FILM REVIEW: IPAGPATAWAD MO


The Plot: A married couple who try to make their marriage work despite the fact that both of them are career-oriented and that there are tensions created by the prescence of their first-born child, Mike Jr., who turns out to be autistic. – RV (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “…At first, their marriage is close to being one made in heaven. Mike Esquivel (Christopher) is a successful lawyer, while Celina (Vilma) is a popular talkshow hostess. Celina gives up her career to devote fall time as mother to Junjun, the autistic child, played well by both Bennett Ignacio (when Junjun is three years old) and Terence Baylon (when the boy is seven years old). The husband, however, is totally unsympathetic and even considers the child a disgrace. With the wife spending practically all her waking hours to attend to her “special” child, the marriage expectedly begins to crumble. They only give themselves a second chance when Celina finds out that she is again pregnant. The second child – to father Mike’s relief – turns out to be a normal, healthy boy. But with Mike still unable to accept the first child, the marriage is on the rocks once more. The situation worsens when Mike -driven by the abnormal conditions at home and his own self-centeredness – starts an extramarital affair with a balikbayan named Monique (Bing Loyzaga). Finally, a near tragic incident gives Mike another chance to prove himself a worthy husband to Celina and even worthier father to his kids, especially the autistic one. The movie is poignant, nevermushy. It isnotthe run-of-the-mill tearjerker that relies on maudlin theatrics and melodramatic devices to touch the hearts of moviegoers. Surprisingly, despite the frustrating problem facing the movie couple, moviegoers did not seem to be depressed by the movie…” – Butch Francisco (READ MORE)

“What?s the critics said: Payak, makabuluhan ngunit kakaibang pelikula ang ?Ipagpatawad Mo? ng Viva Films. Sapat ngang ipakipaglaban ng Vilma Santos at Christopher de Leon tandem ang paghahanap ng ibang klaseng script na lalo pang mapatingkad sa status nila bilang mga aktor sa makatuturang kahulugan nito. Mapalad sila sa panulat ni Olivia lamasan ng isang story na tumatalakay sa reaksiyon ng isang pamilya sa pagkakaroon ng abnormal na anak. Hinugot ni Ms. Lamasan ang autism syndrome na first time na inilantad sa Pilipino screen, bagamat tinangka na rin itong ipaliwanag sa ?Rain Man? ni Dustin Hoffman sa Hollywood. Sa story, sina Vilma at Christopher ay intelihente (TV broadcaster at lawyer respectively) at matagumpay na indibidwal. Maykaya sila sa buhay ngunit nagkaanak ng autistic. (Ang autism, ayon sa mga modren psychologists na sina Bernard Rimiand at lauretta bender, ay isang uri ng infantile psychosis na kung saan ang sinasapian ay nagwi-withdraw sa reyalidad ng buhay. Nananatili sila sa sariling daigdig na nilikha ng isip at pantasya.) dahil sa autistic child (Edward Carlos Garcia) unti-unting nawasak ang pamilya nina Vilma. Vilma vowed to protect and care for the child because she felt this is the only way a mother can assure herself that everything can be given to the son. (Pinatunayan nga ng pelikula na mas apt ang title na Paano Ba Ang Maging Ina rito kaysa roon sa ginawa ni Nora Aunor). On the other hand, nire-reject ni Chris at ng kanyang family (Delia Razon, et al) ang bata dahil nakababawas ito sa dignidad ng family stature nila. The conflict progresses to give us the different views on how to accept the frailties of people within our family. Para bang kung paano tatanggapin ng magulang na may anak siyang may butas sa puso or worst bakla. The father and mother image were deliberately explored at sa tuwing mag-aaaway sina Vi at Boyet, parang nakikita natin ang ating mga magulang na nagtatalo. the scenes were too real for comfort.

