FILM REVIEW: PAKAWALAN MO AKO

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The Plot: Namatay ang tatay ni Ana (Vilma Santos) at dahil rito’y naghirap sila. Napilitan siyang magtinda ng sabon at tumigil sa pag-aaral. Sa kabila nito hindi siya humingi ng tulong sa katipan na si Freddie Villasenor (Christopher DeLeon). Dahil sa hirap ay napilitang pumasok si Ana sa isang escort service sa tulong ng kanyang kaibigang si Bernadette Santos (Deborah Sun). Nakilala ni Ana si Bernard San Diego (Antony Castelo) sa kanyang trabaho bilang escort girl. Sa gabing iyon nakita siya ng kapatid na babae ni Freddy. Nang yayain ni Freddy si Ana para magpakasal pumayag na ito at pumunta siya sa bahay ni Freddy para makilala ang pamilya ni Freddy. Hindi nila alam ay inimbitahan ng kapatid ni Freddy si Bernard San Diego. At sa hapag ng kainan ay binisto nito ang tunay na trabaho ni Ana. Umalis nang umiiyak si Ana at nagkagalit sila ni Freddy. Pinuntahan ni Bernard si Ana para humingi ng paunmanhin ngunit naabutan sila ni Freddy at nag-away sila ni Bernard. Inakala ni Freddy na talagang may relasyon si Bernard at Ana kung kaya iniwanan niya ito. Nagbalik si Ana sa kanyang trabaho. Nagkaroon ng secret admirer ito. Yung pala ito ay si Bernard. Nalaman rin ni Ana na buntis siya at ang ama ng dinadala niya ay si Freddy. Inalok ni Bernard si Ana ng kasal at pumayag naman ito sa kabila ng pagtutol ng kanyang mayamang ama. Lumaki ang bata at apat na taon na ito nang magdesisyon ang ama ni Bernard na tigilan na ang pagsasama ng dalawa. Inalok si Ana ng malaking halaga ngunit tumutol ito. Nang umalis ang ama ni Bernard ay pinaiwan nito ang isa sa kanyang mga tauhan para gahasain si Ana. Dumating si Bernard at nagaway sila ng tauhan ng kanyang ama. Sa kaguluhan ay nabaril ng tauhan ng kanyang ama si Bernard mismo. Sinet-up ng ama ni Bernard si Ana. Pinakulong at kinuhang abogado si Freddy. Sa hukuman ay nakuhang magduda ni Freddy sa dating katipan. Nagpunta ito sa bahay ng ina ni Ana upang kausapin ang batang anak ni Ana. Natuklasan ni Freddy ang tutuong nangyari at ang testigo ay ang anak ni Ana. Sa closing ng kaso ay inihayag ni Freddy na walang kasalanan si Ana at ang pumatay kay Bernard ay ang tauhan ng sarili nitong ama. Napawalang sala si Ana at nalaman ni Freddy na ang bata’y ang sarili niyang anak.

The Reviews: Prinudyus ng Sampaguita Pictures, ang “Pakawalan Mo Ako” ay isa sa mga pruweba na nasa ikataas na puwesto si Vilma Santos nang bagong dekada otsenta. Mula umpisa hanggang sa huli’y umiikot ang istorya sa karakter ni Vilma bilang si Ana, isang escort girl. Markado ang papel ni Vilma at makikita ito sa mga eksena sa kulungan at hukuman. Ang Pakawalan Mo Ako ay mula sa panulat ni Pete Lacaba at iskrinplay nina Pete Lacaba, Mao Gia Samonte at Isko Lopez. Kung ikukumpara sa mga ibang pelikula ni Elwood Perez mas pulido at makatotohanan ang mga eksena’t dialouge ng pelikula. Tulad ng konprontahin nga ma ni Bernard si Ana sinabi nito na: “Puta, Puta! Puta! Hindi lang naman kayo ang unang nagparatang sa akin ng ganyan! Puta! Puta! Putang Ina n’yong lahat…” At nang unang dalhin ni Bernard si Ana sa bahay nito at pagtangkaang gahasain, pumiglas si Ana at sabay kuha sa pera at sabay sabing: “kukunin ko ang bayad sa halik may sukli ka pa!” At siyempre ang eksena sa hukom kung saan paulit ulit niyang sinasabi ang salitang: “Sinungaling!…” Ang musika ni Lutgardo Labad ay minsan nakakaabala sa tunay na eksena ngunit angkop na angkop ang theme song ng pelikula, ang “Dati” na kinanta mismo ni Antony Castelo. Merong mahahabang linya si Christopher DeLeon sa bandang huli at nakuha naman niyang bigyan ng buhay ang papel niya bilang abogado ng taga-usig kahit na parang pilit ang pagpapalit niya ng panig para sa tagapagtanggol sa bandang huli, sa kanyang closing remarks. Alam niya marahil na talagang pelikula ito ni Ate Vi. Mahusay rin ang pagganap ni Antony Castelo bilang isang matigas na ulong anak ng isang mayaman. Sa papel na ina ni Ana, nakaka-distract ang hindi tunay na boses ni Mila Ocampo. Bilang ama ni Bernard San Diego, very one-dimensional ang papel ni Subas Herrero. Ang pinakanakakatuwang papel ay ang papel na kaibigan ni Ana na ginampanan ni Deborah Sun. Meron siyan eksena sa hukuman kung saan tumistigo siya at natural na natural ang pagkababaeng bakla niya. Mabilis ang pacing ng pelikula at walang mahusay ang pagkakaedit nito. Hindi ako nagtaka kung bakit nanalo si Ate Vi para sa pelikulang ito mula sa Famas. Ito rin ang bale hudyat ng pagsibol ng bagong Vilma Santos pagpasok ng dekada otsenta dahil sa sumunod na taon ay nagkasunod sunod na ang parangal sa pagarte ni Ate Vi mula sa iba’t ibang award giving bodies. – RV (READ MORE)

“Dalawangpu’t Anim na taon na ang nakakalipas nang una nating napanood ang pelikulang Pakawalan Mo Ako (Now on 2012, PMA is 31 years old!) . Tumabo ito sa takilya at nagbunga ng pagkapanalo ni Ate Vi ng Best Actress mula sa Famas para sa taong ito. Prinudyus ng Sampaguita Pictures, ang “Pakawalan Mo Ako” ay isa sa mga pruweba na nasa ikataas na puwesto si Vilma Santos nang bagong dekada otsenta. Mula umpisa hanggang sa huli’y umiikot ang istorya sa karakter ni Vilma bilang si Ana, isang escort girl. Markado ang papel ni Vilma at makikita ito sa mga eksena sa kulungan at hukuman. Ang Pakawalan Mo Ako ay mula sa panulat ni Pete Lacaba at iskrinplay nina Pete Lacaba, Mao Gia Samonte at Isko Lopez. Kung ikukumpara sa mga ibang pelikula ni Elwood Perez mas pulido at makatotohanan ang mga eksena’t dialouge ng pelikula. Tulad ng konprontahin nga ma ni Bernard si Ana sinabi nito na: “Puta, Puta! Puta! Hindi lang naman kayo ang unang nagparatang sa akin ng ganyan! Puta! Puta! Putang Ina n’yong lahat…” At nang unang dalhin ni Bernard si Ana sa bahay nito at pagtangkaang gahasain, pumiglas si Ana at sabay kuha sa pera at sabay sabing: “kukunin ko ang bayad sa halik may sukli ka pa!” At siyempre ang eksena sa hukom kung saan paulit ulit niyang sinasabi ang salitang: “Sinungaling!…” Ang musika ni Lutgardo Labad ay minsan nakakaabala sa tunay na eksena ngunit angkop na angkop ang theme song ng pelikula, ang “Dati” na kinanta mismo ni Antony Castelo. Merong mahahabang linya si Christopher DeLeon sa bandang huli at nakuha naman niyang bigyan ng buhay ang papel niya bilang abogado ng taga-usig kahit na parang pilit ang pagpapalit niya ng panig para sa tagapagtanggol sa bandang huli, sa kanyang closing remarks. Alam niya marahil na talagang pelikula ito ni Ate Vi. Mahusay rin ang pagganap ni Antony Castelo bilang isang matigas na ulong anak ng isang mayaman. Sa papel na ina ni Ana, nakaka-distract ang hindi tunay na boses ni Mila Ocampo. Bilang ama ni Bernard San Diego, very one-dimensional ang papel ni Subas Herrero. Ang pinakanakakatuwang papel ay ang papel na kaibigan ni Ana na ginampanan ni Deborah Sun. Meron siyan eksena sa hukuman kung saan tumistigo siya at natural na natural ang pagkababaeng bakla niya. Mabilis ang pacing ng pelikula at walang mahusay ang pagkakaedit nito. Hindi ako nagtaka kung bakit nanalo si Ate Vi para sa pelikulang ito mula sa Famas. Ito rin ang bale hudyat ng pagsibol ng bagong Vilma Santos pagpasok ng dekada otsenta dahil sa sumunod na taon ay nagkasunod sunod na ang parangal sa pagarte ni Ate Vi mula sa iba’t ibang award giving bodies.” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos collaborated in seven films. The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other director, 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 Box-office Film. They follow this up with a more mature projects as Vilma started to switched her image from sweet to a mature/versatile actress, pairing her with Christopher DeLeon in five films starting with Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig in 1977. The Perez-Santos-DeLeon team produced several blockbuster hits and also gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards.  Both wins contributed to her elevation to the FAMAS’ highest honour, the “Hall of Fame” award she received in 1989.  The wins were for Pakawalan Mo Ako (1979) and Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos (1988)…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…The second memorable film experience for me was during early 80s where I saw the free sneak preview of “Pakawalan Mo Ako” at Gotesco Theatre near University of the East. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get in. My college mates weren’t. They got stocked in the pandemonium outside. I was worried sick as I took the long escalator and saw them being crashed by the crowd. The security guards have to closed the gate of the lobby. Fans became so restless and broke the glass windows (where they displayed posters and still photos) . Inside, It was crowded, hot and wild. We were seeing a more mature Vilma Santos.  The moviegoers reacts to every scenes from the very beginning up to the very end (the courtroom scene where Vilma cried and swear, “Liars!  Liars! You’re all Lying!”)…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Natatangi ang pelikulang Pakawalan Mo Ako (MVP Pictures, 1981) dahil sa matagumpay nitong pagtatangkang ilahad ang proseso tungkol sa pag-ibig at pagbabahagi ng sarili nang buo ang pagkatao. Nilinaw ng pelikula ang mga personal at pang-ekonomiyang salik na naghatid sa pangunahing tauhan tungo sa pagpuputa at inilalantad ang bunga nito gaya ng madamdaming pagsasadula ni Vilma Santos. Nang muli silang magkita ng kasintahan, ibang babae na ang kanyang nakatagpo, mas may tiwala sa sarili at mulat na sa kalakaran ng mundo. Nakakaantig ang transpormasyon ng kanyang karakter mula biktima ng nasawing pag-ibig at di-makalingang propesyon tungo sa pagbabago at paninindigan ng kanyang pagiging babae. Mapangumbinsi rin ang pagganap ni Christopher de Leon dahil sa kanyang sensitibong pagpasok sa katauhan ng isang abogadong makiling sa sistema ng batas. Sa unang tingin, tila makababae ang punto de bista ng Pakawalan Mo Ako dahil sa paglalahad ng babae bilang biktima pa rin ng ispontanyong reaksiyon ni Bernard, ang lalaking nagnanasa sa kanyang katawan. Subalit madulas ang daloy ng iskrip nina Pete Lacaba, Mao Gia Samonte at Iskho Lopez, konsistent ang disenyong biswal at sinematograpiya. Malinis ang editing at akmang-akma ang musika. Ngunit habang hinihimay ang naratibo, unti-unting natuklasan ang melodramatikong proposisyong ipinapakain ng pelikula. Isang proposisyong taliwas sa pagnanasang patuloy na makibaka, magmahal at mabuhay…” – Jojo Devera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: SINASAMBA KITA (Videos)


