Filmography: Takot ako, eh! (1987)

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Basic Information: Director: Mario O’Hara; Writing credits: Mario O’Hara, Tito Rey; Cast: Ian De Leon, Lotlot De Leon, Matet De Leon, Caridad Sanchez, Jaime Fabregas, Richard Merck, Ronel Victor, Marilyn Villamayor, Kiko De Leon, Vida Verde, Irma Alegre, Vilma Santos, German Moreno, Romnick Sarmenta, Zorayda Sanchez, Dan Alvaro, Mario Escudero, Tony Angeles, Nora Aunor, Nanette Inventor, Maritess Ardieta, Arthur Cassanova, Lady Guy, Lucy Quinto, Josie Galvez, The Ramon Obusan Dancers, Remy Tabones; Producer: Nora C. Villamayor; Original Music: Demet Velasquez; Cinematography: Johnny Araojo; Art Direction: Julius Dubal; Sound: Antonio Acurin

Plot Description: No Available Data

Film Accomplishments: 1988 FAMAS Best Child Actor Nomination – Ian De Leon

Film Reviews: “…The only evidence that Takot Ako, Eh! could not have been made by just anyone with the right money and resources lies in one extremely exclusive instance. This would take a whole lot of paring down and possibly a radical revision of the exposition, but if our point of reference is Halimaw, then you’d now have the best installment available for that omnibus product. I’m referring to the subplot involving Caridad Sanchez as a way-out househelp, not quite in her right mind yet not quite obtrusive enough to arouse anyone’s suspicions. Before the time machine brings back the Nora Aunor character it first spews out Dracula (a wonderfully with-it Richard Merck), who like all the previous males on the scene doesn’t really fall for the maid’s advances, but, unlike the rest, doesn’t have the advantage of remaining intact during daytime and going without blood. When Sanchez starts turning on the charm for her captive lover, all hell, for him at least, breaks loose, and one wishes for the most part that the final Countdown hadn’t been sooner. And to return to where we started: wasn’t this the kind of role – the maid, I mean in particular – that Nora Aunor became famous for? A character performer like Caridad Sanchez can think of nothing about shifting from serious to comic interpretations within more or less similar characterizations (check out two temporally disparate Lino Brocka films, Santiago and Ano ang Kulay ng Mukha ng Diyos?, plus her critically underrated salvo in Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Alyas Baby Tsina, for a sober accounting of the lady’s prowess); on the other hand, a Nora Aunor can only work on a highly involved plane of acting, in fact as in film. Forced to a distance (considering her bygone stature as the superstar of Cebuano cinema), Sanchez takes full advantage by playing to the hilt, damn the consequences, and involves everyone else in her having fun even at her own expense; Nora Aunor offers a weak substitute of herself, four of them in fact, and politely takes her place in the background. Somewhere there’s a metaphor for the human capacity for excessive celebrity, and the sadness of losing a precious sort of genius when the condition begins to take its toll…” – Joel David, National Midweek, 25 November 1987 (READ MORE)


In Memoriam

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Dolphy – Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Sr., OGH (July 25, 1928 – July 10, 2012), known by his screen names Dolphy, Pidol, and Golay (1944), was a Filipino comedian-actor in the Philippines. He is widely regarded as the country’s “King of Comedy” for his comedic talent embodied by his long roster of works on stage, radio, television and movies. Dolphy was born on July 25, 1928 in Calle Padre Herrera (now P. Herrera St.) of Tondo, Manila. His father was Melencio E. Quizon, a ship engine worker in the Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Company of Manila, and the son of Modesto Quizon and Adorable Quizon (née Espinosa). His mother was Salud V. Quizon (née Vera), the daughter of Maximo Vera and Ninay Vera (née de la Rosa). He was the second eldest of ten children. Dolphy sold peanuts and watermelon seeds at movie theaters as a boy, which enabled him to watch movies for free. He was about thirteen when World War II started. He did odd jobs including shining shoes; attaching buttons at a pants factory; sorting bottles by size; working as a stevedore at the pier; trading; and driving calesas. In his free time he regularly watched stage shows at the Life Theater and the Avenue Theater. His favorite performers included the comedy duo Pugo and Togo, and the dancers Benny Mack and Bayani Casimiro. He started performing onstage during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Dolphy was turning 17 when Benny Mack got him a job as a chorus dancer for a month at the Avenue Theater and subsequently on the Lyric Theater. He also appeared in shows at the Orient Theater. Golay was his first stage name. During air raids, they would interrupt the show and run for the air-raid shelter in the orchestra section together with the audience. If no bombs exploded, the show resumed…Dolphy died on July 10, 2012, 20:34 (Philippine time, 01:34 UTC), at the age of 83 due to multiple organ failure, secondary to complications brought about by pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute renal failure. President Benigno Aquino III declared July 13, 2012 as “National Day of Remembrance” in honor of Dolphy’s contributions to the Philippine showbiz industry. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…Dolphy and Vilma Santos did four films together. The first one was in her first year in show biz and in a Dolphy-Chichay film. After six years, the two reunited in one of early films of Nida Blanca and Dolphy. The film was sort of about family planning and birth control. Vi was in minor role and one of the child actors featured in the film. They followed this up with minor roles in the Cirio Santiago’s all-star-cast film. By later part of 1970s, both Dolphy and Vilma became a regular staples in award shows receiving several trophies as box office king and queen. Finally, after almost a decade from their last outings and no longer his film daughter, Dolphy and Vilma did their last film (to this day), this time, Vilma played the leading lady, in a film, ironically, about show business. Also, that year, Doply became the only male actor who portrayed Darna, the female comic-super-heroine in Darna Kuno. Not to be undone, Vilma will reprise the role the following year in her fourth and final film as Darna in Darna at Ding. At present time, both superstars made headlines as contenders for Philippines’ National Artists honors. Vilma respectfully and publicly asked for Dolphy to confer the title ahead of her…” – RV (READ MORE)