Nadale ng Viva ang kiliti ng masa. Hindi mo nga kailangang bigyan ng heavy stuff ang tao para masabing matino ang pelikula. Tama na nga sa mga politicized films or pa-social relevance. Bugbog na bugbog na ang ganitong tema sa mga diyaryo at sensayunalismo ng TV Patrol ng Channe 2. Mas kinagugusto ng balana ang mga pelikulang nakasentro sa mga karaniwang problema ng tao, lalo na?t may kinalalaman sa ordinaryong relasyong pantao. Napapanahon ang story ng ?Ipagpatawad?. Simple. Natural na pinakilos ng mga tauhan ng dula na halos parang hindi mo namamalayang pelikula lang pala ito. Aakalain mo ngang nakikinood ka lang sa isang scenario sa buhay ng kapitbahay mo. Ganito katindi ang tama ng pelikula sa manonood. This is indeed a very special movie for Boyet and Vi. Santos is again in the running for Best Actress. She was able to sink her teeth to the role of a disturbed mother torn in the love and responsibilities for her husband and the abnormal child. Except for some restless gesticulation of the hands, damang-dama mong buong katawan niya ay nilukuban ng kaakuhan ng role. All her scenes can be considered highlights, because she was consistently good in them. Her duro scene with Boyet was satisfactorily blocked and orchestrated. So far here, Vilma has an edge over Ruffa Gutierrez, Mona Liza, Janice de Belen and Lorna Tolentino in the acting derby next year. De leon was able to regain his acting brilliance in this movie. hindi puwersado. Cool, less facial contortion which became evident in some recent films he made. I like him better here than in ?Salingin? and ?Makiusap sa Diyos?. Nakababagbag-damdamin ?yung paghingi niya ng tawad sa anak. The monologue, which started sa pasakalye to reconcile ended in pained catharsis, that even a man with a heart of stone whould melt in depression. As a team, gamay na gamay na nina Vi at Boyet ang isa?t isa. Actually. sa tender moments nila, you don?t see them as the stars. You are made to believe they were really husbadn and wife.They were too relaxed. Their movements were free and natural. This is really what we call team acting. Walang sapawan.

The movie added more luster with the convincing portrayal of the kids. (Edward Garcia, Bennet Ignacio at Terence Baylon) who played Vi?s children. Special mention dito si Garcia na gumanap na 3-year old Junjun. Ang nuances niya ng ritualistic hand movements and echolalic sppech (symptom ng autism) ay talagang believable. He is not even conscious of the camera. Not to be outdone ay ang great support nina Charito Solis, as the choleric mother of Vi: Joonee gamboa, as the phlegmatic father; Ruby Rodriguez, as the yaya na talagang agaw-eksena, lalo na sa carnival scene; Bing Loyzaga, na mas improved and better version ni Gretchen Barretto sa movie; at Vivian Foz, as the wronged confused sister of Vi. Exceptional din ang cinematography and lighting works ng movie. As usual, expected sa Viva melodrama ang glossy, fabulous setting na nag-capitalized sa affluent house interior. kaya lang, parang di tugma ang theme song ni Janno Gibbs sa story. But more than this, laudable ang script ni Ms. Lamasan. Veritable na may research work ang writer. Dahil na-inform niya nag madla tungkol sa autism na dominant sa mga batang lalaki ngayon. Naipabatid niya na autism is detectable at the first two years, when the child is suffering from hearing and speech impairment In-insinuate din niya na the birth delivery (as specified in the opening scene) can cause oxygen deprivation that may affect the brain development of the child, thus creating immaturity in vasomotor coordination such as hearing, speech and hand movement. nilinaw rin niya na ang emotional refrigeration (yaong rejection nina Chris, Delia at Vivian) can cause the intensification of the disease. However, na-establish din niya ang love and care ng parents (ni Vilma) at sibling (ng kapatid na normal) will be more than enough to push the child to develop little by little. This time Laurice Guillen has hit the pot. The movie turned out to be artistically made and yet the commercial value of it did not suffer. Bumalik na ang aesthetic eye ni Direktora Guillen. Thank God, a film like this comes once in a while to give us enter-educational (learning with pleasure) millieu.” – Ces Ysobel Orsal (READ MORE)

