The Classic Vilma Santos Movies

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1. RELASYON (1982) – “Vilma Santos represents womanhood in the film…Santos portrays a mistress who is an out-and-out martir. She serves De Leon hand and foot, ministering to his every need, including fetching beer for him, washing his clothes, serving as his shoulder to cry on, even baby-sitting his child. In return, all she gets from De Leon is chauvinistic love, void of tenderness, full of immature aggressiveness… Vilma Santos’ acting is adequate and extraordinary…” – Isagani Cruz, Parade 01 July 1982.

“Vilma Santos confidently showed she felt the character she was portraying. Her depiction of feelings and emotions easily involve the viewers to share in her conflicts and joys. In this film, she has peeled-off apprehensions in her acting. Christopher de Leon has also been supportive in emphasizing the characterization of Marilou. He suitably complements Vilma’s acting.” – Lawrence delos Trinos, Star Monthly 10 July 1982

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

FACTS: Vilma Santos’s first best actress grand slam win.

FICTION: Vilma Santos’ wins can be attributed to her connection to Imelda Marcos. (That’s absurd.)

2. BURLESK QUEEN (1977) – “…naiiba ang Burlesk Queen, kahit ikumpara sa mga naunang trabaho ni Celso at sa iba pang direktor na nagtangkang tumalakay sa paksang ito. Matagal-tagal na rin namang nauso ang kaputahan sa pelikula, pero walang nakapagbigay ng katarungan sa lahi ni Eba bilang Pilipina at bilang puta… para kay Celso…ang tao ay hindi basta maghuhubad at magtatalik. Maraming pangyayari sa buhay ang dapat munang linawin at unawain, at iyon ang basehan ng kasaysayan.” – Jun Cruz Reyes, MPP, Manila magazine Dec 1977

“(about the hospital scense with Vilma and Leopoldo Salcedo) Tuloy-tuloy ‘yun. 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. 1977

FACTS: The film won 10 out of 13 Awards at the 1977 Metro Manila film festival including Best Actress for Vilma Santos.

FICTION: All of the awards that’s been given to the film has been given back due to the investigation that the verdict were rigged. (Up to this date, Vilma still has her medal and award.)

3. RUBIA SERVIOS (1978) – “The second rape scene in “Rubia Servios” which stars Vilma Santos, is reminiscent of the rape scene in “Santiago”, shown in 1970. Instead of Caridad Sanchez as the wife who is assaulted in full view of husband Mario O’Hara, it has Vilma Santos and Mat Ranillo III. This coincidence is not surprising since Brocka also directed Santiago, and O’Hara, who has since graduated from supporting roles, is the scriptwriter for “Rubia Servios”. Vilma does not expose much skin and Philip Salvador (as the attacker) has his pants on, but the scene could well be one of the most realistic rape scenes on screen in a long, long time. The anguish in Vilma’s face and the lust in philip’s eyes blended so well the effect was dramatic rather than sensual. The real climax of the film, however, is the killing of Philip by Vilma with a paddle aboard a motorboat at sea. Lino Brocka, who directs Vilma for the first time, succeeded in muffling her sobs even in the most hysterical moments. To our mind, “Rubia Servios” is geared towards mature audiences. It is engrossing despite the lack of fancy camera shots and an almost chronological presentation.” – Ricky Lo

FACTS: Vilma Santos lost The Best Performer Award in this 1978 Metro Manila Film Festival to rival Nora Aunor. Admittedly, this was the most painful lost she experienced in her whole career. With its “For Adults Only rating” in consideration, the film still managed to end up as one of the Festival’s top grosser.

FICTION: Vilma committed suicide after her lost, luckily Manay Ichu, her Rubia Servios producer came and rescued her. (Both Manay Ichu and Vilma managed to get drunk but Vilma did not commit suicide.)

4. DOLZURA CORTEZ (1993) Dahil Mahal Kita (Because I Love You): The Dolzura Cortez Story 1994, This Philippine drama chronicles the colorful life of Dolzura Cortez, the first publicly recognized AIDS patient in the Philippines. The film begins with a brief examination of Cortez’s pre-AIDS life. Initially she lived in a small village with her cruel husband and three kids. The spunky woman leaves them and moves to the big city where she engages in several affairs. Her second marriage to a rich foreigner does not last long. To support her children, Dolly begins an all woman “contract worker” agency. This also serves to facilitate her love of night-life. Tragedy comes to Dolzura after she collapses on a dance floor one night and learns that she has full-blown AIDS. At a Manila hospital she meets ex-lover Paulo, an AIDS researcher who encourages to tell her story publicly. The courageous woman does and she becomes instrumental in spreading AIDS awareness to the islands. – Sandra Brennan, The New York Times

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

FACTS: Vilma Santos’ earned her 2nd Best Actress grand slam wins.

FICTION: Dolzura Cortez wanted Nora Aunor to play herself in this film. Aunor declined. (No. No. No. That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard – Simon Cowell from AI)

5. PAHIRAM NG ISANG UMAGA (1989) – “…a striking part of the movie (was when), Juliet watching intently as morticians work on her father’s remains, as everyone weeps when the coffin is lowered to its final resting place, and during the ritualistic pasiyam, the nine-day novena for the dead. It’s as though Juliet can see herself in her father’s lifeless body while mourners mill around it. The attempts to raise the level of the melodrama and present insights on life and death provide the movie its greatest strength – and wide appeal. How strangely ironic that a movie dealing with death could have so much life.” – Mario Hernando, Malaya 05 March 1989

“…Vi goes to the kitchen to prepare breakfast at habang nagbabati siya ng itlog, doon pa lang ipinakitang una siyang nag-breakdown. And this is shown nang nakatalikod siya sa camera. No overly ornate kind of emoting na akting na akting ang dating. Pero damang-dama mo pa rin…she becomes the part (lalo na sa eksena nila ni Gabby Concepcion sa simbahan na binalikan nila kung paano sila nagkasira), and if you notice that she is good, well, salamat po…Sa second viewing ng movie namin lalong napansin ang subtle nuances ng performance ni Vi, up to her death scene which confirms our supposition that the movie is not really so much about death than a celebration of life..’yan ang opinion namin…” – Mario Bautista

FACTS: Vilma Santos won her first PMPC Star Awards Best Actress.

FICTION: Mario Bautista fought hard to make sure Nora Aunor won the Star Awards. (It was actually the opposite!)