Mario O’Hara (Director, Writer (Rubia Servios) – Mario Herrero O’Hara (born April 20, 1946 – died 26 June 2012) was an award-winning Filipino film director, film producer and screenwriter known for his sense of realism often with dark but realistic social messages. He was born in Zamboanga City on April 20, 1946. His mother was Basilisa Herrero, who has Spanish lineage and hails from Ozamis Oriental. His father Jaime O’Hara was the son of Irish-American Thomasite; Jaime was a member of the UP Dramatic club. Mario had eight brothers and three sisters. Because Jaime was the son of an American citizen, Mario’s family was eligible to apply for US citizenship; however, Mario rejected any such offers…He was born in Zamboanga City on April 20, 1946. His mother was Basilisa Herrero, who has Spanish lineage and hails from Ozamis Oriental. His father Jaime O’Hara was the son of Irish-American Thomasite; Jaime was a member of the UP Dramatic club. Mario had eight brothers and three sisters. Because Jaime was the son of an American citizen, Mario’s family was eligible to apply for US citizenship; however, Mario rejected any such offers. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…In 1978, he wrote the screenplay for Lino Brocka’s Rubia Servos. This led to the first award in his film career (Best Screenplay at the Metro Manila Film Festival)…” – Wikipedia

Marilou Diaz-Abaya is a multi-awarded film director in the Philippines. She is the founder and current president of the Marilou Diaz Abaya Film Institute and Arts Center, a film school based in Antipolo City, Philippines. She is the director of José Rizal, a biopicture on the Philippines’ national hero…Diaz directed and released her first feature film, Tanikala (Chains) in 1980. Since then, she has been one of the most active and visible directors in Philippine cinema…Her early films Brutal, Karnal (Of the Flesh), and Alyas Baby Tsina, sharply condemn the oppressive social system during the administration of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. When the Marcos was deposed in 1986, Diaz left filmmaking. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, who was directed by Diaz-Abaya in one of her landmark films, said, “Direk Marilou was like a mother to me, especially on the set of ‘Baby Tsina.’ I remember that she would always bring for the cast members pandesal and Spanish sardines, which we ate before shooting. “I love her and her husband, Direk Manolo, who I always requested to be my cinematographer in all of my Eskinol commercials before. “The last time I saw Direk Marilou was at the wake of actor Johnny Delgado. She was already sick then. She was a fighter. She told me, “kaya ko ‘to! I pray for her family and for the eternal repose of her soul…” – Philippine Daily Inquirer, Oct 09 2012 (READ MORE)

Celso Ad. Castillo began directing films mid-60′s at an early age, but he has since then gained reputation for many other aspects of the craft particularly scriptwriting and acting. In the Filipino movie industry, he holds the unique repuation of being controversial, trendsetter,enfant terrible and messiah of Philippine cinema, and his track record justifies it: he introduced artistry and commercialism in sex films (nympha) when the two were considered incompatible, and introduced sex in artistic projects ( Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa/The Most Beautiful Animal on Earth)when moralistic repression was in vogue. An unfortunate and unfair consequence of the controversy is the recognition due him as one of the finest film commentators on the Philippine social scene, with a visual fluency unmatched by any other contemporary filipino film director. – Celso Ad Castillo Web-site (READ MORE)

