Vilma, Vilma, Ang Sarap Mong I-direk

ARTICLES - Directors

Sa langit-langitan ng pagganap sa pelikula ay walang aktres ang makakatapat kay Vilma Santos sa husay at versatility nito. Maging si Nora Aunor na mahigpit niyang karibal sa larangang ito ay nagsimulang nagpakita ng gilas at halos pinaluhod ang QueenStar noong ginawa niya ang Minsa’y Isang Gamu-gamo, Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Bona at Ina Ka ng Anak Mo. Sa katunayan, unang narecognize si Nora sa Urian at sa international film community sa Cairo Film Festival kung saan hinangaan siya sa Flor Contemplacion Story at nakopo niya ang best actress award, mula YCC hanggang sa Cairo nga. Ito lang ang tanging grand slam niya. Hindi nagpatalbog ang former Scream/Gripo Queen kay forever Ice/Eye/Diin Queen by reinventing herself magmula noong mapangahas niyang pagganap sa Burlesk Queen at nang talunin siya ni Nora sa 1978 MMFF kung saan nilampaso siya ng Atsay at umuwi siyang luhaan like Rubia Servios. As fate would have it, at dahil na rin sa kanyang competitive spirit at nerve of steel, she re-grouped and vowed never to be second banana sa kapuwa bulilit niyang karibal. “Anything she can do, I can do better, I can do anything better than her.” Yes, I can, oh yes I can!” ang bulalas ng most awarded actress and mayor ng bansa sa sarili. And she did it. By George, she got it! And she could dance all night, along with her millions of fans. Nag-aral siya, nagmasid, nagtanong, nagtiyaga, ibinuhos ang kaalaman niya sa sining, at inalagaan ito ng husto. At mula noong naka-grand slam siya sa Relasyon in 1982 ay para bang nabuksan ang langit at ang mga paghihirap at tiyaga niya ay tinumbasan ng walang katapusang ulan ng mga tropeo, honors and citations bilang pinakamahusay na aktres ng kanyang henerasyon, at possible sa buong kasaysayan ng pelikulang Pilipino. Na-validate pa nga ito ng pagkawagi niya as exemplary media practitioner for film via the prestigious U.P. Gawad Plaridel Award recently. Nominations pa nga lang ay eliminated na kaagad ang supposedly strong contender na si Nora Aunor.

Napasama ang Reyna sa last three finalists at mantakin mong sina Mike De Leon at Eddie Romero ba naman ang kahelera mo at talunin mo ay daig pa ang manalo ka sa lotto. Talagang hindi basta-basta aktres ang the longest reigning movie and box-office queen of Philippine Cinema: Isa na talaga siyang icon or national treasure ng bansa. Kasunod na kaya ang National Artist Awsrd? Abangan! Nakagawa na siya ng mahigit 200 na pelikula, kasama na ang mga special guesting niya, at nagtamo nga ng pinakamaraming acting awards, mula sa Trudis Liit hanggang sa Mano Po 3 – My Love. Kamanghamangha talaga! Atin ngayong suriin kung sinu-sinong director ang pumiga sa Meryl Streep of the Philippines at sa the Filipino Cinematic Diva (ayon sa U.S. Variety magazine) at tuloy ay nagkamit ng mga di matatawarang karangalan sa kahusayan sa pagganap. Sa mga batikang director natin, tanging sina Lino Brocka (SLN) at Marilou-Diaz Abaya ang di pinalad na panalunin si La Vilma sa mga klasikong Rubia Servios, Adultery and Hahamakin Lahat for Brocka, at Alyas Baby Tsina naman kay Abaya. At ang mga ilan sa matitinik nating direk na di nakatrabaho ng Reyna ay sina Lupita Kashihawara at Mario O’Hara na pawing identified kay Nora Aunor. Malay natin, baling araw ay may mga pelikula na silang gagawin. Narito ang talaan ng mga director na nagpanalo sa Greatest Actress of Philippine Cinema…

  • Jose de Villa – in 1963 for Trudis Liit. Vilma’s first acting trophy (FAMAS best child actress).
  • Luis Enriquez (aka Eddie Rodriguez, SLN) – 1968 best supporting actress for Kasalanan Kaya? mula sa San Beda College Awards; 1975 best actress for Nakakahiya?, Bacolod City Film Festival. The most successful May December acting team in Philippine Cinema, ever.
  • Emmanuel Borlaza – 1972 FAMAS best actress (her first as an adult actress and her one of five from the FAMAS), for Dama De Noche.
    Celso Ad. Castillo – 1977 best actress, MMFF, for Burlesk Queen. Her change of image changed everything. The best career move she ever did. There was no looking back.
  • Danny Zialcita – 1981 MMFF and Cebu City Film Festival for Karma.
    Elwood Perez – 1981 FAMAS best actress (Pakawalan Mo Ako) and 1988 FAMAS best actress (Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos).
  • Ishmael Bernal (SLN) – hold your breath! 1982 Grand slam for Relasyon (her first of four grand slams, a record!); 1983 Urian best actress, Broken Marriage; 1989 Urian best actress, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga. Sayang at pumanaw na si ‘Ishma” – ang dami pa sana nilang pelikulang pagsasamahan. The most successful actress/director collaboration in Pinoy Cinema. Pinasabog na ang takilya, inulan pa ng awards.
  • Maryo J. De Los Reyes – 1987 FAMAS best actress, Tagos ng Dugo; 1992 New Fame Mag Readers’ Choice Award for best actress, Sinungalinng Mong Puso. Sana matuloy iyong Vilma-Christopher project sa Violet Films’ Huwag Hatulan ang Puso. Sana. It’s time for a Maryo J. and a Vilma reunion – perfect for each other – they’ll make a splash at the local and foreign markets. Abangan!
  • Mike de Leon – 1984 Urian best actress, Sister Stella L. In the recent U.P. Gawad Plaridel award for exemplary film practitioner, La Santos bested De Leon. Whew! Will Mike lure Vilma or vice-versa to make a movie together? Heaven, must be missing an angel: Mr. Mike De Leon, that is. It’s time for a reunion. Isa pa nga, oh! Hold your breath. I can see it coming. Mover over, Madam Auring!
  • Laurice Guillen – ah, the woman’s director – who better understands women but the outstanding actress cum director herself, Laurice? Her presence at Vilma’s coronation at the U. P. last July 4 is proof that Ms. Guillen is a true-blue Vilmanian. She gave the Queen two best actress awards: 1993 Grand slam (her second) for Dolzura Cortez; and in 1991 at the Urian for Ipagpatawad Mo, halting Nora’s almost second grand slam win for Pacita M. Laurice’s presence at the U.P. Cine Adarna is, probably, an open invitation for Ms. Versatile Vilma to say – OK – to Guillen’s script about a woman who spent most of her life taking care of family business, only to be abandoned or dumped like a hot potato by the ones she loved to death – with nowhere to go – no career/office skills – nothing. Do I hear a fifth grand slam? Aw, c’mon, Vilma, grab the script before it lands in another’s lap. Si Guillen yata iyan! Atat na ata na, umoo ka na, oh!
  • Chito Rono – is he Bernal II? His approach, his dark comedy, his overall style is vintage Bernal, yet very original, with Chito’s stamp of excellence all over it. Two grand slams for Vilma, for a total of four grand slams, plus 2 international acting trophies from the Brussels and CineManila, (1998’s Bata-bata and 2002’s Dekada ’70), is not bad. Is there a reunion in the offing? Direk Rono: “Vi, gawin na natin iyong script, bago ni Lualhati, bagay sa iyo iyon?” Vilma: “Naku, Chito, litung-lito na ako sa dami ng offers. Di ko alam ang uunahin. Ang hirap i-pass by. Nakapanghihinayang. Kung puede ko lang i-clone ang sarili ko, gagawin ko lahat ng offers sa akin. Kaso mo, so many good movies, so little time.” Chito: “Ako hintay sa iyo. Ayaw ko sagot mo Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng tagak. Basta ako hintay sa iyo.”
  • Rory Quintos – Anak shattered box-office records in 2000 and was the highest-grossing Pinoy film ever until Ang Tanging Ina (Solid Vilmanian Ai-Ai) zoomed to the top of the box-office. The 2000 best actress awards from the PMPC Star and PASADO are puede pasar, but millions of ‘luhaang’ viewers swear she should have brought home the bacon. All they were saying, please give Glo a chance! Sige na nga, senior citizen kasi eh. Doon nga sa Urian when Ms. Gloria Romero gave her speech: “I-share this award with Vilma who was so good in Anak.” BOW! Respect begets respect. Biglang sing si Aretha Franklin ng R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
  • Joel Lamangan – the newest Vilma convert after he made Vilma grab best actress awards in the 2004 MMFF (Mano Po III), at the PMPC Star (her sixth), Tanglaw (her second) and Gawad Suri. He was so impressed by the QueenStar that he offered her a script she couldn’t resist, about the slums, a role to die for. Vi: “Joel, ang hirap naman, awa ako time. Gulong-gulo nga ang isip ko kung ano ang tatanuan ko eh. Puede bang next year na lang iyan?” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)
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Chito S. Roño’s Vilma Santos Films