6. LIPAD, DARNA, LIPAD (1973) – “the quintessential actionfantasy Pinoy flick that appeals to all ages, from generation to generation. This movie is a major milestone for Vilma because it proved that she could really carry a solo movie and bring in the dough (up to now of course!). Vilma’s Darna franchise is the most memorable and successful of all Pinoy fantasy-action genre. Imitated but never equalled, Vilma’s Darna lives on. Unforgettable. Memorable. It grows on you. No Pinoy kid ever grows up without being a part of the Darna magic. Vilma, practically flew at the top of the box office in Sine Pilipino’s trend setting trilogy “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” Many fans consider Lipad, Darna, Lipad, as one of the most entertaining Darna movies ever. After all, who could forget that climactic aerial battle scene between Darna and the Impakta (Gloria Romero)? That shot of Romero impaled in a giant crucifix ensconced on top of a church tops any gory scene in The Omen. The enormous success of Lipad, Darna, Lipad led to three more Darna movies with Vilma Santos. As a result, the star for all seasons became the star for all Darnas—Santos played her four times, more than any other actress in the superheroine’s history. “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” were divided into three separate segments, directed by three different directors. In Darna’s case, the three directors were Maning Borlaza, Joey Goesiengfao, and Elwood Perez—three names that promised an adventure that could do Andy Warhol proud.” – Eric Cueto

FACTS: Lipad Darna Lipad broke all box office records and made Vilma as the most successful Darna to date.

FICTION: Vilma was immediately wanted to wear the two-piece sexy Darna cutomes. (Vilma wore skin coloured suit on top of the Darna custom but after some people who works for TIIP and her entourage convinced her that it looks tacky, she agreed to wear the custom without it.)

7. ANAK (2000) – “Living complex emotions with subtlety and humor, pic resists melodrama until the dam abruptly burst after 90 minutes; ill judged pileup of crying scenes, plot crises and more crying ensues…That’s too bad, since early reels observe parent-child relationships with considerable delicacy… veteran local star Santos is in fine form, while barretto lends impressive shading to what might have been a stock sexy “bad girl” role…” -Dennis Harvey, Variety Magazine 19 March 2001

“The slick production is turned into art by its star Vilma Santos. Her magnetic star quality makes her look so wrong for the part and yet she makes it all her own. She’s a natural comedianne and a great tragedienne-her look of resignation is heartbreaking. Vilma discards the glittering clothes and make-up for Anak, but she still looks youthful. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if the sensitive young actor playing her son would go on to play her leading man a few years from now.” – Dennis Ladaw

FACTS: Official Philippine Entry to the 73rd Academy Awards Best Foreign Film. Anak grosses 14 Million Pesos, a record breaking for a Filipino film!

FICTION: Vilma can’t portray a poverty stricken maid or “atsay” role, that role only suited Nora! (Tell that to the marines!)

8. SISTER STELLA L. (1984) – “…For a heart-warming film, the entire cast deserves congratulations, particularly Vilma Santos who reveals another aspect of her multi-faceted talent. From her usual soft and sweet romantic roles, she can be transformed into a strong and militant woman without losing any of her charm and beauty. Jay Ilagan, Tony Santos, Anita Linda and Liza Lorena are also in their best form. Mike de Leon as director, Jose F. Lacaba as scriptwriter are likewise to be congratulated for making a truly human film and for contributing to the cause of workers for justice and of the religious for the recognition of their social role. Not to be overlooked is the producer Lily Monteverde of Regal Films who has this time shifted from puerile erotic dramas to make a courageous film for which she will always be well remembered.” – Alice G. Guillermo, Who Magazine 30 May 1984

“…De Leon’s film was to have had special screenings, on the unanimous request of the Cannes’ board of critics. Sister Stella L., however, suffered from the rush of subtitling work that descended upon Cannes’ select group of translators and De Leon opted not to show the film without subtitles. He nevertheless had the distinct honor of holding a retrospective under the sponsorship of the French Cinematheque right after the festival. The film eventually competed at the Venice Film Festival. Under its original title Sangandaan (Crossroads), Sister Stella L. was invited to the Venice Film Festival in 1984, the second Filipino film (after Genghis Khan in 1951) to be honored with such recognition.” – Agustin L. Sotto, Pet Cleto, Philippine Panorama 02 December 1984

FACTS: Vilma Santos admittedly confessed SSL was a flop at the box office.

FICTION: Vilma was overshadowed by the supporting cast of this film. (The Urian critics disagreed! They gave Vilma, her third consecutive best actress! Hah! Beat that!)

9. DEKADA 70 (2002) – “Santos’ Amanda effortlessly and movingly chronicles the changed consciousness of the family and the country, with understatement her most reliable tool. Pic begins and ends with images of Santos at the forefront of a political demonstration, and nothing, from first image to last, for 128 minutes, is allowed to spontaneously or slyly deviate from the logic of her consciousness-raising.” – Ronnie Scheib, Variety Magazine “Last seen in ANAK (SFIAAFF ‘01), Vilma Santos delivers an understated, profoundly moving performance as the matriarch whose awakening redefines the traditional mother and wife role she donned for years. This is the story of an incredible character that survived an unforgettable decade.” – Michael Magnaye, The 22nd San Fransisco Asian-American Film Festival 2004

“As Amanda, Vilma Santos shows again why Brocka, before he died, had likened her to water. “She can register anything,” he said. In “Dekada”, its the same Santos of vigor and transparency. The only difference is the depth, the resonance, and the greater confidence. Can she ever go wrong?” – Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer 30 December 2002

FACTS: Vilma Santos’ 4th Grand Slam wins for Best Actresses. The film was exhibited in last year’s “Cinema of the world” section at Cannes. Philippines’ Official Entry at the 76th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film. Vilma’s 4th Grandslam Best Actress wins.

FICTION: Dekasa 70 was written by Lualhati Bautista for Nora Aunor.