“…Castillo gave Vilma Santos her first mature role in Burlesk Queen resulting with her first local film festival best actress award. He also directed Pagputi Ng Uwak Pagitim Ng Tagak where Vilma Santos starred and produced. The film received several best picture awards and was considered one of Castillo’s best works…” – RV (READ MORE)

Luís Mercado (August 8, 1928 – March 15, 2012) also known as Luís Gonzales, is a Filipino actor who appeared in more than 100 films during his career, most of them by Sampaguita Pictures. Raised in Tondo, Manila, Gonzales may be best known for his portrayals of former President Ferdinand Marcos in two biographical films in the 1960s: Iginuhit ng Tadhana (“Marked by Fate”, 1965), a political propaganda film; and a dramatic film, Pinagbuklod ng Langit (“Heaven was Gathered”, 1965). Actress Gloria Romero starred opposite him as Imelda Marcos in both films. Gonzales and Romero starred in numerous other films together as well. They first worked together on the 1955 film, Despatsadora. In December 2010, Gonzales received a star of the Eastwood Walk of Fame, which marked his last public appearance. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…Pero higit na tumatak si Luis nang gampanan niya ng dalawang beses si Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos. Ito’y sa kontrobersyal na pelikulang “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” bago tumakbo si Marcos bilang presidente noong 1965. Sinundan ito ng “Pinagbuklod ng Langit” noong 1969. Si Imee Marcos, na ginampanan noon ni Vilma Santos, naalala ang galing ni Luis na mahirap na daw tapatan ngayon. “His acting was understated. A great actor and a good friend. He played a big role in our lives. Halos naniniwala na ako na tatay ko siya dahil sa boses. Mahal na mahal namin si Luis Gonzales,” sabi ni Imee. Ayon sa kanyang kabiyak, huling hiling ni Luis na ipa-cremate ang kanyang labi…” – Mario Dumaual (READ MORE)

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Filmography: Rubia Servios (1978)

“Hayup! Hayup! Hayuuuup!” – Rubia Servios

“Nahihibang ako sa pagnanasa sa iyo, ilang libong beses na kitang hinuhubaran sa aking isipan, pinagsasamantalahan sa aking pangarap!…Ito’y isang pagsubok sa ating pagmamahalan, kahit ano pa ang nangyari sa iyo, mahal kita, kailangan kita!…” – Willie Trizon

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Basic Information: Direction: Lino Brocka; Screenplay: Mario O’Hara; Cast: Vilma Santos, Mat Ranillo III, Phillip Salvador, Estrella Kuenzler, Esther Chaves, Carpi Asturias, Jess Ramos, Leah de Guzman, Mark Verzosa; Cinematography: Conrado Baltazar; Editing: Jose H. Tarnate; Music: Freddie Aguilar; Production Company: Sampaguita Pictures, Inc.; Release Date: December 25, 1978; “Rubia Servios (Case No. 63572)” (1978); Office Entry to The 4th (1978) Metro Manila Film Festival Entry; Based on an “Unforgettable Legal Story” by Aida Sevilla Mendoza; Theme Song: “Pag-subok” composed and sang by Freddie Aguilar

Plot Description: Medical intern Rubia Servios (Vilma Santos) is engaged to Dr. Norman Ignacio (Mat Ranillo III), but persistent suitor Willy Trison (Phillip Salvador) refuses to give up. On the day of the death of Norman’s father, she is abducted by Willy and brought to an island. She is repeatedly raped and offered marriage by Willy. She turns him down and warns him that she will bring matters to the police. However, he is confident that she will not press a case against him as she will not want the stigma of a rape victim. Rubia is released and she brings him to court. Willy is sentenced to six to ten years in prison. Rubia discovers she is pregnant and the steadfast Dr. Norman Ignacio proposes marriage. She gives birth to Willy’s daughter, Vivian, and they leave for Canada. Rubia wants a child by Norman and they have a son. Years later, they return to Manila. There are mysterious calls on the telephone. It is Willy and he wants his daughter. Rubia and Norman hide Vivian and plan to leave for the American continent. However, Willy is able to kidnap the child with the help of an ice cream vendor. She is brought to the island and she begins to look to him as her real father. But she also wants her mother. Willy calls Rubia and tells her to join them in the island. Rubia refuses. There is a confrontation between Norman and Willy. Norman is beaten up. Still Rubia is adamant. She becomes terrified when Willy sets up a headless child in a remote area, the discovery of which is sensationalized in the tabloids. Finally Rubia agrees to join him. She takes the motorized banca with Willy as the pilot. In the middle of the sea, she takes a paddle and hits Willy. Willy falls into the water. Rubia takes her gun and shoots him. The banca reaches the island. Rubia is happy to see Vivian alive. As an epilogue, Rubia and Norman leave for the States where they are presently residing. – Lino Brocka: The Artist and His Times, reposted Simon Santos, Video48, 29 December 2018 (READ MORE)

