Pinagtibay ng Panahon 2/2


Ang tambalang Vilma-Boyet ay pinagtibay ng panahon. Hindi basta-basta na maigugupo ng kahit sino o ng kahit anong tambalan. Tulad din ng alak na habang tumatagal ay lalong sumasarap. There have been many loveteams in Philippine cinema but the tandem of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon has chalked up the longest list of movies that have been given awards and made good records at the boxoffice. Until now, their tandem has been unsurpassed. Their loveteam is the most enduring tandem in local cinema. Siguro may iba pang loveteam na nakagawa ng mas maraming pelikula kaysa sa kanila like during the height of the Vi and Bot and Nora-Tirso but theirs did not span decades, nakakaahon lang sila within the short period of time at the height of their popularity. Hindi man naging magkapalad sina Vi at Boyet bilang lovers sa tunay na buhay ay nagklik naman sila sa masa bilang lovers sa pelikula. Matatandaan na sumibol din ang tambalang Nora-Boyet noon sa pelikula at kapag-daka’y nauwi sa totohanan. Sa kabila ng katotohanang ito ay hindi gaanong tinanggap ng publiko ang kanilang pareha sa puting tabing. – Willie FerrnandezREAD MORE

The List
01. Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw (1976) – Directed by Celso Ad Castillo
02. Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig (1977) – Directed by Elwood Perez
03. Ikaw ay Akin (1978) – Directed by Ishmael Bernal
04. Disco Fever (1978) – Directed by Al Quinn
05. Nakawin Natin ang Bawa’t Sandali (1978) – Directed by Elwood Perez
06. Magkaribal (1979) – Directed by Elwood Perez
07. Pinay American Style (1980) – Directed by Elwood Perez
08. Gusto Kita, Mahal ko Siya (1980) – Directed by Emmanuel H. Borlaza
09. Pakawalan Mo Ako (1981) – Directed by Elwood Perez
10. Karma (1981) (Christopher De Leon in cameo role) – Directed by Danny Zialcita
11. Relasyon (1982) – Directed by Ishmael Bernal
12. Sinasamba Kita (1982) – Directed by Eddie Garcia
13. Haplos (1982) – Directed by Antonio Jose Perez
14. Paano ba ang Mangarap? (1983) – Directed by Eddie Garcia
15. Broken Marriage (1983) – Directed by Ishmael Bernal
16. Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan ang Nakaraan (1983) – Directed by Marilou Diaz Abaya
17. Imortal (1989) – Directed by Eddie Garcia
18. Ipagpatawad Mo (1991) – Directed by Laurice Guillen
19. Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993) – Directed by Laurice Guillen
20. Nagiisang Bituin (1994) – Directed by Jose Javier Reyes
21. Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal (1997) – Directed by Ike Jarlego Jr.
22. Dekada ’70 (2002) – Directed by Chito S. Rono
23. Mano Po 3: My Love (2004) – Directed by Joel Lamangan


TAGULAN SA TAGARAW


MASARAP MASAKIT ANG UMIBIG


IKAW AY AKIN


MAGKARIBAL


PINAY AMERICAN STYLE


PAKAWALAN MO AKO


RELASYON


SINASAMBA KITA


HAPLOS


PAANO BA ANG MANGARAP


BROKEN MARRIAGE


MINSAN PA NATING HAGKAN ANG NAKARAAN


IPAGPATAWAD MO


DEKADA 70


MANO PO 3: MY LOVE

GO TO PART ONE

‘Burlesk Queen’ onto the height of pathos (Repost)


The title, Burlesk Queen, with its Tagalized spelling of “burlesque,” immediately striking up an image of novelty and distinction all its own, and inspired by the actual period of Philippine entertainment in the 50s and 60s, is rooted in concrete historical perspective contributing immensely to its achievement of exemplary unity in film art.

To film buffs like Ricky Lee, who at the time was only just beginning to mull the idea of turning scriptwriter, it became necessary to check the shooting script of Burlesk Queen, ostensibly for the festival committee, but in reality, I didn’t bothered to find out. He didn’t get to realize that with Castillo, what script is written on the typewriter is barely half of the work one gets to finally see on film; the other half is written on the spot as an imperative of the limitations in local filmmaking, like creativity on the set, lack of logistics for production design or camera requirements, etc. That—on the spot scriptwriting—happens to be my cup of tea, which figures perfectly with Castillo’s creative style, method of work, whatever you may want to call it. Lee, definitely, won’t get to first base with Castillo in such a methodology.  At any rate, the best proof of the pudding is the tasting, never mind who the baker is.

Burlesk Queen opens with Virgie Knight (Rosemarie Gil) performing onstage. Traditionally movies begin by establishing the main character. Does Virgie’s opening dance defy the tradition? Not at all. Virgie may be taking time a bit too much in her dance so that she impresses the spectator as the main character in the story, but what is transpiring onstage is not an actress delineating a role but rather an image, an idea, of which the dancer is a mere representation. And what is that image, that idea?

Burlesque. And under the principle of montage, when two representations are juxtaposed to each other, i.e., joined together, the juxtaposition produces a qualitatively different theme. By making the idea, image of burlesque as its opening number, Burlesk Queen upholds revered canons for artistic expression. On aesthetics in general, the film conforms perfectly with the Aristotlean test for art: “at once, brilliant, beautiful and whole.” Burlesque is a thematically-hewn visual delight, appearing as sudden as the opening shot.

By literary standard, Burlesk Queen conforms to the dictum of story development proceeding from the development of the main character. The actual start of the story is Chato’s (Vilma Santos’) affectation by the main theme, the burlesque dance.  Adherents of montage will amaze at the theme of burlesque, from scene one onward, permeating every scene and every detail of these scenes with astonishing, exquisite, if tedious, consistency.

Note this story flow. After Virgie’s performance, she and Chato take snack at an eatery, Chato expressing her desire to dance burlesque like Virgie so as to earn a big sum by which to buy her crippled father a wheelchair. Coming home, Chato excitedly relates to her father, Mang Roque (Leopoldo Salcedo), how nice Virgie’s dancing is—burlesque. In relating thus, Chato does hip bumps and gyrations— burlesque. Mang Roque expresses aversion to Chato’s job as attendant to—burlesque. All the way to Mang Roque’s distaste for the food pasalubong Chato brings him which he says he cannot stomach for being a proceed of…burlesque.

Even up to this point only, it becomes clear that the film has had a firm grasp of the tenets of montage, has grappled with, and has overcome, the problem of building compositional structure for achieving organic unity. But the extent of such unity must go all the way to the climax where the desired pathos must be experienced, so that the testing of the validity of this observation must be continued all the way to the finale.

What comes next? Virgie goes home to her own third-rate flat, swinging to a boogie tune from a transistor radio slung by a hand on her shoulder. The gait, the sway, the music, including the erratic electric light that goes on and off — all of these effect a retention of the aura of the burlesque theater. The ensuing quarrel between her and lover Ander (Roldan Aquino) centers on Virgie’s failure to get further advance payment for her dancing, what else but burlesque? For failing to give Ander the money he needs, Virgie is deserted by him then and there, and as he steps out of the house (off-frame), banging the door shut, the impact causes the light to turn off for good—certainly the theatrical way of ending an episode of a show as well as a transition to the next episode.

And what transpires next? In a flat-like Virgie’s, the morning after, a rough-edged, if attractive, cheaply-sexy-looking woman who Ander, in his lines, reveals as a nightclub hostess (Dexter Doria) is urging him to get dressed pronto (he is naked in bed, his front covered only with a pillow—isn’t this burlesque!) and accompany her to the dressmaker to get an outfit she had ordered. In one respect, aside from being exposed (his nakedness does this) now as a gigolo victimizing women in the flesh trade, Ander serves as the unifying thread with the immediately preceding scene with Virgie. In another respect, the club hostess’ urging Ander to accompany her to the dressmaker is a crafty method for making the aberrant Ander to stay on-line, i.e., stay within the theme. For at that very moment, who should be figuring in the dressmaker’s shop but, yes, Virgie, trying on a new costume for her stage act, again yes, burlesque.