10. BATA BATA PAANO KA GINAWA? (1998) “Sa tingin ko, sa Bata, Bata… pinakamagaling si Vilma Santos. Sa dami ng kanyang award, may ibubuga pa pala siya. Iba ang akting niya rito…Halatang feel na feel ni Vilma Santos ang kanyang papel dahil, gaya ng karakter ni Lea Bustamante, dalawa ang anak ni Vilma sa magkaibang lalake.” – Marra Pl. Lanot, Diario Uno 16 Sept. 1998

”And Vilma Santosis more than up to the challenge. Gone are the hysterically flapping hands, the melodramatic emoting, all the trademark acting tics. In their place is a heartfelt performance that distills Lea’s essence to an exquisite point-no movements are wasted, no gestures are overwrought. …Vilma rolls them on her tongue like the finest wine; when Lea is on the verge of breaking down, Vilma remains true to the spirit of her character… If the Lipa City mayor decides never to do another movie again, she can retire assured that her last performance-in a career already studded with formidable portrayals-may conceivably have been her best.” – Andrew E. Pardes, Manila Times 13 Sept 1998

FACT: Opening gross was 5.2 million pesos. Another record breaking for Vilma. The film earned her a third grandslam best actress wins and her very first international recognition, winning the Brussel International film festival’s best actress award.

FICTION: The film was offered to Nora Aunor

Vilma Santos’ MMFF recognitions

Aside from Gawad Urian, Star Awards, Film Academy Awards and FAMAS, the annual local festival, called MMFF or Metro Manila Film Festival has become a part of Vilma Santos’ film career. From the 70s to the new millennium, Vilma Santos was able to entered memorable films that earned her awards, record-breaking ticket revenues, career breakthrough performances and even some memorable heartache. Spanning four decades, the MMFF earned Vilma 7 acting nominations with four wins.

The Martial Law established the amalgamation of the surrounding cities in Manila. Prior to 1975, three local film festivals showcase Filipino films, Quezon City and Manila each has their own festivities and another one in Southern part of the country, Bacolod City. The local festivals started the acting competition between rival, Vilma Santos and Nora Aunor. In 1970 Manila Film Festival, Nora’s Nora in Wonderland and Young Heart compete with Vilma’s sole entry, Love Letters. Two years afterwards, the acting race will heat up in Quezon City Film Festival when the two collided with Nora’s And God Smiled at Me and Vilma’s Dama De Noche. After the Martial Law, cities were amalgamated with Manila. And the Quezon City Film Festival and the Manila Film Festival ends creating the December festival in 1975. Occasionally, Manila will have their own festival every summer in connection to city’s “Araw Ng Manila” celebration. Tthe last time Vilma entered a film at MFF was in 1993 via Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story where she won the best actress. Meanwhile, Nora Aunor’s last venture to MFF was in 2004’s Naglalayag where like Vilma, she won the best actress too.

The Metropolitan Manila Film Festival, now simply called, MMFF, (the “politan” was dropped eventually) or Metro Manila Film Festival exhibits only local films in all its theatres from Christmas Eve to the first week of the following New Year. The festival has its street parade at the eve of Christmas Day and each films contesting for best float. The festival has its awards night at the third or fourth nights.

Not surprisingly, both Nora and Vilma have competed in the first MMFF. Nora’s entry was her self-produced film directed by Luciano B. Carlos, Batu-Bato sa Langit and Vilma’s entry was the melodrama, Karugtong ang Kahapon. The big winner was the pre-presidential, Joseph Estrada. Directed by Augosto Bunaventura, Estrada’s Diligin Mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa won the major awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. Best Actress went to Charito Solis for Araw-Araw, Gabi-Gabi.

The second year, the festival was noticeably the precursor to the awards race. It was a showcase of who’s who in the local film industry. Lino Brocka, Eddie Romero, Lupita Concio were among the big name directors competing. Romero’s Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon dominated the awards night winning the best director and Christopher de Leon the best actor. Hilda Koronel was proclaimed the best actress for her impressive performance in Insiang. Concio’s Minsa’y Isang Gamo-gamo, Brocka’s Insiang and Romero’s Ganito will be the top films competing for the first Gawad Urian.

The third MMFF, brought controversy to Vilma Santos. Now starting to accept offbeat roles and learning to adopt versatility to her arsenal, she bravely entered the festival with Celso Ad Castillo’s Burlesk Queen. The gamble paid off as the film became the top grosser and won eight awards out of ten. Burlesk won best picture and best in direction, lead actor, actress, screenplay, supporting actress/actor and cinematography.

Burlesk defeated Lino Brocka’s Inay, Mario O’Hara and Romy Suzara’s Mga Bilanggong Birhen, Mike de Leon’s Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising, Eddie Romero’s Banta ng Kahapon, Ishmael Bernal’s Walang Katapusang Tag-araw, Joey Gosiengfiao’s Babae, Ngayon at Kailanman, Gil Portes’ Sa Piling ng mga Sugapa. A very impressive list, no wonder some critics loudly complained about the awards results. And according to Armida Sigueon Reyna, in her newspaper column, Brocka walked out the awards night in protest and even cursed the juror on the way out ot the auditorium. It was also reported that the organizer asked the winners to return their medals (they hand out medals that year) but no such things happened, Vilma still has her medal in her fully loaded cabinet of hardwares.

The success of Burlesk Queen commercially and critically brought down some senses to some Nora Aunor followers. Clearly, Vilma Santos’ willingness to accept mature and offbeat roles became a threat to Nora Aunor’s standing as the number one actress. Vilma Santos’ entry was Lino Brocka’s true to life film about rape victim, Rubia Servios. Critics and media have predicted Vilma was dead lock for the best actress. Come awards night, the juries’ award Nora’s film about a maid abused by her employer, Atsay won the major awards including best picture and best director for Eddie Garcia. The top acting award was changed to best performer that Nora Aunor won. A vindication from last year’s result? Wait, there wasn’t even an Aunor film last year. For some consolation, Rubia won two technical awards, one for editing and screenplay for Mario O’Harra. The film also became the top grosser of the festival even with the lost to Aunor. According to Isagani Cruz on his TV Times article in 1979: “…Nora does an excellent acting job; but so does Vilma Santos, and Rubia is a much more demanding and difficult role….Overall, Atsay may be much more impressive than Rubia Servios. In terms of challenging our moral and legal convictions, however, Rubia Servios is much more significant.”

1979 brought the tandem of Charito Solis & Vilma Santos versus Lolita Rodrigues and Nora Aunor. The clear winner was the latter team. Although Solis and Santos film did much better at the box office. Ina Ka Ng Anak Mo, a much better film, directed by Lino Brocka won the major awards, best picture, director and acting awards for Raul Aragon and Nora Aunor. For film aficionado, the scene where Solis slapped Santos in Modelong Tanso was memorable. Many reprised that scene, Vilma did it in Anak (with Claudine) and recently Sharon Cuneta with Heart Evangelist in the recent Mano Po.