“…The 1990s saw Charito Solis graduate to mother and grandmother roles, which she had done with frequency in the 1980s. In another nod to her age, she finally allowed herself to be billed above Vilma Santos, then acknowledged as the Longest-Reigning Box Office Queen of Philippine Movies, albeit above-the-title in films such as Ipagpatawad Mo (1992) and Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993)…” – Gypsy Baldovino and Yolly Tiangco (READ MORE)

“So much has been said and written about Enter-Educate (Entertainment for Education) but does anyone really know what it all means? As their ad says people in the entertainment industry who ascribe to Enter Education use their appeal to inculcate positive values. Quickly applying this in the movies, It’s the difference between Ipagpatawad MO (Viva Films) and Disgrasyada (Regal Films) both showing at your favorite theaters. Ipagpatawad Mo is a movie about how a family copes with autisitc children. Value: The Family. I haven’t seen Disgrasyada, but given Regal’s track record for gadawful movies, this movie will probably have Ruffa Gutierrez rompling around (wet, most likely) in Mother Lily’s famous kamison. Value: Magic Kamison. I am not saying that Viva makes better movies than Regal. Viva is the same company which brought you Humanap ka ng Panget and Andrew Ford Medina. But it is making an effort to entertain and educate. Which is more than I could say for other movie companies. Ipagpatawad Mo (Direction: Laurice Guillen) is like a training film for parents of autistic children, with lots of drama and fine acting from two name stars. Before anything else, this is the first time I’ve seen a cellular phone (not cordless) in a Filipino movie. (Puh-leeze, I can’t stand people who use cellular phones in their cars, in restaurants, in movie houses, even in church. I hereby propose cellular phone-free zones). This is observation has nothing to do with the rest of this review. In the movie, Vilma Santos plays a successful TV journalist (Must everyone play Loren Legarda in the movies?) while Christopher is a successful lawyer. Everything is perfect until their son Junjun turns three (Are the two children who played Junjun, age 3 and age 8, autistic in real life, or are they actors?) They find out from Lorli Villanueva, who plays a psychiatrist, not a laudrywoman that their son is autistic. Christopher wants to put Junjun in an institution (ala-Rainman).

Instead Vilma takes Junjun to her parent’s house. She gives up her job, stops playing attentive wife to Christopher, and dutifully takes Junjun to a special school. Christopher complaints that Vilma doesn’t pay enough attention to him anymore. Vilma complains that Christopher has forsaken his duties as a father. They breakup, almost. But they reconcile because Vilma is pregnant. She has given birth to Paolo, a normal child. Understandably, Christopher is proud of Paolo and ashamed of Junjun. He doesn’t want his friends to know he has a “defective” son. One day, Junjun humiliates his father in a party. Christopher scolds him, but Junjun doesn’t understand. Instead, he starts to draw his father with a tail and horns. Christopher has an affair with Bing Loyzaga, who tries very hard to do a Nanette Medved, but ends up looking like Gloria Estefan in that Pepsi commercial. Vilma discovers the affair and moves out of the house. Christopher doesn’t want to lose his family so he breaks up with Bing. He begs Vilma to come back and promises to make an effort to accept Junjun. They take a vacation and finally Christopher comes to terms with his feeling for his autistic son. In a touching scene, Christopher and Junjun sit together, but apart in the living room. He tells his son how excited he was when he was born. How he had such great hopes for him. How dissapointed he was when he found out he was autistic. And that he really doesn’t know what to do with him. But he loves him very much. Christopher cries, Vilma, who has eavesdropped, cries too. Junjun who has been toying with a ball, stands up and leaves the room. I guess this sums up the whole situation of what it’s like to be a parent of an autistic child.

