FILM REVIEW: BURLESK QUEEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filmography: Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw (1975)

“Kuya Rod…ayokong magsisi ka…nasasaktan ako…basta’t mahal kita, mahal na mahal kita, basta’t mahal mo ako, hindi tayo dapat magsisi, hindi tayo dapat mahiya!” – Nanette

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Basic Information: Directed, story: Celso Ad. Castillo; Screenplay: Mauro Gia Samonte; Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Eddie Garcia, Lorli Villanueva, Joseph Sytangco, Joonee Gamboa, Odette Khan, Pedro Faustino, Alma Moreno, Rez Cortez, Soxy Topacio, Eva Darren, Edna Diaz, Nympha Bonifacio; Executive producer: Lourdes S. Sevilla; Original Music: Ernani Cuenco; Cinematography: Ricardo M. David; Film Editing: Augusto Salvador; Production Design: Baby Alvarez; Sound: Manuel Daves; Released date: 24 October 1975

Plot Description: First cousins, Rod (Christopher Deleon) and Nanette (Vilma Santos) fell in love. The result was an unwanted pregnancy and a scandal that their family have to endured and ended into a trip to the abortion clinic. RV

A young co-ed (Vilma Santos) falls in love with her first-degree cousin (Christopher De Leon), who stays with her family while studying in Manila. Their forbidden affair, which they keep secret from their family, is revealed when she becomes pregnant. For the scandalized family, abortion is the only solution left, which the two lovers resist. – ABS-CBN (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: The very first film of Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos, considered as one of the most successful love team Philippine cinema ever produced. As of 2008, Deleon and Santos has twenty-three films under their belt.

Film Review: The film “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw” directed by Celso Ad Castillo started with Nanette (Vilma Santos) meeting Rod (Christopher Deleon) while vacationing in their rest house along the beach. It was clear to both that it was love at first sight but this instant chemistry ended when they discovered they are first cousins. Faith continued to play an important role to their initial attraction as Rod joined Nanette along with her parent to Manila where Rod was permitted by his parent to continue his study. Rod and Nanette at first decided to resist their feeling for each other by dating other people but their love for each other are more intense than what their mind dictates. The two started to have a secret affair culminating to a hot sex when they came back to the rest house when another summer arrives.

As expected Nanette gets pregnant and the problem to expose, their taboo affair is ticking. Worst, Nanette’s morning sickness was noticeable to her suspicious mother played wonderfully by Lorli Villanueva. When finally Nanette’s family found out her condition, she was beaten by her angry father but she remained tight lipped to tell who impregnated her. As Rod tried to remained his calm, Nanette’s family locked her to her room until she’s ready to talk. Rod climbed to the balcony to speak to her and that’s when Nanette’s family discovered who is the father. As Rod came down to the balcony, he was cursed by both parents and was beaten by them as Nanette beg for mercy. Rod was hospitalized as his parent came from the province and beg for forgiveness to the angry Julio (Eddie Garcia), Nanette’s father. Julio was fuming and throws the couple out the house. He also mentioned that they are planning to abort Nanette’s baby.

When Rod found out from his parents the planned abortion, he left the hospital and went back to his uncle’s house. Very timely, Rod arrives as Nanette together with her family was headed to the abortion clinic. With the help of two security guards, Rod was controlled as his uncle’s car passed him and Nanette cried for intervention. Rod followed the car and was almost successful as the car stopped for the traffic lights. But his attempt failed as the car continued its destination. The end.

The Catholic Church prohibits marriage between first cousins and it is considered a sin. Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw successfully tackles this topic with convincing scenarios and believable characters. Celso Ad Castillo’s style remained true to many films in the 60s with canned music and repetitive voice over by its two main characters. One scene you will hear Christopher narrates his feelings and the next scene it was Vilma’s turn to speak. Most of this narration or voice over while they are playing in the rain on the streets or on beach.