By 1980, Nora Aunor kept on pushing for festival supremacy and like last year, she entered two films. This time, with Lino Brocka’s Bona and Laurice Guillen’s Kung Ako’y Iiwan Mo. Vilma’s lone entry was Danny Zialcita’s Langis at Tubig. Nora came up short, as both of her film missed the major awards. The big winner was Christopher De Leon and Bembol Roco’s film Taga Sa Panahon. Taga won the top awards while Marilou Diaz Abaya’s film Brutal won directing and best actress for Amy Austria. Langis At Tubig won best actor Dindo Fernando.

After winning in 1977 and a big loss in 1978, Vilma’s enthusiasm in winning at the MMFF subsided significantly. Her film entries were now focused on entertainment value aimed at getting commercial success instead of awards. 1980 and 1981 was a big example. Danny Zialcita’s Langis At Tubig did very well at the box office in ’80 and her entry the following year was a glossy production, Karma. Karma was a big hit and earned nominations but one film dominated all the 1981’s MMFF, Kisap Mata, directed by Mike De Leon won eight out of ten awards except for best actress, that award went to Vilma Santos. Vilma didn’t attend the ceremony, her co-star, Chanda Romero, accepted the award.

Nora’s absence in 1981 add motivation to her camp, she entered the festival with the epic film, directed by Ishmael Bernal, Himala, now considered by many as one of the best Filipino film of all time. Himala won seven major awards including best picture, director, screenplay and actress. Vilma’s entry Haplos was a distant third, with a win for lead actor, Christopher De Leon. The following year, Himala harvested nominations from four award-giving bodies particularly the best actress nominations for Nora but failed to win any, all the trophies went to Vilma, earning her first grand slam best actress. The next six years, no film by Vilma Santos in the festival. The big winners during these years are: 1983 – Karnal, 1984 – Bulaklak ng City Jail, 1985 – Paradise Inn, 1986 – Halimaw sa Banga, 1987 – Olongapo, 1988 – Patrolman.

The 1989 MMFF brought back the team of Vilma Santos and Christopher De Leon. Viva film’s Immortal directed by Eddie Garcia won major awards including best picture, director and the acting for Christopher and Vilma. Not to be undone, Nora Aunor entered the race the following year via Elwood Perez’ Andrea Paano ba ang Maging Isang Ina. The film won best picture, director and actress for Nora. Best actor went to Dolphy for Espadang Patpat. Then 1991 was a repeat for Nora as her film, again directed by Perez, Ang Totoong Buhay ni Pacita M. won major awards.

The next twelve years seems to be non-existent for Vilma followers as there were no entries from Vilma Santos in these years. There were no films that stands out compare to the high caliber films entered during the peak of the Vilma-Nora rivalry. There are six films that were praised by the critics though, Chito Rono‘s films Nasaan ang Puso (1997) and Bagong Buwan (2001), Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Jose Rizal (1998) and Muro-ami (1999) and Laurice Guillen’s Tanging Yaman (2000). In the acting category, only Elizabeth Oropesa win in 1999 for Bulaklak ng Maynila and Gloria Romero’s win in 2000 for Tanging Yaman stands out.

By 2002, it was déjà vu all over again, Vilma Santos convinced by many as a sure bet for the best actress lost again for her festival entry, Dekada 70. The award was given to Ara Mina for her supposed to be supporting role in the very first Mano Po. Dekada will dominate the awards race the following year, Vilma will win several best actress awards. Vilma’s co-star, Piolo Pascual will win all the best supporting actor making him a grand slam winner. The next year, Crying Ladies, starring Sharon Cuneta, Hilda Koronel and Angel Aquino won the best picture, best actor for Eric Quizon, best supporting actress for Hilda while Maricel Soriano snatched the best actress for Filipinas. The next year, Vilma came back again with Regal’s third installment to the Mano Po series. Titled, Mano Po 3: My Love and directed by Joel Lamangan, the film won best picture and the lead acting for Vilma and Christopher De Leon. Cesar Montano’s self-produced and directed film, Panaghoy sa Suba won best actor.

No Vilma Santos or Nora Aunor films the next five years. Vilma visibly concentrated with her political career and Nora retired in the United States. The film festival continued its annual fan fare with some memorable films. Zsazsa Padilla and Cherry Pie Picache continued the Mano Po series with a comedy, Ako Legal Wife, Mano Po 4 won the female acting awards in 2005. Judy Ann Santos comedy film, directed Joey Reyes, Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo top the 2006 festival. Maricel Soriano received another best actress the following year for Bahay Kubo, The Pinoy Mano Po. Anne Curtis arrived in the big league as she wins best actress for Baler in 2008 and then this year, Bong Revilla won best actor for Ang Panday and Sharon Cuneta best actor for Mano Po 6: A Mother’s Love, both first time winner.

Vilma Santos’ MMFF Best Actress from 1975 to 2008

For some, Vilma Santos MMFF recognitions in terms of awards wasn’t as significant compare to lets say, her number of URIAN or FAMAS awards but all the shortcomings were forgotten when you think about the successful recorded revenue of her festival entries.  From Burlesk Queen, Rubia Servios, Karma, Langis at Tubig and to her last one, Mano Po 3, all did very well.  At the end of the day, producers would still prefer a little profit than trophies. – RV

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FILM REVIEW: RUBIA SERVIOS

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

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

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

The Reviews: “The second rape scene in “Rubia Servios” which stars Vilma Santos, is reminiscent of the rape scene in “Santiago”, shown in 1970. Instead of Caridad Sanchez as the wife who is assaulted in full view of husband Mario O’Hara, it has Vilma Santos and Mat Ranillo III. This coincidence is not surprising since Brocka also directed Santiago, and O’Hara, who has since graduated from supporting roles, is the scriptwriter for “Rubia Servios”. Vilma does not expose much skin and Philip Salvador (as the attacker) has his pants on, but the scene could well be one of the most realistic rape scenes on screen in a long, long time. The anguish in Vilma’s face and the lust in philip’s eyes blended so well the effect was dramatic rather than sensual. The real climax of the film, however, is the killing of Philip by Vilma with a paddle aboard a motorboat at sea. Lino Brocka, who directs Vilma for the first time, succeeded in muffling her sobs even in the most hysterical moments. To our mind, “Rubia Servios” is geared towards mature audiences. It is engrossing despite the lack of fancy camera shots and an almost chronological presentation.” – Ricky Lo (READ MORE)