Christopher redeems himself from his bad performance in the movie Huwag Mong Salingin ang Sugat ko, shown last week. He is in top form here, and portrays a gamut of emotions, as a father who could not accept that his son is autistic; as comfused husband who turns to another woman for comfort; as a desperate man who implores his wife to give him another chance; and as a transformed father who finally accepts his son is autistic. Vilma is exceptional, as usual. The two stars look good together. (I cannot imagine Christopher and Nora Aunor together). Although, they looke visibly – dare I say it? – old. Not even the soft-focus lens could disguise the bags under their eyes and the lines on their cheeks. Good thing Ipagpatawad Mo is a movie which deals with a more sophisticated subject, other than a man who meets a woman and they fall in love, or a married man falls-in-love with another woman and vice versa. In the future, I would like to see less cellular phones and more mature movies like this, please.” – Elvira Mata, Manila Standard, Oct 23 1991 (READ MORE)

“Countless subjects have been written about this star for all seasons – a fascinating character to her fans. Her calm composure even in the midst of brickbats thrown her way by some members of the press, her acting talents attested by the 16 best actress trophies and her screen image are reasons enough why she has gained a strong foothold in the hearts of the moviegoers. “Being popular in one’s profession or let’s say being successful, is not a shield against the wounds of life. On the contrary, principles come more often and go deeper if one is successful and popular,” she told us when we chanced to talk toher on the set of her latest movie, Ipagpatawad Mo with Christopher de Leon. Moviegoers have always accepted the team-up of Vi and Boyet, acting and box office wise. This is their 16th partnership. Their first was in Tagulan sa Tagaraw.

So what else is new? “There was a time na parang sawa na kami sa subject ng movie namin. Relasyon, Pakawalan Mo Ako, Imortal, Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali, Masarap Masakit ang Umibig, etc. are just some of them. So when we read the script, we said na sana bago naman ang story, not just a love triangle, or legal separation and such subjects. This is the first time in out picture togethertaht involved our child who is autistic. Not many people or only a few of our parents know what an autistic child is. Akala nila mentally retarded na ang mga yon. Which is definitely not true. Autistic children can be taught, can be improved but it takes a lot of patience and determination to make them so. In this movie, Boyet could not believe that he has such a child and he rejects him. But I could not, and that is the bane of our everyday quarrel. I fiercely defend out son here saying to all and sundry that he is not mentally retarded. How did you tackle the subject of autism? “Boyet and I read books about it, saw a movie with its theme, visited a special school for such children in Forbes Park, and spoke to parents of these children.

Ninety percent of these autistic children are very good-looking and are good in numbers but they have a world of their own. If you teach them something, yon kung ang alam nila, no other world exists. Autism is like virus and it is not hereditary. Hindi malalaman na autistic ang isang bata until they are about three or four years old. But doctors know, when a baby is born that he or she is autistic, only they don’t dare tell the parents about it. This movie should be an eye opener for such doctors and parents.” How is it that you and Boyet are so compatible with each other as a love team? To our knowledge, no other team-up has endured such long partnership. “Maybe it’s because we’re comfortable with each other. And one thing more, the moviegoers accepted our team because there’s no personal involvement between us. It’s not necessary that there’s love angle between us. Ang sa amin platonic lang. Not only that, we’re the best of friends. Do you know that Boyet was the first leading man to whom I confided that I’m going to marry Edu? He was also the first to whom I broke the news that I’m pregnant with Lucky. That’s how firm our friendship is.”

In all the years that you’ve been together in the movies, did Boyet ever court you? I heard before that wen you we’re filming a movie with Eddie Rodriguez, he sent you three red roses. “Naku ha! That’s just his way of affirming our friendship. Walang malisya youn.” If in real life, you’re really husband and wife, do you think your marriage will also endure up to the present? ” I just can’t tell, ha. But Boyet and I are both Scorpions. We have the same strong personalities. Siguro magka-clash kami. But in our scenes in the movies, It’s wonderful if Boyet is my partner, because kung intense at high ang feelings ko, kaya ni Boyet na saugtin kung ano ang sinasabi ko with the same intense feeling.” And with the others? “No comment.” In Ipagpatawad Mo, Vi portrays a mother’s love for her child. “I know the feeling because I am a mother. I’ll fight tooth and nail for the care and well-fare of my son, Lucky.” Vi is going full ahead of her movie schedules next year. After this movie, she’ll be shooting Sinungaling na Puso (temporary title), for Regal’s tehn one with Armida’s Reyna Films (The Heiress), and another one schedule for Vision Films.” – Nena Z. Villanueva, Manila Standard, Oct 28 1991 (READ MORE)