The Plot: They are half-sisters, connected by blood. But to Divina (Vilma Santos), Nora (Lorna Tolentino) is just her late father’s illegitimate daughter. Yet, despite the harsh treatments she gets, Nora remains awestruck and continues to adulate her strong-willed older sister. But even the meekest of people can only bear so much. Nora leaves the confort of home to hid her own place under the sun, and in due time, she and Divina are to meet again to settle the score once and for all. – Viva Films

They are half-sisters, connected by blood. But to Divina, Nora is just her late father’s illegitimate daughter. Yet, despite the harsh treatment she gets, Nora remains awestruck and continues to adulate her strong-willed older sister. But even the meekest of people can only bear so much. Nora leaves the comfort of home to find her own place under the sun, and in due time, she and Divina are to meet again to settle the score once and for all. But will the scars of yesterday prevail or will they forget the wounds especially now that they direly need each other. – Wikepedia

The Reviews: “Napanood namin ang “Sinasamba Kita” at hindi nga pala kayang iarte ni Lampel Luis ang role na napunta kay Lorna Tolentino. Parang komiks talaga ang istorya ng pelikulang hanggo nga sa nobelang komiks. Melodramatiko at kung minsan ay mahirap paniwalaan ang mga sitwasyon. Pero mapupuri na rin ang iskrip ni Orlando Nadres dahil nagawa niyang credible ang mga tauhan sa istorya. At talagang mahuhusay ang acting ng mga artista. Napakagaling ni Vilma Santos sa papel ng mataray na business executive. Para talagang alam niya ang bawat kilos at hakbang na ginagawa niya. Very sympathetic namang tunay si Lorna sa kanyang role bilang inaaping kapatid. At for once, hindi nasapawan si Christopher de Leon ng kanyang co-star. Kontroladong-kontrolado ang acting niya rito. Si Phillip Salvador nga ang nagmukhang dehado, iba pati ang hitsura niya sa pelikula. Mukha siyang tumandang hindi mawari. Maganda rin ang theme song ng pelikula. At dito kami naniwalang totoo ang kasabihang it’s the singer not the song.” – Mario E Bautista (READ MORE)

“Muli na namang ipinakita ni Vilma Santos ang kanyang husay sa pagganap sa pelikulang “Sinasamba Kita”. Consistent ang characterization ni Vilma sa naturang pelikula, at nagmukhang supporting na lahat ang kasama niyang may malalaki din namang pangalan.” – Arthur Quinto (READ MORE)

“Sobra pala ang lakas ng “Sinasamba Kita.” Tuwang tuwa sina Vic at Mina del Rosario. They started with 38 theatres, by the weekend, 41 theatres na ang nagpapalabas ng pelikula. After 6 days, kumita na ito ng P5,207,416.00. After a week’s time, almost P6 million na ito.” – Billy Balbastro (READ MORE)

“1982 was a banner year for Vilma Santos. Aside from the acting gem, “Relasyon,” she also established her bankable status, thanks to Viva film’s “Sinasamba Kita”. This film grossed 6.2 million in just 6 days, a box office record! Directed by Eddie Garcia, the film featured Vilma as the “bitchy-rich” anti-heroine executive, Lorna Tolentino, Christopher DeLeon and Philip Salvador. The intertwined love quadrangle between the four characters enhanced by crisp dialogue, glossy production design and catchy theme song made this movie effective and very commercial. Two scenes stands out, both involved Vi and Lorna. (By the way, Lorna’s name in this film was Nora and Vilma was Divina, which made us wonder if this is supposed to be a Nora-Vilma film.) In one scene, Vilma was waiting for her younger sibling Lorna, when she finally arrived, she accused the younger sister of wearing her perfume, the accusation made Lorna defensive and replied: “…bumili ako para sa sarili ko nagustuhan ko kasi ang amoy!” In which Vilma countered: “…for godsake, Nora, bakit hindi ka magkaroon ng sarili mong identity!..Hindi kita anino!” Another scene, Vilma caught Lorna wearing the same designer clothes: Vilma: “Iniinsulto mo ba ako? Anong gusto mong palabasin bakit ginagaya mo ang damit ko?” Lorna: “Ate naman ano naman ang masama kung gayahin kita?” Vilma: “Alamin mo muna ang iyong limitasyon…baka nakakalimutan mo kung saan kita pinulot…kinikilala kitang kapatid pero hindi tayo magkapantay!” Lorna: “Napakaliit naman pala ng pagtingin mo sa akin…” Vilma: “Imposible naman lumaki ang pagtingin ko sa taong tinutulungan ko lang?…kung sabagay magkaiba tayo ng ina…bakit kaya pinatulan ng papa ang iyong ina?” Lorna: “huwag mo naming insultuhin ang inay, patay na siya…” Vilma: “Hindi ko siya iniinsulto sinasabi ko lang sayo ang totoo! Magkaiba tayong dalawa, hindi mo ako matutularan at hindi kita tutularan! Nora, ang hindi mo maabot huwag mog pagpilitang abutin, wala kang pang pakpak k’ya huwag lumipad ng pagkataas-taas!” – RV (READ MORE)

“Dahil Father’s Day ngayon, nais nating bigyan ng magandang tribute ang nakilala nang ama ng maraming­ artista ng iba’t ibang henerasyon na si Eddie Garcia. Hindi lang mahusay na bida at kontrabida si Eddie kundi mahusay rin siya bilang isang film director. Taong 1961 nang idirek ni Eddie ang kanyang unang pelikula titled “Karugtong Ng Kahapon” kunsaan bida sina Mario Montenegro, Rita Gomez, Ric Rodrigo at Marlene Dauden. Higit na 36 movies pa ang dinirek ni Eddie na iba-iba ang tema…Sinasamba Kita (1982), Kuwento ng magkapatid sa ama na sina Divina (Vilma Santos) at Nora (Lorna Tolentino). Hindi buo ang pagtanggap ni Divina kay Nora at trato niya rito ay hindi parang kadugo. Pero iniidolo ni Nora si Divina. Hanggang sa pumagitna sa kanila si Jerry (Christopher de Leon) na lalong magpapalalim sa hidwaan ng magkapatid at galit naman sa manliligaw ni Divina na si Oscar (Phillip Salvador). Nanalo rito si ­Eddie bilang Best Director sa FAMAS Awards…” – Ruel Mendoza, Abante, 15 June 2019 (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: DARNA AT DING

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The Plot: The movie started on how Narda got her power as Darna. As soon as Narda transformed into Darna, she quickly started her adventure with Ding fighting the Hawk Woman. And soon after Darna and Ding found a giant and both lost the fight to Darna. As the story unfold Dr. Vontesberg pretended as a good samaritan with an evil plan to destroy the towns people who killed her grandfather mistakenly accused as a devil worshipper. Dr. Vontesberg summoned the dead and terrorized the townspeople. Narda was captured by the mad Dr. Vontesberg and showed her how she operates her plans. Ding got on time to rescue her helpless sister and they both stopped Vontesberg evil plans. Then, Darna and Ding flew their way to the city. And on their way, they captured a bunch of loose prisoners, after this scene was a long lots of talking non-action scenes. Finally, Lei Ming and Darna measured their strength and powers. Lei Ming created an evil Darna to destroy the real Darna. At the end Lei Ming lose and took her own life. – Super Heroes Lives (READ MORE)

Upon Narda (Vilma Santos) and her younger brother Ding’s (Niño Muhlach) discovery of a glowing stone from the sky, Narda’s life is changed as she turns into a superwoman. From then on, the tandem of Narda and Ding embark on adventures, saving the world from evil. Together, they battle German scientist Dr. Vontesberg (Marissa Delgado), who turns healthy people into zombies. Narda and Ding also take on Chinese witch Lei Ming (Celia Rodriguez), who is out to kidnap children. (READ)

The Reviews: “…On it’s 11th year of presenting Asian cinema to Czech audiences, 2015 FilmAsia, the Czech Republic’s premier Asian film festival, is putting Filipino cinema in focus for the first time. Initiated by Czech Embassy in Manila, in cooperation with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), this year’s FilmAsia premieres six Filipino feature films, old and new. Among the films brought to Prague are the recently rediscovered and restored classic Genghis Khan (1950) directed by Manuel Conde which opened the festival on Dec. 4, and the acclaimed political family drama Dekada ’70 (2002) based on the novel by Lualhati Bautista, a film which mirrors the similar experience of the Czechs, who were also fighting for their democracy in the 1970s and 1980s while under communist rule. “As only a single Philippine film, The King of Sulu and the Emperor of China by Eddie Romero, ever entered the Czech film distribution [system] as long as a quarter a century ago, and not more than a dozen, often independent, films have been screened at Czech film festivals in recent years, this very first Philippine selection will be a unique glimpse into otherwise unknown cinematography in my country,” said Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Jaroslav Olša, Jr. The core of the Philippine focus are three independent Filipino films namely Lihis (2013), Sonata (2013), and Badil (2013), all co-produced by the FDCP. And to give the Czech audiences a glimpse of Philippine superhero films, the iconic Philippine superheroine will get the opportunity to fly over Prague with the Czech premier of Darna, starring Vilma Santos. “As the only Asian film festival in the Czech Republic, FilmAsia offers Czechs a glimpse of the best of what Asian cinema can offer,” said Karla Stojáková, the festival´s director and producer who has a long history of cooperation with Asian filmmakers. “Therefore I was happy to share the idea of Ambassador Jaroslav Olša, Jr. to present Filipino cinematography for the very first time in our country. Our festival is entering second decade this year and so it is symbolic and oportunity for our film enthusiasts to discover another Asian cinematography.” In previous years, FilmAsia has featured award-winning works by notable directors in the Asian region, among them Park Chan-wook, Kim Ki-duk, Hou Hsia-hsien, Johnnie To, Wong Kar-wai, Tsai Ming-liang, and Takashi Miike…” – Interaksyon, 07 December 2015 (READ MORE)

