Wow! Ang Bigat! 1/2

When Vilma Santos or Ate Vi, to most of us, was handed the trophy as the 2005 UP Gawad Plaridel awardee, she exclaimed “Wow! Ang Bigat!” I’m sure she meant it literally but it can also mean figuratively. The trophy designed and made by National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon Abueva, was made of bronze and was really heavy. This is the third Abueva designed trophy that ate Vi has received. She earlier received Abueva made trophies from the CineManila International Film Festival as Best Actress and as Lifetime Achievement awardee. The trophy may be heavy but the prestige that goes with it is heavier! As what the citation says, Gawad Plaridel is the sole award in the University of the Philippines (UP) system given to outstanding media practioners. For this year, the recipient is from film, next year will be from radio, next is television, then new media, print and after 5 years back to film again. Ate Vi is the very first awardee in film and it will take 5 long years before this feat will be duplicated.

The awards rite is scheduled to start at 2pm, and we, my mother and a cousin, whom I asked to take video of the event, arrived just a few minutes before 2. We were welcomed by no less than the Dean of UP-CMC, Dr. Nick Tiongson, ( I must admit, I’m impressed with his memory, dahil natandaan niya ako kahit minsan pa lang kami nag-meet ng ihatid naming ni Jojo (Lim) ang mga materials for lobby display and for the souvenir program), sabi ni Dean, “O, kumusta ka na?” Sagot ko naman, “Heto ho, nanlalamig sa nerbiyos.” Talagang ninenerbiyos ako dahil alam kong hindi lang ito isang ordinaryong award para kay ate Vi. To some extent, kasing ka-prestigious na ito ng National Artist Award. Imagine, ang mga bumoto para sa gawad na ito ay mga professor ng UP na halos lahat ay may PhD! Sumunod na sumalubong ang mga kasamahang vilmanians na sina Jojo, Cesar at Noel, binibiro nga nila ako na nagpa-star for all seasons daw ako. Sabi ko “Bakit andyan na ba si ate Vi?” Chorus nila “Andyan na! 10 minutes ago!” Sa loob-loob ko naman, ganito pala ang feeling ng mag-grand entrance!

Cesar lead us to our assigned seat. Malapit lang kami sa stage which is good para makalapit agad kami ng Mama ko kay Vi after the awards rite. I didn’t know na may naka-assign pala akong seat na mas malapit sa stage, sa tabi nina Jojo at Paolo. This is reserved for those who in one way or the other, have helped in the mini exhibit and the materials used in the souvenir program. Anyways, after my mom was settled sa upuan niya, I went outside of the theatre to buy the souvenir program. The souvenir program is a collector’s item para sa mga Vilmanians at para sa mga Vilma followers. It was very tastefully done, gold ang kulay ng cover at nakasulat lang ang “UP Gawad Plaridel 2005 – College of Mass Communication. Naka-emboss sa cover ang logo ng UP. While reading the messages sa souvenir program, I can’t help but feel very proud of being a vilmanian. Very glowing ang mga messages nila! On my way back to the theatre, naka sabay ko na sina ate Vi escorted by Sen. Ralph. I greeted both of them, na in-acknowledge naman nila, with ate Vi’s very warm smile on her lips. I went inside before them dahil they will march going into the theatre. The processional will start at the back of the theatre going to the stage. First in the processional, were the professors of the College of MassCom, followed by Dean Tiongson, then UP Chancellor Mr. Sergio Cao and UP President Ms. Emerlinda Roman. Next is last year’s awardee Ms. Eugenia Apostol, then this year’s awardee Ms. Ate Vi, no less escorted by her husband, Sen. Ralph Recto.

The program was emceed by Prop. Jane Vinculado, director, Office of Extension and External Affairs. After the National Anthem was sung, nagbigay ng opening remarks si Dr. Tiongson, after which ay naghatid naman ng kanyang mensahe si Dr. Sergio S. Cao, PhD. In his speech, he said that “This is the first time that I saw Ms. Santos in person and I’m starstruck! You are so beautiful!” He even kidded that he had to go to the infirmary to use the nebulizer, dahil nagsikip ang dibdib niya after makita niya si ate Vi! While listening to his speech, I was teary-eyed. Dahil mga salita ito na nagmumula sa isang hindi ordinaryong tao! He said that he was awed by what ate Vi has accomplished both as an actress and as a mayor. He also said that he has not watched many of ate Vi’s films, in fact, he hadn’t seen much Filipino movies, but of the few that he saw, he likes ate Vi’s acting very much, and he specially mentioned “Ikaw ay Akin”, where he said that ate Vi was marvelous! After his speech, ng pabalik na siya sa upuan niya tumayo si ate Vi to greet and thank him, and he planted a kiss on ate Vi’s cheek to the delight of the crowd who cheered him on.

The audience was composed of students from UP, Ateneo, Mirriam College, La Salle-Lipa, PUP, UE and Trinity College, of course hindi mawawala ang mga over loyal, over true Vilmanians. The theatre’s capacity is 800 at punong-puno ang theatre, marami pa ang mga nakatayo sa magkabilang aisle. Sabi nga ng isang staff ng UP, had they known na ganito karami ang attendees, sana ang UP Theatre na lang ang ginamit, which is much bigger. Among the celebrities spotted were Tirso Cruz III and wife Lyn, Charo Santos-Concio, Ricky Lee, Chito Rono, Atty. Laxa, Jerry Sineneng, Laurice Guillen and Chit Guerrero among others. The press was also there led by Ricky Lo, Mario Dumaual, Lhar Santiago, Morly Alinio and Ambet Nabus.

Next in the program, was a song number by Ms. Katrina Saporsantos, a soprano who sang “Ipagpatawad Mo”, next is Dean Ramon Acoymo, a tenor who sang the most moving version of “Sana Maulit Muli”. They then, sang together a medley of “Bato sa Buhangin”, “Tubig at Langis” and “Sinasamba Kita” all theme songs from Vilma’s movies. They were accompanied in the piano by Mr. Jeremiah Calisang.

Next is the documentary entitled “Vilma sa Putting Tabing: Ikaw, Siya, Tayo” . Medyo misty eyed na naman ako dito sa portion na ito dahil sa mga testimonials nina Atty. Laxa, Christopher de Leon, Marra Lanot and others. Meron din portion na in-interview ang kasama nating vilmanians like Jojo Lim, Remy, Cora and Zeny aka Pitimini (ni Kuya Ike Lozada). I wish I can ask for a copy of this docu, sana rin malinaw ang register sa video na nakuhanan namin.

After this documentary, ay iginawad na kay ate Vi ang parangal nina Drs. Roman, Cao and Tiongson. After which ay nagbigay na si ate Vi ng kanyang lecture/speech. She started her speech by saying na kinakabahan siya. Sabi niya sa presentation na ginawa nila para sa kanya, overwhelmed siya talaga! Para daw siyang presidente! She acknowledge all who attended the event, and started to look back on her 42 glorious years in the business. She enumerated some of her landmark films and some notes that go with them, like when Burlesk Queen was offered, she said “Diyos ko, paano ako magsasayaw ng burlesk eh nag-aaral ako sa mga madre!” She was a product of the RVM Sisters which ran the St. Mary’s Academy where she studied from kinder to high school. She also recalled that after winning her very first grandslam for Relasyon, she was scheduled to shoot for another Bernal film, Broken Marriage. Sa isang eksena nila ni Boyet de Leon, naka take 7 siya! Sabi raw ni Bernal, “Ano ka ba, Vi, dapat malungkot ka dito sa eksena eh bakit may stars ang mga mata mo?” Paalala sa kanya ni Bernal, “Hindi por que naka-grandslam ka na ay ikaw na ang pinakamahusay”. Pinapasok daw siya ni Bernal sa comfort room at pinag-jogging siya for 10 minutes, bago kuhanan muli ang eksena which turned out to be perfect. At ito raw ang hanggang sa ngayon ay naging guide niya, kaya hanggang sa ngayon ay patuloy pa rin siyang nag-aaral sa kanyang propesyon. Sabi niya ang pag-arte ay walang katapusang pag-aaral. Kahit daw sa panonood ng news sa TV, iba iba ang pag-iyak ng mga tao, at pinag-aaralan niya ito para hindi rin pare-pareho ang kanyang style ng pag-iyak.