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

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

Para sa akin naging matagumpay si Vilma sa kanyang pagganap bilang si Rubia Servios. Isang tour de force. Nuong una ko itong napanood sa Avenida ay namangha ako sa kanyang galing. Ngayon pagkatapos ng dalawanput siyam na taon pinanood ko muli ito’y hindi nababawasan ang aking pagkamangha sa galing niya. Paano mo ba isasalarawan ang babae na nagahasa? Paano mo ba isasalarawan ang babaeng nakidnapan ng anak at muling nagahasa sa harap pa mismo ng asawa mo? Isang mahirap na papel. At naisalarawan ito ni Vilma nang makatotohanan. Walang mga pagpopokos ng kamera para mag-emote. Makatotohanang pagganap. Special mention sina Mat Ranillo III at Philip Salvador. Dapat ay napahalagahan sila sa pamamagitan ng nomination subalit naging maramot ang organisasyon ng pestibal at isang acting awards lamang ang binigay nila. Panalo sana si Philip Salvador ng best actor award rito dahil damang dama mo ang kanyang karakter. Makikita rin kung gaano kaganda ng kanyang katawan. Meron eksena siya na nakaswimming trunks lang at talagang alaga pa niya ang kanyang katawan nuon. Si Mat naman ay sana nanominate bilang best supporting actor. Mahusay rin siya lalo na sa eksena kung saan nakatali siya sa puno at wala siyang nagawa ng pagsamantalahan muli si Rubia sa harapan niya ni Philip. Technically, nang panoorin ko itong pelikulang ito ay maganda ang resulta ngunit nang panoorin ko muli ng ilang beses ngayon ay makikita ang ilang flaws. Una na ang cinematography ni Conrado Baltazar. Maraming eksena ay hindi nasa tamang angulo. Merong eksena na nagsasalita si Ate Vi pero ang nakikita lamang ay ang kanyang nuo. Ang musical score ni Freddie Aguilar ay parang hindi bagay sa tema ng pelikula. Pati ang theme song na “Pagsubok” parang pang-politika at very “folksy” ang dating. Merong isang butas ang screenplay ni Mario O Harra. Nang umalis si Philip para iwanan si Vivian, ang anak niyang kinidnap, nang umalis ito’y sumakay ito ng kotse, pagkatapos nang dalhin niya si Rubia sa banding huli’y sumakay naman sila ng boat. Medyo nakaligtaan nila ang isang detalye na ito. Mabilis ang pacing na pelikula at maraming mga eksena talaga si Vilma na makikita mo ang pagaalaga ni Lino. Sayang nga lamang at hindi ito nakita ng mga hurado ng pestibal at maging ang mga manunuri ng taong iyon. – RV (READ MORE)

“…Perhaps, the most in “your face” reality-based role was Rubia Servios. Another transformation. An acting vehicle that even Madonna can’t accomplished, yes even with Evita! I considered Rubia as her most daring and demanding role surpassing Chato’’s BQ. Not only the role required her to be physical but also she has to show the emotion of being battered and abused, inside and outside. The pain in her face was visible while crawling in the beach. The rage in her face showed when she smacked the rapist, Philip Salvador using the boat paddle near the end. I can still feel it, the revenge. I remember I swore a number of times while watching her lift that paddle in the air and aimed at her rapist (Sige pa! Pataying mo ang hayup na iyan! I told to myself.) But the most poignant connection about this film and her role now as politician was her awareness of the abuse Filipina women has become accustomed to. There are a lot of Rubias who doesn’t have the courage to face their assailant. There are so many of them who will have no chance to avenge their fate. Most people will even think that they have provoked the rapist to rape them and they are partly to blame. Vilma as Rubia has made her emphatized the victims and be tough on crime like this. Rape, Crime & Justice, three issues that Vilma have to faced every single day as a mayor…” – RV (READ MORE)

“Rubia Servios,” on the other hand, does not dilute the message. Willy (Phillip Salvador), the son of a powerful and wealthy figure, is portrayed as totally evil, devoid of any redeeming quality. To screenwriter Mario O’Hara and director Lino Brocka, the province is the same as the city. Rubia Servios (Vilma Santos) is raped both in the city and in the country. Rubia kills Willy in the country. Violence unites all places. It is the “unity” of conception, scripting, design, and direction, in fact, that “Rubia Servios” is superior to “Atsay.” Lino Brocka does not waste shots in is attempt to create a Filipino classical tragedy. He subordinates everything to the building up of one emotion in the viewer, that of hatred of Willy. So despicable does Willy become at the end that, when he is murdered by Rubia, no viewer can say that Rubia is at fault. And yet, morally speaking, no one is allowed to take the law into his own hands. The law, in fact, put Willy in prison for the first rape. There is no reason to think that the law will not put Willy to death for the second rape. By conditioning the reader to condone Rubia’s revenge, Brocka succeeds in questioning one of our deeply-rooted moral beliefs.

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

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

Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 6/6

Introductions: 204 films, 70 directors, 5 decades, Vilma Santos, one of the original Philippine movie queens, rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles, albeit in success both critically and box-office wise in some of Philippine cinema’s classics such as Trudis Liit (1963), Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973), Burlesk Queen (1977), Relasyon (1982), Sister Stella L. (1984), Alyas Baby Tsina (1984), Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989), Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Anak (2000) and Dekada ’70 (2002). This are top ten directors who contributed to her success.

Here is a recap of our count-down…
10. PABLO SANTIAGLO / MARYO DELOSREYES
9. LUIS ENRIQUEZ / ELWOOD PEREZ
8. DANNY ZIALCITA
7. EDDIE GARCIA
6. EMMANUEL H BORLZA
5. LINO BROCKA
4. LAURICE GUILLEN
3. CHITO RONO
2. CELSO AD CASTILLO