“…On it’s 11th year of presenting Asian cinema to Czech audiences, 2015 FilmAsia, the Czech Republic’s premier Asian film festival, is putting Filipino cinema in focus for the first time. Initiated by Czech Embassy in Manila, in cooperation with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), this year’s FilmAsia premieres six Filipino feature films, old and new. Among the films brought to Prague are the recently rediscovered and restored classic Genghis Khan (1950) directed by Manuel Conde which opened the festival on Dec. 4, and the acclaimed political family drama Dekada ’70 (2002) based on the novel by Lualhati Bautista, a film which mirrors the similar experience of the Czechs, who were also fighting for their democracy in the 1970s and 1980s while under communist rule. “As only a single Philippine film, The King of Sulu and the Emperor of China by Eddie Romero, ever entered the Czech film distribution [system] as long as a quarter a century ago, and not more than a dozen, often independent, films have been screened at Czech film festivals in recent years, this very first Philippine selection will be a unique glimpse into otherwise unknown cinematography in my country,” said Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Jaroslav Olša, Jr. The core of the Philippine focus are three independent Filipino films namely Lihis (2013), Sonata (2013), and Badil (2013), all co-produced by the FDCP. And to give the Czech audiences a glimpse of Philippine superhero films, the iconic Philippine superheroine will get the opportunity to fly over Prague with the Czech premier of Darna, starring Vilma Santos. “As the only Asian film festival in the Czech Republic, FilmAsia offers Czechs a glimpse of the best of what Asian cinema can offer,” said Karla Stojáková, the festival´s director and producer who has a long history of cooperation with Asian filmmakers. “Therefore I was happy to share the idea of Ambassador Jaroslav Olša, Jr. to present Filipino cinematography for the very first time in our country. Our festival is entering second decade this year and so it is symbolic and oportunity for our film enthusiasts to discover another Asian cinematography.” In previous years, FilmAsia has featured award-winning works by notable directors in the Asian region, among them Park Chan-wook, Kim Ki-duk, Hou Hsia-hsien, Johnnie To, Wong Kar-wai, Tsai Ming-liang, and Takashi Miike…” – Interaksyon, 07 December 2015 (READ MORE)

“Darna at Ding, Vilma’s fourth and final portrayal of Darna, takes her to another wild adventure, this time with her younger brother Ding. When a mysterious stone falls into the hands of Narda, she finds out that the stone is an amulet that gives her super power. This is the start of the many adventures of Darna, that have her battling with the evil sorceress Lei Ming and Hawk Woman. A whole new adventure with the popular Philippine heroine, Darna at Ding is another classic worth watching.” – UP (READ MORE)

“…The famous child actress Vilma Santos grew up as a beautiful young star and was able to maintain popularity from the ’70’s up to the present. Her title “Star for all Seasons” fits her well because among her contemporaries, she is the only one who stays on top. She can choose the roles that she wants, and is still deluge with movie offers complete with top billing and huge talent fee, that even the likes of Claudine or Judy Ann can only hope for. And why not? She is the Queen! And she deserves nothing less! She is considered the Box Office Queen of all time. Blessings continued to pour for Vilma, from film awards to public service recognitions. She is also the only actor to have crossed over from showbiz to politics and was graded satisfactorily. And like what Mar Garces, our famous house writed said, “you ain’t see nothing yet, the best is yet to come.” What do they have in common (Vilma and Nino)? They are both considered as among the richest celebrities in local industry. In wrapping up, we can say that Nino started as a child wonder & ended up as a successful businessman; he is now accepting small roles. Vilma Santos on the other hand, continues to shine her star and is considered as the longest reigning Queenstar of all time. To you Darna at Ding.” – Franco Gabriel, V Magazine Issue No. 5 (READ MORE)

“…produced by D’ Wonder Films Vilma Santos donned her Darna costume for the last time in 1980 with Darna at Ding. For the first time, Ding was mentioned in the title. And why not? The kid was now played by Niño Muhlach, the most popular child star of the day. The company that produced it, D’Wonder films, belonged to the Muhlach’s family. The Wonder films tried to captured the magic of 1973 monster hit “Lipad, Darna, Lipad.” By recasting some of the original cast of Vilma’s first Darna movie. Celia Rodriguez declined to play Valentina, instead they tailored a new character for her as Lei Ming the sorceress. Then Veronica Jones was asked to play Valentina but, ended up playing the role of Hawk Woman. Max Alvarado reprised his role as the Giant. Marissa Delgado also joined the cast as Dr. Vontesberg. The movie started on how Narda got her power as Darna. As soon as Narda transformed into Darna, she quickly started her adventure with Ding fighting the Hawk Woman. And soon after Darna and Ding found a giant and both lost the fight to Darna. As the story unfold Dr. Vontesberg pretended as a good samaritan with an evil plan to destroy the towns people who killed her grandfather mistakenly accused as a devil worshipper. Dr. Vontesberg summoned the dead and terrorized the townspeople. Narda was captured by the mad Dr. Vontesberg and showed her how she operates her plans. Ding got on time to rescue her helpless sister and they both stopped Vontesberg evil plans. Then, Darna and Ding flew their way to the city. And on their way, they captured a bunch of loose prisoners, after this scene was a long lots of talking non-action scenes. Finally, Lei Ming and Darna measured their strength and powers. Lei Ming created an evil Darna to destroy the real Darna. At the end Lei Ming lose and took her own life. Vilma finally relinquished the role of Darna to Sharon Cuneta, who appeared in a cameo role as Darna, in 1986’s Captain Barbel, also a Mars Ravelo classic creation. Years after, Dawn Zulueta was rumored to play Darna but the role of our beloved superheroine went to Nanette Medved who would have preferred to play Valentina…” – Eric Cueto (READ MORE)

“…The climax of this “Darna vs. the Dragon Lady” part of Darna At Ding sees Lei Ming conjure up an evil double of Darna to keep our heroine busy while, elsewhere in her lair, a towering robot bears menacingly down upon Ding. It’s a suitably whiz-bang finale to this loopy, kitchen sink confection, and one that makes the long, strange and circuitous route that we’ve taken to get to it seem perhaps less arduous in retrospect. Still, at a solid two hours, Darna At Ding is an example of a movie that pulls out all the stops, but perhaps shouldn’t have. While it’s combination of horror movie chills, superhero thrills and slapstick spills might have been catnip for the Filipino audience of its day, for the rest of us it might prove mildly exhausting. Nonetheless, I find Vilma Santos so appealing in her role that it’s hard for me to imagine hating any Darna movie that she appears in, and this one’s no exception.” – Todd Stadtman of “luchadiaries” (READ MORE)

“…Darna at Ding is a bit of a mess, even by nonsensical low-budget fantasy standards. The tone is incredibly inconsistent, ranging from broad slapstick comedy [as seen in a Benny Hill inspired speed-up sequence showing townspeople running from zombies], spooky horror [Ding nearly killed by voodoo], and violent action. The segue between the two wildly disparate plots, in which Darna must fend off a truck load of escaped convicts, seems particularly off key with its graphic Peckinpah-esque slow motion shotgun blast and neck-snapping conclusion. Children’s fare this certainly isn’t, though it plays as such for a good chunk of its two hour running time. Frequent shifts in tone and random outbursts of comedy/horror/violence I can deal with, but the sluggish plots really bog Darna at Ding down. The first narrative, in particular, just seems to drag on and on, with various groups of locals running into zombies, getting scared, and running away over and over again. I, for one, could have done with a lot less of that and a lot more of Darna kicking escaped convict ass. And there I think is the film’s biggest flaw – there’s just not nearly enough of Darna in it. She appears at the beginning, middle, and end for a few minutes each and in highly enjoyable setups, but the remaining four fifths of the film is left to languish in entertainment limbo without her.

That’s not to say that there aren’t fun moments to be had in this twelfth Darna outing – quite the contrary. The opening is fantastically absurd [I really dig those forced perspective giant effects], as is the Darna-versus-Darna battle that serves as the climax. But for every moment of overt glee there are twenty or so more in which nothing happens at all. It’s a pity, really, as the potential for entertainment is certainly there, but remains woefully un-tapped. From a production standpoint Darna at Ding was better than I anticipated, and there was obviously at least a little money put behind it. Special effects were about as good as I expected, and work well enough without becoming entirely embarrassing. The cast is quite good too, paltry as the material they have to work with is. Vilma Santos is always a pleasure to have on screen, and Nino Mulhach never becomes tiresome or annoying as Ding. The giant who sees such little action is familiar as well – Max Alvarado, who would go on to play Columbus, one of the multitude of villains in for y’ur height only. The soundtrack is groovy but of dubious legality. I recognized much of what was played, but could only pin down Pink Floyd’s Time for certain…” – Kevin Pyrtle, WTF-FILM (READ MORE)

RELATED READING:

FILM REVIEW: TRUDIS LIIT

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The Plot: Ang Trudis Liit ay isang pelikulang Drama kung saan inaapi ang kaawa-awang si Trudis (Vilma Santos) ng kanyang madrasta (Bella Flores). Ito ay ipinalabas noong Pebrero 21, taong 1963. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “This is, of course, Vilma’s first film and it has all the elements of a melodrama – the good guys and one extremely bad woman (Bella Flores). This early, you can already tell that Vilma was to the acting profession born. (She won FAMAS Best Child Actress for this film). She doesn’t allow herself to be eclipsed by her veteran co-stars: Luis Gonzales and the Lolita Rodriguez. But with due respect to Vilma, even if she is the one who plays the title role here and is undeniably good in this Sampaguita Pictures box-office hit, the one who leaves a really lasting impression in the minds of most viewers is the character played by Connie Angeles – Oreng. After all, wasn’t it this girl who gets chewed up by a German Shepherd in the film?” – Butch Francisco, Newsflash.org Feb 2004 (READ MORE)

“Nakihalo lang ako doon sa mga nag-a-audition sa Trudis Liit [1963],” pagbabalik-tanaw ng aktres kung paano siya napasok sa showbiz at naging bida nga kaagad sa nabanggit niyang proyektong iyon. Hindi ako dapat talaga doon [sa audition na iyon]. Nakipila lang ako. Pagpila ko, tinatawag ako ng mommy ko na, ‘Hindi ka diyan! Sabi ko, ‘Andito na, e!’ Makulit na ako no’ng time na ‘yon! So, anyway, tinawag ako ni Doc Perez [of Sampaguita Pictures] at that time. Pinaarte ako. Nag-adlib-adlib pa ako. Nakuha naman ako. So, when I started, dalawa kaagad ang pelikula ko—Trudis Liit at Anak, Ang Iyong Ina [1963]. Ang naaalala ko lang tungkol sa maaga kong pagpasok sa pag-aartista, parang laro lang sa akin iyon. Parang naglalaro lang ako noon kaya hindi trabaho sa akin iyon, e. So, very-very memorable sa akin iyon. At saka no’ng Trudis Liit, every lunch, lagi akong may apple. Lagi akong may chicken. Every lunch talaga ‘yon. Parang… Siguro bata, so ibibigay nila ‘yong gano’ng ano sa ‘yo. Parang may prize ka, gano’n. So, memorable sa akin iyon.” – Vilma Santos (READ MORE)

