Celso Ad Castillo’s Vilma Santos Films

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“…Mr. Castillo, who directed more than 60 movies including “Asedillo” in 1971 and “Burlesk Queen” in 1977, died in his home in Siniloan, Laguna. In 2007, Mr. Castillo was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer. Born in Siniloan in Sept. 12, 1943, Mr. Castillo is the son of lawyer Dominador Ad Castillo and Marta Adolfo. He graduated in 1964 from the Manuel L. Quezon University with a degree in English Literature. Mr. Castillo started as a writer for a komiks magazine, until he was commissioned to write a script for a spoof of the British superspy James Bond in 1965. He directed his first movie, Misyong Mapanganib in 1966. But it was the film Asedillo in 1971 that made Mr. Castillo popular. Based on the story of a Filipino rebel of the 1920s who was hunted down as a bandit by the American colonial government, the movie gave its lead actor, Fernando Poe, Jr. his second Best Actor trophy from the Film Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS)…Before he died, he has just launched his tell-all book Celso Ad Castillo: An Autobiography and His Craft…” – Jeffrey O. Valisno (READ MORE)

Castillo gave Vilma Santos her first mature role in Burlesk Queen resulting with her first local film festival best actress award. He also directed Pagputi Ng Uwak Pagitim Ng Tagak where Vilma Santos starred and produced. The film received several best picture awards and was considered one of Castillo’s best works. – RV (READ MORE)

Tag-ulan sa tag-araw (1975) – “…The two main characters, Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos obviously carried the film with surprising maturity. Considering this was their first team-up and both were very young. In 1975, both were still in transitions, from teenybopper stars of the musical era to serious actors. Christopher Deleon’s performance was quite impressive as the apologetic Rod, except for some scenes where you can see his nostril moves, he gave a very affecting performance. Vilma Santos equally balance the equation with a touching show of emotions that we seldom see in her early films that are mostly musicals, fantasy or comedies. Three scenes stand out. First was in the bus where she confronted her “Kuya Rod” to not to give-up on their relationship. Second when her parents caught them in the balcony. She begs them to stop beating up her “Kuya Rod.” And then finally, the driving to the abortion clinic scene, she cried her heart out begging them to stop and cried for help to her “Kuya Rod,” who was running behind and trying very hard to stop the car. Celso Ad Castillo successfully gave us a very moving film. Even with the very annoying number of voice-over scenes, scenes that you will hear the two main characters talks but you will see them not opening their mouth, the film has so many good qualities that you will forgive these flaws. We probably attributed these flaws to the style of many films in the 60s and 70s…” – RV (READ MORE)

Burlesk Queen (1977) – “…Burlesk Queen is much more than a gripping commercial melodrama. It is also a scathing commentary on the sarcastic sexual politics that has become the atmosphere of Philippine society: of hardworking women and the good-for-nothing men they serve (in other words, a patriarchal society gone awry). It is also a fervent reminder of the redemptive and equalizing power of art, which is the reason why it will always be a threat to those who hold power. Multi-faceted, committedly acted, and very well-directed, Burlesk Queen, I opine, is an unsung masterpiece.” – Francis Cruz (READ MORE)

Pagputi ng uwak, Pag-itim ng tagak (1978) – “…Celso Ad. Castillo’s Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak (When the Crow Turns White, When the Heron Turns Black) injects political overtones into its story, about a poor young man (Bembol Roco) who, when abandoned by his upper-class lover (Vilma Santos), joins the Hukbalahap rebels. Ad. Castillo in this film demonstrates an amazing visual language–not flashy, but quietly, lyrically brilliant. He also demonstrates a more masterful grasp of music and song than possibly any other Filipino director–the film is a model on how to use kundimans, ballads, pop songs to differentiate social classes, to satirize and comment on the narrative action.” – Noel Vera (READ MORE)

Celso Ad. Castillo began directing films mid-60′s at an early age, but he has since then gained reputation for many other aspects of the craft particularly scriptwriting and acting. In the Filipino movie industry, he holds the unique repuation of being controversial, trendsetter,enfant terrible and messiah of Philippine cinema, and his track record justifies it: he introduced artistry and commercialism in sex films (nympha) when the two were considered incompatible, and introduced sex in artistic projects ( Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa/The Most Beautiful Animal on Earth)when moralistic repression was in vogue. An unfortunate and unfair consequence of the controversy is the recognition due him as one of the finest film commentators on the Philippine social scene, with a visual fluency unmatched by any other contemporary filipino film director. – Celso Ad Castillo Web-site (READ MORE)

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