…and our number one director is…

1. Ishmael Bernal – A filmmaker of the first order and one of the very few who can be truly called a maestro. Critics have hailed him as “the genius of Philippine cinema.” He is recognized as a director of films that serve as social commentaries and bold reflections on the existing realities of the struggle of the Filipino. His art extends beyond the confines of aesthetics. By polishing its visuals, or innovating in the medium, he manages to send his message across: to fight the censors, free the artists, give justice to the oppressed, and enlighten as well as entertain the audience. Among his notable films are “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga” (1989), “Broken Marriage” (1983), “Himala” (1981), “City After Dark” (1980), and “Nunal sa Tubig” (1976). He was recognized as the Director of the Decade of the 1970s by the Catholic Mass Media Awards; four-time Best Director by the Urian Awards (1989, 1985, 1983, and 1977); and given the ASEAN Cultural Award in Communication Arts in 1993 (NCCA.gov.ph). Bernal was born in Manila on September 30, 1938, the son of Elena Bernal and Pacifico Ledesma. He studied at Burgos Elementary School and Mapa High School before entering the University of the Philippines, and graduated in 1962 with a degree of Bachelor of Arts degree in English. For a time he worked with Lamberto Avellana’s documentary outfit. He went on to earn his Licentiate in French Literature and Philosophy at the University of Aix-en-Prevence in France, and then in 1970 his Diplomate in Film Directing at the Film Insititue of India in Poona, under the Colombo plan scholarhip. Bernal was a board member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines and the Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc., an organization that studies the role of film as an instrument of entertainment, education and development. He actively crusaded for the rights and welfare of artists for as long as he lived. He died in Quezon City on June 2, 1996 (Wikipilipinas).

HIGHLIGHTS: Bernal gave Vilma Santos her first grandslam best actress awards and two consecutive Gawad Urian best actress (1982 and 1983). Their first film together was Inspiration (1972) and last was Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989).

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 5 (#5 Ikaw ay Akin 1978, #7 Relasyon 1982, #8 Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga 1989, #9 Broken Marriage 1983, #30 Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon 1977)

Total Number of Films = 8 (Broken Marriage, Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon, Good Morning Sunshine, Ikaw ay Akin, Inspiration, Now and Forever, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga, Relasyon)

RELATED READINGS: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




Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 2/6

Introductions: 204 films, 70 directors, 5 decades, Vilma Santos, one of the original Philippine movie queens, rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles, albeit in success both critically and box-office wise in some of Philippine cinema’s classics such as Trudis Liit (1963), Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973), Burlesk Queen (1977), Relasyon (1982), Sister Stella L. (1984), Alyas Baby Tsina (1984), Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989), Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Anak (2000) and Dekada ’70 (2002). This are top ten directors who contributed to her success….

TIE 9. Elwood Perez is a virtuoso of the camera and is the man behind numerous classic Filipino movies. His intuitive approach to filmmaking and scriptwriting is something worth emulating not because they are campy and sexy but they discuss social ills and promote solutions while tickling the most delicate part of our consciousness—our emotion. Born during the near end of World War II on Feb. 4, 1945 in Mabalacat, Pampanga, Elwood Perez started watching movies at the age of three. He practically grew up breathing, feeling, and thinking about movies. “I want [a] vicarious experience. That’s the only thing I want in my life. I hate the effort to go, let’s say for example to Venice. That’s why I watch films every day. Until now,” the 64-year-old director says. He wrote, directed and acted the lead role in his first Filipino play, Ander di Saya. And he was only nine years old then. From then on, Perez knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. At age 25, Perez marked his debut as a film director with Blue Boy in 1970. The film was a flop at the box office but it was revered by critics. Maturing as a scriptwriter and film director, in 1973, commercially successful Lipad, Darna Lipad! was released. Award-winning actress Celia Rodriguez essayed the role of Medusa-like villainess, Valentina, nubile Vilma Santos played the Filipino supergirl (a role that launched her in a series of Darna flicks). To Filipino film industry insiders, Perez is known as the most sought-after movie director of his generation. He consistently churned out hit movie after another. His unsurpassed track record of money-makers and trend-setters include Zoom, Zoom, Superman!; Bawal: Asawa Mo, Asawa Ko; Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae; Divorce: Pilipino Style; Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig; Summer Love; Till We Meet Again; and Ibulong Mo sa Diyos. Today, films he directed in the ’70s and ’80s like Pakawalan Mo Ako (a Vilma Santos-Christopher de Leon starrer) and Ang Totoong Buhay ni Pacita M, as then enfant terrible of Philippine Cinema, enjoy regular reruns on primetime television and in select movie houses as examples of the award-winning film or the commercially-rewarding art film: true classics of film as entertainment for everyman, the 20th century’s quintessential art form. His life’s mise en scene “During the height of my career, I didn’t like publicity. Do you know any director who sold a movie on a count on the fact that he directed the film? I was very quiet then, because nobody would watch a film because of the director. Stars pa rin ang pinapanood ng tao,” Perez conveys – Nickie Wang

HIGHLIGHTS: Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos collaborated in seven films. The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other directors, 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 film. They followed “Lipad…” with more mature project as Vilma started to transform her sweet image to serious mature/versatile actress. The film was “Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig” in 1977 that also featured Christopher de Leon and Mat Ranillo III. The Perez-Santos team produced seven blockbuster hits that gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards. The last one was in 1988 for “Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos” that elevated her to FAMAS highest honour, the FAMAS Hall of Fame award (She won for Dama de Noche 1972, Relasyon 1982, Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981, Tagos Ng Dugo 1987 and Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988).

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #43 Pinay American Style 1979, #42 Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988, #25 Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981)

Total Number of Films = 7 (Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos 1988, Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, Magkaribal 1979, Masarap Masakit ang Umibig 1977, Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali 1978, Pakawalan Mo Ako 1981, Pinay American Style 1979)

RELATED READINGS:

TIE 9. Luis Enriquez Born Luis Clemente Enriquez on August 23, 1932 in Zamboanga City, Philippines. Famous for his dramatic films with Marlene Dauden and Lolita Rodriguez in the 60s. He wrote, produced and directed films using his birth name Luis Enriquez. On September 12, 2001, Eddie Rodriguez died at the young age of age 69. FAP: One of the greatest dramatic actors of Philippine cinema, he starred in such classics directed by Gregorio Fernandez as Kundiman ng Lahi, Luksang Tagumpay and Malvarosa with Charito Solis, Rebecca del Rio and Vic Silayan for LVN Pictures, Inc. He won a best actor FAMAS trophy for his performance in Sapagkat Kami’y Tao Lamang where he co-starred with Lolita Rodriguez and Marlene Dauden (who won as best supporting actress) under the direction of Armando de Guzman for Hollywood Far East Productions. He tried his hands in secret agent films like Paolo Staccato and Perro Gancho. He formed Virgo Productions with wife Liza Moreno, an actress-writer who wrote stories which Eddie acted in and directed. These films included Babae, Ikaw ang Dahilan, Kasalanan Mo, Ang Pagsintang Labis, Kapag Pusoy Sinugatan, Iginuhit sa Buhangin, Alaala mo, Daigdig ko, Bakit Ako Pa?, and Ikaw. Dubbed as the country’s drama king, he also directed Kung Kailangan Mo Ako (with Sharon Cuneta and Rudy Fernandez), Maging Sino Ka Man and Di Na Natuto (with Sharon Cuneta and Robin Padilla) Minsan Pa and Kahit Konting Pagtingin (with Fernando Poe Jr. and Sharon Cuneta). His real name was Luis Enriquez from Zamboanga City.