This dress shop sequence is a particularly interesting specimen for study. What are its elements? Virgie trying on her new costume. Chato snickering at the window with a friend as she exchanges naughty glances with Jessie (Rolly Quizon, presented here for the first time), who is playing pool with barkada across the street. The arrival of Ander and the club hostess, who engages Virgie in a verbal tussle over burlesque. Lowly folks crowding in the surroundings, as audience in a theater. While a pair of musician beggars endlessly play a violin and percussion instrument, rendering music that completes the theater atmosphere.

Truly, indeed, as montage requires, a film to be art must conform to the law governing organic unity in natural phenomena. Lenin, the great leader of the Russian proletarian revolution under whose influence Eisenstein developed the montage theory, puts it this way: “…the particular does not exist outside that relationship which leads to the general. The general exists only in the particular, through the particular.”

Hence in Burlesk Queen, scene after scene, and detail after detail to their minutest proportions within each scene, nothing exists that is not within the central theme of burlesque.

In this dress shop sequence, Virgie makes like unaffected by Ander’s having completely abandoned her for the club hostess, but in the dressing room where she repairs to after the verbal clash, she gives vent to all her sorrow from having lost Ander forever. At precisely this point, Chato is exchanging love gazes with Jessie. Here we have a pretty lucid illustration of a rule in dramaturgy that has been a tradition of Greek tragedies whereby qualitative leaps in thematic development are always in the opposite. Chato’s joy at a nascent love affair with Jessie is contraposed to Virgie’s grief brought about by the end of her relationship with Ander. Yet though such qualitative leaps go separate ways, they stay confined within a seeming thematic parallel by which both leaps contribute to the building of a compositional structure necessary to maintain the organic unity begun earlier on at the opening. Virgie drops into depression and is so drunk during one burlesque presentation in the theater that she is not able to answer the call when her number comes. Now, who should come onstage to take Virgie’s place just so to placate a maddened crowd but a young dancer—Chato!

Love and hate, joy and sorrow, emotions going their separate ways, but perfectly maintained within the never-for-a-moment-missed parameters of the central theme of burlesque. More than bare feelings, the emotions actually represent images building up for another qualitative leap in the drama by which to finally attain, along strict criteria of Greek tragedies, the ultimate height of pathos. – Mao Gia Samonte, Manila Times, Thursday, February 12, 2009

RELATED READING:
Burlesk Queen WINNER of 10 MMFF Awards
1977 Metro Manila Film Festival
Video 48: Vilma Santos As “Burlesk Queen” (1977)
Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors (part five)
IMDB: Burlesk Queen (1977)
IMDB: Celso Ad. Castillo
IMDB: Rolly Quizon
IMDB: Rosemarie Gil
IMDB: Leopoldo Salcedo (1912–1998)
Pelikula Atbp: Burlesk Queen (1977)
The Kid, uninterrupted
‘Burlesk Queen’ Onto The Height of Pathos
Vilma Santos as Burlesk Queen (1977)
Amanda Page performs a burlesque inspired number for the MMFF Gabi ng Parangal (Video)
The Classic Vilma Santos Movies

FILM REVIEW: BURLESK QUEEN

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The Plot: To support her paralytic father, Chato (Vilma Santos) works as a utility girl for a burlesque star Virgie Nite (Rosemary Gil). But when Virgie gets drunk on the night of her scheduled show, Chato pitches in for her. And she becomes an instant sensation. Enthused by the initial acceptance of the audience, she defies her father’s admonitions and presents herself to the manager. And thus, becoming the new burlesque queen. – IMDB

To support her paralytic father, Chato (Vilma Santos) works as a utility girl at Inday Theater for a burlesque star Virgie Nite (Rosemary Gil). Chato desperately wants to earn money to help her ailing and paralyzed father. When Virgie gets drunk on the night of her scheduled show, Chato pitches in for her, and she becomes an instant sensation. Enthused by the initial acceptance of the audience, she defies her father’s admonitions and presents herself to the manager, thus, becoming the new burlesque queen. The aberrant lifestyle of a burlesque performer leads Chato to a misguided existence. She becomes pregnant and is abandoned by the father of her baby. Desperate for cash, she agrees to appear in a lavish stage show. In front of a screaming male audience, Chato bumps and grinds in a tour de force performance, unaware of the danger to her pregnancy. – Wikipilipinas

Chato (vilma Santos) performs girl Friday jobs for Virgie Knight (Rosemarie Gil), a burlesue star, to support her paralytic father. Harboring a secret desire to be a burlesque star herself, Chato grabs at her chance one night by taking over when Virgie get herself scandalously drunk because her parasitic lover, Ander (Roldan Aquino), blew out of town with another woman. Mang Roque (Leopoldo Salcedo), Chato’s father, learns about Chato’s onstage performance and vehemently restrains his daughter from doing it again. Chato meekly agrees. The story is set during the 50s, at a time when genuine burlesque, as an art and a form of entertainment, was dying, in large part due to the indefatigable agitation of traditional moralists, and the local politicians’ accommodation to these demands. To circumvent her father’s wishes, Chato and the burlesque show impresario, Louie Fernando (Joonee Gamboa), devise a stage personality for the young girl – she assumes the stage monicker of Tzarina, the masked goddess. Chato is irretrievably drawn into the whirlpool of the burlesque. Meanwhile, she carries on an affair with Jessie (Rolly Quizon), a law student and son of an anspiring politico. Mang Roque, finally burdened by his inutility, commit suicide; Chato and Jessie elope and the girl leaves the burlesque theater, apparently fo good. When Chato’s savings dwindle, Jessie is easily lured by his mother to return home and once again pursue his law studies. Pregnant and abandoned, Chato finds her life seemingly at a deadend. Her situation reflects the tragedy that hovers over Louie’s troupe and theater. Louie decides to hold a grand burlesque show to prove once and for all that burlesque is an art. Chato agrees to dance again in this show of shows. The film ends in a tour de force as Chato’s greatest performance grinds and bumps to a shattering climax. – Video48.blogspot.com

The Reviews: “…1977 propelled Filipino actresses to greater heights in Castillo’s Burlesk Queen which, incidentally made Vilma Santos an indubitable superstar. After Burlesk Queen, every actress then wanted to portray burlesque roles…” – Celso Ad Castillo Web-site (READ MORE).

“I have my own orientation in film criticism…because we’re Third World, to me a film is, first of all, a social document, then an educational tool, and third, an aesthetic experience. If I have to name three important Tagalog movies of all time based on these criteria, they would have to be Brocka’s Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag – acutally I can name four – Castillo’s Burlesk Queen, Romero’s Aguila, Gallaga’s Oro, Plata, Mata.” – Rafael Ma. Guerrero, Film critic (READ MORE)

“…Tuloy-tuloy ‘yun…(the hospital scense with Vilma and Leopoldo Salcedo) nag-experiment ako noong una, kumuha ako ng second take, pero di ko na rin tinapos. Perfect na iyong una. Alam mo bang nang gawin namin ang eksenang iyon tatlo kaming umiiyak sa set? Ako, si Vilma, at si Leopoldo? Dalang-dala si Leopoldo sa pagsasalita ni Vilma, lumuha siya kahit patay siya dapat doon. Buti na lang di siya nakuha ng kamera…(Kung Nahirapan ka ba kay Vilma?) …Oo, hindi sa acting dahil mahusay talaga siya kundi sa scheduling. Alam mo kasi it takes time before I can really get into the mood of a picture, mga two weeks, tapos kapag nandiyan na, that’s the stage when I’m ready to give my life to the project. Tapos biglang walang shooting ng two weeks dahil busy siya sa ibang pelikula…” – Ricardo Lee, Manila Magazine, Dec 1- 31, 1977

