Filmography: Kapag Langit Ang Humatol (1990)

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Basic Information: Directed: Laurice Guillen; Story: Salvador Royales; Screenplay: Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Salvador Royales; Cast: Vilma Santos, Richard Gomez, Gloria Romero, Charo Santos-Concio, Kristine Garcia, Carmina Villaroel, Jeffrey Santos, Eula Valdez, William Lorenzo, Tony Carreon, Metring David, Lillian Laing, Vangie Labalan, Terence Baylon; Executive producer: Charo Santos-Concio; Original Music: Nonong Buencamino; Cinematography: Romeo Vitug; Film Editing: Efren Jarlego; Production Design: Edgar Martin Littaua; Art Direction: Bert Habal; Sound: Vic Macamay; Theme song performed by Dulce; Released: August 15 1999

Plot Description: An oppressed housemaid has transformed herself into a wealthy and powerful business mogul through sheer dint of talent, ambition and driving need to avenge herself on her tormentors. She comes back to the scene of her most abject debasement with the sole intent of humiliating the family who once made her life such a living hell. Unknowingly, she gets to exact revenge on the very person who turns out to be her own daughter by the son of her former mistress. – Database of Philippine Movies (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: 1990 Gawad Urian: Best Direction – Laurice Guillen; Best Editing – Efren Jarlego; Best Cinematography – Romeo Vitug; 1990 FAP: Best Cinematography – Romeo Vitug; Best Story Adaptation – Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Salvador Royales; 1990 FAMAS: Best Child Actor Nomination – Terence Baylon; Best Supporting Actor Nomination – Jeffrey Santos; 1990 Gawad Urian: Best Actress Nomination – Vilma Santos; Best Picture1990 Gawad Urian Nomination; Best Production Design 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Edgar Martin Littaua; Best Screenplay 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Salvador Royales; Best Supporting Actress 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Kristine Garcia; Best Supporting Actress 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Carmina Villaroel; The 2014 Cinema One Originals Film Festival – Digitally Restored Selection

Film Reviews: At first glance, the story may look inane and stale. No question about women moviegoers and fans who eagerly lap up most soap operas indiscriminately. But the movie hasn’t been very popular with a lot of film buffs, intellectuals and the movie press. The most criticized part of the movie is when the oppressed heroine, a housemaid (Vilma Santos), is locked up and chained in a barn when the mean, witch-like mistress of the hacienda (Gloria Romero at her wicked best) hears about her pregnancy, with no other than the dona’s son (Richard Gomez) as the father-to-be. Absurd! Incredible! Too lowbrow! These were the common complaints hurled against the movie, as though recent real-life incidents reported in the front pages about supposedly civilized masters in southern Philippines torturing their servants never happened. That the script is filled with knots and tangles, compounded by intense, passionate and exag¬gerated situations, would seem to lend credence to the criticisms.

Fortunately, director Laurice Guillen has more faith in her material, more respect. For she has not only come up with a beautifully-photographed, well-edited and generally superbly-acted melodrama. She has also held up to us a mirror of the dreams and aspirations, the frustrations, suffer¬ing and uncomplicated lifestyle of the so-called masa. Moments of the heroine’s unmitigated oppres¬sion in the hands of her evil mistress is age-old reality in Philippine life and, quite logically, litera¬ture. Her soul nearly scarred by her excruciating, degrading experience, she somehow manages not only to survive but also to rise from her humble, bleak origins, when she leaves the hellhole and finds hope and rewards in the city. In true melodramatic fashion, she plots out her revenge, but alas, even in carrying it out, she must pay dearly, nearly tragically. Feminist observers may easily notice that in this picture – as in, they would say, Philippine society -it is the women who run things. They domineer and dominate, manipulating the men, even the men they love. True enough, from the very beginning, it is the mistress and her poor servant who move things, decide, and tell men what to do. It is they who plot out schemes and plan their destiny.