This is the first film by Vilma Santos and Christopher Deleon and it was clear that the two have that chemistry on screen. The film ensemble was quite impressive starting with Eddie Garcia and Lorli Villanueva as Nanette’s parents. As Julio, Eddie Garcia was animated at times but his character balances out the mother role of Lorli Villanueva. Joseph Sytanco’s role as Nanette brother was minimal and he doesn’t have enough lines but his quiet scenes were effective. Johnee Gamboa and Odette Khan’s performance as Rod’s parents were excellent. The agony on Odette’s voice as Johnee, her husband begs for forgiveness on behalf of their son was very believable.

The two main characters, Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos obviously carried the film with surprising maturity. Considering this was their first team-up and both were very young. In 1975, both were still in transitions, from teenybopper stars of the musical era to serious actors. Christopher Deleon’s performance was quite impressive as the apologetic Rod, except for some scenes where you can see his nostril moves, he gave a very affecting performance. Vilma Santos equally balance the equation with a touching show of emotions that we seldom see in her early films that are mostly musicals, fantasy or comedies.

Three scenes stand out. First was in the bus where she confronted her “Kuya Rod” to not to give-up on their relationship. Second when her parents caught them in the balcony. She begs them to stop beating up her “Kuya Rod.” And then finally, the driving to the abortion clinic scene, she cried her heart out begging them to stop and cried for help to her “Kuya Rod,” who was running behind and trying very hard to stop the car. Celso Ad Castillo successfully gave us a very moving film. Even with the very annoying number of voice-over scenes, scenes that you will hear the two main characters talks but you will see them not opening their mouth, the film has so many good qualities that you will forgive these flaws. We probably attributed these flaws to the style of many films in the 60s and 70s.

Ricardo David’s cinematography was excellent particularly the many scenes on the streets. You can see many spontaneous shots of people that were gawking at Christopher Deleon running like a maniac. David’s very intricate camera work inside the car, dinner table and at the living room while Nanette’s mother was playing piano adds to the intense mood of the film, this is despite some shot where you can see the shadow of the camera particularly when Christopher left the house because he can’t stand to see Nanette being slap repeatedly by her angry father.

The film was fast paced, thanks to Augusto Salvador’s editing. There are many scenes where the background music matches the mood like the choir/choral-like music at the very end of the film but Ernani Cuenco used so many canned music that sometimes it was very distracting. Like the voice over style used by Castillo, the musical score used in this film was typical of the 60s and 70s. Even the excellent Lino Brocka film, “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” used this kind of style. Overall, Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw was a superb film that highlighted the potential on screen chemistry and talents of the screen team of Christopher Deleon and Vilma Santos. For their fans, I would recommend to have a copy of this classic film. Special thanks to Liam Tayag for downloading this film via Youtube. RV

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

Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw is the first screen team-up of Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon. That fact alone gives the film a unique importance. This partnership paved the way for a string of memorable films together. They played notable roles, shared celebrated scenes, delivered unforgettable dialogues, and reaped acclaim for their performances. Theirs is the ripest love team in Philippine cinema, transcending cheap romance in exchange of maturity, often appearing as a couple in the hardest of circumstances. In Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw, they play cousins who fall in love with each other, and knowing it is socially unacceptable, they try to fall out of it. It seems awkward for a first team-up, considering its taboo subject, but seeing young Vilma and Boyet weep as they fight for their impossible love story, it only shows that they only get better the harder their roles are.

It is already clear in the beginning that their romance is doomed. Rod and Nanette meet in a beach house owned by her parents, who bring Rod along to stay in their place in Manila to study. It is love at first sight—Rod sees her playing along with her friends in the beach and as she runs to get her dog, they exchange names, glances, and affection. Right that very moment, they are in love. They walk around the place, holding hands, sharing their surprise on how comfortable they already are with each other. There is nothing really malicious about it. We all know that their affection is sincere. They have longed for it—and it came. – Richard Bolisay, Lilok Pelikula (Read More)