Sa umpisa ng pelikula, makikitang nag-aaral pa lamang si Rubia (Vilma Santos), Norman Ignacio (Mat Ranillo III) at Willie Trizon (Philip Salvador). Masugid na manliligaw ni Rubia si Willie kahit na alam na nito na may nobyo na siya’t pakakasal na sila sa pagkatapos ng taon. Nang malaman ni Willie na pakakasal na si Rubia ay naging desperado ito’t plinano na kidnapin si Rubia. Isang araw habang naghihintay ito ng taxi sa kalye ay hinablot siya nga pat na lalaki na tauhan ni Willie. Dinalo siya ni Willie sa isang cottage sa Cavite. Nagtangka si Rubia na tumakas at tumakbo sa labas. Duon siya ginahasa ni Willie sa tabing dagat. Matapos gahasain ay nagtangkang magpakalunod si Rubia ngunit pinigil siya ni Willie at binalik sa cottage. Pinag-isipan ni Rubia kung paano niya mapipilit si Willie na pawalan siya. Tinanong niya si Willie kung anong gusto nitong mangyari. Sinabi nitong gusto niyang pakasalan siya. Pumayag si Rubia na magpakasal ngunit kailangan nitong ipaalam sa kanyang mga magulang ang nangyari sa kanya. Natagpuan naman ng pamilya ni Rubia siya sa ospital at duon nito nagpasya na maghabla. Matapos ang hearing sa korte sa kabila ng pagmamakaawa ng pamilya ni Willie ay nasentensiyahan siya ng anim na taon sa bilanguan at magbayad ng 70,000 pesos. Samantala nanatiling nakakulong sa kuwarto si Rubia matapos ang kaso. Pinilit ni Norman na kausapin ang katipan at dito nalaman niya na ang dahilan ng pagkukulong sa kuwarto ni Rubia’y buntis ito. Pinasya ni Norman na bigyan ng pangalan ang pinabuntis ni Rubia at nagpakasal ang dalawa.

Nanatiling tahimik ang buhay ng dalawa’t nagkaroon pa sila ng isa pang anak. Nang 3 years old na ang batang naging anak niya kay Willie’y nag-umpisang mangulo na naman ito. Si Willie’y nakalabas ng kulungan pagkatapos ng tatlong taon lamang. Nung una’y pinagkaila ni Rubia sa asawa ang mga tawag ni Willie. Ngunit napuna na rin ito ni Norman nang mapuna niyang madalas ang asawa na umuuwi ng maaga sa bahay at nag-umpisang uminom ng valium at naging magugulatin ito. Pinagtapat na rin ni Rubia sa asawa ang panggugulo ni Willie at pumayag ito na payagan si Rubia na makipagkita kay Willie. Nang malaman ni Rubia kung saan sila magkikita’y si Norman ang pumunta sa usapan. Ang resulta’y nabugbog ito ng mga tauhan ni Willie. Dahil rito’y naging maliwanag na hindi sila titigilan ni Willie lalo pa’t minsa’y takutin si Rubia nang wala si Norman sa bahay at pumunta si Willie’t pinatay ang aso nila. Wala naman magawa ang mga polis dahil wala silang hard evidence na si Willie nga’y nanggugulo sa buhay nila. Pinasya ni Norman at Rubia na umalis na nang bansa at bumalik sa Canada kung saan sila ilang taon ring nag-aral bago naging doctor. Pinasya rin nila na ibigay sa kanyang mga magulang ang dalawang bata para sa kanilang safety.