The same is true even with the minor characters, those played by Kristine Garcia (who virtually drags the farm stud into a stormy affair and pushes him to run away with her), Eula Valdez (who pulls the trigger that ends a chapter in the drama), Charo Santos (the single mother and self-made tycoon) and Carmina Villarroel (the young woman who tries to extricate herself from the mess which her quarreling mother and grandmother have created). For their part, the men are pushed around, fooled and overtaken by events: the weakling lover (Gomez), the perpetually horny stablehand (Wil¬liam Lorenzo) and the young and rich heir (Jeffrey Santos). All in all, it is a glossy and well-crafted movie, with marvelous performances by Ms. Santos and Ms. Romero. – Mario A. Hernando, MPP (READ MORE)

The power of the script to carry weight to a movie works here, which shows that no matter how famous your actors are, it doesn’t guarantee critics’ approval. After being glued for depression and revenge for two and a half hours (even if you’ll know what will happen next), viewers will be put into sleep. There are many scenes that should’ve been erased and combined. Performances-wise, thumbs-up is given to Eula Valdez as the maid who falls in love with William Lorenzo, the gardener who uses Vilma Santos in the first half of the movie. Even the dialogue is weak. Barely watchable. 3.5/10 – OSCAR99, IMDB – (READ MORE)

“…The scene where the avenging Floreida (Vilma) to Gloria’s Octavia- wine-in-your face thing, followed by Vilma’s hysterical laughter is, to my mind the best scene in the movie. Catharsis at its best. Two great actresses. Bow!…” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)

“…Sino ba si Mr. Romantiko? Siya po si Mr. Salvador Royales…na siyang may concepto rin ng nasabing programa. Isa siyang magaling na writer sa radio at pelikula. Ayon sa kaniyang kuwento sa akin…siya ang kauna-unahang sumulat ng Maalala Mo Kaya sa ABS-CBN…na may pamagat na “Sapatos”. Marami siyang isinulat na pelikula sa Seiko Films…at may mga Radio Drama rin siya na ginawang pelikula….isa sa natatandaan ko ang “Kailan Mahuhugasan ang Kasalanan” at “Kapag Langit Ang Humatol” na pinagbidahan ni Vilma Santos, na pawang naging block buster. Kaya hindi matatawaran ang angking talino ni Mr. Romantiko sa pagsusulat. Mula sa kaniya marami rin akong natutunan na ini-aapply ko ngayon sa aking pagsusulat sa radio drama. Kaya masasabi ko na mapalad ako na nakilala ko ang isang taong tulad niya…” – Komixrama (READ MORE)

“…The whole-afternoon affair gave Ate Vi time to bond with Manay Ichu, the “second mother“ she hasn’t seen lately. Ate Vi recalled for the nth time how Manay Ichu and the late Atty. Espiridion Laxa saved her from the poor house, helping her with BIR (tax), financial, and career woes. The actress made memorable films for Manay Ichu, including “Rubia Servios,“ directed by Lino Brocka. Brocka triggered memories about a film she made for Vision, produced by Charo Santos and Simon Ongpin (Where is he?), in which this columnist had a “role.“ Vision offered Ate Vi two project. The true story of a crusading lady doctor to be directed by Brocka. A radio serial by Salvador Royales, “Kapag Langit ang Humatol.“ She wanted to do a Brocka film, but this columnist objected, telling Ate Vi, “You don’t need another award, you need a blockbuster.“ Ate Vi listened and “obeyed.“ The radio serial was a huge, huge hit. And even critically acclaimed, giving Laurice Guillen the best director award from the Manunuri (Urian)…” – Ronald Constantino, Feb 15 2012, Tempo (READ MORE)

“…Also in the Cinema One Originals Festival restored classics lineup are: Kapag Langit ang Humatol, a drama directed by Laurice Guillen starring Vilma Santos as an oppressed housemaid who transforms herself into a successful businesswoman. Richard Gomez plays the leading man of the Star for All Seasons…Completing the list is Anak, the heartwarming OFW story directed by Rory Quintos starring Vilma Santos and Claudine Barretto. Released in 2000, it was the highest-grossing movie of that year and one of the biggest blockbusters in Star Cinema’s history. The unveiling at 2014 C1 Originals marks the first time the restored version of Anak will be seen on the big screen…” – Isah V. Red, Manila Standard Today, 08 Nov 2014 (READ MORE)

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