“…More remarkable than Santos’ portrayal of the doomed burlesque dancer, is Castillo’s filmmaking. Set within the very patriarchal lower class Manila, Castillo posits the burlesque theater as not merely, as impassioned Louie points out, a place for highbrow entertainment for the masses, but also the window for the film’s female lead to become superior to her male oppressors. It’s a difficult metaphor to execute but Castillo successfully does so. The dancer, scantilly clad amidst the cheers and jeers of horny men, is easily regarded as the victim of exploitation. But in the film’s case, the stage becomes the dancer’s opportunity for leverage which is impossible in the outside world. The stage provides Chato ease from the outside world’s patriarchal clutches. She becomes financially stable on her own, temporarily free from her father’s influences, and powerful over thousands of men. Interestingly, Castillo stages a poetically sequenced scene of Chato’s devirginization within the theater. Jessie attempts to make love to Chato inside her dressing room, and the latter submits to the former’s sexual advances. Interspersed between their lovemaking (take note of the ballad that plays in the background as the lyrics talk of love amidst the entire world’s disapproval, very typical of the romantic declarations that inevitably falter over time) are scenes from the stage, a circus act of horrid penetrations: of a woman being juggled by a man, several magic acts, and more importantly, of a man hammering a nail inside his nostril, then puncturing his eye socket with a metal stick, finally commencing with him swallowing a long blade. Castillo’s juxtaposing Chato’s first sexual act with acts of unnatural and bizarre penetrations of the human body impart a clear message of invasion, of Chato’s theater where she is the goddess (her stage name is Tsarina the goddess) and almighty over all the men who watch her. The theater is no longer the same sanctuary; in a way, the theater’s magic has been tainted. She becomes pregnant and decides to stop dancing pursuant to her relationship with Jessie and pregnancy. Her devirginization within the theater becomes symbolic of her surrender to the outside patriarchal forces…Burlesk Queen is much more than a gripping commercial melodrama. It is also a scathing commentary on the sexual politics that has become the atmosphere of Philippine society: of hardworking women and the good-for-nothing men they serve; of a patriarchal society gone awry. It is also a fervent reminder of the redemptive and equalizing power of art. Multi-faceted, committedly acted, and very well-directed, Burlesk Queen, I opine, is an unsung masterpiece.” – Oggs Cruz (READ MORE)

“…Maging ang paglakad ng panahon ay nararamdaman din ng manonood kahit hindi ikuwento o ipakita ang kinagawiang pamamaraan at ulat ng “nalalaglag na dahon ng kalendaryo o dahon ng puno kaya”. Sunod-sunod na cuts na nagpapakita sa uri ng palabas sa tanghalang kinabibilangan ni Vilma ang ginawa ni Celso. Saka ito sinundan ng kuha naman sa bahay nina Vilma at Rollie. Nag-iinit ng tubig si Vilma habang nakikinig ng dula sa radyo tungkol sa buhay ng isang asawang tamad at iresponsable. Ganoon nga ang nangyayari sa buhay ng dalawa, at may kasunod ring “abangan sa susunod na kabanata”. Sa paghihiwalay ng dalawa, sapat na ring iparinig ang awiting You’re All I Want For Christmas, para buhayin ang irony na nagaganap sa relasyon ng dalawa. Kung makinis ang exposition at pagbuhay sa conflict ng istorya, malinaw rin ang paghahanda sa wakas ng pelikula. Si Rose na laos na ay naging mumurahing puta. Si Dexter kahit hindi ipakita ay maliwanag na sumama na sa ibang lalaki. Si Roldan ay may bago nang kabit at napatay sa spiral staircase ng tanghalan na siya rin niyang dinadaanan sa paghahatid sa dalawang naunang kabit. Si Rollie, ang mama’s boy, ay natural bawiin ng ina. Si Vilma ay nagsayaw-nang-nagsayaw. Sa simula’y mahinhin at nakangiti at kaakit-akit hanggang sa pagbilis ng pulso ng tambol at pompiyang ay naubusan ng ngiti, tumagaktak ang pawis at manghina ang ligwak ng kanyang balakang, upang sa pagbuhay sa damdamin ng manonood ay siya namang maging dahilan ng pagkalaglag ng sanggol na kanyang dinadala. Sa labas, matapos ang pagtatanghal, may tatlong bagabundong naiwan na nakatangkod sa larawang pang ‘come on’ ng burlesk queen, habang ang kadilima’y bumabalot sa kapaligiran…” – Jun Cruz Reyes, Miyembro, Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, Manila magazine December 1977 (READ MORE)

“…It was 1977 with an exceptional film, Burlesk Queen, that Castillo got his fIrst critical recognition. Entered in that year’s Metro Manil Film Festival, it was adjudged the Best Picture, won forhim a Best Director Award as well as nine other artistic awards. It told a young girl in Manila in the 50’s who wanted to become a burlesque dancer. It showed a subdued Castillo. He seemed in this film, to have held back his passion for visual impact to give way to his new mastery of film grammar. His characters cried and whimpered, they did not scream and curse. They delievered dissertations on art, not imprecations of wrath, which had set the pitch of his previous films. The critics fought bitterly over Burlesk Queen. In that festival, he was contending with film makers who enjoyed a high reputation among the country’s most avid film critics. Upon winning the award, Castillo instantly became the favorite beating boy of the critics who did not appreciate Burlesk Queen. To prove to them his worth, Castillo did Pagputi ng Uwak, a 50’s epic set in his favorite Southern Tagalog locale. It was the most lavish of all his productions and had all the elements of a “great” Filipino film. He exploited the many religious and social rituals typical of the region. The film featured the two most critically acclaimed performers of the time, Bembol Roco, Jr. and Vilma Santos, with the cinematography of Romy Vitug complementing Castillo’s visual sense. And it touched on civil unrest to underline the film director’s social awareness. Pagputi ng Uwak was a visual fest, an artistic and socially responsive film aimed at the critics. It was also Castillo’s first commercial failure after a string of more than 20 minor and major box-office hits…In just a decade, Castillo, with all his audacity and dramatic excesses, has claimed his place as one of the most versatile and genuinely interesting filmmakers in the Philippines today…” – Rosauro de la Cruz (READ MORE)

RELATED READING:

FILM REVIEW: PAGPUTI NG UWAK PAGITIM NG TAGAK

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“…sabi mo pa nga nuon mahal na mahal mo ako…sabi mo pa na hindi magbabago ang pagtingin mo sa akin…dahil papaano mo papatayin ang hangin? Paano mo papatayin ang ulan? Paano mo papatayin ang araw? Sabi mo pa nga hindi mo na ako iiwan kahit na anong mangyari…kaya naisip ko nuon magpaligaw na ako sa’yo…kahit hindi pa pumuputi ang uwak, o umi-itim ang tagak…” – Julie

The Plot: “Pag-puti ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak” is a pulsating love story that recaptures the nostalgic fifties, the exciting era of mass hysteria, and the golden years of the rock and roll fever inflicted by screaming, wiggling hip-shaking foreign pop idols dominated by Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Pat Boone, Doris Day and the Platters. “Pag-puti ng Uwak,Pag-itim ng Tagak” is more than a love story. It is also a commentary – a satire rich with humor injected into a moral, psychological, sociological, and cultural aspect, outlook, and values of the said bygone era. “Pag-puti ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak”, is a poigant rich-girl-meets poor boy love story of Julie Monserat and Candido Ventura – two love-struck starry eyed youths who fought for their right to love each other, here is a story that touches social conflict – the perennial clashes and discrimination between the rich and the poor. Julie grew up under the custody of her two wealthy spinster aunts Beatriz and Miguela Monserrat. Julie enjoyed everything, except the right to love her own father – Maestro Juan Roque, the poor town teacher. Julie met Dido a student-combo player. They fell in love with each other and had secret affairs. The aunts hated Dido for his ” lowly breeding and ear-splitting music”, thus rejecting him in favor of the town mayor’s son. Julie eventually got pregnant. They planned an elopement but was foiled. The conflict between the lovers and the Monserrat exploded into a series of scandals that rocked the whole town of Sta. Inez…” – Celso Ad Castillo (READ MORE)

“…Malakas ang deconstruction ng “Romeo and Juliet” sa obra na ito. Maraming reference (pinaka-given na siguro na ang pangalan ni Vilma Santos dito ay Julie) sa tragedy ni Shakespeare. Dito ko nakita si Celso Ad in a different light. Nage-gets ko ang poesiya ng mga nature shots n’ya sa ibang pelikula pero rito, klarong klaro ang pagkahilig n’ya sa literary classic. Pinakagusto kong shot eh ‘yung terrace scene na malakas maka-tribute. Wala kasi akong katiting na abiso tungkol sa pedigree ng pelikula at masayang naglalaro sa isip ko ang mga reference hanggang sa sumabog ito sa dulo na nagbigay konklusyon sa mga hinagap. Maraming eksena na may kilometric line si Vilma rito. Napaalala rin sa akin ang era kung saan ang sukatan ng isang pagiging aktres ay nasa haba ng mga linya na kayang mamemorya. Pinagsamang sensuality at controlled acting ang pinamalas n’ya. Maigting din ang chemistry nila ni Bembol Roco rito…” – Manuel Pangaruy Jr., Tagailog Specials Presents, 02 August 2013 (READ MORE)