She also recalled how she went to Mother Lily after hearing reports that her Sister Stella L was not as well accepted as Sharon’s Bukas Luluhod ang mga Tala, on which mother Lily anwered “ganyan talaga ang buhay”. She also said that malayong-malayo ang estado ng pelikula noong nagsisimula pa lamang siya at sa ngayon. She said that we used to produced more than 200 movies a year pero last year it was down to just a little more than 50. Sinabi niya na marami sa mga kasamahan niya sa industriya ang walang trabaho. Ang iba nga raw ay nagpupunta pa sa kanya sa Lipa upang humingi ng tulong. Sinabi niya na dapat daw ay mas bigyan ng priority ang ating mga pelikula kaysa sa dayuhang pelikula. She cited Spiderman 2 na nasabay sa isang local movie, syempre panalo ang Spiderman 2 with more than P20M gross sa first day nito sa Metro Manila alone, samantalang ang nakasabay na pelikulang pilipino ay nagpasalamat na sa P5M first day gross nito. Sana raw ay huwag naman sabayan ang playdate ng mga pelikulang pilipino ng malalaking pelikulang dayuhan, after all wala namang pinapalabas na pelikulang tagalog every week. Isa pang problema ng pelikulang pilipino ay over-taxation, mahigit daw 50% ng gross ng pelikulang pilipino ay napupunta sa tax.

Sinabi niya na sila sa Lipa ay nagpasa ng batas na from 35% ay 15% na lang ang ibubuwis sa mga pelikulang pilipinong ipalalabas sa kanilang lunsod, while si Sen. Ralph ay nagpasa ng batas sa senado para sa Film Ratings Board, na nagbibigay ng 100% tax rebate sa rated A films, 50% sa rated B at 25% sa rated C. Sinabi rin niya na willing siyang magbaba ng kanyang talent fee basta maganda at makabuluhan ang proyekto, na sinalubong ng mainit na palakpakan. She also mentioned the problem of film piracy. Kung minsan daw nauuna pa ang pirated VCDs sa commercial theatres, kaya talagang apektado ang mga pelikula. A director once told her that his movie can easily gross an additional 20M if not for the pirated VCD that came ahead of its commercial run. Sa pagtatapos ng kanyang lektyur, binigkas niya uli ang kanyang dialogue sa Sister Stella L – “Na marami pang siyang dapat matutuhan, ngunit hindi na siya nagmamasid lamang. Sabi nga ni Ka Dencio, kung hindi tayo ang kikilos, sino ang kikilos, kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?”

Umugong ang malakas na palakpakan at karamihan pa ay hindi napigilan ang pagtayo bilang pagbibigay pugay sa isang aktres na naiiba, nag-iisa at patuloy na ginagamit ang kanyang talino para sa kapakanan ng mas nakararami. And mind you, hindi lang mga Vilmanians ang nag-standing ovation! Tunay ka! Iba ang isang Vilma Santos!

Who and How they Voted? – The Second U.P. Gawad Plaridel (2005, Film)For 2005, the award is given to an outstanding film practitioner.The U.P. CMC received nine nominations from various media organizations and academic institutions on April 8, 2005, the deadline for nominations. The nine nominees were Nora Aunor, Celso Ad. Castillo, Ricky Lee, Mike de Leon, Lily Monteverde, Eddie Romero and Vilma Santos.

The first round of deliberations was held on April 19, 2005. The screening committee was composed of the following: Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Dean, U.P. CMC), Dr. Rolando B. Tolentino (Acting Director and Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Dr. Grace J. Alfonso (Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Ms. Eliza Cornejo (Instructor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Anne Marie G. de Guzman (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Roehl J. Jamon (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Eduardo J. Lejano (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Eduardo J. Piano (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Arminda V. Santiago (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute). This committee recommended three nominees, Mike de Leon, Eddie Romero and Vilma Santos as finalists for the awards.

The second screening with the representatives of the three departments of the U.P. CMC took place on May 11, 2005. The body, known as the U.P. CMC Gawad Plaridel Faculty Committee, was composed of the following: Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Dean, U.P. CMC and Chair, CMC Faculty Committee), Dr. Lourdes M. Portus (College Secretary, U.P. CMC), Dr. Rolando B. Tolentino (Acting Director and Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Eduardo J. Lejano (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Victor C. Avecilla (OIC, Dept. of Broadcast Communication), Mr. Fernando A. Austria (Instructor, Dept. of Broadcast Communication), Prof. Ma. Cristina I. Rara (Assistant Professor and Chair, Dept. of Journalism), Prof. Luis V. Teodoro, Jr. (Professor, Dept, of Journalism), Dr. Aleli A. Quirante (Associate Professor, Dept. of Communication Research), Ms. Alexandra More M. San Joaquin (Instructor, Dept. of Communication Research) and Prof. Elizabeth L. Enriquez (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Graduate Studies). After deliberating on the credentials of the three finalists, the committee chose Ms. Rosa Vilma Santos as the recipient of the U.P. Gawad Plaridel for 2005. She is scheduled to received the U.P. Gawad Plaridel trophy and deliver the Second Plaridel Lecture on July 4, 2005 at the Cine Adarna of the U.P. Film Institute.

Message from the Dean of UP-CMC – Traditionally, academia has always kept a discreet distance from show business, and for good reason. For one, academics have always emphasized critical thinking and professional integrity, both of which seem to be rare commodities in a movie world obsessed with instant gold and glamour. For another, the popularity of a movie star, to be sure an unwanted legacy from Hollywood, has been used by producers to cover up for a multitude of their cinematic sins, such as the lack of intelligent scripts, competent directors, and solid production values.But stardom is not a sin in itself. In the hands of film actors who are sincerely committed to their art, popularity can be harnessed to uplift the artistic standards of the whole film industry. In fact, it can contribute significantly and directly to the development of a Filipino national cinema, if the movie star, with cunning and imagination, can use his or her popularity as a way of pressuring filmmakers to create screen characters and stories that reflect and interpret urgent issues and concerns in contemporary Philippine society.In choosing Vilma Santos as the U.P. Gawad Plaridel Awardee for film, the College of Mass Communication would like to offer to the film and media industries incontrovertible and living proof that popularity – and ratings – need not lead to the degradation of media tastes and standards. In fact, they can inspire media practitioners to compete with each other to be the best that they can be and encourage filmmakers to create films that liberate and transform the many levels of consciousness of the Filipino people. – Nicanor G. Tiongson, Dean, College of Mass Communication.

