Remembering Mark Gil

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Bing Pimentel – “…We were supposed to be kissing while watching a very violent scene from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange…I was stiff, naturally, because Mark was practically a stranger and it was my first day on the set of my first movie…I didn’t think much of him because I was dating another actor that time, (Roel Vergel de Dios)…After 28 takes, the director yelled ‘Pack up! Mag-date muna kayo!’ (Go out on a date first!)…” – Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 September 2014 (READ MORE)

Enchanted Family – “…On a more personal note, we got to know Mark earlier than most because, in the ’70s, we tapped his beautiful and gifted mother, Rosemarie Gil, as one of the hosts (along with Pete Roa, Gigi Lacson and Bey Vito) of the pioneering TV magazine show, “Sanlinggo,” that we scripted and directed for PTV 4. Rosemarie would sometimes bring her children to our taping and shooting sessions, so we first saw Mark, Cherie and Michael as lovely and spirited kids, and we found the entire family, including dad Eddie Mesa (a fine singer and actor in his own right) absolutely enchanting. That early, we simply knew that all of the Eigenmann kids would also become exceptional performers and stars. —What we didn’t know was that their thespic genes would “power” another generation of dynamic players, including Mark’s son, Sid Lucero, who was named after the character he played in “Batch ’81,” and Andi Eigenmann…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 06 September 2014 (READ MORE)

Still Friends – “…THE movie Miss X, filmed and released in the ’80s, will forever be memorable to Mark Gil. Then still very young and raw as far as acting is concerned, Direk Gil Portes tapped Mark to play Governor Vi’s leading man. Miss X had Governor Vi playing the title role. It was filmed entirely in Amsterdam, the official capital of the Netherlands. The entire cast, crew and staff, headed, of course, by Direk Gil, stayed in Amsterdam for about a month. As expected, the film was a blockbuster when it was shown. Henceforth, Mark admitted, life was never the same for him after the film. That he has a lot to thank Governor Vi is a given. Kaya for Mark, ang chance na makatrabaho uli si Gov. Vi is something to be grateful about. “Kasi she has not changed,” aniya. “Kung ano’ng pag-uugali niya when we were in Amsterdam together at pareho pa kaming bata noon, ganu’n pa rin siya ngayon. “Considering all the achievements na kanyang natamo, ’di lang bilang artista kundi bilang public official din, I am glad she still takes to me as a friend,” pahayag ni Mark. Doing The Healing with Gov. Vi is another challenge for the actor….” – Nel Alejandrino, Journal, July 11, 2012

Days in Amsterdam – “…Where to now?” I heard my mommy ask Gil when all the proper and necessary introductions were conducted. “Since it is a Sunday,” Gil suggests, “Why don’t we hear mass at the church of the Bigginhoff?” The church is situated in a strategic area, along several residential houses, and it is one of the only two Catholic churches in Amsterdam. Since between the two churches, it is the Bigginhoff which celebrates one mass in English, it is where most Filipinos attend their Sunday mass. The front yard of the church, after the mass, serves as a melting pot of sorts for most Filipinos. It si here where they renew acquaintances, exchange tete-a-tete, or get the latest tsismis about a fellow Filipinos. It is in this area where my group and I chanced upon Eddie Gutierrez, who was on the last leg of his European tour. Eddie works as a promotional salesman for Belcraft International, a firm which has its main office in Canada and which specializes in household wares….Happily for all of us, nothing untoward happened since then. We managed to even finish shooting the entire movie ahead of schedule. Now that I am back home, things which I should have done and which I shouldn’t keep rushing back into my mind. Truly, my days in Amsterdam continue to evoke memories for me, both pleasant and otherwise. For example, how can I forget the group who made up Miss X? They were such a happy lot that I would love working with them again. Gil, my director, despite himself, is a dear. I love the guy, since I know he loves me, too. Mark G., my leading man, will forever hold a special place in my heart. He proved so sweet, so pleasant to work with, so much so, I pray he will succeed. And my Ductch leading man, Max van Os, he did make my last days in Amsterdam memorable. I will always take him as one of the most warm-heated persons I’ve ever met in my whole life. My memories of Amsterdam will never be complete without me mentioning the kindness and generosity of the Filipinos residing there. The way they welcomed and treated us in their respective homes truly amazed me. I love them all and will cherish their memories for a long, long time…” – Ethelwolda A. Ramos, Expressweek December 20, 1979 (READ MORE)

