Woman for all seasons


Relasyon is part of the legendary collaboration between the late National Artist for Film Ishmael Bernal and movie queen Vilma Santos.

The film, which is the first of the so-called Bernal-Santos trilogy (that includes Broken Marriage and Pahiram ng Isang Umaga), earned Santos all the Best Actress trophies in 1982 — FAMAS; Gawad Urian; Film Academy of the Philippines; Catholic Mass Media Awardsthe very first grand slam feat for this category in Philippine entertainment history.

She defeated Nora Aunor’s high-wattage performance as Elsa, in another Bernal opus, in the heavily favored film production of Himala.

In Relasyon, Santos was both amusing and amazing as the contemporary incarnation of the beloved one, the querida. Critics and audiences, to this day, cannot seem to forget the very realistic death scene of Christopher de Leon as Emil that clocked more than one minute, taken in one continuous shot (no cuts), wherein Vilma’s Marilou was hysterically superlative.

Others (including this writer) found Santos’s exceptional acting evident in three memorable instances. The first is when she informs Emil of her pregnancy. Vilma’s face is almost pure, beaming at her lover affectionately, as she sends him off to work. Secondly, at Christmas Eve with girlfriends, she seems to be losing it, crying and laughing at the same time, enumerating how mistresses don’t celebrate special occasions, and prior to the credits, Marilou gives her love nest one more lingering gaze, eyes filled with acceptance and resignation on the fate of her affair.

Since the grand slam victory, spin masters gave her the tag “Star for All Seasons,” a creative counterpart to Aunor’s “Superstar” label.

She had other grand slam winnings after Relasyon, as Dolzura Cortez in The Dolzura Cortez Story, the AIDS-stricken sex worker; as Lea, the modern-day mother of two kids from different fathers, and as Amanda Bartolome, in Dekada ‘70, the mother coping with the turbulent 1970s and the harsh realities that growing children face.

The world of Philippine showbiz remains colorful and exciting as long as Vilma Santos’s supremacy continues.

Of late, she has been in the news again. With Aunor’s much-hyped TV comeback, Noranians are proclaiming hosannas for the superstar and, as expected, the “rivalry” between the two is brewing anew.

“That rivalry that I have with her, matagal na ‘yun,” says Santos. “I think, especially in the world of Philippine entertainment, universally accepted na yung if there is a Vilma, then Nora is immediately part of the equation. However, that so-called competition, matagal na ‘yun. Those were the days when we were still 37,” she laughs. “What’s important is that we are both working, we have very exciting projects and that the public, especially our fans, continue to support us.”

Always an actress – “Acting will always be in my blood,” articulates the actress. “I consider myself fortunate because I have already achieved all the things that an artist would want to achieve in his or her career.”

Ate Vi elaborates: “When I was younger, I had done my dream roles — gumanap na ako bilang Darna at Dyesebel. These are the roles that young stars dream of now. Kahit papaano, napagdaanan ko na ‘yan. I was able to make good and relevant films like Sister Stella L, ‘yung mga ginawa ko with direk Ishma (Ishmael Bernal), ‘yung Relasyon, Broken Marriage. Na-experience ko rin to become a box-office queen once in my life.”

Fans are looking forward to her latest movie project. “This October, my movie with Kim Chiu begins; shooting na kami,” Santos happily reports. “Since once in two years lang ako gumagawa ng pelikula, pinipili ko na kung ano ‘yung gusto ko at may maibibigay akong bago.”

With Chito Roño as its director, The Healing (tentative title) is a film about the lives of people who believe in the power of alternative medicines and witchcraft.

What drives her passions? Queen Vi smiles. “It’s because I am inspired. I have my family with me, giving me all the inspiration and the adrenaline to work harder and be inspired. I am now the mother of the province of Batangas, and so far, so good. I’ve been serving Batangas for 14 years now. But the most important thing at this point in time is that I want my family to be healthy. Kayamanan na ‘yun.”

Always a public servant – Aside from the project with Kim, the Star for All Seasons is at the forefront of the Bear Brand Powdered Milk’s Laki Sa Gatas Nutrition Education Advocacy.

The Laki Sa Gatas Advocacy is now on its fifth year. The company behind the brand visits 5,000 public schools nationwide yearly, providing school children with milk so that they acquire the habit of milk drinking. It reaches out to more than 2.5 million mothers and children via interactive information campaign.

“I believe that health is number one,” she pronounces. “That’s why my priority programs are geared toward health. Before, education used to be my top priority, but I soon realized, how can our students learn if they are not healthy? How can they become competitive if they do not get the proper nutrition?

“That is why in Batangas, I am initiating programs for the rehabilitation of hospitals, for the promotion of health cards and various nutrition programs,” Santos adds.

