s lives — propels “Anak”, femme helmer Rory B. Quintos’ seventh feature. Vivid hook for domestic conflict makes this well-acted drama compelling until hitherto restrained approach succumbs to bathos in the last quarter. Offshore, best prospects outside fest circuit lie in TV sales. Bubbly, indomitable Josie (Vilma Santos) is thrilled to be returning home at last, having spent several years as a live-in nanny for Hong Kong yuppies — and enduring some serious mistreatment in that capacity. Loaded with presents and savings to invest in a business scheme, she gets a big welcome from everyone but her own children. Latter three have grown up without her, suffering especially since their father died in a workplace accident. While little Daday (Shiela May Alvero) and teenage Michael (Baron Geisler) soon get over their initial awkwardness, eldest offspring Carla (Claudine Barretto) remains bitterly resentful toward mom’s perceived abandonment. She goads Josie with serial boyfriends and open hostility before running away, straight into drug-abusive squalor. Limning complex emotions with subtlety and humor, pic resists melodrama until the dam abruptly burst after 90 minutes; ill-judged pileup of crying scenes, plot crises and more crying ensues. Josie’s final decision to leave for H.K. once again makes little sense, beyond its providing an excuse for “Anak’s” fourth hysterical-sobbing-at-the-airport sequence. That’s too bad, since early reels observe parent-child relationships with considerable delicacy. Quintos’ fluid handling of potentially claustrophobic, mawkish material underplays script’s more obvious gambits until they overwhelm pic. Veteran local star Santos is in fine form, while Barretto lends impressive shading to what might have been a stock sexy “bad girl” role. Tech package is polished. - Dennis Harvey, Variety Magazine, 19 March 2001

Maganda ang “Anak” pero palpak ang istorya at editing – Naku, sigurado kaming maglalaway ang mga Noranian kapag napanood nila itong “Anak” ni Vilma Santos. Paano’y bagay na bagay din kay Nora ang papel na ginampanan ni Ate Vi. pero dito sa “Anak”, walang pakundangan niyang inagaw ng tuluyan kay Ate Guy ang korona, pati na nag trono at sentro sa pagganap bilang tsimay…Halos tatlong dekada na naming napapanood si Vilma Santos sa pelikula, at alam namin mahusay siyang aktres. Kaya naming inakala na wala nang mapipiga pa sa kanya. Pero nagulat kami sa ipinakita niyang husay sa pelikulang “Anak” ng Star Cinema. Isa na marahil ito sa pinakamahusay na pagganap na aming nasaksihan mula sa isang Vilma Santos, at sa kahit na sino pang aktres, kasama na sina Nora Aunor at Elizabeth Oropesa…Naghudyat din ang “Anak” sa pagsibol ng isang bagong Vilma na hindi de-kahon ang ginagampanang papel. Nasanay na kasi kaming mapanood siya bilang magandang kabit, sosyal na asawa o isang modernong nanay…walang duda na ang pinakamapuwersang panghatak ng “Anak” ay ang galing ni Vilma. Lutang na lutang ang husay niya, mula simula hanggang wakas ng pelikula. Pero may tatlong eksenang mahirap malimutan. Una, yong tagpo kung saan umiihit siya ng tawa dahil sa kababawan nilang magkakabarkada, hanggang mauwi ang kanyang mga ngiti sa iyak dahil naalala niya ang sariling problema sa mga anak. Pabulosa rin para sa amin ang sumbatan nila ni Claudine sa bandang huli ng pelikula. Ke mereseng magmukhang kobra ang kanyang leeg, sanhi ng nag-iigtingan ugat dahil sa galit, at magkangiwi-ngiwi ang kanyang mukha sa tindi ng pagtatampo, wala siyang pakialam. Nakakaloka rin yung eksena nang pumasok siya sa kuwarto ni Claudine, at makitang may lalaking nakahiga sa kama nito. Ang galing-galing mo talaga, Ate Vi!…” - Gypsy Baldovino, Kabayan