Kuwento ng magkasintahang pinaghiwalay, na ipinaloob sa isang panahong dinadaluyong ang lipunang Pilipinong rebelyong Hukbalahap. Iyan ang buod ng ‘Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak’. Dekada ng 1950 noon, at sa pista ng matandang bay an ng Santa Ines ay nagkatagpu-tagpo sina Julie Monserrat (Vilma Santos), Dido Ventura (Bembol Roco) at Maestro Juan Roque (Joonee Gamboa). Mula sa mayaman at makapangyarihang pamilya si Julie, isang ulilang pinalaki at pinapag-aral sa Maynila ng kanyang mga tiyang matandang dalagang sina Beatriz (Adul de Leon) at Miguela (Angie Ferro). Si Dido ay maralitang binatang ang Ina (Mona Lisa) ay may iwing poot sa mga Monserrat na kumamkam sa kanilang lupain at naging dahilan ng kanilang paghihirap. Si Maestro Roque naman ay kilalang kompositor at biyolinista na umuwi sa Santa Ines upang tapusin ang kanyang sarsuwelang pinamagatang “Pangarap ng Bagong Umaga.” Sa unang pagkikita pa lamang ay napusuan ni Dido si Jutie. Nagkahulihan ng loob ang dalawa, at isang gabi’ypinangahasang akyatin ni Dido si Julie sa kuwarto nito. Ang kanilang pagtatalik ay humantong sa pagtatanan. Nang magbalik ang magkasintahan upang humingi ng pahintulot na sila’y pakasal, si Julie ay pinamili ng kanyang mga tiya sa maginhawang buhay na kanyang kinagisnan, at sa walang-katiyakang hinaharap bilang asawa ni Dido. Nagdalawang-isip si Julie, at pinili niyang manatili sa pangangalaga ng kanyang mga tiya.

Masamang-masama ang loob ni Dido sa nangyari. Nang siya ay laitin ng kanyang kasintahang si Cristy (Olivia O’Hara), sinaktan niya ito. Nalaman ni Claro (Robert Talabis) ang ginawa ni Dido sa kanyang kapatid, at nagharap ang dalawa sa isang labanang mano-a-mano. Napatay ni Dido si Claro. Alkalde ng bayan ang ama (Mervin Samson) nina Cristy at Claro, kaya’t pinakitos nito ang mga pulis upang iligpit si Dido. Nang gabing lihim na kunin si Dido sa kulungan upang patayin, inambus ng mga Huk ang sasakyan ng mga pulis. Tiyo ni Dido ang pinuno ng mga Huk na si Kumander Salome (Lito Anzures). Sumamang namundok si Dido sa kanyang Tiyo. Minsang dumalaw sa bahay ng mga Monserrat si Maestro Roque, siya ay hinamak ng magkapatid na Beatriz at Miguela. Mula na rin sa mga tiya ni Julie, natuklasan niya na anak pala niya si Julie sa patay nang si Ana Monserrat. Nang magkahiwalay sina Julie at Dido, nalaman ni Maestro Roque na buntis si Julie. Ito ay dinalaw niya sa konserbatoryong pinag-aaralan ng dalaga sa pagka-biyolinista. Ipinagtapat niyang siya ang ama ni Julie. Tinalikdan ni Julie ang kanyang ama, subalit ang pagdalaw na iyon ang naging dahilan upang magpasiya ang dalaga na huwag ipaampon ang kanyang anak na isisilang. Nilakad ni Maestro Roque na pagtagpuing muli sina Julie at Dido. Isang gabi ng Mahal na Araw, nagkita ang magkasintahan at nakilala ni Dido ang kanyang anak kay Julie. Natunugan ng mga espiya ng gobyerno ang pagbaba sa bayan ng mga rebeldeng pinamumunuan ni Kumander Salome. Ang uha ng anak nina Julie at Dido ay nangibabaw sa masinsing putukang lumipol kina Dido at mga kasama. – Manunuri (READ MORE)

It is the 1950’s at the height of the Huk (local Communist armed forces) movement, in a part of the country beset with agrarian unrest. During the town fiesta of Santa Ines, Julie Monserrat is introduced to Dido Ventura and Maestro Juan Roque, an old musician. Julie, an orphan who comes from the local aristocracy, is on vacation from school in Manila, and is staying with her two spinster aunts Beatriz and Miguela. Dido Ventura, a young man from a poor family, lives with his mother who nurses an old grievance against the Monserrats; she believes they grabbed the Ventura’s property. Maestro Juan Roque, a well-known composer and violinist, has just returned to Santa Ines to finish a zarzuela he has been planning to write for a long time. Dido falls in love with Julie at their first meeting. One night, he sneaks into the spinsters’ house and spends a passionate night with Julie. The brief liaison leads to their elopement. When the two lovers return to ask for the aunts’ blessing, Julie is made to choose between a life of poverty and uncertainty with Dido, or a life of comfort and respectability with her aunts. Julie chooses to stay with her aunts. Dido is shaken by the turn of events.

He meets Cristy, his girlfriend, who insults him for the embarrassing situation he has gotten himself into. Dido turns roughly against the girl and beats her up. Cristy’s brother finds out about this and challenges him to a fist fight. Dido kills Cristy’s brother. Cristy’s father, who is the town mayor, decides to dispose of Dido immediately. But when his secret police nab Dido one night, the jeep taking them to Dido’s execution is ambushed by a band of Huk rebels led by Kumander Salome, Dido’s uncle. Saved, Dido decides to join his rebel uncle in the mountains. Meanwhile, Maestro Roque, on a visit to the spinsters’ old house to talk about Julie’s violin lessons, finds out that Julie is actually his own daughter by one of the Monserrat sisters now deceased. Julie herself is pregnant with Dido’s child. The old musician’s visit to her house and the ensuing revelatin make he decide to keep the baby. Maestro Roque arranges for Julie and Dido to meet again. On the night of Good Friday, Dido leaves the rebel camp to see his newborn child. Kumander Salome decides to go along with the young man. Government spies learn of this and an ambush is set. The child of Julie and Dido is the only survivor and witness of the masscre that ends the film. – Rosauro de la Cruz (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “…Compared to Burlesk Queen, Pagputi ng Uwak is less of a technical mess. Particularly exceptional are the shots of rustic religious rituals; unfortunately their use does not progress beyond the literal level. This makes for increasing predictability toward the picture’s end, as when the preparations for a military massacre are intercut with recitations of the tribulations of Jesus Christ. Attempts at authenticity appear to have been assiduous, but the project may have also proved too ambitious in this aspect. Thus one can find high-tension wires and Scotch-tinted car windows, not to mention recent beautification accomplishments, making their way into a 1950s period movie. Performance-wise Pagputi ng Uwak leaves a lot more to be desired. Among the cast, only Mona Lisa manages to pull off a convincing characterization as Bembol Roco’s mother. Angie Ferro and Adul de Leon, as Vilma Santos’ spinster aunts, are no better than caricatures: funny maybe, but quite incredible. Joonee Gamboa has mellowed since his rudimental portrayal of an impresario in Burlesk Queen; his role, however, is far less significant this time, reduced as it is to playing the intermediary between star-crossed characters. Executive producer Vilma Santos does better outside camera range. Her production is financially and artistically liberal, the sort the local audience has been deprived of since the dissolution of the previous censors board. Her performance though is about as effective as that of a drama guild’s star performer: she renounces her lover like she would a final exam, and later professors love for him like she would a teen idol. The same applies to Bembol Roco, about whose character more will be said later; suffice it to say that he still has yet to employ under-acting to his advantage. Meanwhile he and Santos are the industry’s star couple, and there one has the trappings of the star system at work again. Is there nothing at all to be said in favor of the movie? Come to think of it, Burlesk Queen did have a saving grace, and it is this same virtue – intention – which redeems Pagputi ng Uwak. In his works Castillo the artist seeks to depict the Filipino as only a fellow Filipino will understand, particularly in terms of pride and sentiment – values associated in Western aesthetics with melodrama. Which is what makes Castillo easy prey for local culture vultures: with technical excellence as a basic requisite for deserving favor, he falls short at first try; infatuation with alien modes of behavior further ensures their alienation from the obviously progressive statements he wishes to make…” – Joel David, Philippine Collegian/The Urian Anthology 1970-1979, 26 July 1978 (READ MORE)