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Filmography: Ipagpatawad Mo (1991)

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Basic Information: Directed: Laurice Guillen; Story: Olivia M. Lamasan; Screenplay: Olivia M. Lamasan; Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Charito Solis, Bing Loyzaga, Amy Perez, Delia Razon, Ruby Rodriguez, Joonee Gamboa, Johnny Wilson, Vivian Foz, Jinky Oda, Terence Baylon, Bennette Ignacio, Eddie Albert Ramos, Lorli Villanueva; Executive producer: Vic del Rosario Jr.; Cinematography: Eduardo Jacinto; Film Editing: Efren Jarlego; Production Design: Edgar Martin Littaua; Sound: Gaudencio Barredo

Plot Description: A married couple who try to make their marriage work despite the fact that both of them are career-oriented and that there are tensions created by the prescence of their first-born child, Mike Jr., who turns out to be autistic. – RV

Atty. Mike Esquivel (Christopher De Leon) is a very successful lawyer who feels he has everything and the world is at his feet for the asking. He doesn’t know failure and how to deal with it. Mike is married to Celina (Vilma Santos), an equally successful T.V. personality. When Celina gives birth to their firstborn, Mike becomes ecstatic for he is now complete. But as their son grows, the doctor finds he is autistic. Mike is indignant. He cannot accept a feeble minded son as he worries about his reputation like his parents who suggest an institution. The situation is breaking up their ideal marriage for only Celina can understand and love her autistic son unconditionally. – TFC Now (READ MORE)

Film Achievemetns: 1991 FAMAS: Best Actor – Christopher De Leon; Best Child Actor – Terence Baylon; Best Director Nomination – Laurice Guillen; Best Picture; 1991 FAP: Best Actor – Christopher De Leon; Best Child Actor – Terence Baylon; Best Editing – Efren Jarlego; Best Picture; Best Actress Nomination – Vilma Santos; 1991 Gawad Urian: Best Actress – Vilma Santos; Best Picture; Best Screenplay – Olivia M. Lamasan; Best Actor Nomination – Christopher De Leon; Best Cinematography Nomination – Eduardo Jacinto; Best Direction Nomination – Laurice Guillen; Best Editing Nomination – Efren Jarlego; Best Production Design Nomination – Edgar Martin Littaua; Best Supporting Actor Nomination – Terence Baylon

Film Reviews: Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos, the box-office love team of more than a dozen dramas, including “Pakawalan Mo Ako,” “Paano Ba ang Mangarap,” “Relasyon,” “Broken Marriage” and “Imortal” are reunited in this Laurice Guillen drama written by Olive M. Lamasan. They portray a married couple who try to make their marriage work despite the fact that both of them are career-oriented and that there are tensions created by the pres¬ence of their first-born child, Mike Jr., who turns out to he autistic.

At first, their marriage is close to being one made in heaven. Mike Esquivel (Christopher) is a successful lawyer, while Celina (Vilma) is a popular talkshow hostess. Celina gives up her career to devote fall time as mother to Junjun, the autistic child, played well by both Bennett Ignacio (when Junjun is three years old) and Terence Baylon (when the boy is seven years old). The husband, however, is totally unsympathetic and even considers the child a disgrace. With the wife spending practically all her waking hours to attend to her “special” child, the marriage expectedly begins to crumble. They only give themselves a second chance when Celina finds out that she is again pregnant. The second child – to father Mike’s relief – turns out to be a normal, healthy boy. But with Mike still unable to accept the first child, the marriage is on the rocks once more.