Noel insisted that I watch Tag-Ulan Sa Tag-Araw, a Vilma Santos-Christopher de Leon movie from the 70s. Hadn’t realized it was written and directed by Celso Ad. Castillo, the demented genius of Philippine cinema. I used to see the movie on TV ages ago, and I’ve never forgotten the final scene in which Vilma’s parents are taking her away, Christopher is chasing the car on foot, and at every stoplight he hurls himself at the car, smashing the windows and bouncing off the hood. It was intense and oddly, not laughable. Nenet (Santos) and Rod (De Leon) are cousins who fall in love at first sight before they learn that they are first cousins. Rod has come to Manila to attend university; he lives in the house of Nenet’s parents. The parents are played by Eddie Garcia and Lorli Villanueva, and their hamminess fits the movie perfectly. They’re not the villains: there is no villain, the culprit is passion. Rod does the decent thing: he avoids Nenet and tries to move out of the house. But this is first love of the hysterical kind, the passion that drives the young insane, and the actors are so committed to their roles that you believe every cheesy line they utter. Their love overrides all rational thought. In one scene Nenet confronts Rod on the bus—she always calls him “Kuya Rod”, reminding everyone of the incest—and in front of all the passengers, declares that she doesn’t care if they’re cousins, she loves him. Instead of eliciting giggles, the scene is genuinely disturbing. These young lovers are beyond silliness: they are in a delirium. Celso Ad. Castillo is a master at creating and drawing out emotional tension—as Noel pointed out, it’s almost like watching a horror movie. The lovers can’t abide parental counsel; what they need is an exorcist because they are possessed. There’s even a balcony scene, a demented reference to Romeo and Juliet. The copy is gray and brown with age, unrestored, lacks opening and closing credits, and don’t even mention subtitles or special features. We’re just glad it still exists. Tag-Ulan Sa Tag-Araw is available at video stores; Raymond found his copy on sale for 100 pesos. – Jessica Zafra (READ MORE)

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

Forest of the Heart – “…The best way to learn how to write is to keep on reading and writing. That was the advice I got from the late Vicente Rivera Jr., Literary Editor of the Weekly Graphic Magazine in 1965. Evidently concerned that I might be getting discouraged by the avalanche of rejections of my contributions to his section, Vic would write me such notes and attach them to the manuscripts that he sent back. Finally out of school, having permanently aborted my engineering studies, I was then working as a stay-in janitor-messenger in a travel agency in Binondo. That stay-in status gave me whole nights of pounding the typewriter for churning out short story manuscripts so endlessly it must seem that a friend of the agency owner who was doing PR for a brewery company would taunt me with ridicule: “The only good thing you are doing is you are helping the paper industry.” I would gape at the remark, quite baffled. And he would blurt out in harsh laughter, saying, “Imagine the tons of bond paper that you consume with what you are doing.” “Just you wait, Jimmy Boy. Just you wait.” At this point, I am constrained to flash forward. The time was 1970. That guy Jimmy had been waiting at the editorial offices of the Makabayan Publishing Corporation, publisher of the Weekly Nation, one of three leading magazines during the period. He did take time to wait, three, four hours maybe, so as to get an appointment for Luis Nepomuceno, producer of the Nepomuceno Productions of which he was the PRO, with the entertainment editor of the Weekly Nation — named Mauro Gia Samonte. Vic Rivera’s advice had borne fruit. I had kept reading and writing until, at long last, in 1965 I had my first-ever short story published in the Weekly Graphic, “Forest of the Heart.” That story would, a decade later, form the core of the screenplay of “Tag-Ulan Sa Tag-Araw,” the Vilma Santos-Christopher de Leon blockbuster film that I would write for direction by Celso Ad. Castillo. And the performance of the movie would tee me off in a career, both in screenwriting and in film direction, successful enough for Tatay to say he had not waited in vain. He got the pleasure of being included together with Nanay in one of the movies I directed. But didn’t I say, “If I were a fish”? I did, indeed. And as a fish, I was gasping for breath when Henry Sy suddenly dealt the Philippine film industry a death blow by banning adult movies in SM theaters, which comprise 80 percent of movie exhibition outlets; and adult movies were what the Philippine cinema was mainly about…” – Mauro Gia Samonte, Manila Times, 11 October 2016 (READ MORE)