Message from UP Chancellor – Every year the U.P. Gawad Plaridel honors the media person whose work successfully merges the artist and the public servant, and constantly raises standards of artistry by being true to the craft while at the same time challenging the conventional notions of art as being merely “for art’s sake.” This year’s awardee, Ms. Vilma Santos, is one such media person. She has earned recognition here and abroad for her fine and powerful performances as wife, mother, lover, NGO worker, and OFW in films that are now considered modern classics. In the process, she has also redefined womanhood, questioned traditional gender roles, and clarified the relationship of an individual to her society.More importantly perhaps, Ms. Santos has used her status as a celebrity to pursue public service. As Mayor of Lipa City, she has proven that art and politics do not exist in separate planes. She has shown us that women artists can transform society in more ways than one.Congratulations, Ms. Vilma Santos. – Sergio S. Cao, Chancellor, U.P. Diliman.

Gawad Plaridel Citation – Gawad Plaridel CitationFor crafting and creating her varied cinematic roles with consummate artistry, making us empathize with whatever character she is portraying by delineating for us the character’s history, problems, and aspirations, in dynamic interaction with the film’s ensemble of other characters;For bravely using her popularity as an actor to choose roles which brings to the public attention an astounding range of female experiences as well as an array of problems confronting women of different classes and sectors in contemporary Filipino society, even if these experiences or problems would not only not enhance but could even detract from her mass appeal;For bringing to life on screen characters whose stories have the effect of raising or transforming the consciousness of women, leading them a few steps closer to a deeper understanding of their situation vis-à-vis the patriarchy and to the ability to control their own lives and make choices of their own;For courageously playing maverick characters which dared to speak the truth in a period of intense political repression and reprisal, thereby showing a concern not for her own self but for a Filipino society fighting for basic human rights under a dictatorial regime;For building a brilliant career which saw her grow from popular icon to professional actor through self-discipline and tireless honing of her craft, thereby challenging writers, directors, and producers to come up with films that would be worthy of her enormous artistic resources and repaying their efforts with some of the most unforgettable performances in Filipino cinema;For showing that the movie star can place the stamp of her own individuality and talent on the films she choose to make, thereby proving that the star can be regarded as an auteur in her own right;For excellence, integrity, and social responsibility which have distinguished her major performances, and for being a model of professionalism to other actors and technicians engaged in the creation of a Filipino national cinema;The U.P. Gawad Plaridel 2005 is given to Rosa Vilma Santos on the 4th day of July 2005 by the U.P. College of Mass Communication at the Cine Adarna, U.P. Film Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. – Signed by: Emerlinda R. Roman, Ph.D.President, University of the Philippines; Sergio S. Cao, Ph.D.Chancellor, U.P. Diliman; Nicanor G. Tiongson, Ph.D.Dean, U.P. College of Mass Communication.

Vilma Santos sa Puting Tabing: Ikaw, Siya, Tayo – My Film 100 professor had said that when you see Vilma Santos in person, it’s really hard not to get starstruck with her stellar appeal. UP Diliman Chancellor Francis Sergio Cao agrees. In his opening remarks at the Gawad Plaridel 2005 Awarding and Lecture, he confessed it was still his first time to see the famed actress in person and just how “starstruck” he was to be near her (two seats away); yeah, I could almost hear him jittering. Well, good for them; they got to be a meter or two away from this still youthful even in her golden age film icon. Me, the closest that I could get was just around 8-10 meters. I was in awe, of course, to have seen one of my favorite older actresses. But not much awe for me to be considered starstruck. I was just way beyond the “Starstruck Radius”.

Multi-awarded Filipino actress Vilma Santos is this year’s UP Gawad Plaridel awardee. The UP College of Mass Communication (my college!) gave her this award for her innumerable and invaluable contribution to the film industry, and mass communication as a whole. Santos was given the award at the Cine Adarna (formerly UP Film Center) just this afternoon, where she also delivered a half-hour lecture, reminiscing her almost fifty-year life as an actress and speaking strongly against the problems that plague the film industry today (lets give one of them a name: piracy). Ms. Santos’ speech, for me, was very profound and candid. I always had great respect and admiration for her as a person, public servant, and actress. After the lecture, that respect and admiration hot-air-ballooned. It became clear to me that even if this person is now worthy of having a constellation named after her, she is still as human and feet-on-the-ground as possible. During the reminiscing part of her speech, she told us about her humble beginnings as an artist, and about her mistakes and the challenges that spiced up her life. There was that time, she confided, when she had just won grandslam best actress and she was filming another movie and she sort of…”laxed” a bit. Her director, whom she had previously worked with, scolded her saying, “di dahil nanalo ka na ng grandslam e magaling ka na!” The director had Vilma Santos jog for 10 minutes to awaken her from her “illusion.”

But aside from Vilma Santos, many prominent people were also present in the occasion. Here’s a list of those I can remember: Sen. Ralph Recto, UP President Emerlinda Roman, National Artist Napoleon Abueva (who sculpted the Gawad Plaridel trophy), ABS-CBN boss Charo Santos-Concio, Eugenia Apostol (Philippine Daily Inquirer founding chairperson and last year’s Gawad Plaridel awardee) and Film director Chito Roño. Members of the media were also there. I even got to see Mario Dumaual, that showbiz reporter in ABS-CBN! It was him whom I got to see closest; he and his crew were shooting a mere meter in front of me. That portion where he is talking, with the stage and the lecturing Ate Vi in the background–I was right at the back of the cameraman. Vilma Santos’ mother was also there. There sure were many film producers and directors present in the affair, it’s just that I forgot their names or they were not acknowledged at all. Students and faculty members from different universities and colleges occupied most of the theater’s seats. And yes, magpapahuli ba ang mga die-hard Vilmanians? They occupied the middle seats; you’ll know its them with their distinctive gray hair. PS. I don’t have a camera to prove that what I say is true (but trust me, it really is true). Thankfully, in less than two months, I’m having my first digital camera! My aunt in Ohio is sending me one (bless her) after a month of grueling “courtship.” So you might as well expect a photoblog from me in August.

On The Prowl Article: How I wish there were more intelligent and passionate individuals like her in local show biz. My long overdue visit to my beloved alma mater, UP’s College of Mass Communication and our tambayan, the Broadcasting Association, was a dejavu of sorts for me, and an overall enjoyable afternoon.

Besides seeing the newer breed of young “broad-assers” as we call them (pardon the term of endearment), as well as my close professor-associates, I also witnessed the awarding of the Gawad Plaridel to the country’s premiere actress, Lipa Mayor Vilma Santos, which my friend Rome Jorge talks about in today’s banner story. Instead, let me fill you in on the glittering list of Ate Vi’s well-wishers that day—from her industry colleagues to the academic multitude to her loyal Vilmanians—who all gave the gem of an artist a standing ovation at the end of her 45-minute speech.