The situation worsens when Mike -driven by the abnormal conditions at home and his own self-centeredness – starts an extramarital affair with a balikbayan named Monique (Bing Loyzaga). Finally, a near tragic incident gives Mike another chance to prove himself a worthy husband to Celina and even worthier father to his kids, especially the autistic one. The movie is poignant, nevermushy. It isnotthe run-of-the-mill tearjerker that relies on maudlin theatrics and melodramatic devices to touch the hearts of moviegoers. Surprisingly, despite the frustrating problem facing the movie couple, moviegoers did not seem to be depressed by the movie.

Attempts to “commercialize” the film may be seen in the comic relief provided by the protracted spats between the two kids’ yayas (Ruby Rodriguez and Jinky Oda). But the heavy subject and the conditions in the local film industry allow us to accept the filmmakers’ decision to inject such crowd-pleasing elements. Though the late Lino Brocka has made a posthumous telemovie on the same subject autism — with a similar dramatic situation in the still-unreleased “Lampang Kerubin,” this is the first time in recent memory that a Filipino movie tackles the subject with seriousness and compassion. Beyond the subject of having an autistic child, the movie also deals with the intri¬cacies of family relationships, as indicated by the ties between Celina and her mother (Charito Solis) and a wayward sister (Vivian Foz), and between these folks and Mike’s parents (Delia Razon and Johnny Wilson). “Ipagpatawad Mo” is a major film event of the year, with quiet and restrained per-formances by the cast that erupts in emo¬tional outbursts only periodically and judiciously. – Butch Francisco, The Philippine Star (READ MORE)

“…The 1990s saw Charito Solis graduate to mother and grandmother roles, which she had done with frequency in the 1980s. In another nod to her age, she finally allowed herself to be billed above Vilma Santos, then acknowledged as the Longest-Reigning Box Office Queen of Philippine Movies, albeit above-the-title in films such as Ipagpatawad Mo (1992) and Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993)…” – Gypsy Baldovino and Yolly Tiangco (READ MORE)

“…Christopher redeems himself from his bad performance in the movie Huwag Mong Salingin ang Sugat ko, shown last week. He is in top form here, and portrays a gamut of emotions, as a father who could not accept that his son is autistic; as comfused husband who turns to another woman for comfort; as a desperate man who implores his wife to give him another chance; and as a transformed father who finally accepts his son is autistic. Vilma is exceptional, as usual. The two stars look good together. (I cannot imagine Christopher and Nora Aunor together). Although, they looke visibly – dare I say it? – old. Not even the soft-focus lens could disguise the bags under their eyes and the lines on their cheeks. Good thing Ipagpatawad Mo is a movie which deals with a more sophisticated subject, other than a man who meets a woman and they fall in love, or a married man falls-in-love with another woman and vice versa. In the future, I would like to see less cellular phones and more mature movies like this, please.” – Elvira Mata, Manila Standard, Oct 23 1991 (READ MORE)

“…Ninety percent of these autistic children are very good-looking and are good in numbers but they have a world of their own. If you teach them something, yon kung ang alam nila, no other world exists. Autism is like virus and it is not hereditary. Hindi malalaman na autistic ang isang bata until they are about three or four years old. But doctors know, when a baby is born that he or she is autistic, only they don’t dare tell the parents about it. This movie should be an eye opener for such doctors and parents.” – Nena Z. Villanueva, Manila Standard, Oct 28 1991 (READ MORE)

“…The wife was a popular talk show host. The husband was a top executive in the field of advertising. They were the ideal couple and the envy of all their friends. They seemed to lead the perfect life more so when the birth of their baby boy completed the picture of a domestic paradise. But time brought a realization that their son was not like the other normal children. He was diagnosed as autistic. The wife gave up her career to give her son every possible chance to lead a normal life but the husband could not accept his child. He thought that it was a massive blow on his masculinity. How they came to terms with the presence of this autistic child in their lives is the gist of this wonderfully crafted film…” – Mav Shack (READ MORE)

Filmography: Kapag Langit Ang Humatol (1990)