Filmography: Burlesk Queen (1977)

“Kung Inutil kayo, Di Inutil kayo. Wala naman tayong magagawa kung yan ang gusto ng Diyos para sa inyo.” – Chato

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Basic Information: Directed: Celso Ad Castillo; Story: Mauro Gia Samonte, Celso Ad Castillo; Screenplay: Mauro Gia Samonte; Cast: Vilma Santos, Rolly Quizon, Rosemarie Gil, Leopoldo Salcedo, Roldan Aquino, Chito Ponce Enrile, Dexter Doria, Yolanda Luna, Joonee Gamboa; Original Music: George Canseco; Cinematography: Benjamin L. Lobo; Film Editing: Abelardo Hulleza, Joe Mendoza; Production Design: Jose Tamayo Cruz; Sound: Gregorio Ella

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

Film Achievements: Philippines’ Official Entry to the 1978 Berlin Film Festival (official citation not verified); Official Entry to the 1978 Festival del film Locarno (Switzerland); 1977 Metro Manila Film Festival: Festival Revenue Top Grosser; Best Actress – Vilma Santos; Best Picture – Ian Films; Best Actor – Rolly Quizon; Best Director – Celso Ad Castillo; Best Supporting Actress – Rosemarie Gil; Best Supporting Actor – Johnee Gamboa; Best Screenplay – Celso Ad Castillo, Mauro Gia Samonte; Best Production Design – Jose Tamayo Cruz; Editing – Abelardo Hulleza, Joe Mendoza; Best Musical Score – George Canseco; 1977 FAMAS: Best Actress Nomination – Vilma Santos; Best Supporting Actress Nomination – Rosemarie Gil; 1977 Gawad Urian: Best Picture Nomination – Ian Films; Best Actress Nomination – Vilma Santos; Best Director Nomination – Celso Ad Castillo; Best Supporting Actress Nomination – Rosemarie Gil; Best Supporting Actor Nomination – Rolly Quizon; Best Screenplay Nomination – Mauro Gia Samonte; Best Music Nomination – George Canseco; Best Sound Nomination – Gregorio Ella

Film Review: “…Celso Ad. Castillo’s Burlesk Queen (Burlesque Queen) is most famous for Vilma Santos’ noteworthy performance. She plays Chato, daughter of crippled Roque (Leopoldo Salcedo). She works as assistant to Virgie (Rosemarie Gil), current star of the burlesque stage (the film opens with Gil gyrating to the rapid beatings of drums, to the ecstasy of her numerous patrons). Resisting the lofty wishes of her father, Chato succumbs to the lure of the stage and the money it would bring her. It really is a grand performance as Santos was able to deliver the physical requirements of the role with her inate charismatic aura (a skill that earned the actress legions of fans and eventually elected to public office). Santos’ Chato is servile to the men around her (her father, Louie the theater manager (played by Joonee Gamboa in the film’s other equally terrific performance) and Jessie (Rolly Quizon), her boyfriend) but when she dances onstage, it doesn’t come off as merely sensual and titillating. She dances burlesque to make a statement (if there is such a thing), a statement important enough to die for…Burlesk Queen is much more than a gripping commercial melodrama. It is also a scathing commentary on the sarcastic sexual politics that has become the atmosphere of Philippine society: of hardworking women and the good-for-nothing men they serve (in other words, a patriarchal society gone awry). It is also a fervent reminder of the redemptive and equalizing power of art, which is the reason why it will always be a threat to those who hold power. Multi-faceted, committedly acted, and very well-directed, Burlesk Queen, I opine, is an unsung masterpiece…” – Francis “Oggs” Cruz, Lesson from The School Innattention (READ MORE)