Generous Actor – “…If there is one thing that Mark Gil should be remembered for, it is his generosity. His career is marked by performances wherein he is required to work with others, whether it is a director with a distinctly unique vision or filmmaking style, or an ensemble of actors with varying ranges. In all his works, it never appeared that he was occupying much of the limelight. He was simply not there for himself. He was there for the film. Even Sid Lucero, the name that jumpstarted his career, he generously lent to his son, Timothy Eigenmann. Perhaps this is the reason why Mark Gil is such a great actor. He just had so much to give, but too little time to keep giving…Even up to the end, he was preparing for projects, for various filmmakers, for himself. There were simply no boundaries, not even the pain he was suffering because of the illness he had kept a secret, when it comes to his craft…” – Oggs Cruz, Rappler, 02 Sep 2014 (READ MORE)

Nora Aunor on Mark Gil – “…I got to work with Mark in ‘Rock ’n’ Roll’ (1981) and then in ‘Babae’ (1997). He was one of the best. I would get nervous in our scenes together. I last saw him at the thanksgiving party of Direk Maryo J. de los Reyes last year. We talked about making a movie together again. Sayang it didn’t push through. He still had so much to give to the movie industry…” – Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08 Sep 2014 (READ MORE)

Raphael Joseph De Mesa Eigenmann (born September 25, 1961), better known as Mark Gil, is a Filipino actor. He is the son of actors Eddie Mesa and Rosemarie Gil, brother of actors Michael de Mesa and Cherie Gil. He is fourth Filipino, fourth Spanish, and half Swiss German American descent. He is the father of singer/actor Gabby Eigenmann and Ira Eigenmann from actress Irene Celebre. He is also the father of Tim “Sid Lucero” Eigenmann and Maxene “Max” Eigenmann from actress Bing Pimentel, and of Andi Eigenmann from another actress, Jaclyn Jose. He has been married for 18 yrs to Maricar Jacinto-Eigenmann. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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Filmography: Miss X (1980)

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Basic Information: Directed: Gil Portes; Screenplay: Ricardo Lee; Cast: Vilma Santos, Mark Gil; Executive producer: Jesse Ejercito; Original Music: George Canseco; Theme Songs: “Dito Ba?” performed by Kuh Ledesma

Plot Description: Filipina prostitute living in red district of Amsterdam.

Film Achievement: 1980 FAMAS Best Musical Score – George Canseco

Film Reviews: “…Did you know that as early as the ’80s, nagsusulat na ang award-winning scriptwriter na si Ricky Lee tungkol sa plight ng ating mga OFW (overseas Filipino workers)? He started with “Miss X”, filmed in Amsterdam in The Netherlands with now Lipa City Mayor Vilma Santos in the title role. For an entire month, namalagi sa Amsterdam si Ricky kasama ang cast and crew ng pelikula. Naging simula ang Miss X ng ilang collaboration sa pagitan nila ng equally award-winning director na si Gil Portes. Ang next movie together nila ni direk Gil was “Carnival In Rio”, which was filmed naman in Rio de Janeiro. Alma Moreno, who was at the height of her popularity as a bold star then, played the lead role. Then came “’Merika”, na isinapelikula naman sa New Jersey and New York with Nora Aunor playing the lead role. “Because of that movie,” ani Ricky, “I was able to explore New York, the city of my dream. After my travels to all these places, I wrote (direk) Gil a letter, thanking him for the rare chance he gave na marating ang mga lugar na ito na ’di ko Inakalang mararating ko,” pahayag ni Ricky. For Anak, which was filmed in Hong Kong, Ricky had the chance na makatrabaho muli si Vilma sa ibang bansa muli. This time, na-renew, wika nga, ang kanilang bonding. Ricky remembered that because Anak was a blockbuster, binigyan ng Star Cinema ng malaking bonus si Ate Vi. Nagulat daw siya when one day, he received a P40,000 check from the actress. Contribution daw ang pera ni Ate Vi sa isinagawa niyang workshop for aspiring scriptwriters….” – Nel AThe People’s Tonight, Aug 31 2005 (READ MORE)