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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)

Roño gave Vilma Santos her first international recognition winning the best actress in 1999 Brussels International Festival of Independent Films.  At the same time, he was recognized as the festival’s Best Director both for Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa.  The film also gave Vilma Santos her third grand slam winning all the best actress awards from several local award giving bodies.  In 2003, Vilma received another international recognition, this time from Cinemanila International Film Festival winning the Best Actress for Dekada 70. The film was screened in international film festival circuit and was the official entry of the Philippines in the 76th Academy Awards (OSCAR) for the best foreign language film category. – RV (READ MORE)

Ikaw lang (1993) – “…That year, dalawang movies ang nagawa ni Ate Vi. Ang isa pa ang ang action-dramang Ikaw Lang ni Chito Roño, na in fairness ay mahusay rin siya sa papel ng battered wife ng baliw na si Cesar Montano an naging bank robber kasama si Ronnie Ricketts…” – Mario E. Bautista (READ MORE)

Bata, Bata…Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998) – “Lea Bustamante is torn between two men who are threatening to take her two children away. Lea suddenly begins to doubt her worth as a mother and as a woman, and is forced to confront her needs which the men in her life have never fulfilled. Still, Lea fights to keep her children, to keep her dignity, and to do what is right in a world where everyone accuses her of being wrong.” – BIFF (READ MORE)

Dekada 70 (2002) – “In Chito S. Roño’s superb “Dekada ’70,” a family in the Marcos-era Philippines has a domineering father and five sons, but it is the mother (Vilma Santos) who provides the mental stamina. She fights for her family in ways the father can’t even dream of. “To give birth to these children isn’t enough,” she says. “You have to defend them, protect them.” That’s the ’70s. In 30 years, that kind of woman will deal with difficult questions of divorce and motherhood, one in which women want freedom, yet must be willing to share blame when something goes wrong. The young woman who leaves her husband and thinks about aborting her pregnancy in South Korean filmmaker Gina Kim’s “Invisible Light” is an experimental example. Moon’s great performance in “A Good Lawyer’s Wife” almost makes you believe wrong is right, and, taken with her much-lauded portrayal of a girl with cerebral palsy in “Oasis,” reveals her as one of the world’s best actresses. Hollywood, take note.” – G. Allen Johnson (READ MORE)

The Healing (2012) – “…Pero ang nakakatakot sa pelikula, yun palang tatay ni Vilma, kinukuha niya ang ‘life force’ ng lahat ng mga magiging pasyente nung healer”, dagdag na kuwento pa ni Mama maribel. “Kaya siya nabubuhay, kinukuha naman pala niya ang buhay o energy life force ng ibang mga tao, at yun ang mga magiging susunod na mga pasyente nung faith healer! Shocking, di ba? Naku, sorpresa ang role ko dito, ikatatakot ng lahat. At si Ate Vi, ngayon lang muli kami magkakasama sa isang pelikula. The last movie we made was Alyas Baby tsina during the late ’80′s pa yun!” At kilala naman ng lahat kung gaano kagaling si direk Chito Rono sa paggawa ng mga horror films, no? Isa sa paboritong horror film namin na ginawa ni direk Chtio ay yung remake ng clasic film na “Patayin Sa Sindak Si Barbara!” kung saan si Dawn Zulueta ang naging bida…” – Robert Manuguid Silverio (READ MORE)

Chito S. Roño, also known as Sixto Kayko, is an acclaimed Filipino writer, film producer and film director known for his expansive vision and special-effects-heavy films, most notably Yamashita: The Tiger’s Treasure (2001) for which he won the Metro Manila Film Festival for best director. He is also known for his 1997 film Nasaan ang Puso which earned him his first MMFF for best director. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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FILM REVIEW: BATA, BATA…PAANO KA GINAWA?