Always a mom – Any conversation with Santos will not be complete without talking about her eldest son, Luis Manzano. The young Manzano has announced his interest to run for the Lipa City mayor’s seat.

“I can’t stop him from the doing what he wants,” Ate Vi says. “I told him it’s not easy to be a public servant, it’s not easy to sacrifice all the things he has right now. I told him that if he’s really serious in entering, he must really have the heart for it, and that his life would not be the same.

“I would like to believe that I have set a good example,” she muses. “He grew up seeing how I work. When he was young I used to bring him with me on important occasions. I think that was an eye-opener for him, so in case he’s going to try politics he already has the foundation. If that is what he really wants, I’ll support him.”

With regard to his son’s love life, Santos quips, “As a mother, I’ll just be here to support him. I am here not to meddle or not to impose on anything when it comes to his love life.”

Vilma Santos-Recto clearly knows what is important to her — a blissful family, an exhilarating acting career, a progressive province. She is a queen in many ways and a woman in every way. – Alwin M. Ignacio

FILM REVIEW: IKAW AY AKIN

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Plot: “Botanist, Tere’s (Nora Aunor) long stable relationship with business executive Rex (Christopher Deleon) was shaken when Sandra (Vilma Santos) came into their lives. A pill popping liberal career minded, Sandra made Rex’s monotonous life colourful and exciting. He later realized that both women complete his existence.” – RV (READ MORE)

“An unusual story of three people caught in the unexplainable intricacies of love and need. The five year old relationship of Rex and Tere is put to a test as Sandra, the kooky, talented and aggressive designer rocks the picture perfect and peaceful relationship. The solid and unruffled engagement cracks as Rex is immediately smitten by Sandra’s dynamic persona. The film features the superstar team-up of award winning artists Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos and the drama king, Christopher de Leon.” – Database of Philippine Movies (READ MORE)

“Ang ‘Ikaw ang Akin’ ay tungkol sa isang paboritong paKsa sa ating puting-tabing: ang trianggulo ng pag-ibig. Si Rex (Christopher de Leon) ay batambatang tagapamahala ng isang pagawaan ng dyipni. Limang taon na silang magkatipan ni Tere (Nora Aunor), isang dalubhasa sa paghahalaman. Mapayapa at maayos ang kanilang pagsasama hanggang makilala ni Rex si Sandra (Vilma Santos), isang designer. Nagsimulang magkaroon ng sigalot ang pagsasama nina Rex at Tere. Hindi makapagpasiya si Rex kung sino ang pipilijn sa dalawa na kapwa naging matimbang sa kanya. Sa huli, nataios ni Rex na ang pag-ibig at pag-aangkin sa isang nilalang ay isang masalimuot na damdaming hindi nararapat sarilinin ng isang tao lamang.” – Manunuri (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “…After 37 years, Ikaw Ay Akin becomes a materialist indictment of the patriarchal deceit cisgender passion must contend with, opening up the queerness that emerges from feminine confidence as zone of alternative feelings. And, of course, Nora still punctures the assault with an imperturbable will to punctuate the sentence, despite the adages of her time failing to utter competitive affection, convincing Vilma that the encounter isn’t just about female rivalry, but also masculine decadence…” – J. Pilapil Jacobo, Young Critics Circle Film Desk, 21 November 2015 (READ MORE)

“…Bernal, testing the tensions of triangular love (for geometry books, one of his characters wittily says) for some time now, plunges deeper into character analysis and metaphorizing. In Lumayo, Lumapit ang Umaga, the triangle was unevenly explored: the first love was sketchily drawn. Dalawang Pugad, Isang become a choice for a more stable relationship. Walang Katapusang Tag-araw was a strange reverse of characters for two women and an unusual development of love into hatred and hatred into love, where therefore the triangle was essentially illusions. Ikaw ay Akin finally sets an interlocked triangle on its bases and looks at it (from all 3 angles) squarely in the face. Except for some scenes with overdrawn energy, the viewing is intelligent entertainment. However, after an interesting beginning and development one feels the resolution is too simplified…and too calculated. Charing (Nora) is the confident, authoritative, ultra-responsible mother-figure who fits very nicely with Rex’s (Boyet) tentative character: orphan-psyched, retreating… an incomplete figure. Sandra (Vilma) outs a very colorful character: agressive, creative, lively – but underneath it all, essentially a clinging vine. They are such convincing characters, and all their needing and suffering come accross very easily from the celluloids. With just a few scenes they are rounded out. Charing and her orchids – a reflection of her care for Rex and her discerment between experiment and commitment; Rex and his parachute – a give-away of his secret longing to get away from all the givens of his life (the inherited business, cons of orphan’s loneliness even his 5-year relationship with Charing!) Sandra and her designs – creating is at once product of her character and a need (initiating a realtionship with Rex is expression of need more than any romantic feeling). When Rex, balancing the triangle, verbalizes all these into a very basic “She needs me; I need her needing me plus your caring for me,” clearly sided heavily on Sandra’s side, it is unbelievable that it should all boil down to plain need, that decisions on love could be made this easily. Questions: While one is at verbalizations, why not mention the giving side of love, appraise or even applaud it a little instead of leaving it implicit in Charing’s character – which could be, come to think of it, the key out of tanglejails of possession? Ofcourse Bernal might have been considering less subtlety in a bid for a more popular style. Granting that, one may still appreciate the five selections of environmental details that areally delineate characters and character development – a fine effort to bring setting characters and action into a unified direction – but are triangles the curret favorite in the moviemarket? If this means it is a main concern in many lives today, then…what a hell!…” – Petronila Cleto, Pelikula, Atbp (READ MORE)