“…For one, hindi masakit sa tenga ang musical scoring ni George Canseco sa pelikulang ito. Hindi yata niya ipinilit na gawing mas malakas pa kaysa mga dialogue ang music niya. Turned-on kami doon sa song na “Amsterdam” yata ang title. Hindi yata inilagay sa credit kung kaninong kanta ‘yun. O baka naman hindi lang namin napansin. Kung ang ultimate goal ng pelikulang ito ay i-discourage ang mga Pinoy from illegally working and living abroad, the movie is almost a complete failure. Ang nakuha naming impresyon ay enjoy na enjoy ang mga Pinoy doon sa Amsterdam. Ang pathetic scene lang nga talaga ay ‘yung bandang ending nang mabaril si…at mag-iiyak si…Madali namang intindihin kung bakit kapos ang mga eksenang nagpapakita ng pamumuhay ng mga Pinoy do’n. Magiging masyadong magastos ang pelikula. Mas marami ang mai-involve na cast. At dahil nga kokonti lang ang ginamit na Pinoy sa cast sa Amsterdam, parang walang relevance kung saan man ginawa ang pelikula. Amsterdam was not meaningfully integrated in the movie. Sure, may mga scenes ng mga windmills, mga flats, mga patio at electric trains, pero hindi ipinakita ng script kung paano nakakaapekto sa buhay ng mga Pinoy na naroroon ang atmosphere ng Amsterdam. It’s almost like the movie has no social-awareness at all. Kaya nga nanghihinayang ‘yung isang tagahanga ni Ricardo Lee sa script niya sa pelikulang ito. Well, it was a good try for Ricardo Lee and director Gil Portes, but there’s really nothing fantastic sa script and direction nilang dalawa. And it’s been a good vehicle for Vi and Mark. It’s also worth your P4.50 dahil hindi naman ito nakakairita tulang ng mga pelikula ni Cloyd Robinson. The movie is credible, despite the shaky script. Dapat panoorin!” – Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, 10 March 1980 (READ MORE)

“…The issue of film spectatorship is also a tenuous one. Gil Portes recalls that his own Munting Tinig (Little Voices, 2003) was not a box-office draw in the Philippines but it made good business abroad. He narrated how the mostly Filipino audience who watched the film when it was shown in New York and California, where a large contingent of Filipinos reside, were reduced to tears after the film screening. Portes himself lives half the time in New York and half the time shuttling between his Manila and Barcelona homes. He made what he considered the first diasporic film called Miss X in 1979, which was followed by his critically-acclaimed ‘Merika in 1982. Both films made box-office profits in the Philippine when they came out because of his strategic casting of two of Philippine cinema’s foremost actresses in both films – Vilma Santos and Nora Aunor. He maintains that his films occasionally borrow from foreign materials for inspiration but it is his job to imbue them with a sensibility that is “uniquely and distinctively Pinoy”. In the case of Munting Tinig, he said he was inspired by Majid Majidi’s Children of Heaven (1997). Although he did not specify what constitutes the ‘Pinoy sensibility’ present in his films, he said that a Filipino film ‘can be shot abroad as long as it is distinctively Pinoy but with a universal message” (Portes interview, 2006). Film historian and self-described ‘filmologist’ Teddy Co insists that “there is no such thing as a pure, unfettered and essentialist Filipino film” because foreign influences are natural and real (Co interview, 2006)…” – Joseph Palis, Cinema Archipelago: A Geography of Philippine Film and the Postnational Imaginary 2008 (READ MORE)