HIGHLIGHTS: Luis Enriquez aka Eddie Rodriguez first directed a young Vilma Santos in 1968’s “Kasalanan Kaya,” another love triangle genre starring the dramatic trio of Marlene Dauden, Eddie Rodriguez and Lolita Rodriguez. Vilma received an early acting recognition from this film, a FAMAS Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. When Enriquez directed Vilma again, it was a calculated risk. The film allowed a still young Vilma into a bikini-clad lead role opposite her director, Eddie Rodriguez as her leading man. The film was “Nakakahiya,” a May-December love story and an entry to 1975 Bacolod City Film Festival. Aside from making the the film a smash hit, Vilma received the festival’s Best Actress. Enriquez directed Vilma in five more films, the last one was in 1981’s “Ex-Wife.” In this film credits, Rodriguez surprisingly used his actor’s screen name – ‘Eddie Rodriguez and dropped his most known director’s name, “Luis Enriquez.”

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#30 Ex-Wife 1981, #38 Nakakahiya? 1975, #39 Hindi Nakakahiya 1976)

Total Number of Films = 7 (Ex-Wife 1981, Halik sa Kamay Halik sa Paa 1979, Hindi Nakakahiya 1976, Ikaw Lamang 1971, Kasalanan Kaya? 1968, Nakakahiya? 1975, Simula ng Walang Katapusan)

RELATED READINGS:

8. Danny Zialcita is a fun-loving gifted and colorful filmmaker who left his mark as one of the best in the stimulating era of the ’60s and ’70s. Then without any warning he left the industry. Stories of drug addiction, withdrawal from the world, and worse, loss of sanity dogged his absence until even his colleagues lost touch with him and didn’t know what to believe. Zialcita is a master of improvisation on the set, he also had the knack for casting the right actors, choosing the right material, and pleasing his producers. One of his favorite actors was Dindo Fernando whom he termed “the complete actor” and cast him in such movies as Langis at Tubig, Karma, Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan, Mahinhin at Mahinhin, its sequel Malakas, si Maganda at si Mahinhin and Ikaw at ang Gabi which gave Dindo his first Urian Best Actor trophy. Other favorites were Vilma Santos cast in Karma, T-Bird at Ako, Langis at Tubig; Pinky de Leon; Laurice Guillen; Ronaldo Valdes; and Beth Bautista who won Best Actress award in Hindi sa Iyo ang Mundo Baby Porcuna. – Bibsy M. Carballo, The Philippine Star (READ MORE)

HIGHLIGHTS: 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.

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 3 (#17 Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? 1982, #26 Karma 1981, #44 Langis at Tubig 1980)

Total Number of Films = 4 (Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan? 1982, Karma 1981, Langis at Tubig 1980, T-Bird at Ako)

RELATED READINGS:

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Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 1/6

Introductions:  204 films, 70 directors, 5 decades, Vilma Santos, one of the original Philippine movie queens, rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles, albeit in success both critically and box-office wise in some of Philippine cinema’s classics such as Trudis Liit (1963), Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973), Burlesk Queen (1977), Relasyon (1982), Sister Stella L. (1984), Alyas Baby Tsina (1984), Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989), Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Anak (2000) and Dekada ’70 (2002).  This are top ten directors who contributed to her success.

SPECIAL MENTION: First, here are the directors who made a considerable impact but not lucky enough to be included in our list…

JOEY GOSIENGFIAO (#51 Hatinggabi Na Vilma 1972, #65 Takbo, Vilma, Dali 1972, #10 Lipad, Darna, Lipad 1973, #75 Promo Girl 1978); MIKE DE LEON (#34 Sister Stella L. 1984); GIL M. PORTES (#36 Miss X 1980); RORY B. QUINTOS (#12 Anak 2000); JOSE DE VILLA (#16 Trudis Liit 1963); OLIVIA M. LAMASAN (#21 In My Life 2009); JOEL LAMANGAN (#24 Mano Po 3: My Love 2004); WENN V. DERAMAS (#31 D’ Lucky Ones 2006); ANTONIO JOSE PEREZ (#42 Haplos 1982); LEROY SALVADOR (#46 Muling Buksan ang Puso 1985); NILO SAEZ (#48 Kampanerang Kuba 1974); MARILOU DIAZ-ABAYA (#52 Alyas Baby Tsina 1984, #54 Minsan pa Natin Hagkan Ang Nakaraan 1983)

Here is our top ten starting with number 10…

TIE 10. Pablo Santiago was the father of actors Randy, Rowell and Raymart. He was known for his big-budgeted action movies, many of them starring Fernando Poe Jr. He made his directorial debut at 19 with Larry Santiago Productions’ Lo Waist Gang, which catapulted Poe to stardom. For nearly fifty years, Santiago made award-winning films such as Batingaw, Nueva Vizcaya, Perlas ng Silangan, Ibong Adarna and Digmaan ng mga Angkan, a 1974 Metro Manila Film Festival blockbuster starring Ronnie Poe and Joseph Estrada. His last movie starred FPJ opposite Anjanette Abayari in Ang Syota Kong Balikbayan, in 1996. He died in 1998 at the age of 67 from lingering kidney ailment(Sol Jose Vanzi).

HIGHLIGHTS:Santiago first directed Vilma Santos in a Joseph Estrada movie, Batang Iwahig in 1966. Eight years afterward, He will direct Vilma again, this time as the leading lady of the Joseph Estrada’s rival, the late Fernando Poe Jr in light comedy and a smash hit, Batya’t Palo-palo. He will direct three more projects with Vilma, the follow up of the FPJ-Vilma teams in 1976’s Bato Sa Buhangin, the forgetable, Big Ike’s Happening in 1976 and the action film Vilma Vente Nueve in 1975 starring Vilma and action star, Jun Aristorenas.