“…Unlike other superstar team-ups that fail to exploit the golden opportunity of pulling in sure audiences to watch a serious work, Bernal’s greatest achievement lies not so much in putting his three big stars together but in making use of them to lure their fans and followers intos eeing a mature, sensible film. And his cast serves Bernal very well. In the hands of a capable director, Christopher de Leon proves that his forgettable appearance in such odious films as “Topo-Topo Barega” and “Disco Fever” are mere lapses in judgment that do not entirely discredit his craft. He also shows enough gallantry by not getting into the way of his leading ladies, whose roles are undoubtedly more demanding than his. As the uptight Sandra, Vilma Santos has the script’s choicest, wittiest lines. She makes the most of them and succeeds in giving a fairly accurate portrait of an emotionally insecure young woman. And when she tells Rex: “sabi nila liberated ako, front lang. Kalog daw, front din. Alam mo namang kulang-kulang ako. Pag wala ka, magkakalat ako. Para akong manok, takbo ng takbo wala namang ulo.” She likewise handles her final breakdown exceedingly well. Nora has less lines but she nevertheless manages to conveys her emotions very effectively. In that family reunion-party which is so engrossed in gossip and banter, she remains so detached, speaking nary a word — a triumph for both Bernal and her. The hurt in her eyes continues to build up until that disrupted dinner scene where she rushes to her room and, unable to contain herself, finally cries. The most stable of the three, you could really believe her when she tells Rex: “Galit ako sa ‘king sarili, dahil sinasaktan mo na ako nang todo-todo pero lalo ka namang napapamahal sa akin.” The film is greatly enhanced by Jose Carreon’s vibrant script, Mel Chionglo’s superb production design, the Vanishing Tribe’s fine musical score, and Augusto Salvador’s brisk editing (few scenes last longer than a couple of minutes). But the lion’s share of credit goes to Bernal. I particularly like his splendid use of meaningful pauses and oppressive silences, as in Sandra and Tere’s accidental first meeting at Rex’s house, Sandra’s soundless dinner with her father that leads to her breakdown, and the long, quiet ending scene where Sandra and Tere never say a word and yet succeed in finally communicating with each other. Our viewers are discomfited by this exhausting process, what with the underdeveloped tastes of our mass audience perpetuated by irresponsible irectors. But one fervently hopes for Bernal, who apparently believes he owes the audience his best even if they are more likely to love his third best more, that they would get the film’s message and, perhaps, even accept and like it.” – Mario E. Bautista, Philippine Daily Express, 1978 (READ MORE)

“…Mas challenging ang role ni Ate Vi rito kumpara kay nora…mas magaganda ang mga dialogues ni Ate Vi na nakakatuwa at magaling ang pagkakadeliver niya ng mga linya. Sexy siya ha at magaganda ang mga damit na ginamit niya rito. Maigsi ang buhok na medyo curly. Bagay na bagay sa kanya. Komento ko lang ay medyo matinis pa ang boses ni Ate Vi rito…Vilma-Nora Scenes: a) sa sine parang sa tingin ko ay di sabay ito kinunan sa tingin ko lang ay di sila magkaeksena rito bagamat pareho silang nasa sinehan. b) bahay scene – ang ikli ng pagsasama nilang dalawa rito na parang pinasabik ang mga manonood kung may iringan ba or acting sa acting ang magaganap, pero walang naganap na ganun! c) No Dialogue Scene – Grabe!! Ang galing ng eksenang ito. First time kong makanood ng ganitong ending…walang salitaan, sagutan, walang murahan, walang away, wala as in wala except labanan ng facial expression, eye acting ika nga. Kainis lang ang director na ito kasi pinaglaruan lamang ang imahinasyon ng mga manonood at ng mga Vilmanians-Noranians!…” – Dream Forest, V Magazine Issue No. 7 Literary Issue 2006 (READ MORE)