“This is, of course, Vilma’s first film and it has all the elements of a melodrama – the good guys and one extremely bad woman (Bella Flores). This early, you can already tell that Vilma was to the acting profession born. (She won FAMAS Best Child Actress for this film). She doesn’t allow herself to be eclipsed by her veteran co-stars: Luis Gonzales and the Lolita Rodriguez. But with due respect to Vilma, even if she is the one who plays the title role here and is undeniably good in this Sampaguita Pictures boxoffice hit, the one who leaves a really lasting impression in the minds of most viewers is the character played by Connie Angeles – Oreng. After all, wasn’t it this girl who gets chewed up by a German Shepherd in the film?…” – Butch Francisco, Philippine Star November 3, 2005 (READ MORE)

“Throughout the years, the local film industry saw a continuous parade of child actors and actresses who eventually became adult performers to take their rightful places in the pantheon of movie stars. Hereunder are some of those phenomenal thespian-turned-stars:..Vilma Santos—She was the original Trudis Liit in 1963. Paired with Edgar Mortiz as a loveteam, they appeared in Our Love Affair, My Love at First Sight, Don’t Ever Say Goodbye and Young Love. But her filmography is filled with outstanding films directed by top-notch directors. Her unforgettable films included: Bata..Bata..Paano Ka Ginawa? (Chito Rono) which won for her a best actress award from Belgium directed by Chito Roño; Anak (Rory Quintos); Dekada 70 (Chito Rono) with Christopher de Leon; Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (Ishmael Bernal); Relasyon (Ishmael Bernal) which gave her a gand slam of all local best actress awards from FAP,FAMAS, Star; Broken Marriage (Ishmael Bernal); Hahamakin Lahat (Lino Brocka); Rubia Servios (Lino Brocka); Kapag Langit ang Humatol (Laurence Guillen); Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-Itim ng Tagak (Celso Ad. Castillo); Burlesk Queen (Celso Ad. Castillo) and Sister Stella L. (Mike de Leon)…” – FAP (READ MORE)

“…Contravida Queen Bella Flores was featured in “Showbiz Central’s” Most Influential segment as she plays a big part in GMA Films’ new movie with Rhian Ramos and Aljur Abrenica, “My Kontrabida Girl.” It’s also a tribute to Bella as she’s celebrating her 60th anniversary in showbiz. The screen name Bella Flores was given to her by the late Sampaguita Pictures’ boss Dr. Jose Perez. “I was so glad when I was told it means beautiful flowers,” she said. Her real name is Remedios Dancel and she was born on Feb. 27, 1936, which means she turned 76 yesterday, Monday (Feb 27/2012). She was only 15 when she did her first villain role maltreating child star Tessie Agana in the blockbuster “Roberta.” She recounted that Vilma Santos auditioned with her for her first movie, “Trudis Liit,” in 1963. “Natakot siya at tumakbo dahil nakita niyang pinahirapan ko ‘yung ibang batang nag-audition,” she said. “Ngayon, governor na siya. Sina Roderick Paulate at Gina Alajar, sa’kin din nagsimula as child stars sa ‘Kaibigan Kong Sto. Nino’…” – Mario Bautista (READ MORE)

“Ang pelikula ni Ate Vi na Trudis Liit ay tandang tanda ng maraming Vilmanians. Nagdulot ito ng unang karangalan para kay Ate Vi at sa murang edad ng siyam. Sa mga Vilmanians ang maraming madramang eksena ni Vilma rito’y natanim sa ating alaala. Ang sabi nga ng isa sa ating Vilmanian na si Henry Llaneza, “the first movie I’ve seen in Black & White TV mula sa bintana ng kapitbahay ay ang “Trudis Liit” na napaiyak ang lahat ng nanonood dito nagsimula ang lahat…” ng kanyang pagiging isang Vilmanian. Katulad ni Henry, dito rin nagsimula ang aking paghanga sa star for all season. Galit na galit ako nuon kay Bella Flores dahil sa pang-aaping ginawa niya kay Trudis. Sa pagkapanalo ni Ate Vi ng FAMAS Best Child Actress sa pelikulang ito, sinundan pa ng Sampaguita Pictures ang tagumpay nito sa pamamagitan ng pelikulang Ging. Dito makikita ang malinaw na talento ni Ate Vi. Hindi lamang sa kanyang hindi pilit na pag-iyak kundi sa pagkanta rin. Dito rin sa pelikulang ito’y nakipagsabayan siya sa pagganap ni Olivia Cenizal at sa pang-aapi ni Carol Varga. Ang dekada ng sisenta ay patuloy na nagbigay ng maraming pelikula kay Ate Vi magmula sa pagiging isang batang artista hanggang sa isang teenager. Umabot ito sa unang karangalan niya bilang isang hindi na batang artista sa pamamagitan ng pagkanominado niya sa Best Supporting Actress muli sa FAMAS at ang kanyang pagkapanalo ng parehong titulo mula naman sa San Beda College…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Vilma was talking about Trudis Liit, the ’60s Sampaguita tearjerker in which she played the title role, with Luis playing her father, now US-based Lolita Rodriguez her mother and Bella Flores as the kontrabida. Luis, whose real surname is Mercado, died of complications of pneumonia at 11:30 Thursday night, March 15, at the Makati Medical Center where he was confined for the last time (he had been in and out of the hospital). As in the case of movie greats, Luis’ age is confidential and maybe not even his wife Vina Concepcion, who belongs to the clan that owns Concepcion Industries, and their three children can be forced to reveal it. After Trudis Liit, Vilma would star with Luis years later when she was already a teenager, in Iginuhit ng Tadhana and in Pinagbuklod ng Langit, produced by Sampaguita Pictures, believed to have helped Ferdinand Marcos win when he ran for President and then for reelection. In both movies, Luis plays Marcos, with Gloria Romero as First Lady Imelda Marcos and Vilma as Imee Marcos (now Ilocos Norte Governor). In the second, Gina Alajar plays as Irene Marcos (Mrs. Greggy Araneta), Now-Sen. Bongbong Marcos plays himself in the first movie (it was Jonjie Aranda, ex-husband of Sen. Loren Legarda, who plays Bongbong in the second). “I shot Palimos ng Pagibig (a Viva drama, with Edu Manzano and Dina Bonnevie) at Luis’ house,” added Vilma. “I remember him as sobrang kalog, palabiro. Ang tawag namin kay Tito Luis palengke kasi nga Mercado ang real surname niya. I was nine years old then and he always reminded me to just enjoy everything. We were always shooting dramatic scenes at parati akong iyak nang iyak, but after every take, tawa na kami nang tawa because Tito Luis would start cracking jokes…” – RicoJr (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: GING

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The Plot: A young Vilma Santos starred as Ging. A smart mouth street kid who have to beg for money to support her crippled mother. She was adopted by a deceitful couple who heard her sing in a restaurant. The couple made Ging into a singing sensation but abuse her, limiting her food intake and sleep to prevent her to grow. Ging eventually left them and surprisingly discovered her father. She reconciled with him and her crippled mother.

The Reviews: Ang sarap balikan ng mga pelikula ng the Premier Acress of the Land. Mga pelikulang may mga temang napapanahon kahit sabihin pang luma na ang mga ito. May tatak Vilma Santos. GING (1964) – all of 11 years, here is the newly-crowned FAMAS best child actress sa isa sa mga title roles niya bilang anak ng laos na artista (Olivia Cenizal) na nalumpo after she gave birth to Ging (Vilma). Ang ama ni Ging ay isang bit player na Mama’s boy, si Jose Padilla, Jr.(SLN) whose mother is the screen’s perennial conravida, Etang Discher (SLN), mother of the late Panchito. Padilla abandoned Ging and her mother on her mother’s wishes so he won’t be dropped from her “pamana” (will). Mother and daughter lived in a slum area. Their squalid lives are made bearable with the presence of a cantankerous neighbor Aruray and her son who was sired by a black G.I. named George. Aruray’s son is about Ging’s age. They practically were street urchins who beat the other kids in soliciting alms, thanks to Ging’s histrionics: she would fake syncope (play dead) and “kawawa” by relating her sad plight as an abandoned poor daughter with a paraplegic of a mother – through a song that would drive her audience at a restaurant to tears and pity – and would give her free food and money. The ploy works all the time. Little did Ging realize that an unscupulous couple, racketeers Ramon D’Salva and Carol Varga were observing her in a restaurant and saw in her a goldmine: they would adopt her and make them rich as her talent manager. Talk of child exploitation. Reluctant at first, Ging agrees to go with the evil couple provided she would go to shool and that they would send her alcoholic mother (bagay na bagay ito sa isang artista) to the hospital for treatment. Of course, the evil and scheming couple reneged on their promises. They exploited Ging by forcing her to work overtime and would starve her so she wouldn’t grow up and lose her audience. Luckily, she has a guardian angel in Georgie Quizon, Dolphy’s erthswhile brother who, along with Aruray provided comic relief, and who would protect Vilma from her exploiters. Young Vilma’s raw, innate talent surfaces most especially in her scenes where she vacllates or mulls in leaving her mother. Her final goodbye scene with her mother is heartbreaking, enough a motivation for a Vilma fan Nora Aunor in Iriga city to follow in her footsteps. “One day, I wanna be like Vilma, I will sing and make people cry. Love that “gripo” princess to death. Idol ko siya.” Shot in black and white and adapted from the comics to the screen by Mars Ravelo, the movie was directed by Cirio Santiago and Teodorico Santos. The movie is a must have for any true blue Vilmanian. Listang-lista at ang husay ni Vilma rito. Naroong kumanta siya (the voice over seemed like her singing voice), sumayaw at nagdrama. Luma si Madonna doon sa isang parang La Isla Bonita number niya. One memorable scene was when she was singing her signature song to the audience of her longing to see her mother and her father – the camera captures her pain and agony and the deep wound she suffers from her abusers – a poignant scene, complete with tears and and a well-internalized acting. Bravo! Karapat-dapat na U.P. Gawad Plaridel Awardee – maliit pa lang ang dyaske, ang husay talaga. Sa katunayan, some scenes from Ging were included in the audio-visual presentation at both the FAMAS Hall of Fame awards and the recent U.P. Gawad Plaridel coronation of the Summa Cum Laude of All Philippine Actors. Ang galing-galing mo talaga, Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos-Recto! – Mario Garces, V magazine 2006