Sa kasamaang palad, kinidnap ni Willie ang anak nila ni Rubia na si Vivian. Nagpunta sila sa mga pulis ngunit wala pa ring magawa ang mga ito dahil wala silang ebidensiya. Kinontak ni Willie si Vivian at gusto nitong makipagkita siya rito. Pumayag si Norman ngunit sumonod rin ito sa usapan. Kasama ng kanyang mga alagad iniwanan ni Willie ang magasawa at binantaan na sa susunod magsisisi sila sa kanilang ginawa dahil nga ang usapan ay si Rubia lamang ang gusto niyang makita. Tinakot pa ni Willie si Rubia’t kumuha ito ng bankay na bata at isinuot ang damit ng anak ni Rubia. Nalathala ito sa mga diyaryo at pinuntahan ni Rubia ang bankay laking pasasalamat nito’t hindi ang anak ang bangkay. Dahil rito’y nagpasya na si Rubia na kitain si Willie na hindi alam ni Norman. Kinita nga ni Rubia si Willie ngunit nasundan rin pala si Rubia ni Norman. Sa tulong ng mga alagad ni Willie ay itinali ng mga ito sa puno si Norman at muling ginahasa nito si Rubia sa harap ni Norman. Nagsisigaw ito ngunit walang siyang nagawa. Kahit ayaw ni Rubia ay napapayag rin siya dahil papatayin ni Willie ang kanyang asawa. Pagkatapos nito’y binugbog ng mga tauhan ni Willie si Norman at sinama si Rubia papunta sa kanilang anak. Sa dagat papunta sa isla kung saan naruon si Vivian ay kinausap ni Willie ang dino-dios niyang si Rubia. Pinangako nito na matututunan rin niyang mahalin siya. Hindi napansin ni Willie na nakahawak si Rubia sa sagwan ng bangka at ilang ulit nitong pinalo sa ulo ang nabiglang si Willie habang sinasabi ang salitang “hayup!” Hinanap nito ang baril at pinagbabaril rin niya ang nahulog sa dagat na si Willie. Narating ni Rubia ang isla at duon nito nakita ang kanyang anak na buhay na buhay at tinatawag ang kanyang pangalan. The End. – RV

Film Achievement: 1978 FAMAS: Best Picture Nomination; 1978 Gawad Urian: Best Cinematography Nomination – Conrado Baltazar; Best Editing Nomination – Jose Tarnate; 1978 Metro Manila Film Festival: Best Performer Nomination – Vilma Santos; Best Editing – Jose Tarnate; Best Screenplay – Mario O’Hara; Box Office Revenue – Top Grosser

Film Reviews: Mula sa screenplay ni Mario O”hara, ang Rubia Servios ay may mabilis na paglalahad ng buhay ni Rubia at ang mga kahayupang dumating sa kanya sa palad ng isang anak ng makapangyarihan pamilya. Halatang binusisi ni Lino Brockha ang pelikula’t binigyang pansin ang mga eksenang may pagkabayolente. Dalawang beses na ginahasa ni Philip si Vilma at sa bawat eksena’y makikita ang kahalayan at pagnanasa sa mga mata ni Philip at makikita ang sakit na dulot nito sa katauhan ni Vilma. Maraming eksena kung saan inalagaan ni Lino ang pagarte ni Vilma. Hindi lamang sa rape scenes kungdi sa mga tahimik na eksena. Una na nang umagang gumising siya pagkatapos ng unang rape scene. Makikita sa mukha ni Vilma ang pagkalito at ilang sandali pa’y ang pagtanggap ng nangyari sa kanya ng gabing una siyang ginaahasa sa tabing dagat. Pangalawa, nang pumayag si Philip na pakawalan si Rubia at mapunta ito sa ospital. Pagkabukas nang kanyang mata at makita si Norman, makikita sa mga mata niya ang hirap na dinanas. Sa court scene kung saan sinasabi niya na “gusto ko siyang patayin” ng paulit-ulit. Sa bandang huli kung saan nalaman niya na hindi ang anak niya ang putol putol na batang bangkay makikita sa mata niya’t mukha ang biglang pagkatuwa’t hindi ito ang kanyang anak. At sa bandang huli pa rin kung saan ginahasa siya muli sa harap ng kanyang asawa. Makikita ang pagsuko niya’t pagkatalo. Makikita sa kanyang mukha ang pagod at hirap hanggang sa boat scene kung saan pinalad siyang makuha ang sagwan at nagkaroon ng pagkakataong paluin si Willie ng pa-ulit-ulit at hindi pa ito nasiyahan at binaril pa niya ang nangahasa sa kanya. Sa eksenang ito makikita ang kaibahan ng kakayahan sa pagarte ni Vilma. Sa eksenang ito kung saan sinasabi niya ang salitang “hayup!” sabay palo sa nabiglang si Willie. Buong katawan niya ang umaarte. Ito ay hango sa tunay na buhay. Hindi katulad ng arte ni Nora Aunor sa Ina Ka Ng Anak Mo kung saan nahuli niyang nagsiping ang kanyang asawa sa kanyang ina. Nakapokos ang kamera sa mukha niya at nag-emote ng parehong salita: “Hayup!” ang paulit-ulit niyang salita. Aba kung sa tunay na buhay iyan eh nagkasabunutan na at nagwala na ang mag-ina!