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 2 (#37 Bato sa Buhangin 1976, #40 Batya’t Palu-Palo 1974)

Total Number of Films = 5 (Batang Iwahig 1966, Bato sa Buhangin 1976, Batya’t Palu-Palo 1974, Big Ike’s Happening 1976, Vilma Viente Nueve 1975)

RELATED READINGS:
Randy Santiago: After you, Dad!
IMDB: Pablo Santiago
Randy Santiago, now a full-fledged director
Batyat-Palu-palo at cinema Sept 27, 1974

TIE 10. Maryo J. De los Reyes is a film and television director from the Philippines. He began his career in the 1970s(Wikipedia). Reyes’ most significant works are the critically acclaimed Magnifico (2004), Tagos Ng Dugo (1987) and the commercial hits, Bagets (1983), Annie Batungbakal (1979).

HIGHLIGHTS: In 1987, Maryo De Los Reyes directed Vilma Santos that critics considered one of the most shocking film that year, “Tagos Ng Dugo.”  The film was hailed as feminist as seldom a Filipino woman was seen on screen as a murderous serial killer.  It earned Vilma Santos her fourth FAMAS Best Actress.  Ironically, the conservative Catholic church’s award giving body, Catholic Mass Media Awards, agreed with the FAMAS.  They gave Vi their Best Actress award while the critics’ group, Gawad Urian refused to hand-out their yearly award citing there were no deserving films that year.  Reyes last directed Vilma in another memorable off-beat role, the 1992 drama, “Sinungaling Mong Puso.”

Total Number of Films and Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 2 (#13 Tagos ng Dugo 1987, #28 Sinungaling Mong Puso 1992)

RELATED READINGS:
IMDB: Maryo J. De los Reyes
Maryo J. delos Reyes unveils his 4th Sine Novela Presents
Maryo J – Magnifico – Delos Reyes

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Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors 3/6

Introductions: 204 films, 70 directors, 5 decades, Vilma Santos, one of the original Philippine movie queens, rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles, albeit in success both critically and box-office wise in some of Philippine cinema’s classics such as Trudis Liit (1963), Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973), Burlesk Queen (1977), Relasyon (1982), Sister Stella L. (1984), Alyas Baby Tsina (1984), Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989), Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Anak (2000) and Dekada ’70 (2002). This are top ten directors who contributed to her success.

Here is the continuation of our list…

7. Eddie Garcia (born Eduardo Verchez García on May 2, 1929 in Sorsogon, Philippines) popularly known as “Manoy” is one of the top Filipino film actors and also a Movie Director. He is the most awarded and nominated person in the long history of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards. He garnered a total of 34 nominations (13 for Best Supporting Actor, 10 for Best Actor and 11 for Best Director). Out of these, he got 6 Best Supporting Actor wins, 5 Best Actor wins and 5 Best Director wins, 3 Hall of Fame Awards, 1 Lifetime Achievement Award and the Fernando Poe, Jr. Memorial Award. He was awarded his first FAMAS Award in 1957 and his last FAMAS, a Hall of Fame for Best Actor, in 2003 (Wikipedia).

HIGHLIGHTS: Eddie Garcia first directed Vilma in the Marcos film, “Pinagbuklod Ng Langit.”  She reprised the role of Imee Marcos and again co-starred with movie queen, Gloria Romero and dramatic actor, Luis Gonzales after “Iginuhit ng Tadhana.”  Garcia directed Vilma again in 1982′s record breaker, “Sinasamba Kita.”  Overall, the two collaborated in five more films after “Sinasamba,” giving us two of the most memorable Filipino movie lines – confronting the mistress Dina Bonevie, Vi said: “Para Kang Karinderyang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain (translated literally into “You are like food restaurant! Open to all who wanted to eat!”) from the movie “Palimos Ng Pag-ibig” and then confronting the rich snotty old Alicia Vergel, Vi said: “Si Val, si Val, si Val na walang malay! (literally translated to “Its Val! its Val!, Its always Val, The one who is innocent!”).

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 5 (#11 Imortal 1989, #18 Paano Ba ang Mangarap? 1983 #19 Sinasamba Kita, #22 Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig? 1987, #45 Palimos Ng Pag-ibig 1986)

Total Number of Films = 6 (Imortal 1989, Paano Ba ang Mangarap? 1983, Palimos Ng Pag-ibig 1986, Pinagbuklod ng Langit 1969, Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig? 1987, Sinasamba Kita 1982)

RELATED READINGS:
Eddie Garcia: Actor, director, icon, Philippine cinema’s one-man totem pole
An Urian Lifetime Achievement Award for Eddie Garcia
Veteran actor Eddie Garcia misses work as director
Eddie Garcia shares his secret of long and healthy life
Brocka’s “Tubog Sa Ginto” 1971 (VIDEO)
Eddie Garcia stars in indie film ‘Fuschia’
Video 48: Eddie Garcia, FAMAS Three Time Hall of Fame Awardee

6. Emmanuel H. Borlaza aka Maning Borlaza is a 1957 Palanca Awardee for “May Pangako ang Bukas” and theaterical drama trained by National Artist Severino Montano. Appointed by Pres. Noy Aquino as Movie and Television Review and Classifications Board (MTRCB) Vice Chairman this year, Borlaza directed 24 films with Vilma Santos and was credited with her transformation to a reluctant singing competitor of Nora Aunor to bankable superstar with such hits like Dyesebel, Lipad Darna Lipad, Darna and the Giants.

HIGHLIGHTS: Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor.

Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #32 Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, #48 Darna and the Giants 1973, #49 Dama De Noche 1972)

Total Number of Films = 24 (I Love You, Honey 1970, Renee Rose 1970, Angelica 1971, Aloha, My Love 1972, Dama De Noche 1972, Don’t Ever say Goodbye 1972, Leron, Leron, Sinta 1972, Remembrance 1972, Darna and the Giants 1973, Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, Lipad, Darna, Lipad 1973, Maria Cinderella 1973, Tsismosang Tindera 1973, Makahiya at Talahib 1976, Mga Rosas sa Putikan 1976, Bakit Kailangan Kita? 1978, Kampus 1978, Coed 1979, Gusto Ko Siya, Mahal Kita 1980, Romansa; 1980 Yakapin Mo Ako, Lalaking Matapang 1980 Asawa ko, Huwag Mong Agawin 1986, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 1986, Ibigay Mo Sa Akin Ang Bukas 1987)

RELATED READINGS:
an Emmanuel H. Borlaza films and other directors
Borlaza: Its Payback Time!
1st shooting day ng Darna and the Giants
Visiting Forces body has new set of officials

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