All Vilmanians and even those who just love watching old Tagalog movies must have been glued to their TV screens last Thursday afternoon when Channel 9’s “Premiere Pilipino Klasiks” aired “Ging”, Vilma Santos’ follow-up movie after she was introduced in Sampaguita Pictures’ “Trudis Liit.” Produced by Premiere Productions when Vilma was only 10 (circa 1963), “Ging” casts the now-Star for All Seasons (and Batangas Governor, too!) as a street child who is in charge of taking care of her invalid mother, played by Olivia Cenizal. In flashback fashion, we find out that Ms. Cenizal was once a big movie star who fell in love and married a young rich man (portrayed in the film by Jose Padilla, Jr.) Padilla’s aristocratic mother (Etang Discher), unfortunately, breaks up the union and the two lovers go their separate ways. Vilma, as Ging, was born shortly after. While begging for food scraps from customers at the restaurant of the Chinese Ponga (I doubt if today’s generation have any idea who he is or how he looks like), she is spotted by Ramon D’Salva and his wife, Carol Varga. The couple immediately express their wish to adopt her. Vilma was hesitant at first at the idea – until she was promised by D’Salva that she would be sent to school, and her mother, to the hospital for medical treatment. Once she is in the D’Salva home, the couple show their true colors. They exploit her by making her perform in vaudeville presentations. Although she is a hit and a top money maker, she is still badly treated by Varga. For one, she is not given proper nutrition to stunt her growth (child stars are supposed to be cute and small). Little Vilma rebels when she finds out that D’Salva does not fulfill his promise of sending her mother to the hospital for treatment. She runs away and in the process bumps into people related to her biological father. Padilla and Cenizal are reunited and the little heroine lives happily ever after with her parents. “Ging” was directed by Cirio Santiago and Teodorico Santos. Although it was made in the old-fashioned way of making films (the flashback scenes in particular), the material used here is timeless – especially since there are more street children in our midst now more than ever. As far as the showbiz scene is concerned, there are still a lot of heartless impresarios today exploiting young talents in the business. But what really made “Ging” a delight to watch was the performance of the very young Vilma Santos. Even at the early age, it was clear that she was already brimming with talent. Vilma, apparently, was born into this world to perform, entertain and make people happy. She was utterly convincing in the dramatic scenes and thoroughly graceful in her musical numbers. Listang-lista – as we’d say in the vernacular. Even then, she was already living up to her showbiz title of “Star for All Seasons” because her performance in “Ging” is not only brilliant, but timeless as well. – Butch Francisco, People’s Journal March 04 1999

RELATED READING:
Ging (film) From Wikipedia
Vilma Santos – The Child Star
Vilma Santos in Mars Ravelo’s “Ging” (1963): Komiks Serial and Movie Adaptation
The Quixotic Quizons of R.P. Movies

FILM REVIEW: PINAY AMERICAN STYLE


The Plot: PX, short for Paula Xavier (Vilma Santos) was an illegal alien in New York City. She’s broke and waiting for fiancé, Cocoy laurel to fulfill his promise of marriage despite the fact that Cocoy has already married an American to secure a green card. Hiding from the authorities, PX met two men who are willing to take care of her but conflicts arise as the two wanted to maintain a serious relationship with her. Played wonderfully by Christopher Deleon and Bembol Roco, the film resolved the love quadrangle between ex-fiancé, Cocoy Laurel and the two brothers when the jealous Cocoy reported Vilma to the immigration authorities. PX was deported back to the Philippines. But the films didn’t end in a sour note, PX found herself reunited with Christopher Deleon when the later followed her in the Philippines. – RV (READ MORE)

The Reviews: Shot in New York City and directed by Elwood Perez, this film seems to be a precursor to Miss X (1980) ’Merika (1984) starring Nora Aunor and Milan (2004), even Anak (2000) and Dubai (2005). Talaga bang masarap ang buhay sa ibang bansa? Bakit nagpapakamatay sa green card ang mga Pinoy? PX, mahal na mahal kita, PX, I love you walang iba. Paula Xavier or PX (Vilma Santos) is a TNT like boyfriend Victor Laurel (what an effective undersated performance) who leaves her as his live-in to be engaged to an American to get a green card who promises Vilma to divorce the White girl and to marry PX so they could live happily forever after. Not. Vilma is pissed that Laurel dropped her for good and he left her with unpaid rent and a broken heart. Enter Boyet De Leon, as Vilma’s next boyfriend who has two jobs who has been around long enough to know what he wants in life – women and the American Dream. Enter Bembol Roco, in a great performance as Boyet’s Kuya who is a bagito green card holder in America. He was in the opening scene of the movie where he owns his business and lives comfortably even have someone to make him coffee. Rosa Mia are Roco and De Leon’s battered mother who suffers from the physically abusive second husband (a geriatric Irishman), and verbalized regrets for leaving the Philippines. She has the best lines in the movie and summarized the movie’s theme: “Kung uuwi ako sa Pilipinas ay kung patay na ako. Ayokong umuwi ng buhay at malaman nila na ang hirap ng buhay dito – kayod ka talaga to survive, at di pinupulot ang dolyar, ubas at mansanas sa daan. Ang dami kong dinaanang hirap para lang magka green card.” Vilma Santos as PX is most effective in her scenes as a dumped/bitter girlfriend of Laurel, as a conflicted girlfriend of De Leon, and as a grateful soul who thank Roco for saving her from paying her overdue rent to her white landlord. Her PX is a toned down Sandra of Ikaw Ay Akin. She says to Roco: “Dati, sa konting pagkain, I offer myself to be laid. Napakabait mo.” Roco answers back: “Hindi ganoon kababa ang tingin ko sa sarili ko.” You see, Roco falls for the beautiful PX too and was upset to learn that PX is already making it with his brother, which drove him to drink and was depressed for a while. Panoorin na lang ninyo ang movie. The movie’s hopeful view of America begins with Perry Como singing White Christmas as Roco, in a dream scene, cavorts in the snow in slow motion. In his dying scene in the arms of his brother De Leon, Roco whispers “ni hindi ko man lang nakita ang snow and the above Winter Wonderland scene was replayed, while Boyet’s cry for help fell on deaf American ears. Vilma was deported after Laurel clandestinely reported her to the INS which arrested her at her birthday party. Her farewell scene with De Leon, handcuffed and all in a train station was one of the best scenes in the movie. The movie has a happy ending, with De Leon finding Santos, a flower picker amidst a field of white daisies with Benguet/Baguio as a backdrop. In a typical Elwood Perez slow mo fashion, amidst the daisy flower plantation, the box office love team of all time hugged and lived happily ever after. As credits rolled, Florante’s song Pinay played on. Pinay, American Style. Ang ganda! Vilma Santos yata iyan! – Mario O. GArces, V Magazine Issue No. 6 2006 (READ MORE)

Vilma was obviously under utilized as PX in these Elwood Perez experiment. Despite this predicament, Vilma was able to give us a splash of her abilities. While Nora was in full bloom as Mila in these quiet Portes film. She gave us a convincing portrayal of lonely woman who realized that she was being used by a man she truly loves. The contrast of style was the main point why I matched these two roles. As PX, Vilma was talkative, hiding her insecurity and vulnerability with her fragile disguise pretending to be a rich New Yorker with almost caricature gestures.

Regal films’ Pinay American Style was as commercial as one can imagine. Regal films producer, Lily Monteverde hired three leading men to support the most bankable actress of 1979, Christopher DeLeon, Bembol Rocco and Victor Cocoy Laurel. It was a period in Vilma’s career where she is doing one commercial films after the other. Two dance/musical hits Swing it Baby and Rock Baby Rock and a string of sexy films like Rubia Servious the previous year, Coed and Magkaribal mostly targeting the mature adult audience established her status as the number one box office superstar of 1978-79. Vilma in 1979 was a picture of self-assured bankable star. She did two movies with Elwood Perez, Magkaribal and Pinay American Style both were box office hits. She also produced an Eddie Rodrigues starrer Halik sa Paa Halik sa Kamay, and teamed-up with comedy king, Dolphy in Buhay Artista. As the year 1979 ends, she battled the drama queen Charito Solis in the local festival entry, Modelong Tanso. The end of the decade marked her stronghold as the box office queen. Clearly, Vilma Santos’ versatility as an actress was the secret weapon of her box office success. And this weapon was in full display in Pinay American Style.

Pinay American Style was the story of PX, an illegal alien or TNT – “tago ng tago.” Her boyfriend played by Victor Laurel abandoned her for a rich American girl mainly to secure a green card. PX met an Americanized Filipino, Christopher DeLeon but found him not serious of having her as a steady girlfriend. It just so happened that PX also met Christopher’s brother, Bembol Rocco, a new immigrant. PX and Bembol fell for each other. And a love triangle surfaced the screen. Adding to the drama was Victor Laurel’s enraged, jealous appearances. Laurel eventually tipped the police ending PX stays in New York. As Bembol Rocco realized that America doesn’t fit his lifestyle, he reconciled with his brother and advised him to follow PX in the Philippines. Christopher and Vilma reconciled in a farm field in the Philippines. The end.

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

“…Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos colloborated in seven films (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). The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other director, 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 Box-office Film. They follow this up with a more mature projects as Vilma started to switched her image from sweet to a mature versatile actress, pairing her with Christopher DeLeon in five films starting with Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig in 1977. The Perez-Santos-DeLeon team produced seven blockbuster hits that gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards that secured her elevation to FAMAS highest honour, the FAMAS Hall of Fame award. She won in 1979 for Pakawalan Mo Ako and 1988 for Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos…” – RV (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: DAHIL MAHAL KITA THE DOLZURA CORTEZ STORY

ARTICLES - Vi in Dolzura Cortez

The Plot: “Dahil Mahal Kita (Because I Love You): The Dolzura Cortez Story 1994, This Philippine drama chronicles the colorful life of Dolzura Cortez, the first publicly recognized AIDS patient in the Philippines. The film begins with a brief examination of Cortez’s pre-AIDS life. Initially she lived in a small village with her cruel husband and three kids. The spunky woman leaves them and moves to the big city where she engages in several affairs. Her second marriage to a rich foreigner does not last long. To support her children, Dolly begins an all woman “contract worker” agency. This also serves to facilitate her love of night-life. Tragedy comes to Dolzura after she collapses on a dance floor one night and learns that she has full-blown AIDS. At a Manila hospital she meets ex-lover Paulo, an AIDS researcher who encourages to tell her story publicly. The courageous woman does and she becomes instrumental in spreading AIDS awareness to the islands.” – Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide, The New York Times (READ MORE)

The Reviews: This Philippine drama chronicles the colorful life of Dolzura Cortez, the first publicly recognized AIDS patient in the Philippines. The film begins with a brief examination of Cortez’s pre-AIDS life. Initially she lived in a small village with her cruel husband and three kids. The spunky woman leaves them and moves to the big city where she engages in several affairs. Her second marriage to a rich foreigner does not last long. To support her children, Dolly begins an all woman “contract worker” agency. This also serves to facilitate her love of night-life. Tragedy comes to Dolzura after she collapses on a dance floor one night and learns that she has full-blown AIDS. At a Manila hospital she meets ex-lover Paulo, an AIDS researcher who encourages to tell her story publicly. The courageous woman does and she becomes instrumental in spreading AIDS awareness to the islands. It was the first movie on AIDS in the Philippines that provided ‘a name and a face’ among the 50 recorded lives that were lost to AIDS in 1992. This movie was utilized as a focus of discussion by some health care personnel to express their thoughts, opinions and recommendations regarding the use of cinema as a powerful tool for AIDS information dissemination. – You and Aids web-site

The “Dolzura Cortez Story” was the Philippines’ first movie on AIDS that provided ‘a name and a face’ among the 50 recorded lives that were lost to AIDS in 1992. This movie was utilized as a focus of discussion by some health care personnel to express their thoughts, opinions and recommendations regarding the use of cinema as a powerful tool for AIDS information dissemination.