A veritable tearjerker – “I’ve seen Vi act well in several movies. She has a volume of work which I truly admire. “Anak”, though, takes the cake. Perhaps, because of its universal appeal…I cried, especially in her confrontation scene with Claudine. That scene which shows her enumerating the hard work she had to go through just to be able to give her and her siblings a good life….” – Ethel Ramos, Malaya, 11 May 2000

It’s crying time in HK – “Vilma, as expected, turns in another “winning” performance (far better than her “Bata, Bata…Paano ka Ginawa?” acting) while Claudine is a big revelation as the rebellious daughter, so hateful (especially when she’s answering back at her mother) that when, in the final confrontation scene, Vilma slaps her and throws clothes at her and, okay, okay, “Lumayas ka sa bahay kung ayaw mo akong makita,” the crying audience erupted into an approving applause…” - Ricardo F. Lo, The Philippine Star, 09 May 2000

All Hers To Give – “The slick production is turned into art by its star Vilma Santos. Her magnetic star quality makes her look so wrong for the part and yet she makes it all her own. She’s a natural comedianne and a great tragedienne-her look of resignation is heartbreaking. Vilma discards the glittering clothes and make-up for Anak, but she still looks youthful. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if the sensitive young actor playing her son would go on to play her leading man a few years from now…” - Dennis Ladaw

Another View on Anak – “Actually, this film does not only tug at your heartstrings. It also tries to escape every nerve ending in your body. But despite its excesses, “Anak” is still a quality movie. It is a very well-made commercial film with a heart. This movie has three things going for it: a relevant subject matter , its thorough research and the wonderful performance of Vilma Santos. In this film, Vilma goes through a wide range of emotions from a spoiler of a mother to one who has had it with her ingrate of a daughter – and from a fun-loving barkada (to fellow domestic helpers Amy Austria and Cherry Pie Picache) who knows how to appreciate the simple joys of life to that of a breadwinner willing to slave it out for the sake of her children. This may not be a classic Vilma Santos performance in the tradition of “Sister Stella L”, “Relasyon”, and “Bata, Bata…Paano ka Ginawa?”, but it is definitely an inspired one. In fact, no other actress could have pulled it off the way she did – marvelously, if I may say.” - Butch Francisco, People’s Journal – 26 May 2000

Anak Belongs to Vilma – “Mas mahusay para sa amin ang pagkakaganap ni Vilma Santos sa “Anak” kaysa sa “Bata, Bata…Paano ka Ginawa?”. Hindi malayong humakot na naman siya ng award rito…But the film still belongs to Vilma, who goes through an entire spectrum of varied emotions as Josie, mula sa katuwaan at excitement niya sa pagbabalik sa Pilipinas (natural na natural ‘yung pagiging aligaga niya habang namamahagi ng pasalubong sa mga anak niya), ang disappointment niya nang matanto niyang hindi na niya kilala ang mga batang binalikan niya, hanggang sa finally ay sumambulat siya sa tagpong pinagsasampal na rin niya si Claudine at pinalalayas. It’s a bravura sequence and the performance is magnificent…” - Mario E. Bautista

