Bugso (TV 2002)

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Basic Info: Director: Christopher Strauss De Leon; Cast: Vilma Santos, Tirso Cruz III, Christopher De Leon, Ian De Leon, Renato Del Prado, Aiza Marquez, Mandy Ochoa; Producer: Sandy Andolong, Lyn Ynchausti

Plot Summary: Bugso is the GMA-7 telesine that Christopher De Leon directed (he also does a bit part in it as Vilma’s dead husband). It’s not correct to say that Bugso is television version of the classic Audrey Hepburn starrer Wait Until Dark, although, like Audrey, Vilma also played a blind lady toyed around by greedy relatives (Tirso Cruz III being one of them) who wanted the inheritance all to themselves.

Achievement: One of De Leon’s directorial projects (Maalaala mo kaya (2009), Bugso (2002), Huwag mong salingin ang sugat ko (1991), Halimaw – “komiks”segment (1986)

Review: “…When we arrived before lunchtime (good timing!), direk Christopher had already wrapped several scenes and he was working double time to finish the rest of the day-effect scenes before dusk fell. Because they were limited to only two shooting days, opting for Lipa as location in deference to Mayor Vilma who couldn’t be away from the city of her affection, direk Christopher said that he had to do away with some of the night scenes without disrupting the flow of the suspense-thriller. Direk Christopher was a delight to watch at work, very different from when he’s only acting. Bugso is not his first directorial job, having already megged Komiks (part of a twin bill produced by ex-wife Nora Aunor, starring a very young Ian de Leon as a komiks freak), part of Kislap sa Dilim which he took over from Lino Brocka who died in a car accident before putting the movie to can and all of Huwag Mo Akong Salingin, the other movie Lino was supposed to start shooting three days before his untimely death. Bugso is made more interesting by the fact that, besides being a “family affair,” three of the people whose lives have been inter-twined with that of Nora Aunor are involved in the project – Christopher is Nora’s ex-husband, Tirso is Nora’s ex-boyfriend and Vilma, although a kumare, is considered until now to be Nora’s arch rival. (Vilmanians will insist, however, that Vilma has beaten her kumare by miles, with Vilma still enjoying a well-oiled career, a happy family life and a successful transition from showbiz to politics, a field Nora has failed miserably to conquer.)…” READ MORE

“…Seen in more than a dozen successful big-screen projects (among them Relasyon, Broken Marriage and Ipagpatawad Mo), Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos and Christopher “Boyet” de Leon are together again but on another level this time and on the small screen, she as the lead actress and he as the director. The telemovie is entitled Bugso, with Tirso Cruz III and Ian de Leon as the other members of the cast. The suspense-thriller is being produced for GMA 7 (telecast is slated middle of next month) by Tirso’s wife Lyn Ynchausti. Shooting will take two days in, as per Mayor Vi’s request, Lipa City, with some of the highlights shot at the beautiful resthouse of STAR columnist and art patron Danny Dolor (who is hosting a lunch for the Bugso cast and some special friends from Manila on the last shooting day)…” – Ricardo F. Lo READ MORE

“A telemovie of GMA productions was shown during the Holy Week and man… it really sucks! Well, I don’t want to sound too mean but have you ever heard of a blind woman able to kill a psychotic murderer on the loose? The twists in the movie were also pathetic and predictable! Guess what? There are three killers and the only thing that made this difficult was to know who killed whom? There are no surprising twists and even the fighting scenes stink. In some part of the teemovie the flow of the story was so slow, too slow. Maybe this is just the director’s, Christopher de Leon, style but I guess this slow phase was not really necessary because it could be a reason to lose their viewers attention.  Vilma Santos played the lead role of a blind woman who became a house’s breadwinner. Vilma’s character is actually rich and she is sustaining her sister’s family. Vilma is a really good actress but I was not impressed by her portrayal of a blind woman. The sister’s husband, portrayed by Tirso Cruz III was actually the one who hired the psychotic murderer to kill his family for fifty thousand pesos. The psychotic murderer, portrayed by Ian de Leon, did his job but when the Tirso’s character asked Vilma’s character to sign the papers that will turn her treasures to him, Vilma thought that he was the one killed his family. Tirso got insane and Vilma noticed it. She was able to call a police and a fighting scene happened. Tirso got hit and before he died he revealed that he hired Ian de Leon’s character to kill her and that Vilma’s safety is still not for sure. This was really funny you know. The man who hired a murderer to kill Vilma was suddenly caring for her safety. Maybe the part that I really enjoyed is when Ian was hunting to kill Vilma. This part made me scream for Vilma, shouting that she should run faster or do this and that. But when the part that she stabbed Ian with an axe in his back made me laugh! It was as if she could see Ian after all, that she was not blind. I don’t know how she did it but it certainly made Vilma’s blindness obviously fake…” – bluedison23

“…Bugso is a noun that roughly translates into “gust,” as in a quick attack of wind or some such. Sometimes, the word is also used in the context of having extremely strong and sudden feelings, reactions or urges. The movie is about the conspiracy of three men, each of whom have a different motive, to kill the family of Miss Ancheta (Vilma Santos) – so she would be left alone and helpless to sign some papers that would turn over all her money and property to Tirso Cruz III‘s character, her devious cousin-in-law. Tirso’s character is one of the three schemers. Such was his greed that he came to the point of killing off his own wife and stepchildren for the sake of material wealth. The other two men involved in the plan are the non-speaking semi-psychopath Nanding (Ian de Leon) and the aging foreman of the Ancheta farm, Ka Matias. The former does it for the money and the thrill of the kill. The latter has cheated the Ancheta family by stealing the title to the farm land and then pawning it for money for his own caprices. Ka Matias realizes that he cannot hide such a secret for long and believes that the best way to clear himself of it was to resort to murder and force. The approach of the whole television movie was suspense-mystery. The story was driven by dark intentions set against the idyllic countryside. All of it revolves around the decisions and chutzpah of a proud, blind heroine. I have to admit this may be a bit formulaic, with so many murder-mysteries and their respective slightly incapacitated heroines, but Bugso possesses an appeal all its own, sourced for the most part from its actors. Vilma Santos is heart-wrenchingly bittersweet and annoyingly stubborn. Tirso Cruz III is ever the Juancho-like bastard (Juancho is his villain character from the GMA-7 soap opera Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga). However, my favorite is definitely the dark, mentally-disturbed Ian de Leon, who exudes menace just by sitting in the shadows and eyeing the heroine with bloodlust. Director Christopher de Leon did a good job with the transition of scenes, especially when the action starts to heat up. The way he constructs the angles and the movements of the characters mirrors the varying moods…” – Madame Shi

RELATED READING:
IMDB: Bugso (TV 2002)
IMDB: Christopher De Leon
IMDB: Tirso Cruz III
IMDB: Ian De Leon
Boyet directs Vi in telemovie
Priscilla is home, at last!
Mayor Vilma Santos Busy as Bee

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