FILM REVIEW: INSPIRATION


The Plot: Single parents Tony Benetez (Carlos Salazar) and Sylvia Motolla (Merle Tuazon) fell in love and married without their spoiled and protective teen ager kids, Gina (Vilma Santos) and Danny (Jay Ilagnan). They decided to live in one roof with Sylvia getting pregnant and the two kids developing a special relationship. – RV (READ MORE)

The Reviews: Ishmael Bernal’s first film with Vilma Santos was 1972’s “Inspiration,” an unusual teeny-bopper team-up film of Vilma and the late Jay Ilagan. The film established its main characters as both very much protective of their parents. Although its not explained why both Tony Benetez (Carlos Salazar) and Sylvia Mottola (Merle Tuazon) are still single, they ended up dating and  eventually marrying each other. Gina Benetez (Vilma Santos) and Danny Motolla’s (Jay’ Ilagan) parents first met in a polo tournament attended by both families. They were introduced by the socialite grandmother of Danny, Lola Jane (Lilian Laing). Later that same day both single parent met again in a night club. It was clear then that both are attracted to each other but are afraid that their kids will not approved it.  They then continued to  secretly date until one day both kids discovered when all four of them accidentally met in a restaurant.  The complication ended when Lola Jane intervened.  With the help of Gina’s household maid, Choleng, the two planned an intervention.  The meeting ended up with both kids leaving the Lola Jane’s house while the parents eloped.

Without the kids aproval, the newly married couple returned and forced their kids to live in one roof.   Sylvia then got pregnant while Gina and Danny developed a secret affair. Another complication and here come Lola Jane to the rescue, in the hospital after Slyvia delivered her baby, it was understood that Lola Jane has informed Sylvia and Tony about their kids special relationship. The next scene was Gina and Danny having a motorcycle ride that ended up in a park.  Under the tree the two had an innocent chat about their relationship.  The End.

In a musical era of 1970s, “Inspiration” was quite an experimental film, with no musical numbers but with better screenplay and well-written characters. Nestor and Bernal works well in establishing the character of Jay and Vilma. Their dialouges are not “corny” and very realistic. There is no over the top dramatic scenes inserted between musical numbers here. The parent played wonderfully by Merle Tuazon and Carlos Salazar were convincing. Although both Vilma and Jay played their roles effectively, Lilian Laing steals the film as Lola Jane. She was bubly and funny, a sex-starved, karate black belter, polo game afficionado, who loves life, considering she is playing the old grandma who is also the solution to all the complication in the lives of our four main characters.

Bernal was on his element here, a good story teller, pre-“Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon, Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga and Relasyon.” Although he is directing a light comedy, written by Nestor Torre Jr., he managed to established all the characters without relying on corny dialouges and musical numbers common in this musical era.

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