Film Review: Makahiya at Talahib (1976)

FILMS - Makahiyat Talahib 3

The Plot: – “…Arturo (Rudy Fernandez) is a convict on the run after being framed for rape. Aurora (Vilma Santos), a sculptress at odds with her overbearing mother (Gloria Romero), falls for him and is convinced of his innocence. When Arturo takes revenge on those who framed him, Aurora helps him plot his escape. This, while her sister Beatriz (Trixia Gomez) has a brief affair with Arturo…” – Music & Laughter TV (READ MORE)

The Reviews: – Produced by Goodwill Productions, Makahiya at Talahib (1976) featured Rudy Fernandez as Arturo Clemente, an escapee who was wrongly convicted for rape and murder of a child.  He was rape in jail and psychologically tortured and successfully escaped.  The film started with Arturo attempted hijacked a vehicle from two men.  He took their clothes and truck while allowing them to run for their lives naked.  He went back to his hometown and hide in the forest.  The following scenes were the introduction of Aurora (Vilma Santos, whose voice was noticeably dubbed by someone), Arturo’s lover, a wood carver.  While at work, she and Steve (Romeo Rivera) heard the news about Arturo’s escape.  The radio broadcast mentioned the killing of a prison guard and that Arturo is armed and dangerous.  Meanwhile, her sister Beatrice (Trixia Gomez) was seen making out with a man in the rice farm, an obvious ploy to get the attention of male movie goers, as even with this scenes deleted, it will not affect the movie’s main story.

The news of Arturo’s come back made the guilty party scared, Ingo (max Alvarado) and Steve together with their gang discussed their next move, both warned about Arturo’s possible revenge.  Also worried is Aurora’s mother (Gloria Romero), she told her two daughters about the looming danger and reminded Aurora of not to get involve.  Baldo, (Rocco Montalban) was the first goon to die.  Arturo met him.  They fought and Baldo, was seen collapsing. Arturo left assuming he killed the goon.  The next day, Beatrice warned her sister that she still likes Arturo.  Aurora found Arturo in the forest, she confronted him and realized that Arturo was confuse but convinced he is innocent.  But she convinced him that he should turned himself in.  She asked for their town’s parish priest help but it was too late.   The real killer, Steve and his gang together with the town’s police group surrounded Arturo’s secret hide away.  He was shot and killed.   The end.

Written and directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Makahiya’t Talahib spooned-fed its story to its viewers.  No element of surprise, as we already know from the very beginning that Arturo is innocent.  It was obvious that the film tried to sell sex.  The ending, showing the kissing scene of Rudy Fernandez and Vilma Santos despite it’s limitation was use as the film’s promo.   Trixia Gomez’s several unnecessary sex scenes would be more fitting to entice the male movie goers.  Unfortunately, Gomez’ daring scenes weren’t enough and even with Rudy and Vi’s tame sex scenes, the film failed both commercially and artistically.  Although many considered this film as a prelude to Vilma’s career transformation the following year via “Burlesk Queen.”  Testing her fans with her  first screen kissing scene.  But this milestone was eclipse by her decision to allow someone to dub her own voice.  Meanwhile, Rudy Fernandez tried very hard to portrayed Arturo but lack the intensity.  Like Aurora’s unfinished wood sculptures, the supporting cast needs more sculpting.  Gloria Romero’s acting was ordinary.  Trixia Gomez’s was bland.  Romeo Rivera, Rocco Montalban and Max Alvarado were all stereotypically uneventful.  It was reported that Borlaza was so in-demand, he was shooting two films at the same time while doing Makahiya.  In an interview, he admitted “his film was more commercial than Brocka or Bernal but he’s not bother by this criticism.  As he’s more concern on what his audience wants to see and making sure his producer made profit.”  Unfortunately, “Makahiya at Talahib” needs more work to be credible and believable otherwise like what Aurora did on her wood carved sculpture in the end, the film should be throw and trash.  – RV

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