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Basic Information: Directed: Laurice Guillen; Story: Salvador Royales; Screenplay: Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Salvador Royales; Cast: Vilma Santos, Richard Gomez, Gloria Romero, Charo Santos-Concio, Kristine Garcia, Carmina Villaroel, Jeffrey Santos, Eula Valdez, William Lorenzo, Tony Carreon, Metring David, Lillian Laing, Vangie Labalan, Terence Baylon; Executive producer: Charo Santos-Concio; Original Music: Nonong Buencamino; Cinematography: Romeo Vitug; Film Editing: Efren Jarlego; Production Design: Edgar Martin Littaua; Art Direction: Bert Habal; Sound: Vic Macamay; Theme song performed by Dulce; Released: August 15 1999

Plot Description: An oppressed housemaid has transformed herself into a wealthy and powerful business mogul through sheer dint of talent, ambition and driving need to avenge herself on her tormentors. She comes back to the scene of her most abject debasement with the sole intent of humiliating the family who once made her life such a living hell. Unknowingly, she gets to exact revenge on the very person who turns out to be her own daughter by the son of her former mistress. – Database of Philippine Movies (READ MORE)

Film Achievement: 1990 Gawad Urian: Best Direction – Laurice Guillen; Best Editing – Efren Jarlego; Best Cinematography – Romeo Vitug; 1990 FAP: Best Cinematography – Romeo Vitug; Best Story Adaptation – Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Salvador Royales; 1990 FAMAS: Best Child Actor Nomination – Terence Baylon; Best Supporting Actor Nomination – Jeffrey Santos; 1990 Gawad Urian: Best Actress Nomination – Vilma Santos; Best Picture1990 Gawad Urian Nomination; Best Production Design 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Edgar Martin Littaua; Best Screenplay 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Emmanuel H. Borlaza, Salvador Royales; Best Supporting Actress 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Kristine Garcia; Best Supporting Actress 1990 Gawad Urian Nomination – Carmina Villaroel; The 2014 Cinema One Originals Film Festival – Digitally Restored Selection

Film Reviews: At first glance, the story may look inane and stale. No question about women moviegoers and fans who eagerly lap up most soap operas indiscriminately. But the movie hasn’t been very popular with a lot of film buffs, intellectuals and the movie press. The most criticized part of the movie is when the oppressed heroine, a housemaid (Vilma Santos), is locked up and chained in a barn when the mean, witch-like mistress of the hacienda (Gloria Romero at her wicked best) hears about her pregnancy, with no other than the dona’s son (Richard Gomez) as the father-to-be. Absurd! Incredible! Too lowbrow! These were the common complaints hurled against the movie, as though recent real-life incidents reported in the front pages about supposedly civilized masters in southern Philippines torturing their servants never happened. That the script is filled with knots and tangles, compounded by intense, passionate and exag¬gerated situations, would seem to lend credence to the criticisms.

Fortunately, director Laurice Guillen has more faith in her material, more respect. For she has not only come up with a beautifully-photographed, well-edited and generally superbly-acted melodrama. She has also held up to us a mirror of the dreams and aspirations, the frustrations, suffer¬ing and uncomplicated lifestyle of the so-called masa. Moments of the heroine’s unmitigated oppres¬sion in the hands of her evil mistress is age-old reality in Philippine life and, quite logically, litera¬ture. Her soul nearly scarred by her excruciating, degrading experience, she somehow manages not only to survive but also to rise from her humble, bleak origins, when she leaves the hellhole and finds hope and rewards in the city. In true melodramatic fashion, she plots out her revenge, but alas, even in carrying it out, she must pay dearly, nearly tragically. Feminist observers may easily notice that in this picture – as in, they would say, Philippine society -it is the women who run things. They domineer and dominate, manipulating the men, even the men they love. True enough, from the very beginning, it is the mistress and her poor servant who move things, decide, and tell men what to do. It is they who plot out schemes and plan their destiny.