“…Simple lamang ang plot. Isang tinedyer si Vilma Santos na alalay ng isang original burlesk queen, si Rosemarie Gil. May tatay na lumpo si Vilma, si Leopoldo Salcedo. Si Rosemarie naman ay may kabit na isang hustler, si Roldan Aquino. Nang iwanan ni Roldan si Rose, nagwala ang huli. Naging lasengga siya at tumangging magsayaw sa tanghalan. Mabibitin ang palatuntunan, kaya’t si Vilma na talaga namang may ambisyong magsayaw ang pumalit. Hit naman sa manonood si Vilma. Sa bahay, pilit kinukumbinsi ni Vilma si Pol na payagan na siyang maging full time dancer. Ayaw ni Pol, mas mahalaga sa kanya ang prinsipyo at delikadesa. Sapagkat wala namang ibang pagkakakitaan, si Vilma rin ang nasunod sa bandang huli. Nag-suicide si Pol nang hindi na niya masikmura ang pasiya ng anak. Si Rollie Quizon naman ang binatilyong masama ang tama kay Vilma. Nagtanan sila at nagsama. Pero hindi sanay sa hirap si Rollie. Sa pagpili sa pag-ibig o ginhawa sa buhay, ang huli ang pinahalagahan niya. Nagkataon namang buntis na si Vilma. Sa pag-iisa sa buhay, nagbalik siya sa pagsasayaw. Nagsayaw siya ng nagsayaw hanggang duguin siya sa tanghalan at malaglag ang kanyang dinadala…Kung matino ang kaanyuan ng pelikula, ay ganoon din ang masasabi sa nilalaman. Makatotohanan at masinop ang pagtalakay sa buhay ng isang abang mananayaw. Tinalakay rin dito kung paano siya tinatanggap ng lipunan at inuusig ng mga tagapangalaga raw ng moralidad. Maging ang empresaryo ng tanghalan na ginampanan ni Joonee Gamboa ay may konsiyensiya rin at nagtatanong sa atin kung anong panoorin ang dapat ibigay sa isang ordinaryong Pilipino na hindi kayang pumunta sa mga mamahaling kainan upang manood tulad halimbawa ng Merry Widow at Boys in the Band. Sila, aniya ng mga ‘dakilang alagad ng moralidad na nagdidikta at kumu-kontrol sa moralidad ng komunidad’, katapat ng munting kasiyahan ng isang Pilipinong hindi ‘kaya ang bayad sa mga ekslusibong palabas ng mayayaman.’ Samantala’y busy tayo sa paglilibang at sa kanila’y walang pakialam ngunit may handang pintas at pula sa mangahas lumabas sa batas ng moralidad ng lipunan…” – Jun Cruz Reyes, Miyembro, Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, Manila magazine December 1977 (READ MORE)

“…Furor is really an understatement. “Burlesk” swept the awards in that year’s MMFF, resulting in a controversy that led to the wholesale return of trophies. In spite of the scandal, “Burlesk” is still regarded by critics as the “quintessential” Filipino film. “Hinamon ni Brocka si Tinio ng suntukan (Lino Brocka dared Rolando Tinio to a fight),” Celso remembers. “Tinio, who was the head of the jury, heralded “Burlesk as the most beautiful Filipino film” past, present and future.” Vi’s turnaround: Adding fuel to the fire, “Burlesk” had stunned moviegoers because it unveiled a new “Vilma Santos” from ingénue to wanton woman. Vilma says of “Burlesk” – “It marked a transition in my career. Working with Celso Kid is a privilege. He’s a genius.” With good humor, Vilma recalls a “quarrel” on the set of “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak,” which she produced in 1978. “It took so long to finish. I lost money on that. But we’re still friends.” Burlesk and Pagputi brought a lot of honor to me…” – Bayani San Diego Jr. (READ MORE)