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The Plot: “A women’s rights activist and mother of two, Lea has been abandoned by the fathers of her children. Her daughter and son are at crucial transitional ages and she struggles to provide for them while maintaining her hectic job at a woman’s crisis center. Soon though, the job and her budding romance with co-worker Johnny threaten Lea’s role as mother when her children’s fathers return to accuse her of neglect.” – The NY Times (READ MORE)

“Lea is a mother of two children from different fathers. She works in a woman’s shelter and helps victims of domestic violence. Her sons are hurt riding their bikes. At the hospital, her principles are threatened when both fathers question her ability as a parent. This film is based on the best-selling Philippine novel of the same name and takes a look at the problems of single mother’s trying to balance work with family.” – Fukuoka (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “Sa tingin ko, sa Bata, Bata… pinakamagaling si Vilma Santos. Sa dami ng kanyang award, may ibubuga pa pala siya. Iba ang akting niya rito…Halatang feel na feel ni Vilma Santos ang kanyang papel dahil, gaya ng karakter ni Lea Bustamante, dalawa ang anak ni Vilma sa magkaibang lalake.” – Marra Pl. Lanot, Diario Uno, Sept. 1998 (READ MORE)

“…Ang international fame, bilang Best Actress, ay nakamit ni Vilma in 1999, when her Star Cinema headliner Bata … Bata … Paano Ka Ginawa? – directed by Chito Rono – was entered as competition entry sa Brussels Film Festival. Released in 1998, Bata won for Vilma the Best Actress honors at the Star Awards, FAP and Gawad Urian, as well as the Best Performance award from the YCC-Film Desk. Dahil nahalal na alkalde ng Lipa City sa Batangas si Vilma Santos-Recto (she married then Batangas Congressman, now Senator Rafael ‘Ralph” Recto in December 1992), naging mas madalang ang paggawa niya ng pelikula. Pero hindi pa rin magmimintis si Vilma na manalo ng acting trophy, kapag din lang may panlabang pelikula, as in 2000 when she did Star Cineman’s Anak by Rory Quintos. Nanalo siyang Best Actress sa Star Awards…” – William Reyes (READ MORE)

“…And Vilma Santosis more than up to the challenge. Gone are the hysterically flapping hands, the melodramatic emoting, all the trademark acting tics. In their place is a heartfelt performance that distills Lea’s essence to an exquisite point-no movements are wasted, no gestures are overwrought. …Vilma rolls them on her tongue like the finest wine; when Lea is on the verge of breaking down, Vilma remains true to the spirit of her character… If the Lipa City mayor decides never to do another movie again, she can retire assured that her last performance-in a career already studded with formidable portrayals-may conceivably have been her best…” – Andrew E. Pardes, Manila Times, Sept 1998 (READ MORE)

“A fiercely independent and unflinchingly candid woman connected with a women’s crisis and survival center has to raise her two kids with different fathers. Her first husband has left her when their career options failed to converge. She is now stuck in an extramarital arrangement with another man who cannot bring himself to respect and commit to their quite unorthodox relationship. – Databases of Philippine Movies (READ MORE)

“A women’s rights activist and mother of two, Lea has been abandoned by the fathers of her children. Her daughter and son are at crucial transitional ages and she struggles to provide for them while maintaining her hectic job at a woman’s crisis center. Soon though, the job and her budding romance with co-worker Johnny threaten Lea’s role as mother when her children’s fathers return to accuse her of neglect.” – Baseline Studio Systems (READ MORE)

“The movie “Bata Bata Paano Ka Ginawa?” is a movie which deals not only with the pains a mother and a wife goes through but also with the people around her as well. The movie which was originally based on the novel of the same title written by Lualhati Bautista, is such a wonderful story. Though it was written during the 1980’s, the material still hasn’t lost it’s appeal and connection to the people, considering that were almost entering the new millenium. What fascinates about the movie is that it did not only revolve around Lea but with the other characters as well. I really felt that all of the actors and actreses in the movie connected with one another. Each of the actors and actresses in the movie had a different story to tell. The movie would not have been as wonderful as it is, had it not been for the stellar performances given by the actors and actresses in the movie. There would be no question in terms of Vilma Santos’ acting prowess. Indeed she has proven be one of the fine actreses this country could ever had. I believe that nobody could ever give justice to the role of Lea had it been portryed by another actress other than Vilma Santos. Most noticeable were the performances given by the two kids. Serena Dalrymple and Carlo Aquino’s performance were just unbelievable. Considering that the two kids’ age and considering that there just neophytes in the acting scene.” – Skyinet (READ MORE)

“In one of the most remarkable performances in Filipino film history, Vilma Santos plays Lea, a woman who defiantly rejects social convention to experience life on her own terms. A woman’s rights activist and mother of two, Lea has been abandoned by the fathers of her children. Her daughter and son are at crucial, transitional ages and she struggles to provide for them while maintaining her hectic job at a women’s crisis center. Soon, however, the job and her budding romance with co-worker Johnny threaten Lea’s role as mother. When the children’s fathers turn up to accuse her of neglect, she must ask herself whether her independence is worth the possibility of losing her children? What role–motherhood or lover–will best satisfy the deepest needs of her soul?” – The 35th Chicago International Film Festival (READ MORE)

“…Lea’s Story, based on Lualhati Bautista’s award-winning novel “Bata, bata paano ka ginawa,” tells the story of Lea, a strong and independent woman who defiantly rejects social conventions to live life on her own terms. Lea, a woman’s rights activist and single mother of two, struggles desperately to provide for her children by working at a woman’s crisis center. Soon her job and romance with a co-worker are threatened when her estranged husband comes back into Lea’s life, accusing her of neglect and abuse. Last year, Lea’s Story swept the Filipino Academy Awards by winning Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Director. It stars the Philippines’ top actress and actor, Vilma Santos and Raymond Bagatsing respectively…” – Asian American Film News (READ MORE)

“…As much as people think that this is Vilma Santos’ movie, I beg to disagree. Me thinks it was the children’s show. Serena Dalrymple and Carlo Aquino gave two of the best child acting performances ever. Serena as Maya was a chatty young kid, whose bluntness, frankness, and honesty come across as cute and comical however one can still question as to how she was brought up. Carlo Aquino’s Ojie is a more mature kid, he understood what was going on and was rebelling to the fucked-up-ness of their situation. What pisses me off is that today, there hardly is a movie that Carlo Aquino is in, except maybe for last year’s “Carnivore, “where he was superb in again. Aquino is one of the few great young actors of his time that still is a great actor up to know. He is just not that present anymore. And I kinda wish that he makes more movies, because I know that he is a superb actor…” – Douglas Racso (READ MORE)

“…A free-spirited woman and madre de familia runs her life and raises her children unconventionally. It is one of the best films that espouses feminism without being didactic and self-righteous. Humorous, poignant and insightful, it features a yet-another dazzling performance by Vilma Santos…” – Mario A. Hernando (READ MORE)