“…If this movie is to be judged by the amount of tears shed by various actors during the performance and the amount of tears which are expected to be shed by the audience, then I think this film can be rated in the five gallons category rather than that of the five stars. Vilma Santos, as expected, effectively portrayed a role of a mother trying to reach out to her children who at first sees her as a stranger. The efforts and the hardships she acted relate the whole theme of the film. Claudine Barretto, on the other hand, though equipped with natural acting prowess, was not that believable and was disgusting at some moments. In particular, I would like to single out the performance of Baron Geisler. He didn’t have a whole lot lines in the movie but the impact of his facial expressions and body language were very powerful. As what said a while ago, this film was an inspired picture from Aguilar’s “Anak.” Every single line of the song pertains to the story of Josie and her children. The happiness and sacrifices of parents when their child is born were both seen as Josie showed the same feeling for her children upon seeing them as well as the sufferings she experienced in Hong Kong in order to give her family enough money for living. The line “Nagdaan pa ang mga araw at ang landas mo’y naligaw, ikaw ay nalulong sa masamng bisyo,” was also illustrated as Carla gets involve in men, sex and drugs and showing her mother her hatred for her. But all stories that end well, Carla repented and asked for forgiveness and vice-versa. This scene was literally the portrayal of the line “At and iyong mata’y biglang lumuha ng ‘di mo napapansin. Nagsisisi at sa isip mo’y nalaman mong ika’y nagkamali…” – Rodel Guerrero READ MORE

“…TV/Film director Rory Quintos is a self-confessed Vilmanian so when she was given a chance to direct the latest Vilma Santos movie, “Anak,” Rory was admittedly star struck. “I was intimidated by Vilma,” Rory offers. “The fact that I’m her fan made it difficult for me.” No wonders on the first two weeks of filming, Rory discloses she could not get herself to give instructions to Vilma. Even if she had worked with the superstar in two previous films – “Ipagpatawad Mo” and “Kapag Langit ang Humatol” as assistant director to Laurice Guillen. Rory was initially uncomfortable with the actress. Thankfully, it was Vilma herself who opened the communication line with the director. Sensing they had no rapport on the set, Vilma sat down with Rory and the result was a more harmonious working relationship. Being a director is a dream fulfilled for Rory, who had always wanted to be a director since her childhood days…She considers “Anak” her most challenging work to date because she has Vilma in the cast. As director, she even did researched on Vilma’s role and talked to overseas Filipino workers. The movie is about a mother’s struggle to keep her family intact being away for 10 years.” Rory explaines. “We wanted to make the movie as realistic as possible so we listened to the experiences of OFWs…”Anak,” which is inspired by Freddie Aguilar’s haunting ballad, is Star Cinema’s Mother’s Day offering, opening May 10 in local theaters. Vilma flew to Hong Kong to grace the Asian premiere of the movie yesterday at the Cine Metro Theater in Kowloon. The film will also be shown in Milan, San Francisco, Tokyo and Dubai…” – Leah Salterio Gatdula, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 8, 2000 (READ MORE)

“…To best understand how Filipino women have changed in the course of time, let us quote Lea’s final words: “OO, natuklasan ko ang mga bagay na hindi ko siguro natuklasan kung pinahawakan ko lang sa iba ang pagkatao ko. Hindi ako nagpakulong, sinikap kong lumaya. At mula sa paglaya ko sa makitid na papel ng isang babae, natiyak ko na ang kalayaan nga pala, sa higit na pangmalawakang kahulugan nito, ay hindi nahihingi kundi ipinakikipaglaban. Hindi lahat ng hinuhuli’y kriminal, at hindi lahat ng diyos ay may dangal! Hindi ako natatako. Babae ako at malakas ako. Ako ang tagapagsilang ng tao, pambuhay ng sanggol ang dibdib ko. Hindi porke ina na ‘ko’y tumigil na ‘ko sa paglaki. Hindi porke babae ako’y maiiwan ako sa labanan. Para sa kaligtasan ng lipunan at kinabukasan ng mga anak ko sa digmaan ng mga uri’t prinsipyo, sa mapayapa man o madugong pagbabago, magtiwala kayo…sasama ako!” We need more Josies adn Leas in our society tody, The time is ripe for Filipino women to rise above the society’s traditional views and coventions. Although ultimate freedom and due recognition of gender equlity remain a struggle and a serious concern, Filipino women are slowly gaining a strong foothold. In a book dedication written by Bautista to this writer, she wroteL “Ang mga kamay na nag-uugoy ng duyan ay kaya ring magtumba ng alon sa dagat.” And we belive that a freer woman is better mother. And every Filipino family needs her. Every family must have her. We remember what Vilma said in our interview with her during the last shooting day of her film “Bata, Bata…” “I would like to be remembered as a mother who would give her life to her children anytime…” She’s an accomplished actress, and many will remember her for that. But Vilma would rather be a mother in her films, in her life…” – Veron Dionisio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jul 29, 2000 (READ MORE)