Responding to a newspaper advertisement looking for a person with AIDS, Ms. Dolzura Cortez agreed to have her life story serialized in print and later developed into a movie. The “Dolzura Cortez Story” was subsequently produced as the Philippines’ first movie on AIDS which documented the real experiences of a person living with AIDS in the country. The author reports findings from a study conducted to determine the social impact of the movie as perceived by some health care personnel. Specifically, it aimed to identify the messages that health care providers derived from watching the movie and to make recommendations on how this and subsequent films could serve as an effective tool for AIDS education. 134 health care personnel representing 13 regional hospitals from all over the country watched the film, then answered a questionnaire. The sample was of mean age 35.6 years, 84.3% female, and with mean experience of 10.1 years. 20.1% were doctors, 21.6% nurses, 32.4% social workers, and 25.4% other health personnel. 22.9% had direct experience caring for persons with AIDS and 32.8% knew someone with AIDS. Although these participants perceived some simple and subtle messages from the movie, they also noted its shortcomings. The movie lacked realism; overemphasized the dangers of having multiple sex partners at the expense of warning about other risk factors for HIV transmission; the counsellor pressured the patient and failed to provide enough information on infection control; the psychosocial, economic, and spiritual concerns of people with AIDS were not addressed; and there were some misinterpretations and twisted truths about AIDS facts and the story itself. The respondents suggested that health care providers and people directly involved in AIDS education and counseling be involved in the production of such movies. Moreover, documentary pictures and testimonial footage of the woman would have added realism, while additional basic information about AIDS could have been mentioned in either the movie or a trailer. – NCBI

‘Dolzura Cortez Story’ is an artistic and brilliant film from Manila’s finest director. The movie’s leading actress, Ms. Santos, played her part so powerfully, and is very convincing as Dolzura, the first Filipino HIV/AIDS patient to come- out to the public. The movie is a thought- provoking film, ready to challenge the Filipino idea of what is right and what is wrong. – Jonard, “A thought- provoking, honest film from Philippine’s finest director,” IBDB, March 11, 2000

“…In 1992, wala ni isang pelikulang tinampukan si Nora, samantalang si Vilma starred in only one: Maryo J. delos Reyes’ Sinungaling Mong Puso, na hindi niya pinagtamuhan ng anumang major Best Actress award. In 1993, gumawa si Vilma ng pelikula na ang kuwento’y base sa unang Pilipinang nag-reveal ng pagkakaroon niya ng AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), si Dolzura Cortez. Directed by Laurice Guillen for Octoarts Films, Dahil Mahal Kita (The Dolzura Cortez Story) won Vilma the Best Actress honors at the 1993 Manila Film Festival, Star, Gawad Urian and FAP…” – William Reyes (READ MORE)

“Still bearing activist weight is Vilma’s effort in Laurice Guillen’s Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story in which she fleshes out a body and a mind for a person with AIDS. This initiative constitutes an advocacy not only for people afflicted with the dreaded pandemic, but also for women who have to overcome strata of ostracism in the process of survival and resist their being reduced to an aberration, in this case, a pathology.” – Patrick Flores, Manila Standard Today Jan 11, 2003 (READ MORE)

“…Previously, HIV/AIDS “victims” were seen either as homosexual men, or women who worked in the sex industry. The former stereotype was even turned into a mainstream 1993 Hollywood movie Philadelphia that won a best actor Academy Award for Tom Hanks. The latter, on the other hand, was the subject of a 1993 Filipino film The Dolzura Cortez Story starring Vilma Santos. As a disease, AIDS was highly misunderstood two decades ago. Religious fanatics considered it “a punishment from God” for the sexual excesses of its victims. While a complete falsehood, there was some truth to the other mistaken belief about AIDS—that it would lead to certain death for whoever had the disease, which had no known cure. Fast forward to 2013 and Filipinos still generally remain in the dark about HIV/AIDS…” – Beting Laygo Dolor, Manila Times, 14 August 2013 (READ MORE)

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FILM REVIEW: RELASYON

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The Plot: A young woman falls in love with a married man, and they eventually try to live together — may be tame for Western audiences, but director Ishmael Bernal made this film for the Philippines, where divorce is forbidden at this time. Marilou (Vilma Sanders works as a guide in a Planetarium and has an on-going affair with Emil (Christopher de Leon) that neither her family nor friends can condone — Emil is married and has two sons. But when his wife leaves him, Emil and Marilou move in together, and that is when the problems start. She tries to make everything work out perfectly, and Emil, in turn, shows an arrogance that was quite hidden before. Given society’s disapproval of their arrangement in the bargain, their future together hardly seems bright. Ishmael Bernal was one of the most prolific directors in Philippine film history, he died in 1996 after making more than 50 films. – Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide

“In a time when the concept of divorce does not exist, much less imagined possible, we find Marilou, a planetarium guide who decides to pursue an affair with Emil, a college teacher sepatated from his wife. They seem perfect for each other, and soon decide to move in together. Their once happy affair turns sour as Marilou slowly discovers the real Emil, a chauvinistic, domineering, and emotionally abusive man who disctates everything to her, from how she should act and manage her life to the most inconsequentials details of running their house. They soon find themselves in an on-again, off – again relationship, with Malou going as for as laying a let’s meet only three times a week rule to protect herself.” – UP (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “…The notion of the martir resurfaces in Relasyon (1982), a stellar example of a mistress movie with genuine depth. It portrays Marilou (Vilma Santos) as not just a mistress, but also a servant for the chauvinistic Emil (Christopher De Leon). There is a poignant scene in the aforementioned: in spite of catering to her lover’s every need, she is still left alone in the house on Christmas Eve, because he really isn’t hers to begin with. Santos’ brilliant, appropriately emotive acting in the movie gave the star her big break. Filipino Department faculty member Jayson Jacobo, PhD expounds on Santos’ role in Philippine media. “[Her] middle period presents us a social sphere of material conditions which articulate the context of amorous situations that persuade a woman to enter and exit a relasyon.” Jacobo finds that more recent mistress films are devoid of the dramatic sophistication that these older films presented. He points out their key faults, saying, “These films of late are too concerned with the calisthenics of sexual encounter, the scandalous confrontation, the fashionable hysteria, the publicity of neurosis and the contrivance of normative resolution…” – Rissa A. Coronel, Katipunan The Guidon Magazine, 30 January 2013 (READ MORE)

“Dalawang magagandang pelikula ang sabay na itinatanghal ngayon. Ito’y ang “Relasyon” ni Ishmael Bernal at “Hubad na Gubat” ng baguhang si Lito Tiongson. Sa taong ito, tatlo pa lamang ang talagang namumukod tangi para sa amin. Ang “Ito Ba Ang Ating Mga Anak” ni Bernal, “In This Corner” ni Brocka at ngayon nga’y ang “Relasyon” ni Bernal na naman. Napakahusay ni Vilma Santos sa papel ng pangunahing tauhan, isang dalagang umibig sa isang may asawa. It’s one hell of a role and a heaven of a performance. Kasama si Vilma sa lahat ng eksena sa pelikula at talagang ito na ang pinakamabigat na papel na napaatang sa mga balikat ng isang local actress mula ng gampanan ni Gina Alajar and lead role sa “Salome”. This time, sigurado nang mano-nominate si Vilma sa Urian (ito lamang ang award na hindi niya napapagwagihan) at malamang na ang maging pinakamahigpit niyang kalaban dito ay si Nora Aunor na very demanding din ang role sa “Himala” (na si Bernal din ang direktor). Ito’y kung matatapos ang ECP project na ito sa taong ito na sa palagay nami’y hindi kahit gusto ng ECP na isali ito sa filmfest sa Disyembre. Dinalirot ng “Relasyon” ang lahat ng mga anggulong maaaring suutan ng isang babaing nagiging kerida. Maraming madamdaming tagpo sa pelikula, lalo na ang death scene ni Christopher de Leon na tuhog ang pagkakakuha. Bagay na bagay kay Jimi Melendez ang papel niya bilang torpeng talisuyo ni Vilma. Hit na hit siya sa audience. Hanggang ngayon ay patuloy na dumarag sa dito sa amin ang mga sulat na pumupuri sa acting ni Vilma Santos sa “Relasyon”. Sabi ni Nelda Santiago ng Arellano St., Marikina : “Napakagaling ni Vilma at kahit hindi pa ako nagiging kerida, para bang na identify ako sa kanya.” Sabi naman ni Hector Cruz ng 14 Malaya St., Q.C. : “Maraming nasasabi ang mga mata ni Vilma lalo sa mga eksenang wala siyang dialogue. Pati pilikmata niya ay umaarte. Dapat lang na magka award siya rito. Magaling din sina Jimi Melendez at Beth Mondragon.” Ayon naman kay H. Santillan III ng UP Village : Hindi kami fan ni Vilma pero kung ganito ng ganito ang performances niya, dapat siguro’y maging fan na nga niya kami. Tour de force ang acting niya at dapat ilagay sa textbook on acting. Hindi mapapantayan ang rapport nila ni Christopher de Leon.” May iba pang mga sulat pero hindi na namin masisipi sa kakulangan ng espasyo…” – Mario E. Bautista, People’s Journal July 1982 (READ MORE)