She had of course her husband the Senator Ralph Recto to escort her. I meanwhile, had the privilege of attending the event with the head of the Film Institute Prof. Ed Lejano and his brilliant namesake, my fave, Prof. Ed Piano. The audience, meanwhile, had such bigwig names like Atty. Esperidion Laxa, ABS-CBN and Star Cinema executive Charo Santos-Concio, film director Chito Roño, scriptwriters Ricky Lee and Pete Lacaba, fellow actor Tirso Cruz III, film critics Bienvenido Lumbera and Mario Hernardo, and National Artist Napoleon Abueva, who is the sculptor of the highly revered Gawad Plaridel trophy. To say that Ate Vi’s lecture was powerful is an understatement, as Rome will no doubt tell you. How I wish there were more intelligent and passionate individuals like her in local show biz. Inspiring rather than . . . never mind! Let’s just get on with my prowl! – Amiel Martin Cabanlig Global Vilmanians (to be continued)

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FILM REVIEW: BROKEN MARRIAGE


The Plot: After ten years and two children, Rene and Ellen find their marriage on the brink of breaking up. They seem to have fallen out of love and life has become a series of verbal hussies and conflicts. They decide that the only way out is a temporary separation. Rene, a police reporter, and Ellen, who is a television production assistant, begin to live apart from each other. Rene moves into his friend’s apartment while Ellen has to cope with running a household by herself. But they soon begin to feel the effects of their separation. A series of events that follow drastically change their lives. Rene is mauled for his expose of a gambling casino owned by a high ranking government official. He is forced to stay temporarily in the house of Ellen’s mother. As he recuperates from his injuries, both he and Ellen attempt to rebuild their shattered relationship. – Manunuri (READ MORE)

Demanding careers and two children have left Ellen (Vilma Santos) and Rene (Christopher De Leon) with a rocky marriage. A trial separation follows, and soon enough, the consideration of divorce — a serious taboo in Filipino culture in 1983. Orestes Ojeda co-stars as a new flame who lights up Ellen’s life. Prolific director Ishmael Bernal directs a heart-tugging script that he co-wrote with Bing Caballero and Jose Carreon. – Netflix (READ MORE)

The Reviews: Broken Marriage comes as a second wave to the noisy ripple created by Vilma Santos’s award-winning performance in Relasyon. The Regal people have banged their bongos so much harder this time that viewers will expect that Ms. Santos’ cards for this year’s awards derby will be more than secure. The hint is that Broken Marriage is a Vilma Santos movie. Lest the moviegoer expect too much from this year’s quadruple winning best actress, he should be forewarned that the movie is about, well, a broken marriage.

After more than 10 years of marriage, two young persons find each other repugnant. Ellen is a television floor director who hops from one set to the other shooting sitcoms and soaps. Her husband, Rene, complements her rapid lifestyle in investigative reporting. The movie commences with Ellen coming home in the morning from overtime with a crew party on the side. Rene greets her with an ugly nag. The house turns topsy-turvy as they proceed to hurl invectives against each other.

The exchange is extremely exhilarating; and just as the viewer breathes a sigh of relief, another quarrel starts and ensues as if it were the final assault.

Eventually, they decide to separate at the cost of their boy’s understanding nod and their little girl’s distaste. Rene moves to a house populated with such absurd characters as an artist who carves sexy sculptures, a friendly bit-part actor, and a gay art director who cuddles the upstart. Ellen, meanwhile, has to see to it that the children are not left out in their school activities – even standing as an athletic parent during one of her boy’s scouting engagements. She also has to check the advances of her bodyache-complaining producer, to whom she later gives in anyway.

Gradually, the two people realize the great loss that comes with division. Ellen, with the two children, is forced to move to her mother’s place after her house is burglarized, thus realizing the difficulty of an unmanned house. Rene substitutes a whore in the absence of his wife’s caresses. It is when Rene gets beaten up by a city mayor’s goons for nearly publishing a detrimental article and is constrained to recuperate in his mother-in-law’s house that the couple starts patching up the seams of the rent relationship. The ending is of course happy: reconciliation, what else?

Comparisons dawn inexorably: how does Broken Marriage fare as a follow-up to the bravura of Relasyon? This is tough inquiry. If intentions were to be the starting point, then the new movie is a better achievement. Relasyon, judging from its title, was supposed to be about a man and other woman relationship; but the feminist tendencies of our cinema had pinned the movie to a fateful drift: the travails of the modern mistress. Broken Marriage never swerves from its goal; from start to finish it is a portrait of two persons and the bond which they discover smothering and smoldering.

But the ordinary moviegoer does not assess by artist’s intentions – he does not even care about the artist (I mean here the one behind the work. On one hand, the film in front of him is the present; and on the other hand, it is the past. Broken Marriage is made to appear to him as a sequel to Relasyon. The process of integrating the past and the present is a challenge for him. For him are opened two avenues: to start with past and proceed with present; or start with present and proceed with past. If he chose the former, the condemnation for Broken Marriage would clang like a wild cymbal. If he chose the latter, the outcome is a laudatory comment).

Nonetheless, one has to prove that the new movie can stand on its own feet. What Relasyon sadly lacked (albeit not too sadly) was humor. Broken Marriage has tons of it – the caustic swaps, the funny characterizations, the clever plottings – so that the audience’s conditioned response for a supposedly serious movie shifts irrevocably to playful irreverence. Vintage Ishmael Bernal.

It is a masterly stroke – the proverbial Bernal sleight-of-hand at work, this time with more gusto and style. If the Inquisition were still around, he would be branded and burned seven times as a heretic for turning a marriage gone sour into an off-beat frolic suddenly turned sweet – at least, to the viewer’s mirth-hungry belly.

But none may claim that Bernal’s treatment loses its mark of delineating the disadvantages of separation. The humor chisels the message so that it comes to us shining and double-edged, while doing its duty of alleviating an otherwise gloomy impression which accompanies every disillusioning subject matter.

Not only does it come through humorously but also simply. Nowhere is the strain which anyone expects from grave subjects present here. It is as if the dreary topic had been borne on the Lord’s shoulders so that the yoke – and audiences love to be martyrs of maudlin tears – becomes, this rare time, light and easy. The scene where Rene visits his family and finds Ellen and the children agitated by the swift burglary of the house, and the producer wrily comments “Mahirap talaga ang walang lalaki sa bahay”(It’s difficult to have no man in the house) is casual but very biting so that the urgency of the hero returning to his gamily throbs mercilessly like a set clock.

In the same way, Bernal shows Ellen’s retrospective mood minus the conventional flashback: her younger sister is engaged to be married, and Ellen watches the two lovebirds running like children, with a bright but painful smile, even with jealousy, knowing that after the ceremonies, the two will lose the innocence which tradition stifles. This is a repetition of the technique Bernal used in Relasyon – the mistress attending the wedding of her cousin – with just the same effect, namely, sympathy.

The screenplay plunges right into the boiling point, the issues hurled to the foreground like machine-gun fire, the familiar scenes of hatred and division treated like aimless confetti so that the audience neither breathes nor is excused. It jolts us at the outset and after the terrible whipping, when the squabbles lessen and finally ebb into peace, we realize that these two handsome people must have had only one tragic flaw: they did not keep mum for a while.

Manolo Abaya’s cinematography dances with the jetstyle rhythm of the two protagonists. From the clever blocking of the morningjumble scenes to the hurried bustle of the television studio, Abaya’s camera sweeps avidly and flawlessly. In his hands, the incessant quarrels of Rene and Ellen seem like a vengeful lovemaking. The long shots, conventions of a Bernal, are more developed here. Above all, Abaya’s camera has humor and pathos.

The production design never digresses from its limited scope but manages to make poetry out of cluttered rooms and artificial television set-ups. The claustrophobia one feels at the outset of the movie with the couple’s disorderly room easily renders the hopelessness of the two people’s situation. The music filters the emotions of the characters with a detached but effective air. Jesus Navarro’s splendid editing is a breathless canvass of cosmopolitan animation.

The supporting actors are remarkable. Spanky Manikan as a loony reporter getting loonier everyday must not be denied mention; so with the actors who play the sculptor and the gay art director. Lito Pimentel as the gay’s idol is a relaxed performer with a talent for effortlessness.