“…Castillo-watchers who had to cringe at the amount of its acting that Castillo allowed or demanded from his actors and actresses, will be gratified at the quiet intensity of the performances in Pagputi ng Uwak. Although one is never convinced that Vilma Santos can indeed bow music out of violin, her characterization of Julie displays the maturing talent of an actress fast learning to explore and shape her emotional resources in creating a character. Bembol Roco is disadvantaged by the script’s focus on Julie, but he impressively communicates the change in Dido from reckless teenager to hardened rebel. The acting highlights in the film, however, are provided by the three capable stage performers playing supporting roles. At long last Jonee Gamboa has been allowed to shed the irritatingly mannered caricatures he has been made to do in his previous films. As Maestro Juan Roque, he gives a serene portrait of a man who sublimates the turmoil of his inner life into the music he plays and composes in a performance memorable for its restraint and sincerity. Angie Ferro tends to be over-empphatic in places, but her portrayal of Miguela effectively keeps the role from degenerating into a contra vida stereotype by touching it up with humor that is broad yet never out of character. It is Adul de Leon, however, who emerges luminously as a character actress of the first magnitude. Her interpretation of Beatriz is a piece of complex character portraiture all the more admirable for having made a role of rather limited range so persuasively human. Good performances are not unusual in Filipino movies. What is rare is that coming together of temperaments and skills that make film art possible. In Pagputi ng Uwak, Castillo’s work does not display anything that he has not already shown in his previous films. The fondness for story material that reeks of social overtones, the lyrical exuberance with which he invests starkly realistic situations, and the intensely theatrical confrontations among his characters – these have been qualities evident even in Castillo’s lesser works, where they are often pushed to absurd lengths. What has happened in Pagput ng Uwak is that the director has been able to bring to a focus his varied talents, and found fellow artists with temperaments congenial to his. With cinematographer Romy Vitug and musical director George Canseco, he seem to have found working partners who share his penchant for the poetic, and their collaboration has resulted in a film where narrative imagery and music fuse into a memorable whole…” – Bienvenido Lumbera (READ MORE)

Putting in place a dialectic that analyzes social reality as at once a corrupted condition and a transformable possibility. In this situation, Dido’s idealism is undercut as an illusion by Julie (Vilma Santos), a jaded but nevertheless sensible young woman who in turn opens herself up to a revision of consciousness. This dialectic, or reflexive reflection is important to scan the contradictions of milieu and to probe the context of whatever human action plays out. Without such dynamic, which eludes most films which dare to tackle historical reality of epochal significance, all manner of practice is ultimately facile and anomalous and rendering romance as a vital agent in the articulation of difference, the engagement with a higher force and the summoning of a love that transcends the limitations of conspiratorial cacophony. A film nourished by this premise cannot fail. The personas of spinster sisters Beatriz (Angie Ferro) and Miguela (Adul de Leon) along with Joonee Gamboa as music teacher and violinist Roque San Victores are rounded out. And society is a charged terrain of armed revolt, state control and resistance. Direction, screenplay, cinematography, editing, production design, music and the performance of a sensitive cast contribute to the comprehensive competence of Pagputi Ng Uwak… Pag-Itim Ng Tagak…” – Jojo De Vera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

“…This is the one film this year that could have made it to the classics, given good material, Romeo Vitug, and some good acting (Joonie Gamboa and Adul De Leon are stands out). There is too much background however; a weak establishment of relationship; an incredible move from the rebel group risking their lives for a solitary personal interest; the failure to bring out the Maestro’s (Joonie) reaction to the tragedy in an affair in which he is greatly involved. The triangle here is fascinating: arts, politics, and the heart. The maestro’s art recovers for him what frustrations of the heart reduce: the lover’s taking to underground activities plays a similar role; the woman’s art provides escape from emotional confusion. The heart, neglected, must sooner or later take its toll – and politics, strangely, because the least developed angle in the film (Bembol’s character is insufficiently portrayed), simultaneously takes its toll, in tragic proportions. It would be excellent if it were within the directorial intention to comment that, in fact, neglect of the political ultimately destroys everything. Such an extent, however, is believed by the fact that the ideal political figure in the film condones the needless risking of an entire group for a single romantic resolutions. Art, politics, and love come to a bad end, but what are the tones of this fatality? Or is it indeed fatality in the director’s vision? Let us close up on this vision. There are touches that have poetry and economy. The development of the courtship into a certain depth of involvement (undialogued lyrical scenes between Vilma and Bembol); a poignant moment of the affair is visually emphasized in a shot of the stairway, now empty, by which the woman seeks the lover she had just rejected; the agitation and the impending bid for resolution by the two aunts in the car coming from Manila where the heroine had refused to let them have their way in her affair as her mother before her had been too weak to do) – to name a few. It is discordant in a directorial angle that controls such elements rather well to splash local color profusely and allow the heroine’s talky summary in the end. If this show of extremes is calculated, an indication, let us say, of the nature of the Filipino character, the act of indicating is not established. That is, if the Filipino, as Castillo sees in him, is unfortunately often swamped by ceremonies, traditions and the like so much that he loses sense of self-direction, etc., this must be developed, and not slumped upon the final scene when the love-resolution is intruded upon by the pasyon, and finally by the deadly dogma of politics. Of course, again, it might be that this is how the view from the angle is, where by all comes to a tragic end, firstly, against all human idealism and praxis (an option that is too anti-man); sporadic superfluity which gives nothing, not even meaning. Many may not accept this as a valid realism. And, in any case, what happens then to art as an instrument not only of image-reflectiions, but also of reconstruction?” – Petronila Cleto, Pelikula, Atbp (READ MORE)

“…It was 1977 with an exceptional film, Burlesk Queen, that Castillo got his frist critical recognition. Entered in that year’s Metro Manil Film Festival, it was adjudged the Best Picture, won forhim a Best Director Award as well as nine other artistic awards. It told a young girl in Manila in the 50’s who wanted to become a burlesque dancer. It showed a subdued Castillo. He seemed in this film, to have held back his passion for visual impact to give way to his new mastery of film grammar. His characters cried and whimpered, they did not scream and curse. They delievered dissertations on art, not imprecations of wrath, which had set the pitch of his previous films. The critics fought bitterly over Burlesk Queen. In that festival, he was contending with film makers who enjoyed a high reputation among the country’s most avid film critics. Upon winning the award, Castillo instantly became the favorite beating boy of the critics who did not appreciate Burlesk Queen. To prove to them his worth, Castillo did Pagputi ng Uwak, a 50’s epic set in his favorite Southern Tagalog locale. It was the most lavish of all his productions and had all the elements of a “great” Filipino film. He exploited the many religious and social rituals typical of the region. The film featured the two most critically acclaimed performers of the time, Bembol Roco, Jr. and Vilma Santos, with the cinematography of Romy Vitug complementing Castillo’s visual sense. And it touched on civil unrest to underline the film director’s social awareness. Pagputi ng Uwak was a visual fest, an artistic and socially responsive film aimed at the critics. It was also Castillo’s first commercial failure after a string of more than 20 minor and major box-office hits…In just a decade, Castillo, with all his audacity and dramatic excesses, has claimed his place as one of the most versatile and genuinely interesting filmmakers in the Philippines today…” – Rosauro de la Cruz (READ MORE)

RELATED READING:

Burlesk Queen Article (Repost)

Source: Manila, Dec 1-31, 1977 – James DR’s Pelikula Atbp

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Burlesk Queen WINNER of 10 MMFF Awards
1977 Metro Manila Film Festival
Video 48: Vilma Santos As “Burlesk Queen” (1977)
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IMDB: Burlesk Queen (1977)
IMDB: Celso Ad. Castillo
IMDB: Rolly Quizon
IMDB: Rosemarie Gil
IMDB: Leopoldo Salcedo (1912–1998)
Pelikula Atbp: Burlesk Queen (1977)
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Vilma Santos as Burlesk Queen (1977)
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The Classic Vilma Santos Movies