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

Restoration – “…Two decades ago, it would have cost P15 million to restore an old movie; but with digital technology, the cost of saving our cinematic gems has become less prohibitive. Leo Katigbak, head of ABS-CBN Film Archives, had always wanted to upgrade the network’s library, home to such classics as Peque Gallaga’s “Oro, Plata, Mata” and Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala.” He recalled, “It always boiled down to a question of costs…One film that can never be restored, sadly, is Celso Ad. Castillo’s “Burlesk Queen,” starring Vilma Santos. “The only remaining copy we have of ‘Burlesk Queen’ is on video,” said Katigbak. We can’t restore material that’s on video. We have to go back to the negatives or master print…” – Bayani San Diego Jr. (READ MORE)

Devoid of the “pang-FAMAS” – “…The 1977 Urian Awards further established the reputation of the Manunuris as discoverers of new or ignored talents. Word spread around that “you don’t have to spend a cent for PR to win in the Urian” after Daria Ramirez (Sino’ng Kapiling, Sino’ng Kasiping) bested formidable co-nominee Vilma Santos (Burlesk Queen) for the best actress plum. The choice of Ramirez was not a popular one either, for her portrayal of a middle-class wife was devoid of the “pang-FAMAS” hysterics usually equated with good acting in Philippine movies…” – The Urian Anthology 1970-79 (READ MORE)

“…On Burlesk Queen. “Yes, I will never forget that seven-minute dance in the movie. I postponed the shoot of the scene five times. I was so afraid. I performed the dance in front of a real burlesk show audience. I remember the controversy about the Metro Manila Film Festival Awards and the squabble between Rolando Tinio and Lino Brocka. They wanted us to return the trophies. I didn’t return mine. I deserved it. I worked hard for that trophy…” – Boy Abunda, The Philippine Star, July 31, 2009 (READ MORE)

“…This veritable spiritual co-ownership ostensibly has enriched us all, Asians or Asean. It is no mark of a monarchical hauteur to say, for instance, that the films of Celso Ad Castillo, once dubbed as the Messiah of Filipino movies, are contemporaneous in their being a classic. If all these seem contradictory, Celso can easily point to his filmography to prove that there has always been, and will always be, fire in his filmmaker’s eyes. His “Burlesk Queen” and “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak,” for one, are now a classic, conscience-searing sociological film tractatus on structutal violence and institutional injustice that probed into the hearts of little people amidst a third world setting as encapsulated in the microscopic life of a poverty-stricken, young woman. It’s Rossellini, you would say? Think again…Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak was sent to Sao Paolo, Brazil for the Latin American Film Festival and represented the Philippines at the Asean Film Conference in 1981…” – Celso Ad Castillo Presents web-site (READ MORE)

“…One of the first Filipino filmmakers to invade foreign film festivals abroad with such output as Burlesk Queen and Alamat ni Julian Makabayan (Berlin Film Festival and World Film Festival in Montreal) and Nympha (Venice Film Festival), among others, Celso The Kid returned to his hometown Siniloan, Laguna where he led a quiet life while working on his autobiography…His 1977 film, Burlesk Queen, won 10 out of the 11 awards of the 1977 Metro Manila Film Festival but the results were contested by Lino Brocka and defended by juror Rolando Tinio (now National Artists for Film and Theater), respectively. He reflected: “I wanted to vindicate myself as a filmmaker in this movie. The media referred to me as a reluctant artist and a filmmaker who has yet to arrive. Not only did the film run away with awards. It was also the top grosser. It broke the myth that quality films don’s make money in the box-office and commercial films don’t win awards…” – Pablo A. Tariman, The Philippine Star, 28 November 2012 (READ MORE)