Christopher de Leon endows the character of Rene with the right sense of machismo and basic weakness. When Rene is compelled to act maturely, De Leon unflinchingly turns him even more childish with useless tantrums; and when Rene finally learns his lesson, De Leon adds a boyish smile as if the lesson were amusing. We watch De Leon, elated and entertained: he is never so old as to appear too distant nor is he too young as to seem undocile. Broken Marriage is a gift to this actor. He is not propelled here to be more manly; since his character is made to contribute to a lot of oversights, De Leon’s doesn’t have to put a mask of strength: he just has to be himself and act with ease.

Vilma Santos is not about to be a letdown, not this time when the most important female roles are coming her way. A new intelligence she infuses in the character Ellen. Like De Leon, she turns Ellen into a woman-child, but the stress is less on her part as she has done similar roles before. Her beautiful face is flush receptive: the quiet moments of just observing the people around her are moments of perfect acting. Her body moves with an agility that is both funny and dramatic. Her two monologues – the first with her friends in the cafe when she informs them that she is bored, and the second with Rene when she tells him that they are not children anymore – are her best scenes: the camera lingers upon her countenance and she enunciates in return with ironic ease. She should watch out for next year’s awards race – there is simply no stopping her at the moment. – Joselito Zulueta, Sine Manila – 1983 (READ MORE)

Mahigit sampung taong nagsasama bilang mag-asawa sina Ellen (Vilma Santos), floor director sa isang programang pantelebisyon at Rene (Christopher de Leon), isang investigative reporter. Sa simula pa lamang ng Broken Marriage (Regal Films, 1983) mapapansing pag-uwi pa lamang ni Ellen mula sa trabaho, pakikipagtalo agad ang isinasalubong ni Rene dito. Ipinakita ng pelikula ang tumitinding alitan sa pagitan ng mag-asawa hanggang sa mapagdesisyunan nilang pansamantalang maghiwalay. Pilit na ipinaintindi ng mga ito ang di pagkakaunawaan sa kanilang dalawang anak. Nanirahan si Rene sa isang bahay na pinamumugaran ng isang grupo ng mga absurd characters na matatagpuan sa pelikula. May iskultor, isang bit player at ang kinakasama nitong baklang art director. Di naglaon, napilitang makisama ni Ellen at ng mga anak sa poder ng kanyang ina sa dahilang pinagnakawan ang kanilang bahay dala ng kawalan ng lalaking magtataguyod dito. Nang mapag-alamang ilalathala ni Rene ang isang artikulong maglalantad sa katiwalian ng isang opisyal ng lokal na pamahalaan ay agad itongipinagulpi upang mapigilan ang pag-publisa ng artikulo. Pansamantalang tumigil si Rene kasama ng asawa’t anak sa bahay ng kanyang biyenan upang magpagaling at dito naayos ng dalawa ang kanilang pagsasama. Ang pagtatapos? Muling nabuo ang kanilang pamilya.

Paano malalampasan ng Broken Marriage ang Relasyon? Kung pagbabasehan ang intensiyon ng direktor, higit itong nakaaangat sa Relasyon. Mula simula hanggang sa pagtatapos nito, hindi lumihis ang Broken Marriage sa mensaheng nais nitong ipahatid. Mahusay ang pagsasalarawan ni Ishmael Bernal sa domestikong suliranin ng mag-asawa bagama’t sumasang-ayon sa patriyarkal na gahum habang pinagbibigyan nito ang di inaasahang pagkamulat ng lalaking protagonista ay nagpakita ding ganap sa semiotikong detalye ng kompleksidad ng resolusyon sa pansariling loob. Ang sensitibong paglikha ni Vilma Santos kay Ellen ay isang marubdob at personal na layon kung ihahambing sa kanyang pagsasakarakter ng papel ni Marilou bilang kerida sa Relasyon. Hinamon ni Ellen ang kumbensiyonal na depinisyon ng pagiging asawa at pagkaina sa paghahanap ng mga alternatibo sa gitna ng makainang pagpapalaki sa mga anak. Ginawan niya si Ellen ng sariling silid kung saan nakahanap ito ng solitaryong kanlungan nang hindi pinuputol ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa asawa. Iniugnay ni Ellen ang ang kanyang pribadong hapdi sa spectrum ng kanyang relasyon. Samantala, nakatutok ang tunggalian sa Broken Marriage hindi lamang kay Vilma Santos kundi kay Christopher de Leon. Nasa asawang lalaki ang bulto ng suliranin kaya sa kanya umiikot ang kuwento, ang relasyon ni Rene kay Ellen at ang relasyon ni Rene sa kanyang mga anak. Ang maalam na pagpasok ni de Leon sa katauhan ni Rene ang lumiligalig sa mga kontradiksiyong talamak sa sistemang patriarkal. Kaakibat ng Broken Marriage ang manipestasyon ni Bernal sa pagbibigay ng representasyon sa reyalidad at partikular na pagsasaayos ng iba’t-ibang elementong kaagapay sa masining na pagbuo ng pelikula. – Jojo DeVera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

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

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

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

RELATED READING:
Wikipedia: Ishmael Bernal
Ishmael Bernal (1938-1996)
The Films of Ishmael Bernal Circa 1971-79, Part One
The Films of Ishmael Bernal Circa 1980-94, Part Two
Tribute to Ishmael Bernal
The new ‘Working Girls’ front and center
Ishmael Bernal (1938-1996)
The Films of Ishmael Bernal Circa1980-96, Part Two
Remember The Face: Bernal Film Director
The Bernal-Santos Collaborations
Promising “Inspiration”
Inspiration (1972)
Now and Forever (1973)
Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon
Ikaw ay Akin
Good Morning Sunshine
Relasyon
Broken Marriage
Pahiram ng Isang Umaga

Film Review: Pinay American Style

Vilma was obviously under utilized as PX in these Elwood Perez experiment. Despite this predicament, Vilma was able to give us a splash of her abilities. While Nora was in full bloom as Mila in these quiet Portes film. She gave us a convincing portrayal of lonely woman who realized that she was being used by a man she truly loves. The contrast of style was the main point why I matched these two roles. As PX, Vilma was talkative, hiding her insecurity and vulnerability with her fragile disguise pretending to be a rich New Yorker with almost caricature gestures. Regal films’ Pinay American Style was as commercial as one can imagine. Regal films producer, Lily Monteverde hired three leading men to support the most bankable actress of 1979, Christopher DeLeon, Bembol Rocco and Victor Cocoy Laurel. It was a period in Vilma’s career where she is doing one commercial films after the other. Two dance/musical hits Swing it Baby and Rock Baby Rock and a string of sexy films like Rubia Servious the previous year, Coed and Magkaribal mostly targeting the mature adult audience established her status as the number one box office superstar of 1978-79. Vilma in 1979 was a picture of self-assured bankable star. She did two movies with Elwood Perez, Magkaribal and Pinay American Style both were box office hits. She also produced an Eddie Rodrigues starrer Halik sa Paa Halik sa Kamay, and teamed-up with comedy king, Dolphy in Buhay Artista. As the year 1979 ends, she battled the drama queen Charito Solis in the local festival entry, Modelong Tanso. The end of the decade marked her stronghold as the box office queen. Clearly, Vilma Santos’ versatility as an actress was the secret weapon of her box office success. And this weapon was in full display in Pinay American Style. Pinay American Style was the story of PX, an illegal alien or TNT – “tago ng tago.” Her boyfriend played by Victor Laurel abandoned her for a rich American girl mainly to secure a green card. PX met an Americanized Filipino, Christopher DeLeon but found him not serious of having her as a steady girlfriend. It just so happened that PX also met Christopher’s brother, Bembol Rocco, a new immigrant. PX and Bembol fell for each other. And a love triangle surfaced the screen. Adding to the drama was Victor Laurel’s enraged, jealous appearances. Laurel eventually tipped the police ending PX stays in New York. As Bembol Rocco realized that America doesn’t fit his lifestyle, he reconciled with his brother and advised him to follow PX in the Philippines. Christopher and Vilma reconciled in a farm field in the Philippines. The end.