“…In Gil Portes’ Miss X (1980), about a Filipino prostitute working in the red light district of Amsterdam, Gil was cast as the leading man to Vilma Santos, who at that time was already regarded as one of the Philippines’ best actresses. He ably fulfilled Portes’ requirements, churning out a performance that exemplified the grit that the material called for…” – Francis Joseph “Oggs” Cruz, Rappler, 02 Sep 2014 (READ MORE)

“…For the record, here is a quick rundown of last year’s most significant local films…Miss X – the screenplay by Ricky Lee worked despite director Gil Portes’ mangling of it. Vilma Santos gave a credible performance as the ill-fated seeker of fortune. The fact that the producer was willing to spend on a production filmed abroad augured well for the local film industry…” – Isagani R. Cruz, TV Times Magazine, 11-17 January 1980

Mga Kalapati sa Amsterdam – “Okey din naman pala itong utol kong si Ethel Ramos. You see, she went with Vilma Santos to Amsterdam and like a good sister…she sent me these exclusive pictorials of Vilma Santos and that of up-and-coming actor Mark Gil. Mark, as you have probably heard went ahead of Vi to Amsterdam. So, Mark was able to see the rounds of Amsterdam even before Vi came. So impressed was Mark that he almost memorized the favorite spots he went to and volunteered to become Vi’s guide. Sa Damsquare unang ipinasyal ni Mark si Vi. Sa lugar na ito raw malimit na nagpapasyal ang mga tagaroon. Karaniwan na, doon sila nag-papalipas ng maghapon, nakaupo sa mga upuang sadyang ginawa para sa mga turista at kundi nagpapahangin ay nagpapainit kaya. Sa Damsquare ay makikita ang pagkarami-raming kalapati. Kung gusto mong pagkalumpunan ka ng mga kalapati na pagkaaamo, pakainin mo lang sila at pagkakaguluhan ka ng mga ito. Maraming nagtitinda ng mga pagkain ng kapati sa Damsquare. Iyon ang tagpong malimit nating makita sa mga pelikulang English. May eksenang ganito si Vi na mapapanuod natin sa “Miss X” na ginawa nila in its entirety in Amsterdam. “Nakakatuwa si Vi habang pinanonood mo siyang nakikipaglaro sa mga kalapati…” – Article by Chit A. Ramos, Photos: Bing Cruz, first published at Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, 26 November 1979, Posted by James DR, Pelikula (READ MORE)

For Miss X: Off to Amsterdam With Vilma Santos and Party – “Miss Vilma Santos and her entourage which includes her mommy and daddy flew off to Amsterdam one Sunday afternoon para sa pelikulang Miss X ng Sining Silangan which will be shot ther in entirety. The group who saw them off at the airport was headed by Jesse Ejercito and some Sining Silangan bigwigs, fans of Vilma at ilang close friends from the press. Nauna rito ay nagkaroon ng ilang tenaw moments ang mga tao sa likod ng proyektong ito nang kung ilang ulit na mabalam ang pagalis ni Vi. We understand from some sources that the company was about to make a sudden change of decision kaugnay ng roles ni Vi nang biglang makahulagpos ang superstar sa kanyang mga commitments dito at ipasiyang lumipad na nga patungong Amsterdam. Ayon sa aming balita, matapos ang shooting doon ay tutuloy sa Los Angeles si Vi together with her parents upang duon idaos ang kanyang birthday, Nov. 3. This decision of hers of course saddened many of fans here pero parang higit diumano ang axiety ngayon ng Bancom, Regal at Lea dahil umano’y slated si Vi na gumawa ng pelikula sa kanila. Bancom for one is pinning their hopes on the early return of Vi dahil ang pelikulang ito si Charito Solis at siyang isasagupa sa tambalang Nora-Lolita Rodriguez naman ng para rin sa festival.” – Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, October 29, 1979, Posted by James DR, 28 October 2017 (READ MORE)

RELATED READING: 26 Days in Amsterdam