“…Anak” is particularlay effective in that it strides for balance and realism. Scriptwriters Ricky Lee and Raymond Lee (no relations) told of basing and validating the situation in the movie on the real life experiences of Filipina domestics in Hong Kong, though much of the film takes place here. Director Rory Quintos is to be commended for the light and unobtusive tough she gives to what could be melodramatic material. The ensemble acting is also remarkable, with Claudine Barretto giving a fairly impressive turn as the troubled and self-destructive daughter, and Amy Austria and Cherry Pie Picache delightful as the earthy DH friends of the beleaguered Josie. Still, this is one movie that truly belongs to Vilma Santos, who is even more affecting and effective here than in “Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa?” for which she harvested many awards. As Josie, she is feisty and bubbly, steely and sof-hearted, the combination of grit and goodness that is the bedrock of every Pinay mother’s heart. Before the screening, she told the audience that after making the movie, she was more than ever determined to pursue a career in government to better help the OFWs. But watching her as Josie, I thought, it is not as a governement official that an actor like Vilma best helps people. it’s precisely as an actor, giving life to women like Josie and “standing up for the character,” that Vilma and artists like her help us understand people and take them into our hearts…” – Rina Jimenez-David, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 10, 2000 (READ MORE)

“…Anak: is a bittersweet account of a mother’s dilemma: the money she brings in assures her children’s physical well-being, but her absence during their crucial growing years leaves them with a shaky foundation that takes its terrible toll on them, asw well as on her, when she finally decides to come home. Rory B. Quintos’ films hits intense emotional highs, especially in scene involving its veteran lead player, Vilma Santos, who feels her role so much that she comes across as a symbol of all mothers torn between their love for their children, and their need to earn money by working abroad to give their children a better life. Her pain is exarcerbated when they show their resentment over her long absences, as though she didn’t suffer from the separation as much as or even more than they…Instead, the movie keeps harping on the love-hate drama between “martyr” mother and “rebel” daughter, with Claudine’s character sinking deeper into her pit of anger and recrimination. All too soon, the pattern becomes tedious, and we keep hoping that the movie discovers other, more productive dramatic and thematic avenues to explore. To make things worse, Claudine acts her guts out in her “hurt and angry” scenes, but she can’t seem to rise to the thespic occassion…Whatever the reason, she falls short of the mark, particularly in her demanding confrontation scenes with Vilma. For her part, the veteran actress is given major dramatic challenges in this movie, and she meets them with her intensity and commitment. More, she embraces them, pushing her scenes “beyond acting,” into emotional reality that is truly moving…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 14, 2000 (READ MORE)

Off-Beat Role – Multi-awarded actress Vilma Santos, popularly known as The Star For All Seasons” because of her consistent crowd-drawing power, has finally decided on the next film project to star in. Once again playing an off-beat but close to reality role, Vilma will reprise the role of an overseas worker who returns home to the Philippines with a personality, physical appearance and outlook drastically different from the meek person that she was when she left the country to seek employment abroad. Ably performing as well in her true-life roles as Mayor of Lipa City and wife of Batangas Congressman Ralph Recto, Ms. Vilma Santos has been very selective about the movies and the roles she accepts. The new project, tentatively titled “Anak” will be directed by Rory Quintos, whose last work was the popular TV drama series “Esperanza” which lasted two years on the air. Vilma’s last movie was the award-winning Star Cinema presentation “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?” “Anak” will also feature Clauudine Barreto as Vilma’s daughter. Claudine is understandably excited over being in the same movie with Vilma for the first time, and is getting ready to pit her acting talent against the undisputed drama queen of Philippine movies. – Sol Jose Vanzi, Aug. 12, 1999 (READ MORE)