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

Film Review: LANGIS AT TUBIG


The Plot: Bobby (Dindo Fernando) is a man secretly in love with his neighbour and friend Cory (Vilma Santos) but who is living-in with her partner Charlie (Ronaldo Valdez). However, Cory decides to leave Charlie upon discovering his deepest secret that he is a married man. This gives Bobby the chance to show his true feelings for Cory and marries her even adopting the child Charlie has left in her womb. Bobby lives the life of a perfect husband with Cory and accepts a job assignment in Albay shuttling to and from Manila to support his new family. In the province, he meets Pilar (Amy Austria) a lovely town girl. His friendship with Pilar blossoms and they find themselves falling for each other, with Bobby concealing his real marital status. Soon the two learn that she is pregnant and the family forces them into marriage. Consequently, the women discover that Bobby is living a lie and is married to two women. He is forced to make a crucial decision, which of his marriages must be honour? Or will he faced the prospect of getting charged with bigamy? – Philippine Movies (READ MORE)

The Reviews: Nang magkaroon ng chance si Bobby (Dindo Fernando) ay sinamantala niya ang sitwasyon ng matagal na niyang nililigawang si Cory (Vilma Santos). Hiniwalayan ng kapitbahay niya ang ka-live in nitong si Charlie (Ronaldo Valdez) dahil sa panloloko nito. Natuklasan ni Cory na may asawa na ito at kinakuwartahan lang pala siya. Buntis si Cory at para maiwasan ang kahihiyan ay pumayag itong pakasal sa manliligaw na si Bobby. Nagpakasal nga ang dalawa at sa kabila ng mga tsismisan ay natutunan rin ni Cory na mahalin si Bobby. Sa kabila ng kanilang matiwasay na pagsasama ay hindi pa rin magkaanak si Cory kay Bobby hanggang sa madestino si Bobby sa Bicol kung saan nabuntis niya si Pilar (Amy Austria). Napilitang pakasalan ni Bobby si Pilar dahil sa pananakot ng pamilya nito. Nang malaman ng masugid na manliligaw ni Pilar (George Estregan) na may asawa na pala ang pinakasalan ng kanyang nililigawan ay sinabi niya agad rito’t lumuwas si Pilar upang alamin kung tutoo nga ang balitang ito. Rito niya nalamang dalawa nga silang pinakasalan ni Bobby at nagsampa ito ng demandang “bigamy.” Nang malaman ni Cory ang nangyari, una’y nasaktan ito ngunit inintindi niya ang asawa at handa itong magparaya para lang hindi ito makulong. Nagkasundo si Cory at Pilar at iuurong na ni Pilar ang demanda ngunit nagdesisyon si Bobby at hinarap ang pagkakasala nito. Sa harap ng husgado ay sinabi niyang siya ay “guilty” at nakulong siya.

“…In 1980, tatlong pelikula ni Nora Aunor ang maituturing na panlaban: two by Brocka (Nakaw na Pag-ibig and Bona) and the other by Laurice Guillen, Lea Productions’ Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo. She won the Gawad Urian for Bona. Ang panlaban ni Vilma was Zialcita’s Langis at Tubig. Hindi taon ni Vilma ang 1980, which saw the emergence of other young and talented actresses like Gina Alajar (Brutal), naka-tie ni Nora sa Urian, and Amy Austria, na tumalo kay Aunor sa Metro Manila Film Festival. In the 1980 MMFF, Amy won with a lone entry – Brutal – while Nora got nominated for Bona and Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo. (A case of split votes.) Sa 1980 Gawad Urian, nominated sina Nora, Gina (eventual winners) at Amy, samantalang si Vilma was “snubbed by the critics.” In 1981, nanalong MMFF Best Actress si Vilma for Zialcita’s Karma, besting Nora’s multi-character portrayal in Maryo J. delos Reyes’ musical-drama Rock ‘N Roll. Vi, however, failed to win any other nomination for that starrer, while Nora went on to win a trophy (Catholic Mass Media Awards) and Best Actress nomination (Gawad Urian) for Mario O’Hara’s Bakit Bughaw ang Langit?…” – William Reyes (READ MORE)

Sa direksiyon ni Danny Zialcita, ang Langis At Tubig ay isang pelikulang mabilis at nakakaaliw sa kabila ng pangkaraniwang istorya nito. Tinalakay ng pelikula ang tungkol sa bigami at inilahad ang mensahe na kahit na ano pa ang sitwasyong kinakaharap ng mga tauhan ng pelikula’y hindi maikakaila talaga na may kasalanan ang karakter na ginampanan ni Dindo Fernando. Sa bandang huli’y hayagan sinabi ng husgado na sa mata ng batas walang nangingibawbaw na kahit na sino, ang maysala ay dapat parushan. Isang lagda na ng director Zialcita ang nakakaaliw ng mga diyalogo at ang Langis ay hindi na naiiiba sa mga nagawa na niyang pelikula tulad ng “Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan” at “T-Bird At Ako.” Ang huling pelikulang ginawa ni Zialcita ay nuong 1986 pa, sana ay magbalik pelikula na siya. Napakahusay ng cinematography ni Felizardo Bailen at ang mabilis ng editing ni Ike Jarlego Sr. Bagama’t maganda ang themesong na ginawa ni George Canseco ay nakaka-distract naman sa ilang eksena na bigla na lang pumapasok ang kanta ni Sharon na dapat sanay tahimik na lang. Kung ang pag-uusapan naman ay ang pagganap, mahusay si Amy Austria bilang Pilar. Makikitang pinaghandaan niya ang kanyang pagganap. Muli, binigyan ng magagandang linya si Vilma Santos mula sa umpisa kung saan kinompronta niya ang manloloko niyang ka-live in at sinabing: “namputsa naman nahuli ka na ayaw mo pang aminin” at sa bandang huli nang intindihin niya ang asawa at handing magparaya, sinabi niya “…handa akong magparaya, kung gusto niya isang lingo sa kanya, isang lingo sa akin…” Pero halatang ang pelikulang ito ay pelikula ni Dindo Fernando. Deserving si Dindo sa kanyang pagkapanalo sa Famas bilang pinakamahusay na actor bagamat nang taong ito’y mahusay rin si Christopher Deleon sa Aguila at Taga ng Panahon at Jay Ilagan sa Brutal. Tahimik lang ang pag-arte niya’t makikita ang kanyang intensity sa kanyang eksena kung saan nagtapat na siya sa asawang si Cory tungkol sa kanyang kaso. Mahusay rin siya nang hinarap niya si Pilar at sabihin niyang, “mahal ko kayong dalawa.” Maganda ang location ng pelikula. Makikita ang mga ordinaryong tanawin ng Albay sa Bicol at ang mga ordinaryong manggagawa rito mula sa mga nagtatanim ng palay hanggang sa mga nagtitinda ng mga paninda sa palengke ng bayan. Sa kabila ng ordinaryong istorya ng Langis At Tubig, ang mahusay na direksyon at mahusay na pagkakaganap ng mga artista rito’y nangibabaw ang tunay na karapatan nitong panoorin muli ng mga mahihilig sa pelikulang Pilipino. Sayang nga lang at hindi na gumagawa ng pelikula ang ang gumawa ng obrang ito. – RV (READ MORE)