Film Review: Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw


The Plot:
 “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw” directed by Celso Ad Castillo started with Nanette (Vilma Santos) meeting Rod (Christopher Deleon) while vacationing in their rest house along the beach. It was clear to both that it was love at first sight but this instant chemistry ended when they discovered they are first cousins. Faith continued to play an important role to their initial attraction as Rod joined Nanette along with her parent to Manila where Rod was permitted by his parent to continue his study. Rod and Nanette at first decided to resist their feeling for each other by dating other people but their love for each other are more intense than what their mind dictates. The two started to have a secret affair culminating to a hot sex when they came back to the rest house when another summer arrives. As expected Nanette gets pregnant and the problem to expose, their taboo affair is ticking. Worst, Nanette’s morning sickness was noticeable to her suspicious mother played wonderfully by Lorli Villanueva. When finally Nanette’s family found out her condition, she was beaten by her angry father but she remained tight lipped to tell who impregnated her. As Rod tried to remained his calm, Nanette’s family locked her to her room until she’s ready to talk. Rod climbed to the balcony to speak to her and that’s when Nanette’s family discovered who is the father. As Rod came down to the balcony, he was cursed by both parents and was beaten by them as Nanette beg for mercy. Rod was hospitalized as his parent came from the province and beg for forgiveness to the angry Julio (Eddie Garcia), Nanette’s father. Julio was fuming and throws the couple out the house. He also mentioned that they are planning to abort Nanette’s baby. When Rod found out from his parents the planned abortion, he left the hospital and went back to his uncle’s house. Very timely, Rod arrives as Nanette together with her family was headed to the abortion clinic. With the help of two security guards, Rod was controlled as his uncle’s car passed him and Nanette cried for intervention. Rod followed the car and was almost successful as the car stopped for the traffic lights. But his attempt failed as the car continued its destination. The end.

The Review: The Catholic Church prohibits marriage between first cousins and it is considered a sin. Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw successfully tackles this topic with convincing scenarios and believable characters. Celso Ad Castillo’s style remained true to many films in the 60s with canned music and repetitive voice over by its two main characters. One scene you will hear Christopher narrates his feelings and the next scene it was Vilma’s turn to speak. Most of this narration or voice over while they are playing in the rain on the streets or on beach. This is the first film by Vilma Santos and Christopher Deleon and it was clear that the two have that chemistry on screen. The film ensemble was quite impressive starting with Eddie Garcia and Lorli Villanueva as Nanette’s parents. As Julio, Eddie Garcia was animated at times but his character balances out the mother role of Lorli Villanueva. Joseph Sytanco’s role as Nanette brother was minimal and he doesn’t have enough lines but his quiet scenes were effective. Johnee Gamboa and Odette Khan’s performance as Rod’s parents were excellent. The agony on Odette’s voice as Johnee, her husband begs for forgiveness on behalf of their son was very believable. 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. Ricardo David’s cinematography was excellent particularly the many scenes on the streets. You can see many spontaneous shots of people that were gawking at Christopher Deleon running like a maniac. David’s very intricate camera work inside the car, dinner table and at the living room while Nanette’s mother was playing piano adds to the intense mood of the film, this is despite some shot where you can see the shadow of the camera particularly when Christopher left the house because he can’t stand to see Nanette being slap repeatedly by her angry father. The film was fast paced, thanks to Augusto Salvador’s editing. There are many scenes where the background music matches the mood like the choir/choral-like music at the very end of the film but Ernani Cuenco used so many canned music that sometimes it was very distracting. Like the voice over style used by Castillo, the musical score used in this film was typical of the 60s and 70s. Even the excellent Lino Brocka film, “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” used this kind of style. Overall, Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw was a superb film that highlighted the potential on screen chemistry and talents of the screen team of Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos. For their fans, I would recommend to have a copy of this classic film. – RV (READ MORE).

“…Celso Ad Castillo: I see the movie in my mind even before I start shooting. I’m meticulous. I control everything on the set, even during post-production — from editing and music to sound. My audience knows my style. It’s like painting: You discover your style, then you do it. I caught “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw” with Vilma Santos and Boyet de Leon on Cinema One the other day, and I clearly saw my own style, in terms of sensitivity, shots and drama. – Ronald Mangubat, Inquirer, 06/09/2007

“…The problem of love in Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw stems not from the lovers per se but from their ill fate as cousins. The factors are both socially dictated and morally stringent, situations that they cannot change no matter what they do. Even if they go on living together, they will still be hounded by the truth. Wherever they go, that truth cannot be proven false. Fate did two unpardonable things to them: bring them together and break them up. It is inevitable to question if it was their fault—or if their love was a fault at all, or if it was the society’s fault, for imposing the way things should be. The film makes a point of raising doubts on our moral attitudes and obligations, without telling us what is right or wrong but simply showing what happens when the doors of people’s minds are closed forever—when refusal to understand ruins happy couples’s lives. All desperation peaks in the end. The heartbreaking ten-minute chase stands as a powerful statement on what love can do in the harshest of circumstances. It is a perfectly executed sequence, that aside from showing the extent of possibilities that they are willing to get themselves into just to be together, it also delivers the horror of the couple’s misery, of the inability of their love to win –of losing each other forever.

First we see Nanette being dragged down the stairs by her father and brother as she begs for her child not be aborted. Rod, coming from the hospital, arrives and screams for mercy. Not to be moved by their plea, the father drives the car out of the house. Rod runs after it, limping, and chases the car in the middle of the road until he catches up. He hits the car, kicks it, and breaks the window. A lot of bystanders look after them. When he is able to jump into the rear of the car, he struggles to hold onto it, as the father willfully swerves the car to drop him behind. He kisses the window. Nanette struggles against her mother and brother holding her. She tries to touch his face in the window. And he falls—he falls hard on the ground. Getting up, he runs again. Levi Celerio’s “‘Yan Ba’y Kasalanan” plays in the background. Everything feels so real and timeless, it can only be real and timeless….” – Richard Bolisay, Lilok Pelikula (READ MORE)

“…Ad Castillo’s Tag-Ulan sa Tag-Araw (Monsoon Rain in Summer, 1975) is about a young man (Christopher de Leon) who dorms with his uncle and aunt and falls in love with his cousin (played by a waiflike Vilma Santos). Ad Castillo tackles the sensational subject of incest by framing the two lovers’ relationship as a kind of innocent affair, taking place in a countryside Eden. It’s the kind of hackneyed concept that really shouldn’t work; the result ought to be less like D.H. Lawrence and more like Emmanuelle. But Ad Castillo happens to have one of the most prodigiously talented eye in all of Philippine cinema, and the heedlessly lyrical manner in which he shot Tag-Ulan transforms softcore porn into something like art. Every rainfall, every shaft of light, every leafy shadow caught by his largely handheld camera makes you catch your breath; there is lovemaking without nudity, yet Ad Castillo shoots with such throbbing intensity you are nevertheless aroused…” – Noel Vera, Critique After Dark, 06 December 2012 (READ MORE)

RELATED READING:

Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 6/6

Introductions: 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.

Here is a recap of our count-down…
10. PABLO SANTIAGLO / MARYO DELOSREYES
9. LUIS ENRIQUEZ / ELWOOD PEREZ
8. DANNY ZIALCITA
7. EDDIE GARCIA
6. EMMANUEL H BORLZA
5. LINO BROCKA
4. LAURICE GUILLEN
3. CHITO RONO
2. CELSO AD CASTILLO

…and our number one director is…

1. Ishmael Bernal – A filmmaker of the first order and one of the very few who can be truly called a maestro. Critics have hailed him as “the genius of Philippine cinema.” He is recognized as a director of films that serve as social commentaries and bold reflections on the existing realities of the struggle of the Filipino. His art extends beyond the confines of aesthetics. By polishing its visuals, or innovating in the medium, he manages to send his message across: to fight the censors, free the artists, give justice to the oppressed, and enlighten as well as entertain the audience. Among his notable films are “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga” (1989), “Broken Marriage” (1983), “Himala” (1981), “City After Dark” (1980), and “Nunal sa Tubig” (1976). He was recognized as the Director of the Decade of the 1970s by the Catholic Mass Media Awards; four-time Best Director by the Urian Awards (1989, 1985, 1983, and 1977); and given the ASEAN Cultural Award in Communication Arts in 1993 (NCCA.gov.ph). Bernal was born in Manila on September 30, 1938, the son of Elena Bernal and Pacifico Ledesma. He studied at Burgos Elementary School and Mapa High School before entering the University of the Philippines, and graduated in 1962 with a degree of Bachelor of Arts degree in English. For a time he worked with Lamberto Avellana’s documentary outfit. He went on to earn his Licentiate in French Literature and Philosophy at the University of Aix-en-Prevence in France, and then in 1970 his Diplomate in Film Directing at the Film Insititue of India in Poona, under the Colombo plan scholarhip. Bernal was a board member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines and the Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc., an organization that studies the role of film as an instrument of entertainment, education and development. He actively crusaded for the rights and welfare of artists for as long as he lived. He died in Quezon City on June 2, 1996 (Wikipilipinas).