Para sa akin naging matagumpay si Vilma sa kanyang pagganap bilang si Rubia Servios. Isang tour de force. Nuong una ko itong napanood sa Avenida ay namangha ako sa kanyang galing. Ngayon pagkatapos ng dalawanput siyam na taon pinanood ko muli ito’y hindi nababawasan ang aking pagkamangha sa galing niya. Paano mo ba isasalarawan ang babae na nagahasa? Paano mo ba isasalarawan ang babaeng nakidnapan ng anak at muling nagahasa sa harap pa mismo ng asawa mo? Isang mahirap na papel. At naisalarawan ito ni Vilma nang makatotohanan. Walang mga pagpopokos ng kamera para mag-emote. Makatotohanang pagganap. Special mention sina Mat Ranillo III at Philip Salvador. Dapat ay napahalagahan sila sa pamamagitan ng nomination subalit naging maramot ang organisasyon ng pestibal at isang acting awards lamang ang binigay nila. Panalo sana si Philip Salvador ng best actor award rito dahil damang dama mo ang kanyang karakter. Makikita rin kung gaano kaganda ng kanyang katawan. Meron eksena siya na nakaswimming trunks lang at talagang alaga pa niya ang kanyang katawan nuon. Si Mat naman ay sana nanominate bilang best supporting actor. Mahusay rin siya lalo na sa eksena kung saan nakatali siya sa puno at wala siyang nagawa ng pagsamantalahan muli si Rubia sa harapan niya ni Philip.

Technically, nang panoorin ko itong pelikulang ito ay maganda ang resulta ngunit nang panoorin ko muli ng ilang beses ngayon ay makikita ang ilang flaws. Una na ang cinematography ni Conrado Baltazar. Maraming eksena ay hindi nasa tamang angulo. Merong eksena na nagsasalita si Ate Vi pero ang nakikita lamang ay ang kanyang nuo. Ang musical score ni Freddie Aguilar ay parang hindi bagay sa tema ng pelikula. Pati ang theme song na “Pagsubok” parang pang-politika at very “folksy” ang dating. Merong isang butas ang screenplay ni Mario O Harra. Nang umalis si Philip para iwanan si Vivian, ang anak niyang kinidnap, nang umalis ito’y sumakay ito ng kotse, pagkatapos nang dalhin niya si Rubia sa banding huli’y sumakay naman sila ng boat. Medyo nakaligtaan nila ang isang detalye na ito. Mabilis ang pacing na pelikula at maraming mga eksena talaga si Vilma na makikita mo ang pagaalaga ni Lino. Sayang nga lamang at hindi ito nakita ng mga hurado ng pestibal at maging ang mga manunuri ng taong iyon. – RV

Undoubtedly, the two best entries in the 1978 Metro Manila Film Festival are Atsay and Rubia Servios. Atsay is remarkable in several ways. It has a strong social message, aimed at primarily those who forget that house cleaners are also human beings. In the character of Mrs. Anton (Angie Ferro), screenwriter Edgar M. Reyes is able to embody the thousand faults which middle-class housewives are heir to. Atsay can also pride itself on being truly Filipino. Its mood is set by its Pilipino credits (in sharp contrast to the English credits of the other entries). The film deliberately exploits local color, dwelling not only on rural but also on picturesque urban scenes. The story, needless to say, can happen only in the Philippines, where domestics and beerhouses are national institutions. But the most striking thing about Atsay is its cinematography (Romeo Vitug). The slow dissolves, the multiple exposures (such as the brilliant train sequence), the surprising angles, the flawless composition—this border on genius. The cinematography is so extraordinary, in fact, that it covers a multitude of sins. The most grievous sin of all is the ending. In the end, Nelia (Nora Aunor), after having been humiliated, beaten, raped, dehumanized by the vultures of the city, decides to stay in the city anyway in the hope that an impoverished construction worker (Ronald Corveau) will make her live happily ever after. Such ending, while assuring the viewer that human nature is not totally evil, is unmotivated and, in fact, goes against the very theme of the story. For Atsay is the story of how the city dehumanizes, of how human beings become swine (this point is made through blatant symbolism in a shot of Nelia inside a cage-like jeep), of how Manila is a prison (note Vitug’s several shots of cage-like structures). “Atsay” is a story of how individuals are no match against the cruelty of the city. The construction worker, for example, becomes the victim of a construction accident. A young pretty virgin from the province is raped while she’s drugged. A kind-hearted old man is shot down while protesting against exploitation. The ending of Atsay contradicts the film’s affirmations. It would have been much more in keeping with the theme (not to mention the current concerns of the national human settlements program), if Nelia were shown rejecting the city and, in hope, returning to her province for a new life.