“…To best understand how Filipino women have changed in the course of time, let us quote Lea’s final words: “OO, natuklasan ko ang mga bagay na hindi ko siguro natuklasan kung pinahawakan ko lang sa iba ang pagkatao ko. Hindi ako nagpakulong, sinikap kong lumaya. At mula sa paglaya ko sa makitid na papel ng isang babae, natiyak ko na ang kalayaan nga pala, sa higit na pangmalawakang kahulugan nito, ay hindi nahihingi kundi ipinakikipaglaban. Hindi lahat ng hinuhuli’y kriminal, at hindi lahat ng diyos ay may dangal! Hindi ako natatako. Babae ako at malakas ako. Ako ang tagapagsilang ng tao, pambuhay ng sanggol ang dibdib ko. Hindi porke ina na ‘ko’y tumigil na ‘ko sa paglaki. Hindi porke babae ako’y maiiwan ako sa labanan. Para sa kaligtasan ng lipunan at kinabukasan ng mga anak ko sa digmaan ng mga uri’t prinsipyo, sa mapayapa man o madugong pagbabago, magtiwala kayo…sasama ako!” We need more Josies adn Leas in our society tody, The time is ripe for Filipino women to rise above the society’s traditional views and coventions. Although ultimate freedom and due recognition of gender equlity remain a struggle and a serious concern, Filipino women are slowly gaining a strong foothold. In a book dedication written by Bautista to this writer, she wroteL “Ang mga kamay na nag-uugoy ng duyan ay kaya ring magtumba ng alon sa dagat.” And we belive that a freer woman is better mother. And every Filipino family needs her. Every family must have her. We remember what Vilma said in our interview with her during the last shooting day of her film “Bata, Bata…” “I would like to be remembered as a mother who would give her life to her children anytime…” She’s an accomplished actress, and many will remember her for that. But Vilma would rather be a mother in her films, in her life…” – Veron Dionisio, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jul 29, 2000 (READ MORE)

Pinagtibay ng Panahon 1/2


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.

They were first paired in 1975 in Celso Ad Castillo’s Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw, as first cousins who fall in love with each other. With the success at the tills of the movie, sinundan pa ito ng sunud-sunod na pelikula that crossed over the 80’s, the 90’s and up until this new millennium. Ilan sa mga pelikulang ginawa nila sa bakuran ng Sampaguita Pictures na mahirap malimutan ay ang Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig, taong 1977 kung saan ka-triangle ang sumisikat na aktor noong si Mat Ranillo. Sinundan ito ng Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali ng VP Pictures, taong 1978 na pinamahalaan ng batikang director na si Elwood Perez, Disco Fever; (a rare Vi-Boyet musical); at Ikaw Ay Akin (with Nora Aunor megged by the late Ishmael Bernal). Nang kalagitnaan ng taong 1980, ipinadala si Ate Vi sa States ng Tagalog Ilang-Ilang boss na si Atty.Laxa para gumawa ng reunion movie with Romeo Vasques and Boyet, ang “Gusto Kita, Mahal Ko Siya”. Habang buntis noon kay Luis ay ginawa ni Ate Vi ang “Pakawalan Mo Ako”, taong 1981 sa direksyon ni Elwood Perez at nanalo siya ng second FAMAS Best Actress award sa role bilang babaeng idiniin ng kanyang biyenan sa pagpatay sa asawang si Anthony Castelo. Pinaka-memorable naman para kay Ate Vi ang pelikulang Relasyon na idinerek ng mahusay na Ishmael Bernal sa ilalim ng Regal Films, taong 1982.Sa pelikulang ito nagtamo ng kanyang unang grandslam si Ate Vi bilang Best Actress sa lahat ng award giving bodies. Later, kinuha ang serbisyo ng aktres ng Viva Films na katatatag lamang noon at ginawa nila ni Boyet ang isang commercial hit movie na “Sinasamba Kita”. Komersyal na komersyal ang dating ng pelikula ito na hindi lamang umani ng tagumpay sa takilya, kungdi pati na rin sa mga kritiko. Taong 1983 nang gawin nila ni Boyet ang record-breaker na “Paano Ba ang Mangarap” kung saan papel ng isang api-apihang manugang ni Armida Siguion Reyna ang kanyang ginampanan. Sinundan naman agad ng “Broken Marriage” under Regal Films at sa direksyon pa rin ni Ishmael Bernal, ang director to whom Ate Vi is very much indebted dahil sa mga natamong best actress awards sa mga pelikulang idinirehe nito. Isa pa rin ito sa mga mahalagang pelikulang nagawa ni Ate Vi na nagbigay sa kanya ng karangalan bilang mahusay na aktres sa URIAN and of course kay Boyet bilang mahusay na aktor. Sa Viva Films sila nakagawa ng maraming pelikulang pinagtambalan dahil na rin sa isinasaad ng kani-kanilang mga kontrata. Kaya naman sa pagtatapos ng taong 1983, ginawa nila ni Boyet ang “Minsan Pa Natin Hagkan Ang Nakaraan”, the only movie na namatay silang magkasama kung saan asawa siya ni Eddie Garcia sa pamamahala ni direk Marilou Diaz Abaya.

Taong 1989 nang gawin naman nila ni Boyet ang Imortal na kung saan natamo ni Ate Vi ang Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress at si Boyet naman ang tinanghal na Best Actor. Muling naulit ang kanilang pagtatambal ng taong 1991 sa pelikulang “Ipagpatawad Mo” ng Viva Films,sa direksyon ni Laurice Guillen at sa pagkakaga-nap niya bilang supportive mother of an autistic child ay napagwagian niya ang ikalimang URIAN Best Actress award. Taong 1993, nang gawin naman nila ang award winning movie na “Dahil Mahal Kita, Dolzura Cortez” sa ilalim ng OctoArts films at sa pamamahala ni direk Laurice Guillen na nagbigay kay Ate Vi ng ikalawang Grand Slam Best Actress award. Sinundan ito ng “Nag-iisang Bituin” under Regal Films na ka-triangle naman ang mahusay na aktor na si Aga Muhlach under the helm of Jose Javier Reyes. Muling naulit ang kanilang pagtatambal noong 1997 nang gawin nila ang “Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal” ng Neo Films na pinamahalaan naman ni direk Ike Jarlego Jr. Limang taon ang nakalipas at muling nagpugay ang kanilang tambalan sa pelikulang “Dekada ’70″ ng Star Cinema sa direksyon ng award winning director na si Chito Rono. Sa pelikulang ito nanalo si Ate Vi ng kanyang ika-apat na Grand Slam Best Actress.