HIGHLIGHTS: Bernal gave Vilma Santos her first grandslam best actress awards and two consecutive Gawad Urian best actress (1982 and 1983). Their first film together was Inspiration (1972) and last was Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989).

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 5 (#5 Ikaw ay Akin 1978, #7 Relasyon 1982, #8 Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga 1989, #9 Broken Marriage 1983, #30 Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon 1977)

Total Number of Films = 8 (Broken Marriage, Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon, Good Morning Sunshine, Ikaw ay Akin, Inspiration, Now and Forever, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, Relasyon)

RELATED READINGS:Wikipedia: Ishmael Bernal
Ishmael Bernal (1938-1996)
The Films of Ishmael Bernal Circa 1971-79, Part One
The Films of Ishmael Bernal Circa 1980-94, Part Two
Tribute to Ishmael Bernal
The new ‘Working Girls’ front and center




Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 2/6

Introductions: 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….

TIE 9. 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. He consistently churned out hit movie after another. His unsurpassed track record of money-makers and trend-setters include Zoom, Zoom, Superman!; Bawal: Asawa Mo, Asawa Ko; Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae; Divorce: Pilipino Style; Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig; Summer Love; Till We Meet Again; and Ibulong Mo sa Diyos. Today, films he directed in the ’70s and ’80s like Pakawalan Mo Ako (a Vilma Santos-Christopher de Leon starrer) and Ang Totoong Buhay ni Pacita M, as then enfant terrible of Philippine Cinema, enjoy regular reruns on primetime television and in select movie houses as examples of the award-winning film or the commercially-rewarding art film: true classics of film as entertainment for everyman, the 20th century’s quintessential art form. His life’s mise en scene “During the height of my career, I didn’t like publicity. Do you know any director who sold a movie on a count on the fact that he directed the film? I was very quiet then, because nobody would watch a film because of the director. Stars pa rin ang pinapanood ng tao,” Perez conveys – Nickie Wang

HIGHLIGHTS: 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).

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #43 Pinay American Style 1979, #42 Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988, #25 Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981)

Total Number of Films = 7 (Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988, Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, Magkaribal 1979, Masarap Masakit ang Umibig 1977, Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali 1978, Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981, Pinay American Style 1979)

RELATED READINGS:

TIE 9. Luis Enriquez Born Luis Clemente Enriquez on August 23, 1932 in Zamboanga City, Philippines. Famous for his dramatic films with Marlene Dauden and Lolita Rodriguez in the 60s. He wrote, produced and directed films using his birth name Luis Enriquez. On September 12, 2001, Eddie Rodriguez died at the young age of age 69. FAP: One of the greatest dramatic actors of Philippine cinema, he starred in such classics directed by Gregorio Fernandez as Kundiman ng Lahi, Luksang Tagumpay and Malvarosa with Charito Solis, Rebecca del Rio and Vic Silayan for LVN Pictures, Inc. He won a best actor FAMAS trophy for his performance in Sapagkat Kami’y Tao Lamang where he co-starred with Lolita Rodriguez and Marlene Dauden (who won as best supporting actress) under the direction of Armando de Guzman for Hollywood Far East Productions. He tried his hands in secret agent films like Paolo Staccato and Perro Gancho. He formed Virgo Productions with wife Liza Moreno, an actress-writer who wrote stories which Eddie acted in and directed. These films included Babae, Ikaw ang Dahilan, Kasalanan Mo, Ang Pagsintang Labis, Kapag Pusoy Sinugatan, Iginuhit sa Buhangin, Alaala mo, Daigdig ko, Bakit Ako Pa?, and Ikaw. Dubbed as the country’s drama king, he also directed Kung Kailangan Mo Ako (with Sharon Cuneta and Rudy Fernandez), Maging Sino Ka Man and Di Na Natuto (with Sharon Cuneta and Robin Padilla) Minsan Pa and Kahit Konting Pagtingin (with Fernando Poe Jr. and Sharon Cuneta). His real name was Luis Enriquez from Zamboanga City.

HIGHLIGHTS: Luis Enriquez aka Eddie Rodriguez first directed a young Vilma Santos in 1968’s “Kasalanan Kaya,” another love triangle genre starring the dramatic trio of Marlene Dauden, Eddie Rodriguez and Lolita Rodriguez. Vilma received an early acting recognition from this film, a FAMAS Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. When Enriquez directed Vilma again, it was a calculated risk. The film allowed a still young Vilma into a bikini-clad lead role opposite her director, Eddie Rodriguez as her leading man. The film was “Nakakahiya,” a May-December love story and an entry to 1975 Bacolod City Film Festival. Aside from making the the film a smash hit, Vilma received the festival’s Best Actress. Enriquez directed Vilma in five more films, the last one was in 1981’s “Ex-Wife.” In this film credits, Rodriguez surprisingly used his actor’s screen name – ‘Eddie Rodriguez and dropped his most known director’s name, “Luis Enriquez.”

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#30 Ex-Wife 1981, #38 Nakakahiya? 1975, #39 Hindi Nakakahiya 1976)

Total Number of Films = 7 (Ex-Wife 1981, Halik sa Kamay Halik sa Paa 1979, Hindi Nakakahiya 1976, Ikaw Lamang 1971, Kasalanan Kaya? 1968, Nakakahiya? 1975, Simula ng Walang Katapusan)

RELATED READINGS:

8. Danny Zialcita is a fun-loving gifted and colorful filmmaker who left his mark as one of the best in the stimulating era of the ’60s and ’70s. Then without any warning he left the industry. Stories of drug addiction, withdrawal from the world, and worse, loss of sanity dogged his absence until even his colleagues lost touch with him and didn’t know what to believe. Zialcita is a master of improvisation on the set, he also had the knack for casting the right actors, choosing the right material, and pleasing his producers. One of his favorite actors was Dindo Fernando whom he termed “the complete actor” and cast him in such movies as Langis at Tubig, Karma, Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan, Mahinhin at Mahinhin, its sequel Malakas, si Maganda at si Mahinhin and Ikaw at ang Gabi which gave Dindo his first Urian Best Actor trophy. Other favorites were Vilma Santos cast in Karma, T-Bird at Ako, Langis at Tubig; Pinky de Leon; Laurice Guillen; Ronaldo Valdes; and Beth Bautista who won Best Actress award in Hindi sa Iyo ang Mundo Baby Porcuna. – Bibsy M. Carballo, The Philippine Star (READ MORE)

HIGHLIGHTS: Zialcita’s first movie with Vilma was the 1980 festival entry, a drama about bigamy, Langis at Tubig. The following year, Zialcita and Santos joined forces again in antoher festival entry, Karma. The film earned Vilma her second Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress. The following year, Ziacita’s Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan broke box office record, Earned P7.3 million during its first day of showing in Metro Manila and assured Vilma Santos the box office queen of 1982.

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#17 Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? 1982, #26 Karma 1981, #44 Langis at Tubig 1980)

Total Number of Films = 4 (Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? 1982, Karma 1981, Langis at Tubig 1980, T-Bird at Ako)

RELATED READINGS:

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Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 1/6

Introductions:  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.