About the Director – Rory B. Quintos is among the few Filipino female directors who have successfully inched her way to a profession mostly dominated by men. After graduating from the University of the Philippines, she began her career on television. She got her break as a freelance production assistant for different stations. Later on, she worked as floor director, production manager, associate producer and assistant director for various production outfits. Her stint as assistant director paved the way for a directorial career. Way back in college, Rory already had a growing interest in directing. She was lucky to have met a few people in the industry who were more than willing to give her the break that she deserved. Her directorial job for an episode of the drama anthology show, Maalaala Mo Kaya, inspired her to pursue her career as a feature film director. The first full-length film she directed was Basta’t Kasama Kita under Star Cinema Productions in 1995. She followed it up with more smash hits and crowd favorites such as Mangarap Ka (1996), Sa Aking Mga Kamay (1996), Paano ang Puso Ko (1997); Ipaglaban Mo—The Movie II (1997) and Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay (1998). The niche that Rory has successfully carved for herself as one of Philippine cinema’s well respected woman directors is further reinforced as she megged the much-heralded drama in tribute to overseas Filipino workers. Anak (2000) topbilled by Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos is to date the highest-grossing Filipino film ever made and the country’s official entry for the Best Foreign-Language Film Category of Oscars 2001. – UP Shots 6 Film Artists from Diliman (READ MORE)

Significant Movie – “…Other important movies of the year 2000…”Anak“(Star Cinema), the year’s most successful movie sometimes leans toward the mawkish, the result perhaps of its director’s protracted work on TV where the success of production is determined by how well they can populate an episode with bathos and melodrama the better to maintain the ratings and keep the advertising coming. But in its honest look at the domestic wages of migrant labor and the utterly moving performances of Vilma Santos and Baron Geisler, it is a significant movie…” – Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 01 Jan 2001, pA21 (READ MORE)

At Fukuoka – “…The Philippines also makes a particularly strong showing at Fukuoka (Focus on Asia Filmfest), what with the screening of Rory B. Quintos’ “Anak (Child)” and the retrospective showing of seven of Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s best films. These movies have had a strong impact on audience at Fukuoka because they deal with important themes, but make it a point to personalize them by focusing on individuals rather than stereotypes…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 02 Oct 2001, pA20 (READ MORE)

“…If there is one thing that stands out from all the shining, shimmering jewels that ought to be praised in Anak, it should be the top-notch acting of Claudine Barretto and Baron Geisler. Seriously. Who would have thought that two of the most notorious scandal-making Filipino actors of today were once brilliant performers whose portrayals equal, if not exceed, that of Vilma Santos’? Carla (Barretto) is the rebellious child and the one who weaves the main conflict of the story. Carla is a liberated character, taking all the drugs and having sex with any man she likes. Her fierceness, strength, and the uncontrollable swearing is what we exactly know of Claudine Barretto today. There are moments that we want to take Barretto’s role for ourselves and maybe make a twist on how she do things, but most of the time we just sat there at the sofa watching and hating her – then loving her altogether at the end of the film. On the other hand, Michael (Geisler) is an awkward teenager who finds it difficult to interact with every living soul save for his family. He is the typical bookworm with a certain peculiarity that some of the girls might like. This is exactly the catch. Baron Geisler is known for abusing women and causing many commotions in petty bars, and just one look at him and you could easily say he’s nothing sort of peculiar. His performance in Anak will remind you of Logan Lerman in Perks of Being a Wallflower. Every nuance, every expression, every delivery of lines is done in an engaging and poignant manner. Perhaps it’s the irony between Geisler and his character that is alluring, or perhaps not. Still, it just goes to show that popular actors are popular for a reason…” – Rick Patriarca, Rick Review, 27 September 2014 (READ MORE)

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