Mano Po 3, My Love is Vilma’s 22nd film with Boyet kung saan nagwagi ang numero unong aktres ng MMFF, Gawad Tanglaw, Gawad Suri at Star Awards ng Best Actress awards. In most of these films, either Best Actress si Ate Vi(Relasyon, Broken Marriage, Pakawalan Mo Ako, Imortal, Ipagpatawad Mo, Dulzura Cortez, Dekada ’70 at Mano Po 3) at si Boyet naman sa Best Actor ( Broken Marriage, Haplos, Imortal, Ipagpatawad Mo, Dolzura Cortez at Dekada). Sa dami ng pelikulang ginawa nilang dalawa na pawang big hits at nagbigay sa kanila ng acting recognitions, hindi tuloy maiwasang itanong ng karamihan kung ano ang sikreto ng kanilang matagumpay na tambalan. “We’ve never been linked to each other and yet the public loves seeing our movies together. Siguro it’s because we have this unbelievable chemistry. We know each other so well that tinginan lang on screen, we already know what to do to make a take very good.” Ate vi relates. “Siguro yung respeto sa isa’t-isa at pagiging professional ni Boyet. Kapag trabaho, seryoso siya talaga. Ang galing niyang magdala. Alam niya kung paano niya ako sasaluhin kapag nahalata niyang nawawala na ako.” sabi pa ng actress-politician. In an interview, Boyet was asked why does he think his partnership with Vilma continues to thrive even after 30 years? “I just love working with Vi because she is such a giving co-actor. Hindi siya nangaagaw ng eksena. If the scene is yours, susuportahan ka niya nang husto for you to shine. You can’t help but get carried away kapag siya ang kaeksena mo dahil napakahusay niya..O di ba, very well said. Ang trabaho kina Ate Vi at Boyet ay hindi kailanman nahaluan ng malisya. They have over the years worked strictly on the professional level. Off camera ay best friends sila. Sa katunayan nga, si Boyet ang unang aktor na pinagtapatan ni Ate Vi na magpapakasal kay Senator Ralph at ng kanyang pagbubuntis kay Ryan. Platonic daw ang tawag sa uri ng relasyong namagitan kina Ate Vi at Boyet in the sense na alam nila kung hanggang saan ang limitasyon ng closeness nila. Platonic dahil hindi na kailangan an0g anumang physical contact upang ipahayag ang kanilang nararamdaman para sa isa’t isa.

Subok na Matibay, Subok na Matatag ang tambalang VILMA-BOYET. No other loveteam can compile such successes,award wise and box-office wise. Their tandem spells capital B-I-G-H-I-T at the box-office. Mula nang gawin nila ang first movie nila noong late 70’s hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin pinagsasawaan at patuloy na tinatangkilik ng publiko at kanilang mga tagasubaybay na mapanood sila sa silver screen.Loveteam for all seasons, ika nga.O may hihirit pa ba? – Willie Ferrnandez, V Magazine, Dec 2006

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

GO TO PART TWO

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

FILM REVIEW: DEKADA ’70 1/2

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“Buong buhay ko yan na lang lagi ang sinasabi nila sa akin…wala kang magagawa eto ang gusto ng asawa mo…wala kang magagawa eto ang kapalaran mo…wala kang magagaw dahil dapat…putris naman, dapat hindi ganuo…tapos sasabihin ng daddy n’yo hindi lang ang anak ko ang pinatay hindi lang ang anak ko ang dinukot…lalo akong nanggigigil, lalo akong nagagalit dahil kung nanay ka talaga, hindi ka lang dapat nanganganak kundi naiapaglaban mo rin ang anak mo dapat kaya mong pumatay para sa anak mo…gusto ko lang malaman bakit nila pinatay ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko, kahit sa oras na ito humarap ako sa diyos kahit sa dimonyo hindi masamang tao ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko!” – Amanda Bartolome

“You could stop being proud of me! Nagsawa na ako sa ganuon, gusto ko naman ngayon ako mismo just for a change, maging proud sa sarili ko!” – Amanda Bartolome

The Plot: Dekada 70 is a story of a family caught in the midst of a tumultuous time in Philippine history – the martial law years. Amanda (Vilma Santos) and Julian (Christopher Deleon) is a picture of a middle class couple with conservative ideologies, who must deal with raising their children, five boys – Jules (Piolo Pascual), Isagani (Carlos Agassi), Emmanuel (Marvin Agustin), Jason (Danilo Barrios) and Bingo (John Sace) in an era marked by passion, fear, unrest and social chaos. As siblings struggle to accept the differences of their ideologies, as a father faces the painful dissent of his children, a mother’s love will prove to be the most resonant in the unfolding of this family’s tale, will awaken to the needs of her own self, as she embarks on a journey of discovery to realize who she is as a wife, amother, a woman and a Filipino. – Star Cinema

Dekada ’70 (English: 70s Decade) is a 2002 Filipino drama film released based on a book called Dekada ’70 written by Filipino author, Lualhati Bautista. The film tells the story of the life of a middle-class Filipino family who, over the space of a decade, become aware of the political policies that have ultimately led to repression and a state of Martial law in the Philippines. Filipina actress Vilma Santos stars as Amanda, who realizes the implications of living within a dictatorship after sorting out the contradictory reactions of her husband and five sons. Her husband (Julian), played by Filipino actor, Christopher de Leon, supports his eldest son’s (Jules), played by Filipino actor, Piolo Pascual; efforts to rail against the government while refusing to follow Amanda’s wish to find a job. Her second son (Gani), played by Filipino actor, Carlos Agassi, is in the United States Navy. Her third son (Eman), played by Filipino actor, Marvin Augustin, writes illegal political exposes. The fourth son (Jason), played by Filipino actor, Danilo Barrios fell victim to a corrupt police department, and her youngest son named (Bingo), played by Filipino actor, John W. Sace, is still a boy. – Wikepedia (READ MORE).

The Reviews: “…At the center of the film and the family is Amanda (Filipino cinematic diva Vilma Santos) who vicariously experiences living under a dictatorship through her husband and five sons’ different reactions before coming into her own as a person. Her husband, Julian (Christopher De Leon), seems a walking contradiction: He offers rationalizations for the government while supporting his eldest son’s revolutionary activities, but has a fit when his wife wants to get a job. As for the sons, firstborn son (Piolo Pascual) joins the guerillas in the mountains. The second son (Carlos Agassi), forced into a shotgun wedding, defiantly works for the American Navy. The third son (Marvin Augustin) writes journalistic exposes he can’t publish, while the fourth son (Danilo Barrios) is a mystery to his family until his brutal, motiveless murder (probably by police) reveals a lost girlfriend. The fifth son (John W. Sace) is still a boy. Santos’ Amanda effortlessly and movingly chronicles the changed consciousness of the family and the country, with understatement her most reliable tool. Pic begins and ends with images of Santos at the forefront of a political demonstration, and nothing, from first image to last, for 128 minutes, is allowed to spontaneously or slyly deviate from the logic of her consciousness-raising.” – Ronnie Scheib, Variety Magazine (READ MORE)