“…Rosemarie Gil, like her daughter Cherie, was known for her rich socialite-villain roles, but surprisingly, she was introduced in a religious movie in 1958, in the title role of “Santa Rita de Casia (Patrona ng Imposible)”, opposite Lauro Delgado, who portrayed the saint’s wayward husband. This movie turned out to be a hit, but in the 60s, she married Eddie Mesa (Eddie Eigenmann, in real life), putting her stardom on hold, while her husband, known as the Philippines’ Elvis Presley, enjoyed a flourishing career as a singer and actor. The couple would eventually settle in the U.S., separate and then reconcile. Rosemarie went back to make movies for international release in the 1970s, starting with “Manda” (1970), “Night of the Cobra Woman” (1972), “Master Samurai” (1974), and the remake of “Siete Infantes de Lara” (1973). It was in 1977 that she made her presence felt in the 1977 critically-acclaimed “Burlesk Queen”, starring Vilma Santos. For her role as Virgie Nite, Rosemarie earned a Gawad Urian nomination the following year…” – Alex R. Castro, Views from Pangpang, Feb 21 2011 (READ MORE)

“…Celso Ad. Castillo, known as L’Enfant Terrible of Philippine Cinema, was best remembered with his fully independent spirit and out of the box ideas both on narrative and style. I always remember an Ad. Castillo film watching was always crazy in different ways. From the mock-tribal language of Snake Sisters (1984), the living house in Mga Lihim ng Kalapati (1987), to his melodramas charged with socio-political statements (Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan (1979), Burlesk Queen, (1977)). His ideas has always been crazy and there are some of those “first” experiences that was only given by his films: the first to see Fernando Poe Jr. die on a film (Asedillo), the first surrealist Filipino film I saw (Mga Lihim ng Kalapati(1987)), and also the first to see historical parallelism realized on both narrative and it’s image (Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan (1979)) which he probably used on remaking his own films (Nympha (1971, 2003), Ang Lihim ni Madonna (1979)). Being a lover and creator of Genre, he thinks that aiming for box office success was never a hindrance to make a good film. This he has proven on his body of work. I remember Burlesk Queen as one the film with the best performances ever, both from Vilma Santos and Joonie Gamboa. Especially Joonie Gamboa. Santos starred as Chato, once was an assistant of a dancer on a burlesque bar dreams also of being in the limelight even though her father won’t approve. Chato went from this dilemma to failed relationships until finally realizing her dream. Contains a lot of powerful scenes that would drove my emotions into a mixed state. Burlesk Queen is the proof of Celso’s vision: a success on the artistry and mass reception. Other Celso Ad. Castillo Films to prioritize: Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan, Payaso, Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak, Asedillo…” – Epoy Deyto, Kawts Kamote, September 12, 2013 (READ MORE)

“…As for his masterpiece Burlesk Queen (1977)–here’s an excerpt of what I wrote about a moment in the film (Chato’s deflowering), for Chris Fujiwara’s The Little Black Book of Movies: “Celso uses Jessie’s smooth back as both veil and metaphor for Chato’s nudity, the clothes dropping from overhead hangers as metaphor for her failing inhibitions; what makes the scene erotic and nakedly emotional is Chato’s face, glimpsed over Jessie’s left shoulder as terror (the widened eyes), greed (the remote expression, as if she were a starving man wolfing down a steak), pain (the startled look of one who has been kicked in the crotch), guilt (the tears) and finally pleasure (the bit lower lip) flit across and mingle in her eyes.” Ad Castillo was not a genius; he was more interesting than that. His films were often incoherent, often inconsistent, sometimes because he didn’t have the money, sometimes because he told stories that way–apparently narrative was secondary to him, an excuse to flex his prodigious filmmaking muscles. Of his greatest works–which include but are not limited to Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan; Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak; and Burlesk Queen–his imagery burned incandescent, his filmmaking technique was second to none. If Mike De Leon is Philippine Cinema’s mad intellectual, Lino Brocka its fiery social realist, Ishmael Bernal its skeptic-satirist, Mario O’Hara its nightmare scenarist, Celso was its poet laureate–his images were Filipino lyricism incarnate. His passing is an unimaginable loss…” – Noel Vera, Critique After Dark, 06 December 2012 (READ MORE)

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Filmography: Pakawalan Mo Ako (1981)

