Elwood Perez’ Vilma Santos Films

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

204 films, 70 directors, 5 decades, Vilma Santos, one of the original Philippine movie queens, rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles, albeit in success both critically and box-office wise in some of Philippine cinema’s classics such as Trudis Liit (1963), Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973), Burlesk Queen (1977), Relasyon (1982), Sister Stella L. (1984), Alyas Baby Tsina (1984), Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989), Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Anak (2000) and Dekada ’70 (2002). This are top ten directors who contributed to her success. – RV (READ MORE)

Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos collaborated in seven films. The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other directors, Borlaza and Gosiengfiao (these three are the most underrated and under appreciated directors in the Philippines), the remake of Mars Ravelo comic super hero, Darna in Lipad Darna Lipad. The film was a record-breaking hit film. They followed “Lipad…” with more mature project as Vilma started to transform her sweet image to serious mature/versatile actress. The film was “Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig” in 1977 that also featured Christopher de Leon and Mat Ranillo III. The Perez-Santos team produced seven blockbuster hits that gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards. The last one was in 1988 for “Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos” that elevated her to FAMAS highest honour, the FAMAS Hall of Fame award (She won for Dama de Noche 1972, Relasyon 1982, Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981, Tagos Ng Dugo 1987 and Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988). – RV (READ MORE)

Lipad Darna Lipad! (1973) – “…In this episode Valentina, tried to steal Narda’s magical stone. Also, there was a scene where Valentina dressed up as Darna. I love the exciting part where Darna and Valentina battled on top of a high rise building. Darna, was almost a no match to her mortal enemy. Dangerously armed with lazer beams coming out from Valentina’s eyes, Darna was helpless and knocked down several times. Until, she stumbled upon into a piece of broken mirror and used it as a shield againts Valentina’s deadly lazer beams. Darna quickly made her looked in the mirror. Her lazer beams bounced back and she turned into a stone. From the roof, Valentina fell hard on the ground and broked into shattered pieces. Anjanette Abayarri and Cherrie Gil almost did the same scene in ” Darna, Ang Pagbabalik! ” Second Episode was directed by Elwood Perez…” – Eric Cueto (READ MORE)

Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig (1977) – “…Sa pelikulang ito, unang ipinamalas ang senswalidad ni Vilma Santos. Maraming eksenang sekswal ang aktres at maaari talaga siyang makipagsabayan sa mga tulad nina Alma Moreno at Trixia Gomez. Karamihan ng mga sitwasyong ibinigay sa kanyang karakter ay hindi kapani-paniwala. Nariyang gawin siyang modelo, sa ilang piling tagpo ipinakita din ang pagiging estudyante ni Estella ngunit hindi naman tinahak ang mga ito sa kabuuan ng pelikula. Hindi rin maikakaila ang husay ni Christopher de Leon bilang aktor ngunit sa pelikulang ito ay nasayang lamang ang kanyang pagganap. Hindi nabigyan ng tamang direksyon ang aktor kung kaya’t lumabas na sabog ang kanyang karakterisasyon. Si Mat Ranillo III naman ay tila hindi na natutong umarte. Kadalasa’y pinaghuhubad siya ng direktor sa mga eksena upang mabigyang pansin. Masyadong mahaba ang pelikula dahil na rin siguro sa panghihinayang ni direk Elwood na masayang ang magagandang eksenang kanyang nakunan ngunit hindi naman nakaapekto ang mga ito sa takbo ng istorya. Kadalasa’y nakababad lamang ang kamera at nakatanghod sa susunod na gagawin ng mga artista. Hindi ito nakatulong upang mapabilis ang takbo ng pelikula, nakakainip panoorin ang ganitong mga eksena…” – Jojo Devera (READ MORE)

Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali (1978) – “…It has a uniformly good performance by the cast which includes Baby Delgado, Roel Vergel de Dios, Anita Linda, Jose Villafranca and the two leads Christopher de Leon and especially Vilma Santos who has done a surprisingly intelligent and affecting character portrayal. Not since Eddie Romero’s Sinong Kapiling, Sinong Kasiping? (1977) have we seen characters who think, behave and react to problems and situations like mature, sensitive and intelligent people. The characters do give way to occasional hysterical outbursts, but they somehow wake up to their senses before they completely forget themselves. And they are people in believable situations with real problems and genuine emotions. When they talk, they are seldom silly and when they are silly, they are aware of it. But even when they are silly or trite, they are never unsympathetic…” – Jojo Devera (READ MORE)

Magkaribal (1979) – “…Christopher de Leon embodies the physicality and psyche of a sexy beast whose complexity is at par with that of a De Niro or Pacino. De Leon, here in his prime epitomizes the dramatic range and animal magnetism akin to Marlon Brando’s Stanley Kowalski. Alma Moreno’s portrayal of a woman who desires a new life in the face of a very uncertain future is competent. The acting method employed here is able to twist the logic of cliché and reconstitutes the drama of yearning with passion and grace. Vilma Santos shows that the strength of women need not come from the repudiation of “feminine” traits and roles. Neither should they come from brute, shrewish adamance as exemplified by the stereotype, nor from machismo as embodied by her husband. Santos demonstrates that the concept of the beautiful, dainty, feminine and strong are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Rather, these form a character that is finally textured, complex and potentially oppositionist. Magkaribal is commendable for staging clever and well-thought out situations partaking of actual tension and punctuated by defamiliarizing comical scenarios and melodramatic circumventions. A certain style of filmmaking based on genre or other considerations is taken as any distinct mode of creating form in film and is made possible only against a background of options that makes a particular choice significant, meaningful and therefore recognizable stylistically. Film artists work within these possibilities in the process of making art, but are never limited to custom and habit…” – Jojo Devera (READ MORE)