“Last seen in ANAK (SFIAAFF ‘01), Vilma Santos delivers an understated, profoundly moving performance as the matriarch whose awakening redefines the traditional mother and wife role she donned for years. This is the story of an incredible character that survived an unforgettable decade.” – Michael Magnaye, The 22nd San Fransisco Asian-American Film Festival, 2004 (READ MORE)

“…Rono and Bautista, who writes her own adaptation, have obviously worked very closely in fleshing out the novel on screen. The result is an effective and even subtle tableau of scenes to present the Bartolome family’s struggles from the late ‘60s to ‘70s that not only set the domestic drama, but also prefigure the wider social and historical saga unfolding before the nation. No scene is wasted, no useless pandering to the viewer’s sense of spectacle or penchant for soap opera is even attempted. The competent production design, the agile editing, the stark photography (which impresses even the Paris-based Filipino-Spanish painter Sanso who calls it comparative to the best in Europe) ensures a panoply of images that is immediate, recognizable, and keen. Like Regal Films, Star Cinema has been compelled to throw in its stable of stars so that the Bartolome siblings look distractingly too much like a boy band. But because they play well-thought-out characters, their damage is put to a minimum. In some cases, like Piolo Pascual as Jules, the young communist rebel, the effect is heart-wrenching. Pascual plays, along with Vilma Santos as Amanda, one of the centers of gravity of the movie; the other center consists of Santos and Christopher de Leon. As arguably the first unabashedly feminist Filipino novel, “Dekada” shows a woman’s awakening to her nature and gender through the men of her life-her husband and her first born. Their age, generation and preoccupation divide both men, and Amanda serves as their bridge and transition. In the process, Amanda herself is transformed. She becomes herself. The most moving scenes of the movie are of Jules and Amanda meeting on the sly and forced to carry on mother-and-son endearments hurriedly because of the threat of arrest. But the most poignant scene is Julian and Amanda confronted with the terrible loneliness of their advanced years, left by their children, he turning away from her to hide his tears, and she asking him to face her and not to be ashamed. It helps that the scene is played by Santos and De Leon, truly one of Filipino cinema’s most effective screen couples. As Amanda, Vilma Santos shows again why Brocka, before he died, had likened her to water. “She can register anything,” he said. In “Dekada”, its the same Santos of vigor and transparency. The only difference is the depth, the resonance, and the greater confidence. Can she ever go wrong?” – Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 30 December 2002 (READ MORE)

“…Ang Dekada ’70 ay isang mahusay na adaptasyon sa pelikula ng nobela nitong may parehong titulo. Napanatili ang kaluluwa ng nobela sa pelikula sa kabila ng limitasyon ng pelikula bilang isang audio-visual na medium. Marahil, nakatulong ng malaki ang pagkakaroon ng iisang manunulat lamang. Naging maayos ang takbo ng pelikula na tulad sa nobela nitong nahati sa mga taon ng dekada ’70. Mahusay ang pagkakaganap ng mga pangunahing tauhan (maliban kay Carlos Agassi) na nakapagbigay hininga sa mga tauhang noo’y nababasa lamang. Naibalik ng pelikula ang larawan ng dekada ’70 sa mga eksena nitong nagpapakita ng mga demonstrasyon, protesta at rallies na tunay na nangyari noong panahon na iyon. Ang musika at tunog ay madalas na akma at nagpapaigting sa emosyong nais ipahatid ng pelikula. Naging mahina lamang ang disenyong pamproduksiyon ng pelikula na hindi naging masusi sa make-up, at kasuotan ng mga tauhan sa pawang hindi parating umaangkop sa panahon…” – Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Association (READ MORE)

“…Dekada 70 journeys with the central character Amanda Bartolome (Vilma Santos), the reticent wife of an alpha-male husband, and the worrying mother of a boisterous all-male brood. Thoroughly relegated to domesticity in a world slathered in testosterone, Amanda begins to undergo a transformation when her family becomes imbricated in the sociopolitical realities brought about by the Marcos dictatorship. The declaration of Martial Law, the lifting of the writ of habeas corpus, the curfews and police searches, all these could have easily floated past Amanda’s head had her sons not found themselves caught in the crossfire between the government and the pro-democracy movements. As one son after another faces the oppressive forces of the dictatorship, Amanda gradually realizes that the personal is political. While chanting slogans for sociopolitical change, she finds her own voice and comes to terms with the fullness of her own person…There are touches of seventies style Filipino humor that foreign audiences might miss; they effectively establish that this is a real, average Filipino family trying to navigate through the eye of the political storm. The acting is generally impressive, most especially that of lead actress Santos, who gives a luminous, sensitive performance. Santos essays the transformation of Amanda so effectively that we do see clearly at the end of the film that there has been a fundamental change in her character. If there is something to be faulted about the film, it is Roňo’s failure to keep melodramatic moments in check. The funeral sequence of one of Amanda’s sons, for instance, becomes an over-extended session of copious tears. The rich story material of Dekada 70 could do away with such “in your face” paroxysms, which only work to dull the film’s cutting edge political trajectory. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that Roňo had created a noteworthy, epic-scale Filipino film, and on a Third World budget at that. It also cannot be denied that Roňo had not forgotten the sentence of history on his home country…” – Antonio D. Sison, Insititute for Pastoral Initiatives University of Dayton (READ MORE)

“…about Vilma’s performance in “Dekada ‘70”: Some jurors, viewers and reviewers have expressed dissappointment over it because they regard it as too passive, low-key, unemotional, too much taken up with observation, and reflection instead of action. Thus, it doesn’t deserve the best actress award. We disagree. We think that, precisely because Vilma’s portrayal was so restrained for the most part, it was more difficult to achieve. It’s far easier to rant and rave, to “feel” bigtime, to run the gamut of emotions from A to Z- but, if Vilma did that, she would have gone against her character’s nature, as written…during the first half of the film, Vilma’s character occasionally felt unhappy, taken for granted or unappreciated as a person, but she held her emotions in check to keep the peace in the family. It was only later, when the national trauma of martial law rule affected her sons in various tragic ways, that she found the voice and rediscovered the heart to assert herself as a person and to give her emotions full play. We submit that Vilma’s portrayal is excellent precisely because she vivified he character as the wife and mother was in the ‘70s. Her thematic and emotional high points towards the end of the film rivetting, but it was her quieter, more controlled moments that showcased Vilma’s true gift as an actress. During those moments, Vilma didn’t just observe what was going on, she was constantly conflicted only, she had been programmed not to speak out because it wasn’t her “place”. Thus, when she finally changes and expresses herself in the end, the contrast makes her transformation all the more stunning. In the movie’s first half, Vilma is such a good actress that, although she may not be the active element in her family (her husband is), she is quietly involved in each and every scene, and every new development is seen from her point of view. Even better, despite her relative lack of dialogue at this point, we can “read” her thoughts on her face as clearly as though she were speaking. And we see her slowly changing before our very eyes, gradually overcoming her reticence, discovering her true worth, and finally finding and expressing her true self. This is very difficult to do, as any true thespian will affirm. Which is why, unlike some people who dismiss Vilma’s portrayal as passive and weak, we think it ranks among her best, right up there with her performances in and fully deserving of the filmfest’s coveted best actress trophy.” – Nestor Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer (READ MORE)