The same is true even with the minor characters, those played by Kristine Garcia (who virtually drags the farm stud into a stormy affair and pushes him to run away with her), Eula Valdez (who pulls the trigger that ends a chapter in the drama), Charo Santos (the single mother and self-made tycoon) and Carmina Villarroel (the young woman who tries to extricate herself from the mess which her quarreling mother and grandmother have created). For their part, the men are pushed around, fooled and overtaken by events: the weakling lover (Gomez), the perpetually horny stablehand (Wil¬liam Lorenzo) and the young and rich heir (Jeffrey Santos). All in all, it is a glossy and well-crafted movie, with marvelous performances by Ms. Santos and Ms. Romero. – Mario A. Hernando, MPP (READ MORE)

The power of the script to carry weight to a movie works here, which shows that no matter how famous your actors are, it doesn’t guarantee critics’ approval. After being glued for depression and revenge for two and a half hours (even if you’ll know what will happen next), viewers will be put into sleep. There are many scenes that should’ve been erased and combined. Performances-wise, thumbs-up is given to Eula Valdez as the maid who falls in love with William Lorenzo, the gardener who uses Vilma Santos in the first half of the movie. Even the dialogue is weak. Barely watchable. 3.5/10 – OSCAR99, IMDB – (READ MORE)

“…The scene where the avenging Floreida (Vilma) to Gloria’s Octavia- wine-in-your face thing, followed by Vilma’s hysterical laughter is, to my mind the best scene in the movie. Catharsis at its best. Two great actresses. Bow!…” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)

“…Sino ba si Mr. Romantiko? Siya po si Mr. Salvador Royales…na siyang may concepto rin ng nasabing programa. Isa siyang magaling na writer sa radio at pelikula. Ayon sa kaniyang kuwento sa akin…siya ang kauna-unahang sumulat ng Maalala Mo Kaya sa ABS-CBN…na may pamagat na “Sapatos”. Marami siyang isinulat na pelikula sa Seiko Films…at may mga Radio Drama rin siya na ginawang pelikula….isa sa natatandaan ko ang “Kailan Mahuhugasan ang Kasalanan” at “Kapag Langit Ang Humatol” na pinagbidahan ni Vilma Santos, na pawang naging block buster. Kaya hindi matatawaran ang angking talino ni Mr. Romantiko sa pagsusulat. Mula sa kaniya marami rin akong natutunan na ini-aapply ko ngayon sa aking pagsusulat sa radio drama. Kaya masasabi ko na mapalad ako na nakilala ko ang isang taong tulad niya…” – Komixrama (READ MORE)

“…The whole-afternoon affair gave Ate Vi time to bond with Manay Ichu, the “second mother“ she hasn’t seen lately. Ate Vi recalled for the nth time how Manay Ichu and the late Atty. Espiridion Laxa saved her from the poor house, helping her with BIR (tax), financial, and career woes. The actress made memorable films for Manay Ichu, including “Rubia Servios,“ directed by Lino Brocka. Brocka triggered memories about a film she made for Vision, produced by Charo Santos and Simon Ongpin (Where is he?), in which this columnist had a “role.“ Vision offered Ate Vi two project. The true story of a crusading lady doctor to be directed by Brocka. A radio serial by Salvador Royales, “Kapag Langit ang Humatol.“ She wanted to do a Brocka film, but this columnist objected, telling Ate Vi, “You don’t need another award, you need a blockbuster.“ Ate Vi listened and “obeyed.“ The radio serial was a huge, huge hit. And even critically acclaimed, giving Laurice Guillen the best director award from the Manunuri (Urian)…” – Ronald Constantino, Feb 15 2012, Tempo (READ MORE)

“…Also in the Cinema One Originals Festival restored classics lineup are: Kapag Langit ang Humatol, a drama directed by Laurice Guillen starring Vilma Santos as an oppressed housemaid who transforms herself into a successful businesswoman. Richard Gomez plays the leading man of the Star for All Seasons…Completing the list is Anak, the heartwarming OFW story directed by Rory Quintos starring Vilma Santos and Claudine Barretto. Released in 2000, it was the highest-grossing movie of that year and one of the biggest blockbusters in Star Cinema’s history. The unveiling at 2014 C1 Originals marks the first time the restored version of Anak will be seen on the big screen…” – Isah V. Red, Manila Standard Today, 08 Nov 2014 (READ MORE)

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