Pinay, American Style (1979) – “…The film was so forgettable that the critics didn’t even bother to write any reviews. The lack of enthusiasm on the part of the critics was compensated with the box office success of the film. Vilma fits the role as the illegal alien, PX. Her attempt to speak fluent English and pretend that she’s rich when she met the boyish looking Christopher was funny and poignant. She was given enough scenes to shine. One was when she was harassed by her landlady, she promised her the rent money the next day and when she’s gone, she opened her refrigerator and found a staled piece of bread. She took bottled water and ate the staled bread, went to the bedroom and found her mom’s letter. Lying down in bed, she started to break down. A quiet scene without dialogue. A contrast from the earlier scenes where she was talkative as she tried to impress Christopher and telling him she’s rich and from a well-known family. It was obvious in 1979, Elwood Perez wasn’t the kind of director you will expect to produce a serious output. He wasn’t a Bernal or Brocka. He’s a commercial director. It was a better effort though, compared to a much more convoluted Magkaribal or their past successful projects like Nakawin natin ang bawat sandali and masakit masarap ang umibig. In Pinay, Toto Belano’s script wasn’t efficient in ironing out the “love quadrangle” plot twists and establishing the characters of four actors. So the blame can’t be put to solely to Perez’ shoulder. There was a scene were Vilma Santos and Christopher were watching a concert which was obviously not part of the script.” – RV (READ MORE)

Pakawalan Mo Ako (1981) – “…The second memorable film experience for me was during early 80s where I saw the free sneak preview of “Pakawalan Mo Ako” at Gotesco Theatre near University of the East. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get in. My college mates weren’t. They got stocked in the pandemonium outside. I was worried sick as I took the long escalator and saw them being crashed by the crowed. The security guards have to closed the gate of the lobby. Fans became so restless and broke the glass windows (where they displayed posters and still photos) . Inside, It was crowded, hot and wild. We were seeing a more mature Vilma Santos. From the very beginning, the crowed went along the story until one of the climatic scene – the courtroom scene where she cried and swear! Oh my god I still remember the crowd swearing and cursing too! It was so wild!…” – RV (READ MORE)

Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos (1988) – “…Vilma hit the jackpot. After 11 nominations with four wins, her twelfth nomniation produced her an unexpected win. It elevated her to the hall of fame status. All artist who wins five automatically put them to the hall of fame list. It is a big honour but prohibit any one on the list to compete in the future for the same category. Regal films’ Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos, directed by Elwood Perez was a surprised winner. Not only it earned Vilma her fifth award as best actress, it also gave the late Miguel Rodriguez a best supporting actor award and the best director for Perez. Technical awards were also given to Ricardo Jacinto, cinematography, Rey Maliuanag, production design, Gary Valenciano, theme song, and George Jarlego, editing. The late Nida Blanca was also nominated for best supporting actress…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Elwood Perez is a virtuoso of the camera and is the man behind numerous classic Filipino movies. His intuitive approach to filmmaking and scriptwriting is something worth emulating not because they are campy and sexy but they discuss social ills and promote solutions while tickling the most delicate part of our consciousness—our emotion. Born during the near end of World War II on Feb. 4, 1945 in Mabalacat, Pampanga, Elwood Perez started watching movies at the age of three. He practically grew up breathing, feeling, and thinking about movies. “I want [a] vicarious experience. That’s the only thing I want in my life. I hate the effort to go, let’s say for example to Venice. That’s why I watch films every day. Until now,” the 64-year-old director says. He wrote, directed and acted the lead role in his first Filipino play, Ander di Saya. And he was only nine years old then. From then on, Perez knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. At age 25, Perez marked his debut as a film director with Blue Boy in 1970. The film was a flop at the box office but it was revered by critics. Maturing as a scriptwriter and film director, in 1973, commercially successful Lipad, Darna Lipad! was released. Award-winning actress Celia Rodriguez essayed the role of Medusa-like villainess, Valentina, nubile Vilma Santos played the Filipino supergirl (a role that launched her in a series of Darna flicks). To Filipino film industry insiders, Perez is known as the most sought-after movie director of his generation…” – Nickie Wang (READ MORE)

Related Reading
The Underrated Director Elwood Perez
Elwood Perez marks 67th birthday, Mother Lily launches new ‘baby’
Film archivist group unearths rare Elwood Perez movie
Silip (1985) DVD out now
How Shameful is Elwood Perez’s Shame (1983)
Elwood Perez: Master of mise en scene
Elwood Perez film festival at UP Film Institute
PEP: Perez’ masterpieces that gave birth to showbiz’s brightest stars
Top 10 Film Directors (Video)

Advertisements