“24 years after its release, Relasyon remained relevant and fresh due to its social topic (the flight of many mistresses in society) and Vilma Santos’ performance in this film made it possible for everyone to sympathize their (mistresses) flight. Even critics agrred Here’s what one said: “…Napakahusay ni Vilma Santos sa papel ng pangunahing tauhan, isang dalagang umibig sa isang may asawa. It’s one hell of a role and a heaven of a performance. Kasama si Vilma sa lahat ng eksena sa pelikula at talagang ito na ang pinakamabigat na papel na napaatang sa mga balikat ng isang local actress mula ng gampanan ni Gina Alajar and lead role sa “Salome.” This time, sigurado nang mano-nominate si Vilma sa Urian (ito lamang ang award na hindi niya napapagwagihan) at malamang na ang maging pinakamahigpit niyang kalaban dito ay si Nora Aunor na very demanding din ang role sa “Himala” (na si Bernal din ang direktor). Ito’y kung matatapos ang ECP project na ito sa taong ito na sa palagay nami’y hindi kahit gusto ng ECP na isali ito sa filmfest sa Disyembre. Dinalirot ng “Relasyon” ang lahat ng mga anggulong maaaring suutan ng isang babaing nagiging kerida. Maraming madamdaming tagpo sa pelikula, lalo na ang death scene ni Christopher de Leon na tuhog ang pagkakakuha. Bagay na bagay kay Jimi Melendez ang papel niya bilang torpeng talisuyo ni Vilma. Hit na hit siya sa audience…” – Mario Bautista, Puna at Puri People’s Journal July 1982 (READ MORE)

“…Technically, the film does not rank high in Ishmael Bernal’s canon of films. The production design, presumably middle class, raises questions (especially about the fact that Santos can withdraw a thousand pesos from a bank at a moment’s notice:lower middle class persons do not have that kind of instant money.) The music is undistinguished, and the cinematography sometimes places the actors in shadows. There is one technical achievement worth watching for: De Leon’s death scene, covering more than one minute, is taken with one continuous shot (no cuts). Otherwise, the editing is spotty, especially with one sequence completely out of its proper place (before Santos says in one sequence that they have been together only for eight months, a sequence is shown in which she asks De Leon how many years they have been together, even allowing for hyperbole, that is too much of an exaggeration). Santos’ acting is adequate and extraordinary. De Leon gives another of his solid performances, though he could have worked harder to show how inconsiderate his character is. The supporting cast do not stand out; since two of them are supposed to be mistresses themselves, and the third loses much of her credibility when she starts lecturing on man’s selfishness…” – Isagani Cruz, Parade magazine, July 21, 1982 (READ MORE)

“…Makatotohanan ang akting sa pelikulang ito. Hindi sila caricature. Sila’y mga karakter na marahil ay mga kapitbahay natin. Muli na namang ipinamalas ni Bernal ang kanyang kakayahan sa pagpapagalaw ng mga artista. Hindi lang akting ang mapapanood mo. Ang nakikita mo ay ang tunay na takbo ng buhay. Nananatili si Christopher bilang isa sa iilan nating mahuhusay na kabataang actor. Makakalimutan mo na siya si Cris at ikaw ay ganap na mabibihag ng karakter na kanyang binubuhay sa aninong gumagalaw. Marahil, higit pa nating mauunawaan sana ang karakter na ginagampanan ni Chris kung nalaman natin kung ano ang kanyang propesyon at nagkaroon pa tayo ng ilang background ng kanyang buhay. Hindi tulad ni Vi na medyo kumpleto ang background…Napakadramatiko ang pagkompronta ni Vi kay Chris sa direksyon ng kanilang relasyon. Higit sa lahat, sa pamamagitan ng huling eksena, ang pagsasara ni Vi sa pinto ng kanilang bahay, ang pugad ng kanilang “relasyon”, inihayag ni Bernal na ang ganitong relasyon ay may hindi maiiwasang magwakas tulad ng sa tunay na buhay. Maaaring kamatayan o isang panibagong relasyon. Kung ang isang lalaki ay may-asawa, at mayroon na siyang relasyon o nagbabalak pa lang magkaroon ng relasyon sa ibang babae, dapat niya itong panoorin ng dalawang beses. Una, kasama ang kanyang misis at ikalawa, kasama angkanyang no. 2 o magiging ka-relasyon. Sa mga babaing katulad ni Vi sa pelikulang ito, mabuting panoorin ninyo nang nag-iisa ang pelikulang ito upang higit na maunawaan ninyo ang inyong relasyon o magiging relasyon.” – Mando Plaridel, Star Monthly Magazine July 10, 1982 (READ MORE)

“…The writers have fed significance into the conversations by filling them with popular ideas on marriage and relationships, engaging the viewers to respond with their own beliefs. There is irony though in the confessions of Emil and Marilou – in happier times – that each had been a better person upon being loved by the other. But their life together contradicted that statement. Her selfishness is revealed. “Ikaw lang ang iniintindi mo” he says and it uncovered his insensitivity. “Ako rin, may ego”, She replies. Vilma Santos confidently showed she felt the character she was portraying. Her depiction of feelings and emotions easily involve the viewers to share in her conflicts and joys. In this film, she has peeled-off apprehensions in her acting. Christopher de Leon has also been supportive in emphasizing the characterization of Marilou. He suitably complements Vilma’s acting. The director, Ishmael Bernal, displays his flair for taking scenes of Vilma putting on make-up. Unwittingly, he has suggested that whatever make-up is put on over adultery, it is still adultery.” – Lawrence delos Trinos, Star Monthly Magazine, July 1982 (READ MORE)

“…Sa kabuuan, mahusay ang pagsasalarawan ni Vilma Santos ng kanyang papel bilang Marilou ngunit hindi ito maihahanay sa ibang pelikula kung saan kinakitaan ang aktres ng kaibahan sa kanyang pagganap tulad ng ating nasaksihan sa Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon (1977) at Broken Marriage (1983). Samantalang ibayong talino naman ang ipinamalas ni Christopher de Leon bilang Emil. Naipahiwating lang sana ng maayos ang motibo ni Emil sa pakikisama nito kay Marilou. Hindi maitutulad ang aspetong teknikal ng Relasyon sa ibang obra ni Bernal. Ang disenyong pamproduksiyon ni Benjie de Guzman ay hindi kapani-paniwala. Ipinakitang mababa ang estado ng kabuhayan ni Marilou ngunit madalian siyang nakakuha ng isang libong piso sa bangko. Ang mga tulad nito ay karaniwang walang natatagong ganoong kalaking halaga. Halos hindi marining ang musika ni Winston Raval habang ang sinematograpiya ni Sergio Lobo ay kadalasang nababalot ng dilim. Makikita din ang pagkakamali ng editing ni Augusto Salvador. Sa isang tagpo ay ipinakitang walong buwan nang nagsasama sina Marilou at Emil at nang sumunod na mga eksena, tinanong nito si Emil kung ilang taon na silang magkasama. Ngunit sa kabila ng mga pagkukulang na ito, naging matagumpay pa rin si direktor Ishmael Bernal sa kanyang paglalahad ng isang pelikulang sumubok sa ating mga kaalaman at paniniwala.” – Jojo Devera, Sari-Sarng Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

“Vilma Santos confidently showed she felt the character she was portraying. Her depiction of feelings and emotions easily involve the viewers to share in her conflicts and joys. In this film, she has peeled-off apprehensions in her acting. Christopher de Leon has also been supportive in emphasizing the characterization of Marilou. He suitably complements Vilma’s acting.” – Lawrence delos Trinos, Star Monthly Magazine Vol. 1 No. 10 July 1982 (READ MORE)

”Vilma Santos holds the first ace on acting this year with her terrific performance in Relasyon – the range is wide, the insight deep, hardly a false note in the entire performance – she was always in control, even when she seemed totally lost in her role…basta magaling si Vilma, tapos!“ – Ador Cs Tariman (READ MORE)

“…Like 1972 of the previous decade, 1982 turned out to be a repeat in terms of success for Vilma Santos. If critics took noticed in 1972, her performance in Dama De Noche, a decade after, the critics went gagah over her performance in ”Relasyon,” directed by Bernal. The film earned Vilma all the local best actress trophies from all award-giving bodies. Aside from this success, she will also be crowned as the box office queen of 1982 (the next year for her body of work this year) because of the financial success of her six films notably, “Sinasamba Kita” a film directed by Eddie Garcia and “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan?’ directed by Danny Zialcita. Bernal on the other hand not only was credited for Vilma success for “Relasyon” he also received accolades for “Himala” a film by Nora Aunor, Vilma’s rival. Both “Himala” and “Relasyon” were considered two of Bernal’s signature films. In addition to this, he did two Marecel Soriano films, the comedy “Galawgaw” and the drama, “Hindi Kita Malimot” and finally another Cherrie Gil film, “Ito Ba Ang Ating Mga Anak…Bernal gave Vilma Santos her first grandslam best actress awards and consecutive Gawad Urian best actress (1982 and 1983). Their first film together was Inspiration (1972) and last was Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989).” – RV (READ MORE)

“23 Years has passed since Vilma Santos did “Relasyon.” As we all know, this film gave her first grand slam best actress, winning four best actress from URIAN, FAP, FAMAS and CMMA (the four major award giving bodies that time). It is worth noting that the film has been successfully transferred into DVD and VCD and everyone can buy a copy, click here. Relasyon has been exhibited in many international film festival. Sub-titled, “The Affair” was screened in New York Filipino Film Festival with its rival film, “Himala.” Relasyon has been tested by times. All award giving bodies agreed. Vilma’s performance outscored the intricate and overrated performance of her rival, Nora Aunor…” – RV (READ MORE)

“Relasyon was the only film with three screenings at the on-going Pelikua at Lipunan last March 3, 2006. No other films hold this record. We were enthusiastic about the students who reviewed the film of more than two decades. Talagang relevant and timeless ang theme at plot ng nasabing pelikuka at maituturing na isa sa great films of Philippine Movie history. Before the screening of the film ay masaya kaming nag-uusap and at times our attention was called sa mga updates and or instructions ni Jojo Lim for the next group activity like March 8 sa U.P. sa Cine Adarna para sa Diwata Awards kung saan ay confirmed na darating si Ate Vi who is one of 4 distinguised honorees. Tumigil lang kami ng magsimula na ang screening. Wala ka ng makausap pa. Nakatuon lahat sa pelikula. Animo’y mga magagaling na kritiko ng gawad Urian na magre-review ng nasabing pelikula sa unang pagkakataon?! Hmp. For the film’s final highlight, we all sat in real silence. Motionless. Then, the expected tour de force/acting coup cum real drama essayed by Ate Vi. Her solitariness remained absolute in this particular scene with her heart wrenching monolgue. Then I thought I caught a glimpse of some of our co-Vilmanians wiping away “precious tears” in between sobs. Several more moments passed in silence. Tinapos namin ang panonood ng pelikula with an ovation. ’Di lang kaming mga Vilmanians ang pumalakpak! We hope ay nakapag-contribute ang mga Vilmanians in support of Mowelfunds worthy projects. Mabuhay Ms. Vilma Santos The Philippines Movie Queen For All Seasons. Mabuhay Vilmanians around the globe.” – June Sison, 5 Mar 2006 (READ MORE)

“…O, bakit parang lutang ka diyan? Porke’t naka-grand slam ka, feeling mo, magaling ka na?…” Bernal scolded Vi when she reported to the set of Broken Marriage, still high after her grand slam wins for Relasyon and a little unmotivated. – Richard Bolisay, Lilok Pelikula, 15 May 2010 (READ MORE)