“…The reason “Sister Stella L” will probably end up better appreciated is that the movie was shown during the martial law era. The movie was relevant to the times and Vilma was portraying an activist nun, a role not usually associated with the Star for all Seasons… As the mother, Vilma does justice to her character, holding back her strong emotions until the end, when she finally confronts Christopher de Leon and wants to break up with him. Despite the many tragic events that befall her character, Vilma chooses to underplay her role except at key points towards the end of the movie. Boyet is his usual competent self as the chauvinistic husband of Vilma who is forced to change when his wife breaks out of her shell. Piolo Pascual also deserves mention for his realistic portrayal of the activist turned NPA rebel…” – Edmund L. Sicam, Philippine Daily Inquirer (READ MORE)

“…Unlike Vilma Santos’ Sister Stella L. character, who becomes politicized practically overnight, her Amanda role in “Dekada ‘70” takes longer to mature politically (almost the whole decade). And she goes through a very painful process because she experiences the abuses of the marcos regime by seeing her own children suffer. With Vilma hurting inside and suffering almost in silence, we have here in “Dekada ‘70” some very moving dramatic scenes that are mostly devoid of hysterics but are still very effective nonetheless. Actually, we see yet another facet of Vilma Santos’ acting talent in this film. In the story, she goes through guilt (with the fate of one of her sons), pain, anguish and anxiety (particularly with the eldest, Piolo)-plus discontent as a plain housewife who wants to do something more with her life other than to keep house for her husband and kids. The great actress that she is, Vilma is able to manifest clearly the different layers of her character in a very quiet manner, which-you have to admit-is quite difficult to achieve. But Vilma-after all these decades -can do no wrong anymore in the field of acting. Although it’s not the greatest performance of her career (it’s still Sister Stella L), her portrayal of Amanda in “Dekada ‘70” is no doubt one of her finest. More importantly, her role (and her approach to it) is different from the hundreds of other roles she has done in the past…” – Butch Francisco, The Philippine Star (READ MORE)

“…Santos’ performance is so vivid and insightful that we can see her changing in front of our very eyes… We were enthralled…we were moved. And we valued the film’s important contribution to the very urgent task of reminding everyone of the trauma in our collective lives that was the martial law period of the ’70s,” noted Nestor Torre of Inquirer News Service. Chito Rono’s Dekada ‘70 made its world premier at the Asian American International Film Festival in June of 2003. The film has also won numerous domestic awards. The Young Critics Circle voted Dekada ‘70 Best Film of the Year (2002), Best Screenplay, Best Sound and Best Performance in a tie between actress Vilma Santos (Amanda) and Piolo Pascual (Amanda’s eldest son). The Best Film of the Year award is reserved for the director, such that no separate prize for direction is needed. The Best Performance award is the most coveted as it is conferred on the performer whether male or female, adult or child, individual or ensemble in leading or supporting role. Vilma Santos also received an award for Best Actress from Star Awards for Movies, Film Academy of The Philippines, and Gawad Urian Awards. Piolo Pascual also received an award for Best Supporting Actor from the Young Critics Film Circle, Metro Manila Film Festival, Star Awards for Movies, Film Academy of the Philippines, FAMAS Awards, and Gawad Urian Awards. The Gawad Urian Awards also presented Dekada ’70 with the award for Best Screenplay…” – Sara Stokoe, Asia Pacific Arts (READ MORE)

“…In Chito S. Roño’s superb “Dekada ’70,” a family in the Marcos-era Philippines has a domineering father and five sons, but it is the mother (Vilma Santos) who provides the mental stamina. She fights for her family in ways the father can’t even dream of. “To give birth to these children isn’t enough,” she says. “You have to defend them, protect them.” That’s the ’70s. In 30 years, that kind of woman will deal with difficult questions of divorce and motherhood, one in which women want freedom, yet must be willing to share blame when something goes wrong. The young woman who leaves her husband and thinks about aborting her pregnancy in South Korean filmmaker Gina Kim’s “Invisible Light” is an experimental example. Moon’s great performance in “A Good Lawyer’s Wife” almost makes you believe wrong is right, and, taken with her much-lauded portrayal of a girl with cerebral palsy in “Oasis,” reveals her as one of the world’s best actresses. Hollywood, take note. – No stereotypes of Asians here…” – G. Allen Johnson, Festival Celebrates Real Women, San Francisco Chronicle March 4, 2004 (READ MORE)

“…The young actors that were cast in Dekada ’70 were all guilty of doing too much “acting”. I don’t think actors should be acting-out, or (in this case) over-acting, unless they were filming a farce, or a comedic parody. Inexcusable mediocre performances plagued every scene. Instead of ensuring the characters were having a real conversation (real interaction), it seemed as though they were merely spitting out lines which they had memorized word-for-word, the delivery, inflections, and pauses unnatural. People don’t talk to each other like this in real life now, do they? Of course not. It is sometimes possible for a younger actor to deliver a satisfactory performance though the guiding hand of an experienced veteran. This of course is quite rare, as it calls for a unique, uncalculated, natural chemistry that can never be faked. Award winning greats like Vilma Santos and Christopher De Leon should never be subjected to work with a group of inexperienced pretty faces who are incapable of displaying a sense of depth and sophistication. Proof that casting makes for a vital element that determines the success of a film…” – Edwin Manalo (READ MORE)

“…The characters of brothers Jules (Piolo Pascual) and Eman (Marvin Augustin) share similar anti-Marcos perspectives in the movie. A movie that attempts to add a more familiar and human touch to a real event isn’t without its melodrama. The overt use of music to drive emotion home and unnecessarily lengthy shots distract a bit from what otherwise could have been short and sweet takes of awesome performances. The pace of the film seems to slow down mid-way through the film. Yet these faults are minute enough that they probably didn’t even deserve a mention…This movie makes for a satisfying introduction to this decade in Philippine history. I shouldn’t forget to mention how faithful the movie remains to the styles of dress, the models of cars, and the music of the time to strongly present the age and era the movie takes place. Most importantly Dekada ’70 presents to us the emotional aspect, an aspect you cannot obtain through school textbooks, snapshots, and soundbites of Martial Law under Marcos. This is communicated successfully through its collection of talents seen through the eye of a veteran director…” – Pinoy Movie Reviews (READ MORE)