Zialcita’s first movie with Vilma was the 1980 festival entry, a drama about bigamy, Langis at Tubig. The following year, Zialcita and Santos joined forces again in antoher festival entry, Karma. The film earned Vilma her second Metro Manila Film Festival Best Actress. The following year, Ziacita’s Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan broke box office record, Earned P7.3 million during its first day of showing in Metro Manila and assured Vilma Santos the box office queen of 1982. The total number of Vilma Santos and Danny Zialcita colloborations were four (Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? 1982, Karma 1981, Langis at Tubig 1980, T-Bird at Ako). – RV (READ MORE)

Film Review: Young Love

Taong 1970. Gumawa si Vilma Santos ng dalawamput isang pelikula na puro musicals. Isa lamang ang nagawa niyang drama (Sapagkat Sila’y Aming Mga Anak). Nakakapagtaka dahil hindi naman siya singer. Marahil ito ay dahil sa love team nila ni Edgar Mortiz at ito ang “trend” ng panahong ito. Pito-pito kung gumawa sila ng pelikula ng panahong iyon kung baga dalawang pelikula ang pinapalabas nila sa loob ng isang buwan. Isa na rito ang pelikula ng Sampaguita Pictures, ang “Young Love” na tinampukan ni Nora Aunor, Tirso Cruz III, Vilma Santos at Edgar Mortiz. Mapupuna na ang pelikulang ito ay bida si Nora at Tirso at supporting lamang si Vilma at Edgar. Mula sa istorya ni German Moreno at screenplay ni Medy Tarnate ang “Young Love” ay puno ng nakakalokang sitwasyon at napakababaw ng mga eksena at diyalogo. Ang director nito’y si Tony Cayado. At ang mga sayaw ay sa ilalim ng choreography ni Lito Calzado. Hindi natin alam kung bakit tinawag na “Young Love” ang pelikula samantalang hindi naman ito tungkol sa pag-iibigan ng mga kabataan rito kundi tungkol sa singing contest na sinalihan nina Ditas Aunor (Nora Aunor) at Joey Cruz (Tirso Cruz III). Naging tabla ang resulta ng singing contest at ginawa silang mga mainstay singers ng television show. Matapos ng contest ay makikitang naghahabulan na si Ditas at Joey sa may mga puno ng niyog at makikitang nagliligawan rin sina Tere (Vilma Santos) at Buboy (Edgar Mortiz) sabay kanta ang apat ng “Young Love.” Sa tutoo lang ito lang ang eksena kung saan maririnig na kumakanta rin si Vilma at nakipagsabayan siya kay Nora. Sa tuwing papasok sa eksena si Bella Flores ay tili ito ng tili at laging sinisigawan si Ditas which was very typical ng mga contrabida nuong panahong ito and very irritating. Narito rin si Etang Discher na isang ulyanin na lola ni Tirso at Vilma. Pilit nitong pinapapunta si Tirso sa Australia pero laging niloloko nito ang matanda at sinasabing natapos na pala ang isang taon at nakabalik na raw ito mula Australia. Tapos nito’y makikita si Ike Lozada na kumakanta sa harap ng mga batang lansangan. Samantala si Bella Flores ay nakipagayos kay Tom Junes (Raul Aragon) upang sabotahin mismo nito ang show ng kanyang sariling pamangkin. Makikita ang nakakalokang sex scene ng dalawa. At ang sumunod na eksena ay ang drama scene ni Ate Vi. Dahil marahil sa walang eksena si Ate Vi na kumakanta ay binigyan siya ng sariling eksena at katapat ito ng maraming eksena ni Nora na kumakanta. Ito ay nang mahuli ni Ate Vi niya si Tom Junes at Bella Flores na nagse-sex. Takbo ito habang umiiyak. Makikita na dumating ito sa sariling bahay at sa kuwarto nito’y pinagsisira niya ang pictures ni Tom Junes kasama ng album nito. Devoted fan pala siya ni Tom Junes. Cut! Tapos na ang eksena ni Ate Vi. Pasok ang mga musical numbers, kanta ng ilang beses si Nora, Tirso, Edgar and Ike Lozada. Meron ding dance numbers, pero wala si Ate Vi sa mga dance numbers na ito. And then it’s the end. Napapakamot ako sa ulo.

Nakakaloka talaga. Makikitang hindi pinag-isipan ang istorya nito. Ginawa nilang i-showcase ang pagiging singer ni Nora Aunor. Kadalasan ang mga kanta niya ay mga version ng mga English popular cover songs at hindi original Filipino songs. Tulad ng “I Believe” at marami pang iba. Kung tutuusin ito ang trend nuon, ang mga kantang galing sa amerika. So much of the fact that lahat ng mga drum beaters ni Nora ay sinisigaw ang kanyang pagiging isang ulirang Filipina dahil sa kanyang pisikal na itsura. Pero mukha ka ngang dalagang Filipina pero pagbuka naman ng bunganga mo eh lumalabas mga kantang banyaga anong klaseng dalagang Filipina yan? Sa sobrang inpluensiya ng mga banyagang kanta ng kalagitnaan ng dekada 70 ay nagkaroon ng rebelyon sa ere ng mga radyo. Nauso ang Original Pilipino Music o OPM bilang sagot sa musikang dayuhan. Sumulpot ang mga musikerong Juan DeLaCruz, Hotdog, Cinderella, VST & Co., Sampaguita, Freddy Aguilar, Coritha, Mike Hanopol, at marami pang iba na ang mga kanta ay tagalog at pawang komposisyon ng mga Pilipino. Ang mga kanta ni Nora ay puro mga English kontradiksyon ng mga sinisigaw ng fans niya na isang imahen ng Filipino si Nora. Kung ang itsura man niya ay pilipinang-pilipina ang mga kinakanta naman niya ay – puro kanta ng dayuhan. Ito rin ang dahilan kung bakit wala siyang masasabing signature song dahil puro version niya lamang ang mga kantang ni-record ng panahong iyon. Samatala si Vilma Santos na hindi singer ay nagkaroon ng kanyang sariling signature songs bagamat English ang mga lyrics ng mga ito, original Filipino composition naman ang mga ito tulad ng “Bobby Bobby Bobby” at “Sixteen.” Kasabay nito’y ni-record din niya ang mga tagalog songs na “Isipin Mong bastat mahal kita,” “Bato sa buhangin,” at “Palong-palo.” Nang kalagitanaan ng dekada 70 ay kapunapuna na kaunti na lamang ang mga pelikulang kantahan at hindi na kumikita ang mga ito kung kaya mapupuna na nag-umpisa nang gumawa ng matitinong pelikula kapwa sina Nora Aunor at Vilma Santos.