SPECIAL MENTION: First, here are the directors who made a considerable impact but not lucky enough to be included in our list…

JOEY GOSIENGFIAO (#51 Hatinggabi Na Vilma 1972, #65 Takbo, Vilma, Dali 1972, #10 Lipad, Darna, Lipad 1973, #75 Promo Girl 1978); MIKE DE LEON (#34 Sister Stella L. 1984); GIL M. PORTES (#36 Miss X 1980); RORY B. QUINTOS (#12 Anak 2000); JOSE DE VILLA (#16 Trudis Liit 1963); OLIVIA M. LAMASAN (#21 In My Life 2009); JOEL LAMANGAN (#24 Mano Po 3: My Love 2004); WENN V. DERAMAS (#31 D’ Lucky Ones 2006); ANTONIO JOSE PEREZ (#42 Haplos 1982); LEROY SALVADOR (#46 Muling Buksan ang Puso 1985); NILO SAEZ (#48 Kampanerang Kuba 1974); MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA (#52 Alyas Baby Tsina 1984, #54 Minsan pa Natin Hagkan Ang Nakaraan 1983)

Here is our top ten starting with number 10…

TIE 10. Pablo Santiago was the father of actors Randy, Rowell and Raymart. He was known for his big-budgeted action movies, many of them starring Fernando Poe Jr. He made his directorial debut at 19 with Larry Santiago Productions’ Lo Waist Gang, which catapulted Poe to stardom. For nearly fifty years, Santiago made award-winning films such as Batingaw, Nueva Vizcaya, Perlas ng Silangan, Ibong Adarna and Digmaan ng mga Angkan, a 1974 Metro Manila Film Festival blockbuster starring Ronnie Poe and Joseph Estrada. His last movie starred FPJ opposite Anjanette Abayari in Ang Syota Kong Balikbayan, in 1996. He died in 1998 at the age of 67 from lingering kidney ailment(Sol Jose Vanzi).

HIGHLIGHTS:Santiago first directed Vilma Santos in a Joseph Estrada movie, Batang Iwahig in 1966. Eight years afterward, He will direct Vilma again, this time as the leading lady of the Joseph Estrada’s rival, the late Fernando Poe Jr in light comedy and a smash hit, Batya’t Palo-palo. He will direct three more projects with Vilma, the follow up of the FPJ-Vilma teams in 1976’s Bato Sa Buhangin, the forgetable, Big Ike’s Happening in 1976 and the action film Vilma Vente Nueve in 1975 starring Vilma and action star, Jun Aristorenas.

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 2 (#37 Bato sa Buhangin 1976, #40 Batya’t Palu-Palo 1974)

Total Number of Films = 5 (Batang Iwahig 1966, Bato sa Buhangin 1976, Batya’t Palu-Palo 1974, Big Ike’s Happening 1976, Vilma Viente Nueve 1975)

RELATED READINGS:
Randy Santiago: After you, Dad!
IMDB: Pablo Santiago
Randy Santiago, now a full-fledged director
Batyat-Palu-palo at cinema Sept 27, 1974

TIE 10. Maryo J. De los Reyes is a film and television director from the Philippines. He began his career in the 1970s(Wikipedia). Reyes’ most significant works are the critically acclaimed Magnifico (2004), Tagos Ng Dugo (1987) and the commercial hits, Bagets (1983), Annie Batungbakal (1979).

HIGHLIGHTS: In 1987, Maryo De Los Reyes directed Vilma Santos that critics considered one of the most shocking film that year, “Tagos Ng Dugo.”  The film was hailed as feminist as seldom a Filipino woman was seen on screen as a murderous serial killer.  It earned Vilma Santos her fourth FAMAS Best Actress.  Ironically, the conservative Catholic church’s award giving body, Catholic Mass Media Awards, agreed with the FAMAS.  They gave Vi their Best Actress award while the critics’ group, Gawad Urian refused to hand-out their yearly award citing there were no deserving films that year.  Reyes last directed Vilma in another memorable off-beat role, the 1992 drama, “Sinungaling Mong Puso.”

Total Number of Films and Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 2 (#13 Tagos ng Dugo 1987, #28 Sinungaling Mong Puso 1992)

RELATED READINGS:
IMDB: Maryo J. De los Reyes
Maryo J. delos Reyes unveils his 4th Sine Novela Presents
Maryo J – Magnifico – Delos Reyes

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Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 3/6

Introductions: 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.

Here is the continuation of our list…

7. Eddie Garcia (born Eduardo Verchez García on May 2, 1929 in Sorsogon, Philippines) popularly known as “Manoy” is one of the top Filipino film actors and also a Movie Director. He is the most awarded and nominated person in the long history of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards. He garnered a total of 34 nominations (13 for Best Supporting Actor, 10 for Best Actor and 11 for Best Director). Out of these, he got 6 Best Supporting Actor wins, 5 Best Actor wins and 5 Best Director wins, 3 Hall of Fame Awards, 1 Lifetime Achievement Award and the Fernando Poe, Jr. Memorial Award. He was awarded his first FAMAS Award in 1957 and his last FAMAS, a Hall of Fame for Best Actor, in 2003 (Wikipedia).

HIGHLIGHTS: Eddie Garcia first directed Vilma in the Marcos film, “Pinagbuklod Ng Langit.”  She reprised the role of Imee Marcos and again co-starred with movie queen, Gloria Romero and dramatic actor, Luis Gonzales after “Iginuhit ng Tadhana.”  Garcia directed Vilma again in 1982′s record breaker, “Sinasamba Kita.”  Overall, the two collaborated in five more films after “Sinasamba,” giving us two of the most memorable Filipino movie lines – confronting the mistress Dina Bonevie, Vi said: “Para Kang Karinderyang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain (translated literally into “You are like food restaurant! Open to all who wanted to eat!”) from the movie “Palimos Ng Pag-ibig” and then confronting the rich snotty old Alicia Vergel, Vi said: “Si Val, si Val, si Val na walang malay! (literally translated to “Its Val! its Val!, Its always Val, The one who is innocent!”).

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 5 (#11 Imortal 1989, #18 Paano Ba ang Mangarap? 1983 #19 Sinasamba Kita, #22 Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig? 1987, #45 Palimos Ng Pag-ibig 1986)

Total Number of Films = 6 (Imortal 1989, Paano Ba ang Mangarap? 1983, Palimos Ng Pag-ibig 1986, Pinagbuklod ng Langit 1969, Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig? 1987, Sinasamba Kita 1982)

RELATED READINGS:
Eddie Garcia: Actor, director, icon, Philippine cinema’s one-man totem pole
An Urian Lifetime Achievement Award for Eddie Garcia
Veteran actor Eddie Garcia misses work as director
Eddie Garcia shares his secret of long and healthy life
Brocka’s “Tubog Sa Ginto” 1971 (VIDEO)
Eddie Garcia stars in indie film ‘Fuschia’
Video 48: Eddie Garcia, FAMAS Three Time Hall of Fame Awardee

6. Emmanuel H. Borlaza aka Maning Borlaza is a 1957 Palanca Awardee for “May Pangako ang Bukas” and theaterical drama trained by National Artist Severino Montano. Appointed by Pres. Noy Aquino as Movie and Television Review and Classifications Board (MTRCB) Vice Chairman this year, Borlaza directed 24 films with Vilma Santos and was credited with her transformation to a reluctant singing competitor of Nora Aunor to bankable superstar with such hits like Dyesebel, Lipad Darna Lipad, Darna and the Giants.

HIGHLIGHTS: Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor.

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #32 Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, #48 Darna and the Giants 1973, #49 Dama De Noche 1972)

Total Number of Films = 24 (I Love You, Honey 1970, Renee Rose 1970, Angelica 1971, Aloha, My Love 1972, Dama De Noche 1972, Don’t Ever say Goodbye 1972, Leron, Leron, Sinta 1972, Remembrance 1972, Darna and the Giants 1973, Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, Lipad, Darna, Lipad 1973, Maria Cinderella 1973, Tsismosang Tindera 1973, Makahiya at Talahib 1976, Mga Rosas sa Putikan 1976, Bakit Kailangan Kita? 1978, Kampus 1978, Coed 1979, Gusto Ko Siya, Mahal Kita 1980, Romansa; 1980 Yakapin Mo Ako, Lalaking Matapang 1980 Asawa ko, Huwag Mong Agawin 1986, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 1986, Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas 1987)

RELATED READINGS:
an Emmanuel H. Borlaza films and other directors
Borlaza: Its Payback Time!
1st shooting day ng Darna and the Giants
Visiting Forces body has new set of officials

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