“…Dekada ’70 tells of how under hate, greed and corruption, one normal person transcends beyond right and wrong: instead learns that it is freedom that entails survival. Set in the 70′s, urban Metro Manila, Amanda Bartolome is a middle-class mother of five young men. Amanda acts as a supposed symbolism of detachment. First of all, she was a mother, a housewife; such were not considered integral parts of society during those times. She was not the breadwinner; she did not experience the foremost effects of the decline of the Philippines economy back then. She was a member of the middle class; her family did not take money, like the rich, nor did her family suffer the worst of the financial crises, like the poor. The lives of Amanda’s children each went in different directions in the story, and each varied. Her eldest son was Jules. Jules grew up normally, similar to every other ideal family. His upbringing was that of what ideally conformed to normal standards and circumstances. Being the eldest, however, Jules lived, and more importantly, matured through the shock caused by the declaration of President Marcos’ martial law. Thus, Jules lived his adolescence exposed to rebellious reading material, and inevitably molded his mind into that of guerilla. Jules grew up to become a member of the communist New People’s Army, and his evolution came full circle…” – Dekada 70, A Book Review (READ MORE)

“…For ten consecutive years from 1995 to 2004, the Philippines submitted films for consideration for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the Oscar Awards. But up to this point of film history, we remain in the list of countries who has never won nor nominated for this award…The next year 2003, the country’s entry was Dekada ’70, directed by Chito S. Rono based on the novel Dekada ’70 of Lualhati Bautista. It tells the story of a middle-class Filipino couple (Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos) and their five sons during a tumultuous decade of the martial law regime. The sons were played by Piolo Pascual, Carlos Agassi, Marvin Agustin, Daniel Barrios and John Wayne Sace…” – FAP (READ MORE)

Fernando Poe Jr.’s “Lawin” (hawk) failed to soar high at the box office after Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s “Agimat” (amulet) proved to be more powerful. Working wonders at the tills, “Agimat ni lolo,” Revilla’s action-fantasy-adventure movie was the top grossing film on the first day of the festival last Wednesday, edging out Poe’s “Alamat ng Lawin,” from top slot. Caloocan Mayor Rey Malonzo, chair of the MMFF executive committee, refused to divulge the box-office figures because “that was the request of the other producers.” An MMFF insider, however, disclosed that “Agimat” earned P14 million gross on the day it opened. Imus Productions bankrolled “Agimat.” As early as yesterday noon, Revilla said he was told that “Agimat” was already leading in the box office race. A number of theaters opened as early as 9 a.m.yesterday, making it easy to determine the results after only the first screening. Revilla outshone even comedy king Dolphy’s “Home Along da Riles,” which ranked only third. Regal Entertainment’s “Mano Po,” which boasts a powerhouse cast and Joel Lamangan at the helm, came in fourth. Star Cinema’s period opus, “Dekada ’70,” directed by Chito Rono and top billed by drama royalty Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon, was fifth. The epic tale of Filipino hero “Lapu-Lapu,” with Pampanga Governor Lito Lapid in the lead, took the sixth place, and Reflection Films’ “Hula Mo, Huli Ko,” starring Rudy Fernandez and Rufa Mae Quinto, came in seventh in the box-office race. But the box-office tallies might still change after tonight’s “Gabi ng Parangal,” when the MMFF hands out the awards to this festival’s best films. Two more entries – OctoArts Films’ “Lastikman” starring Vic Sotto and Regal Film”s “Spirit Warriors 2: Short-cut” -will be shown starting Jan 1. The filmfest will run until Jan 10. – Leah Salterio Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dec 27 2002 (READ MORE)

This year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) sports a new name, but its trademark controversial image and reputation remain the same. The 28th MMFF has included a “P” in its official name. The “P” which stands for Philippines, means the entries in the festival can now be seen nationwide. The cast of “Dekada ’70” staged a walkout. A special effects awardee returned his trophy. A film that failed to make it to the filmfest’s top seven won thrid best picture. These and other inconsistencies were the “highlights” of this year’s “Gabi ng Parangal” awards ceremony last Friday. Piolo was “Dekada ’70’s” biggest winner as best supporting actor for his compelling portrayal of a tortured rebel leader in Chito Rono’s period drama. John Wayne Sace, who plays Pascual’s brother Bingo, bagged the best supporting child actor award. “Dekada ’70” also bagged the second best child actor award. “Dekada ’70” also bagged the second best picture award. Regal Films’ “Mano Po” romped off with the most number of awards, including the best actress plum that went to Ara Mina, who best-ed the veteran “Dekada ’70” star Vilma Santos. Eddie Garcia was adjudged best festival actor, while Joel Lamangan was named this year’s best director. Kris Aquino won best supporting actress also for “Mano Po.” Regal Films matriarch Lily Monteverde thanked the filmfest committee in Aquino’s behalf. Mother Lily has two more reasons to say “Chi chien” after “Mano Po” won best picture and best original story for writer Roy Iglesias. Iglesias also won the best screenplay citations for “Mano Po.” Resty Garchitorena and Tara Limberger took home the best cinematography and best film editor awards, again for “Mano Po.” The cross-cultural drama, which even partly filmed in Beijing, China, bagged a toral of 12 awards that night. Bong de Guzman snatched the best musical score trophy from such veteran composers as Louie Ocampo, Nonong Buencamino, Jimmy Fabregas and Elmer Sayson.

Best festival production design trophy was awarded to Tatus Aldana for his spectacular work on “Mano Po.” The biggest surprise came when Chito Rono’s “Spirit Warriors 2: Shortcut.” won third best picture. The award came as a surprise even to its director Chito Rono, who upon hearing the news, commented that “the award only proved how good the movie is.” “Spirit Warrior 2” snatched the festival’s two most important technical awards – best make-up for Warren Munar and best visual effects for Dodge Ledesma and Road Runner Productions. Unlike “Alamat” and “Lastikman” which didn’t get any award, Reflectin Films’ “Hula Mo, Huli Ko” and RVQ Productions’ “Home Alone da Riles” each won an award. RVQ Productions’ “Nasaan Ka” was heralded as this year’s best theme song, while Caloy de Leon won the best sound recording plum for his work on “Hula Mo.” De Leon, however, returned the award later that night. “I want the jurors to explain to me how can a film dubbed in mono like “Hula Mo” win over other films dubbed in Dolby digital,” he said. Imus Productions’ spectacular “Agimat” float took home P75,000 after bagging the best festival float award. Noticeably absent during the awards night were “Alamat ng Lawin” lead star Fernando Poe Jr., his leading lady Ina Raymundo, and the entire cast of “Lastikman,” led by comedian-producer Vic Sotto. Poe’s long-time aide, Amay Bisaya, said the action king chose not to attend the ceremony to “avoid intrigues and politicking.” – Marinel R. Cruz Philippine Daily Ingquirer, Dec 29 2002 (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
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