Rubia Servios, on the other hand, does not dilute the message. Willy (Phillip Salvador), the son of a powerful and wealthy figure, is portrayed as totally evil, devoid of any redeeming quality. To screenwriter Mario O’Hara and director Lino Brocka, the province is the same as the city. Rubia Servios (Vilma Santos) is raped both in the city and in the country. Rubia kills Willy in the country. Violence unites all places. It is the “unity” of conception, scripting, design, and direction, in fact, that Rubia Servios is superior to Atsay. Lino Brocka does not waste shots in his attempt to create a Filipino classical tragedy. He subordinates everything to the building up of one emotion in the viewer, that of hatred of Willy. So despicable does Willy become at the end that, when he is murdered by Rubia, no viewer can say that Rubia is at fault. And yet, morally speaking, no one is allowed to take the law into his own hands. The law, in fact, put Willy in prison for the first rape. There is no reason to think that the law will not put Willy to death for the second rape. By conditioning the reader to condone Rubia’s revenge, Brocka succeeds in questioning one of our deeply rooted moral beliefs. The unity that characterizes Rubia Servios contrasts sharply with the tendency of Eddie Garcia in Atsay to exploit Vitug’s versatility even at the expense of tightness. There are shots in Atsay, for example, which could easily be cut without hurting the film’s integrity. Even the train sequence, one of the best sequences in Atsay, is far too long. Rubia Servios is Lino Brocka’s film; Atsay is Romeo Vitug’s. Nora does an excellent acting job; but so does Vilma Santos, and Rubia is a much more demanding and difficult role. Edgardo M. Reyes is an established literary figure, but Mario O’Hara is much better screenwriter. Overall, Atsay may be much more impressive than Rubia Servios. In terms of challenging our moral and legal convictions, however, Rubia Servios is much more significant. – Isagani Cruz, TV Times, 1979

Kung uri ang paguusapan, de-kalidad ang Rubia Servios. Kaya lamang, may sabit. Maraming butas ang iskrip ni mario O’Hara. Ang istorya ng Rubia Servios ay batay sa mga legal story ni Aida Sevilla Mendoza, at ito’y pumapaksa sa babaeng ginahasa ng kanyang masugid na manliligaw. Si Rubia (Vilma Santos) ay isang medical student na may kasintahang kaeskuweala, si Norman (Mat Ranillo III). Balak nilang magpakasal pagkatapos ng kanilang pag-aaral. Karibal ni Norman si Willie (Philip Salvador) na ayaw tumanggap ng kabiguan sa pag-ibig. Anak siya ng mayaman at maipluwensiyang pamilya sa Kabite. Kaya nang tapatin siya ng dalaga na wala siyang maaasahan, kinidnap niya si Rubia sa isang bahay-bakasyunan at ginahasa ito. Nang magkaroon ng pagkakataon ang babae, tumakas ito at isinuplong si Willie. Idinemanda ang lalaki at nahatulang mabilanggo ng anim na taon. Paglabas ng lalaki sa bilangguan, ginulo na naman niya ang buhay ng babae na ngayo’y asawa na ni Norman at may dalawang anak (ang una’y anak niya kay Willie). Dahil sa pananakot ng hui, nakipagtagpo si Rubia, at muli na namang ginahasa sa sementeryo sa harapan pa naman ng asawa. Kinidnap ni Willie ang anak niya para gawing pain sa pagtatagpo nila ni Rubia at para sumama na tio sa kanya. Ngunit nagkakaroon na naman ng pagkakaton ang babae na lumaban at sa bangka, hinampas niya si Willie ng sagwan, at pagkatapos ay binaril ang lalaki hanggang sa ito’y tuluyan nang malunod.

Simplistiko ang materyal at lalong simplistiko ang pamamaraan ni O’Hara sa karakterisasyon. Nagmumukha tanga ang mga tauhan (si Rubia at si Norman) samantalang medical students at naturingang doktor pa naman sial. Tinatakot na sila’y hindi pa sila humingi ng proteksiyon sa pulis. Ginahasa na si Rubia ay nakipagtagpo pa sa sementeryong madilim nang nag-iisa at nagpaganda pa mandin siya nang husto. At ang asawa niya’y wala ring utak. Biro mong sinundan ang asawa sa sementeryo nang nag-iisa! Dapat nga palang magkaganito sila kung napakakitid ng kanilang utak. Sa direksiyon ni Brocka, lumitaw ang galing ni Vilma Santos, at nakontrol ang labis na pagpapagalaw ng kanyang labi. Mahusay din ang eksena ng gahasa. Si Philip Salvador naman ay tulad sa isang masunuring estudyante na sinusunod lahat ang direksiyon ng guro. Kitang-kita mo sa kanyang pagganap ang bawat tagubiling pinaghihirapan niyang masunod: kilos ng mata, buntong-hininga, galaw ng daliri, kislot ng kilay. Limitado ang kanyang kakayahan at makikia ito sa kanyang mukha (na limitado rin). Walang-wala rtio si Mat Ranillo III, na parang pinabayaan para lalong lumitaw ang papel at pag-arte ni Salvador. Samantala, ang kamera ni Conrado Salvador ay hindi gaanong nakalikha ng tension at suspense, bukod sa napakaliwanang ng disenyo ng produksiyon ang pagbabago ng mga tauhan sa loob ng pitong taon batay sa estilo ng damit at buhok. – Justino M. Dormiendo, Sagisag, February 1979 (READ MORE)