Ang “Young Love” ay isang halimbawa ng pelikulang gawa ng unang bahagi ng dekada 70. Mabilisang gawa. Mababaw ng istorya at hitik ng mga musical numbers. Mayroon mga nakakatawang eksena tulad ng pagkanta sa mga burulan ng patay basta magkaroon lang ng eksena ng kantahan. Tutoo ito, may mga eksena na nagkakantahan sa ilalim ng punong kahoy. Mga sayawan, habulan, at ligawan sa mga beach at kahuyan. Nag-click ito sa mga tao nang unang bahagi ng dekada sitentat ngunit sinawaan rin ang mga tao at nang dumating na ang huling bahagi ng dekada ay nagbago ito. Dito dumating ang panahon na nagbago na ang imahen ni Vilma Santos at nag-umpisa na itong ungusan ang walang kawawaang pagkanta ni Nora sa mga basurang pelikula niya. Ang “Young Love” ay puno ng walang kawawaang musical numbers ni Nora Aunor. Puno rin ito ng mga eksenang nakakaloka na kahit na ang batang paslit ay magkakamot ng ulo at sasabihin ang “huh?” Kung hindi mo hahahanapin ang matinong istorya at ang hangad mo lang ay makita kung gaano kagaling kumanta si Nora Aunor kahit pa sa burulan ng patay tiyak na mage-enjoy ka sa pelikulang ito dahil maraming eksena rito si Nora na kumakanta ng walang kawawaang kantang dayuhan (Global Vilmanianswords). RELATED READING: Filmography: Young Love (1970)

Film Review: Pakawalan Mo Ako


30 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. Maalala mo pa ba ang mga detalye ng pelikula? Eto ang ating munting tribya…

1. Naging promo girl si Ate Vi sa pelikula. Para makatipid sa pera ano ang kinain niya sa eksena sa turo-turo?
A) siopao at tubig B) mamon at tubig C) lugaw at tubig D)hopya at tubig

2. Sa tulong ng kanyang kaibigan, pumasok siya bilang isang…?
A) sekretarya B) mananayaw C) escort girl D) model

3. Ano ang palayaw ng anak ni Ate Vi sa pelikula?
A) Jun Jun B) Junior C) Jonny Boy D) Bon bon

4. Ano ang pangalan ng karakter ni Vilma Santos sa pelukula?
A) Alicia B) Ana C) Alona D) Anita

5. Ano ang pangalan ng karakter ni Christopher sa pelikula?
A) Alfredo Villasenor B) Alfonso Villasenor C) Antonio Villasenor D) Amado Villasenor

6. Ano ang pangalan ng karakter ni Antony Castelo sa pelikula?
A) Bernandino San Diego B) Bernard San Diego C) Benito San Diego D) Bobby San Diego

7. Ano ang pangalan ng karakter ni Deborah Sun sa pelikula?
A) Benilda Santos B) Blesilda Santos C) Bernadette Santos D) Babette Santos

8. Ano ang inilit ng karakter ni Bella Flores sa unang bahagi ng pelikula?
A) Kotse B) titulo ng lupa C) Piano D) Alahas

9. Ano ang nakita ng karakter ni Christopher DeLeon at natuklasan niya na walang kasalanan ang karakter ni Vilma sa pelikula?
A) Bala sa laruan ng bata B) larawan ng krimen sa laruan ng bata C) mga dugo sa laruan ng bata D) lahat ng ito

10. Nang unang pagtangkaan ni Antony Castelo si Vilma sa pelikula ay nagpumiglas ito sabay kuha sa perang inalok ni Antony at ano ang kanyang sinabi bago umalis?
A) limang daan ang kabayaran ng halik may sukli ka pa!
B) Kukunin ko ang kabayaran ng halik may sukli ka pa!
C) Hindi ako nagpapabayad pero kukunin ko ang bayad ng halik at may sukli ka pa!
D) Hindi ako nagpapabayad pero kukunin ko ang bayad ng halik at wala ka nang sukli!

11. Sinong binaril ng karakter ni Vilma sa pelikula?
A) ang tauhan ng ama ni Antony Castelo
B) ang karakter ni Antony Castelo
C) ang ama ng karakter ni Antony Castelo
D) walang nabaril ang karakter ni Vilma

12 Saan nabisto ng kapatid ng kasintahan ni Ate Vi siya na isang escort girl?
A) Sa isang restaurant na ang pangalan ay Le Polle
B) Sa isang disco na ang pangalan ay Le Polle
C) Sa isang club na ang pangalan ay Le Polle
D) Sa isang cinehan na ang pangalan ay Le Polle

13. Pinagbintangan si Vilma ng pagpatay, sino ang pinatay niya raw sa pelikula?
A) ang karakter ni Antony Castelo
B) ang karakter ng tatay ni Antony Castelo
C) ang karakter ni Christopher DeLeon
D) ang karakter ng tatay ni Christopher DeLeon

14. Sino ang sumulat ng istorya ng Pakawalan Mo Ako?
A) Lualhati Bautista B) Emmanuel H. Borlaza C) Pete Lacaba D) Ricardo Lee

15. Ano ang titulo ng theme song ng pelikula?
A) Balatkayo B) Mahiwaga C) Dati D) Nais Kong Ibigin Ka

16. Ano ang trabaho ng karakter ni Christopher DeLeon sa pelikula?
A) doctor B) dentist C) lawyer D) police

17. Nang wala na silang mapakunan ng pera ano ang binenta ng karakter ni Antony Castelo?
A) mga alahas niya B) motorsiklo C) bahay D) kotse

18. Ano ang tawag ng tatay ng karakter ni Antony Castelo kay Vilma?
A) puta B) kunwari mahinhin C) magnanakaw ng anak D) social climber

19. Sino ang namatay sa umpisa ng pelikula?
A) ang tiyahin ni Vilma B) ang lola ni Vilma C) ang nanay ni Vilma D) ang tatay ni Vilma

20. Bakit iniwanan ng karakter ni Christopher De Leon si Vilma sa pelikula?
A) dahil naging criminal si Vilma sa umpisa ng pelikula
B) dahil nahuli niya si Vilma kayakap si Antony Castelo
C) dahil nahuli si Vilma ng kapatid ni Chritopher papasok sa isang hotel
D) dahil nakapatay si Vilma

21. Nang wala nang ibang mahingan ng tulong, pumunta ang karakter ni Vilma kay Debora Sun at duon nadatnan niya na may kasama itong boyfriend, ano ang pangalan ng lalaki ni Deborah?
A) Mando B) Cesar C) Raffi D) Ariel

22. Sino ang tunay na ama ng batang anak ng karakter ni Vilma sa pelikula?
A) ang karakter ni Christopher DeLeon
B) ang karakter ni Antony Castelo
C) hindi alam ng karakter ni Vilma kung sino ang ama
D) ang tatay na mayaman ng karakter ni Antony Castelo

23. Ano ang binibili ng karakter ni Christopher DeLeon ng makita niya ang dating katipan, si Vilma, kasama ang pamilya nito sa department store?
A) Relos B) Camera C) Books D) Tie

24. Sino ang naglapat ng musika ng pelikula?
A) George Canseco B) Ryan Cayabyab C) Willie Cruz D) Lutgardo Labad

25. Ano ang naging sakit ng nanay ng karakter ni Vilma sa pelikula?
A) stroke B) diabetes C) tuberculosis D) leprosy

26. Ano ang pangalan ng ama ng karakter ni Antony Castelo
A) Don Nilo B) Don Benito C) Don Lino D) Don Lupito

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

The Review: 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. RELATED READING: Filmography: Pakawalan Mo Ako (1981)

Sagot sa Tribya: 1.D 2.C 3.A 4.B 5.A 6.B 7.C 8.C 9.A 10.B 11.A 12.A 13.A 14.C 15.C 16.C 17.D 18.A 19.D 20.B 21.C 22.A 23.B 24.D 25.C 26.A (Global Vilmanianswords).

Sister Stella L (Photos) 1/2

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Sister Stella Legaspi is a nun who becomes involved in labor strikes after learning of the government’s neglect of the poor and working classes. Her sworn duty to fight for the poor becomes complicated when Fajardo, her journalist friend, is tortured and Dencio, a union leader, is kidnapped and killed. This 1980’s masterpiece from director Mike De Leon created a controversy, as it depicts the problems between the state and religion (Fukuoka Film Archive).

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