“… Reportedly Ms. Santos, buoyed by the many acting awards earned by the previous film, was so eager to do well in the new production that Bernal got irritated, locked her in a bathroom, and delivered to her an ultimatum: she was not coming out till she got over her ‘hysteria.’ One sees what made the latter so successful, the same time watching this one sees why Bernal didn’t want to simply duplicate that success. Relasyon was a lean and elegantly told melodrama that took a sidelong glance at the institution of Filipino marriage; in Broken Marriage Bernal wanted to examine the institution directly, without the oblique glances. He didn’t want to film some doomed struggle to keep love alive but something less dramatic, far more difficult to capture: the aftermath of a protracted war, where the ultimate casualty is married love. He in effect didn’t want Ms. Santos at her perkiest and most energetic–he wanted her exhausted, looking for a way out, and to her credit Ms. Santos delivers exactly this with her performance…” – Noel Vera, Critique After Dark, 08 April 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Relasyon remains in the Philippines, on the ground of facts. But the film does not end with social criticism. Behind the well-meaning film problem hiding an everyday epic of real existing love, so how and if it is to have in the wrong world. Sometimes this gets epic train of the film with its stated educational content in conflict. Marilou suggests that the advice of the well-informed uncle in the wind, of course, is unreasonable. But it is just their stubborn irrationality adverse circumstances over which so occupies us for it. Therein also lies the quiet, growing with each minute of film Would this really banal figure. At some point, it is sufficient Vilma Santos watch when make-ups – and the heart wants to rip one…” – Nicholas Perneczky, Critic.de, 10 Sep 2014 (READ THE TRANSLATION)

“…In Filipino melodramas, the heroines often lean on against a hostile environment. Some no less combative women have created a permanent place in the film industry of the country…Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal devoted themselves repeatedly with a strong social and political consciousness of the popular form of melodrama. More than Brocka himself Bernal frequently focused on strong female characters that need to manage their lives under unfavorable circumstances. In his films female stars in the spotlight, without the problems of everyday life would go by the board. With Vilma Santos in 1982 he turned Relasyon, wherein the main character wants to escape from a stifling marriage and not only emotionally, but also legally reaches its limits (a year later with Santos Bernal turned the thematically similar mounted Broken Marriage). Was produced Relasyon of Lily Monteverde , who plays an influential role in the Philippine film industry today. Already at the beginning of the 20th century there were in the studios and production companies in the country powerful women who ruled with a firm hand and were addressed by their subordinates even as mothers. “Mother Lily” made his mark as a hard nosed business woman, often more economic than artistic interests followed, understandably, not just friends. The young director Raya Martin let her in his short film Long Live Philippine Cinema! (2009) even to death to save the Philippine cinema…” – Michael Kienzl, Critic.de, 10 Sep 2014 (READ THE TRANSLATION)

Related Reading: The First Grand Slam Best Actress in the Philippines

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)

FILM REVIEW: SINUNGALING MONG PUSO


The Plot: An endearing romantic drama that tells of a very curious affair between an older woman (Vilma Santos) and a young unhappily married boy (Aga Muhlach). In between them are Vilma’s husband, Gabby Concepcion and Aiko Melendez as Aga’s wife. All told, the movie proves once again that love does not only happen in the most unexpected times and places. It also makes people do the strangest things. – Regal Films

The Review: Nagsimula ang movie with Clara (Vilma) had a visitor in a jail, ito ay ang ex-wife ng asawa niya. Kasabay nito’y nag-flashback na ang pelikula. Bakit nakulong si Clara? Unang nagkakilala sa isang disco sina Jason at Clara. Inalok ng batang-batang si Jason si Clara ng sayaw ngunit inignore lang nito ang istudyante. Makikita agad na parehong hindi masaya sa buhay may asawa si Clara (Vilma Santos) at Jason (Aga Muhlach). Si Clara ay asawa ng isang malupit at babaerong negosyate, si Roman (Gaby Concepcion). Samantalay si Jason naman ay laging nina-nag ng kasing edad niyang asawa na si Aiko Melendez at pati ang kani-kanilang mga magulang ay nadadaway at madalas na nase-sermunan si Jason dahil rito. Kasabay na pinakita ang problema sa pagaasawa’y ipinakita rin ang mga taong nasasangkot sa pag-iibigan ni Clara at Jason. Ang asawa ni Clara na si Roman ay ubod ng lupit, minsan ay may nahuli ang mga tauhan nito na nagnanakaw sa kanilang bahay ay binaril nito ang magnanakaw. Bukod sa kalupitan ay marami ring naanakan siya at ang laging solusyon nito ay perahan ang mga babae para manahimik ang mga ito.

Nang bumalik sa Pilipinas ang kanyang ex wife na si Leda (Alice Dixon), muling gustong makipagrelasyon ito. Dahil sa mga pambabae ni Roman ay gusto rin sanang makaganti ito sa asawa at maraming mga lalaki na gustong makipagrelasyon sa kanya ngunit napipigilan pa rin nito ang sarili ngunit nang makilala niya minsan ang batang-batang si Jason (Aga) ay hindi na nito napigilan ang sarili. Muling pinagtagpo si Clara at Jason nang masiraan itong una sa kalye at nagkataon na naruon si Jason at tinulungan siya na humantong sa isang dinner date. Nagkaroon sila ng relasyon at nagkikita sa isang apartment na pagaari ng kaibigan ni Clara. Sa kabila ng agwat ng kanilang edad at estado’y natutong mahalin ng dalawa ang kanilang isa’t isa hanggang sa matuklasan ng asawa ni Jason ang relasyon at mag-iskandalo pa ito sa harap ng mga tao’t sa apartment na tagpuan ng dalawa. Bukod sa iskandalo ay nagsumbong pa ito sa asawa ni Clara. Ang naging resulta ng pagsusumbong na ito’y ang pagkakabugbog ni Jason sa malupit na kamay ni Roman. Sinadista nito ang kaawa-awang si Jason. Nang malaman ni Clara ay hindi niya napigilan ang nangyari sa katipan at nang mapuntahan niya’y natuklasan niya ang sinapit ni Jason. Binaril niya ang asawa at pinatay. Dito siya nakulong.

Maayos na nailahad ni Maryo Delosreyes ang istorya nang pag-iibigan ni Clara at Jason. Ito marahil ang dahilan kung bakit tinangihan ni Vilma ang pelikulang Naglalayag na halos kapareho ng istorya, ang pag-ibigan ng isang batang lalaki sa nakakatandang babae. Merong mga eksena rito na hindi kapanipaniwala katulad ng bakit nabuhay pa si Aga Muhlach sa bandang huli dahil nakakapagtaka na sa kabila na sobrang torture na natanggap niya mula sa sadistang si Roman ay nabuhay pa ito. Hindi rin na-isplika ng pelikula kung bakit gustong balikan ni Roman ang ex-wife niyang si Leda (Alice Dixon). Mahusay ang cast ng pelikula, magagalit ka talaga sa kalupitan ni Gabby Concepcion at makikita mo rin na believable siya bilang isang babaerong negosyante. Bilang ex-wife ni Roman, parang tuod si Alice Dixon wala siyang kabuhay buhay na magdeliver ng mga lines. Samantala, litaw na litaw naman ang role ni Aiko Melendez bilang Ana, ang asawa ni Jason. Halos lahat ng eksena niya ay mahusay niyang nagampanan maliban sa bandang huli yung reconciliation scene niya kay Vilma kung saan hindi bagay ang lines niya ba…”pareho natin siyang minahal… blah blah blah…”

Magaling sina Aga Muhlach at Vilma Santos bilang nagtatagong magkasintahan. Lutang na lutang ang pag-arte ng dalawa at nakakatuwa sila sa kanilang mga eksena na nagtatagpo ng palihim tulad ng mag-kita sila sa department store. Dumating si Vilma at hinahanap niya si Aga, hindi nya makita ito hanggang sa mamataan niya ang binata na nakaupo sa may display area. Kinindatan ni Jason si Clara at napatawa na lang ang babae. Mararamdaman mo ang excitement ng mga pagkikitang ito. Nang mahuli ni Ana ang asawa at mag-iskandalo ito, nang umalis na ang asawa at balikan ni Jason si Clara sa loob ng apartment, makikita sa mukha ni Vilma ang pagtatapos ng kanilang affair. Ang sabi niya: “ Hinintay lang kita, guston kong maghiwalay tayo ng maayos…” Bukod sa maraming eksena na lutang na lutang ang pag-arte ni Vilma marahil ang pinaka-memorable ay ang eksena kung saan binaril ni Vilma si Gabby at sabihin niya ang line na: “mamatay kang kasama ng mga baboy mo…” ito ang pagpapatunay na talagang napakahusay niyang artista. – RV

“…In 1992, wala ni isang pelikulang tinampukan si Nora, samantalang si Vilma starred in only one: Maryo J. delos Reyes’ Sinungaling Mong Puso, na hindi niya pinagtamuhan ng anumang major Best Actress award. In 1993, gumawa si Vilma ng pelikula na ang kuwento’y base sa unang Pilipinang nag-reveal ng pagkakaroon niya ng AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), si Dolzura Cortez. Directed by Laurice Guillen for Octoarts Films, Dahil Mahal Kita (The Dolzura Cortez Story) won Vilma the Best Actress honors at the 1993 Manila Film Festival, Star, Gawad Urian and FAP…” – William Reyes (READ MORE)

“…Dahil sa tagumpay sa box-office ng pelikulang “Just A Stranger” nina Anne Curtis at Marco Gumabao, muling nauuso ang mga May-December affair film. Sa Urban Dictionary, ang meaning ng “May-December affair” is a relationship between two people where one partner is in the “winter” of their life (old) and the other partner in the relationship is in the “spring” of their life (young). May/December relationships can either be superficial or serious – so the term doesn’t itself say anything about the status of the relationship…Kung tutuusin ay noon pa uso ang May-December affair films at ang iba rito ay naging award-winning pa…Heto nga ang mga pelikulang nagpakilala sa landian, lambingan, harutan ng mga babae/lalaki na may edad sa mga mas batang-batang nilalang…Sinungaling Mong Puso (1992) – Kuwento ito ni Clara (Vilma Santos) na hindi na masaya sa pagsasama nila ng malupit at babaero niyang mister na si Roman (Gabby Concepcion). Nagkataon na nakilala niya ang young father na si Jason (Aga Muhlach) na hindi rin masaya sa nagging wife niyang si Anna (Aiko Melendez). Nabuo ang isang sikretong relasyon na nauwi sa isang madugong trahedya. Mula sa direksyon ni Maryo J. Delos Reyes, nanalo rito si Aga bilang FAMAS Best Actor…” – Anonymous, Abante, 07 Sep 2019