“Kukunin ko ang bayad ng halik! May sukli ka pa!” – Anna

“Puta! Sige ituloy n’yo! Sabihin n’yo! Hindi lang naman kayo ang ang unang nagparatang sa akin ng ganyan. Puta! Puta! Puta! Putang-ina n’yong lahat! Putang-ina n’yong lahat! Sige! Sabihin n’yo! Isigaw n’yo! Kung sa inyo lang ay malinis ang aking konsensiya!” – Anna

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Basic Information: Directed: Elwood Perez; Story: Pete Lacaba; Screenplay: Jose F. Lacaba, Iskho Lopez, Mauro Gia Samonte; Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Anthony Castelo, Deborah Sun, Subas Herrero, Mila Ocampo, Ed Villapol; Executive producer: Marichu Maceda; Original Music: Lutgardo Labad; Cinematography: Johnny Araojo; Film Editing: Jose Tarnate; Production Design: Angel Tantoco; Sound: Gaudencio Barredo; Theme Songs: “Dati” performed by Anthony Castello; Production Co: MVP Pictures; Release Date: 29 May 1981 (Philippines) – IMDB

Plot Description: When Ana’s (Vilma Santos) father died they experience hardship. She decided to stop her schooling and work (selling beauty soaps on the street). Despite being poor, she decided not to ask help from her rich boyfriend Freddie Villaseñor (Christopher DeLeon). When the hardship reached its peak, she decided to join her friend, Bernadette Santos (Deborah Sun) as escort girls. There she met Bernard, a son of a rich clan, who courted her when Anna’s relationship with Freddy failed. As it turned out Anna was pregnant and despite the disapproval of Bernard’s rich father (Subas Herrero), they continued their relationship. The continuing harassment of Bernard’s father and his entourage resulted in Bernard being shot as one of the goons tried to rape Anna and was caught by Bernard. Anna was framed and Bernard rich father hired Freddy to prosecute Anna. The film climax with the prosecutor Freddy discovered the bullet that killed Bernard. This was when he decided to visit Ana’s family and met her son. The film ends with Ana being acquitted and Freddy discovered that Ana’s son was his son. – RV

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. – RV

Film Achievement: 1981 FAMAS Best Actress – Vilma Santos; 1981 FAMAS Best Musical Score – Lutgardo Labad; 1981 FAMAS Best Theme Song – Louie Ocampo; 1981 FAMAS Nomination Best Actor – Christopher De Leon; 1981 FAMAS Nomination Best Director – Elwood Perez; 1981 FAMAS Nomination Best Picture; 1981 FAMAS Nomination Best Supporting Actor – Anthony Castelo; 1981 FAMAS Nomination Best Supporting Actress – Deborah Sun

Film Review: Dalawangpu’t Anim na taon na ang nakakalipas nang una nating napanood ang pelikulang Pakawalan Mo Ako. 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

“…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)

Deborah Sun – “…Bonggang-bongga ang papel ni Deborah Sun sa “Pakawalan Mo Ako.” Even her co-stars here, Vilma Santos, Christopher de Leon, and Anthony Castelo joked na madalas silang maagawan ng eksena ni Deborah. Tila nga lalong tumataas ang career ni Gigi (her monicker in real life). Bukod sa “Pakawalan,” lumabas din siya sa “Rosang Tatak” at sa highly successful na first directorial job ni Bembol Roco, ang “Asal Hayop…” – Artista Magazine, 1981 (READ MORE)

“…One of the pioneers of the indie scene in the 1970s, Perez eventually became one of most bankable directors of that same golden era which spawned the biggest hits of acting superstars Nora Aunor (“Mahal Mo, Mahal Ko,” “Till We Meet Again”) and Vilma Santos (“Pakawalan Mo Ako,” “Ibulong Mo sa Diyos”). “Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig” was screened in the Asia-Pacific Film Fest in Taiwan in 1978 and the Asean Film Fest in Australia in 1981…” – Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 11/01/2009