“…Mula sa isang real life legal story ang Rubia Servios, namumuhunan ito sa ideya na ang masasaksihan ng mga manonood sa iskrin ay hindi likhang-isip lamang kundi talagang nangyari sa tunay na buhay. Hinimok ni Lino Brocka sa kanyang pelikula na pagmasdan ang babae sa konteksto ng ating lipunan. Bakit ganito ang nangyayari sa kababaihan? Dahil tinatanggap nating maging ganoon ang kanilang kundisyon sa lipunan. Kung pagkakasala ang pabayaang maghari ang mayayamang may kapangyarihan, nararapat lamang na ituwid ang pagkakasalang ito. Sa mga nakakaalam ng mga pelikula ni Brocka, pamilyar ang paggamit sa estratehiya ng melodrama. Sa ganitong paraan, ang focus ay ang paghihirap na pinagdaraanan ng pangunahing tauhang babae at ito ang nakababagbag sa damdamin ng manonood. Ngunit sa pagpuntirya ng emosyon, hindi matamaan ang paglinaw sa tunay na isyu. Si Vilma Santos bilang Rubia Servios ay hindi lamang mahusay na gumanap sa buhay ni Rubia kundi naging isa ring makapangyarihang talinghaga na nakapagpalusog sa teksto ng pelikula. Sa kabuuan, inaangkin ng pelikulang Rubia Servios ang kapangyarihan nitong lumikha ng katotohanan mula sa masalimuot na materyal ng reyalidad. Sa ganitong proseso, nailalantad ang isang piraso ng reyalidad upang mapanood, masuri at mabigyang-kahulugan. Sa kabilang banda, hindi rin makakatakas ang pelikula sa mga diskursong kumakanlong sa mismong puinupuna at tinutuligsa nito…” – Jojo Devera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

The Screenplay – “…Mario Herrero O’Hara (born April 20, 1946 – died 26 June 2012) was an award-winning Filipino film director, film producer and screenwriter known for his sense of realism often with dark but realistic social messages…In 1978, he wrote the screenplay for Lino Brocka’s Rubia Servos. This led to the first award in his film career (Best Screenplay at the Metro Manila Film Festival)…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…There are certain themes that keep the public captive and enthralled through relentless manufacture of a thematic repertoire which ensures the preponderance of sex in stories and daily narratives. These themes need not be perceived as always proferring false consciousness, but as reiterating the social problems implicated by cinematic and industrial mediation of sexual expression. The theme of rite of passage, from innocence and youth to carnal knowledge, fastens the narrative to the body of the virgin whose initiation into the desires of the world transforms her into a “whore.” The stigma of this rite of passage is exploited from every possible angle, from ablutions in the river to rape scenes and on to the erstwhile virgin suddenly craving flesh herself…Rape likewise presents an occasion for baring the body. Brutal (1980), Rubia Servios (1978), Angela Markado (1980), and even the massacre films hatched in the bizarre mind of Carlo J. Caparas discuss rape almost clinically and therefore subject the body of the woman to another round of autopsy, this time through the prying eyes of a public reared in a daily history of sex…” – Patrick D. Flores, Bodies of Work: Sexual Circulations in Philippine Cinema (READ MORE)

New Screen Persona – “…After years of this unfair competition, Vilma decided to stop playing the also-ran, and opted to essay the roles that Nora preferred not to do, -the other woman, rape victim, burlesque dancer, etc. Vilma’s sexy movies were more suggestive than anything else, but they gave her a new screen persona that made her a distinct movie entity from Nora. Fact is, Nora could also have played sensual characters, but she felt awkward doing so, and Vilma benefited from her reticence. In time, Vilma was also winning acting awards and starring in big hits, so the competition between her and Nora peaked…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2002 (READ MORE)