“…Makikita sa Ikaw Ay Akin ang dalawang magkaibang estilo ng pagganap na ipinamalas nina Nora at Vilma at kapwa akmang-akma ito sa buong katauhan ng mga karakter na kanilang ginampanan. Sino ang mas mahusay sa kanilang dalawa? Kani-kaniyang opinyon, depende sa mga nakapanood ng pelikula. Maraming nagsabing mas pinaboran daw ni Bernal si Vilma sa dahilang mas maramin itong mabibigat na eksena kaysa kay Nora, ngunit paano makakalimutan ang huling tagpo sa Ikaw Ay Akin kung saan mahabang katahimikan ang naging daan upang higit na magkaintindihan sina Tere at Sandra tungkol sa kanilang pag-ibig kay Rex. Kung totoong mas pinaboran ng direktor si Vilma ay nakabawi naman ito ng husto kay Nora pagdating sa nabanggit na eksena. Kakaiba din ang husay na ipinamalas ni Christopher de Leon, maaring alam niyang ang Ikaw Ay Akin ay pelikula ng dalawang malalaking aktres kung kaya tama lamang ang bigat ng pagganap na ipinamalas ng aktor sa papel ni Rex. Napagwagihan ni Christopher ang Pinakamahusay Na Pangunahing aktor mula sa Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino nang sumunod na taon samantalang kapwa nakatanggap ng nominasyon bilang Pinakamahusay Na Pangunahing Aktres sina Nora at Vilma sa Ikaw Ay Akin ngunit kapawa sila natalo ni Beth Bautista para sa kanyang mahusay na pagganap sa Hindi Sa Iyo Ang Mundo, Baby Porcuna. Hindi matatawaran ang tagumpay ng mga manlilikhang bumuo sa Ikaw Ay Akin na nagtaas ng kalidad ng dramatikong pelikulang Pilipino, nagturong umintindi ng husto sa damadamin ng mga taong tunay na nagmamahalan.” – Jojo Devera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

“…While the previous year was less productive in terms of quantity, Vilma Santos came back with a big bang the following year with twelve films. Most of these films were adult dramas. Three notable films were the critically acclaimed “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak” directed by Celso Ad Castillo and produced by Vilma herself. The local film festival entry, “Rubia Servios” directed by the late Lino Brocka. And lastly, “Ikaw ay Akin” directed by Bernal. “Ikaw ay Akin” reunited Vilma with rival, Nora Aunor. The film also featured Christopher De Leon, who won the local critics’ best actor and best actress nominations for Aunor and Santos as well as best director nomination for Bernal. Aside from Ikaw, Bernal also did two other films, both starring Alma Moreno, “Lagi na lamang ba akong babae?” and “Isang gabi sa iyo Isang gabi sa akin” with Elizabeth Oropeza…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…“Ikaw Ay Akin,” 1978, Ishmael Bernal. A refreshing change of role for the superstar, cast here as a smart and sophisticated horticulturist at odds with best friend and real-life rival Vilma Santos. Notable for its experimental and long closing shot of the two friends’ reunion, with only their eyes talking…” – Mario A. Hernando, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 01 October 2011 (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: PAKAWALAN MO AKO

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

The Reviews: Prinudyus ng Sampaguita Pictures, ang “Pakawalan Mo Ako” ay isa sa mga pruweba na nasa ikataas na puwesto si Vilma Santos nang bagong dekada otsenta. Mula umpisa hanggang sa huli’y umiikot ang istorya sa karakter ni Vilma bilang si Ana, isang escort girl. Markado ang papel ni Vilma at makikita ito sa mga eksena sa kulungan at hukuman. Ang Pakawalan Mo Ako ay mula sa panulat ni Pete Lacaba at iskrinplay nina Pete Lacaba, Mao Gia Samonte at Isko Lopez. Kung ikukumpara sa mga ibang pelikula ni Elwood Perez mas pulido at makatotohanan ang mga eksena’t dialouge ng pelikula. Tulad ng konprontahin nga ma ni Bernard si Ana sinabi nito na: “Puta, Puta! Puta! Hindi lang naman kayo ang unang nagparatang sa akin ng ganyan! Puta! Puta! Putang Ina n’yong lahat…” At nang unang dalhin ni Bernard si Ana sa bahay nito at pagtangkaang gahasain, pumiglas si Ana at sabay kuha sa pera at sabay sabing: “kukunin ko ang bayad sa halik may sukli ka pa!” At siyempre ang eksena sa hukom kung saan paulit ulit niyang sinasabi ang salitang: “Sinungaling!…” Ang musika ni Lutgardo Labad ay minsan nakakaabala sa tunay na eksena ngunit angkop na angkop ang theme song ng pelikula, ang “Dati” na kinanta mismo ni Antony Castelo. Merong mahahabang linya si Christopher DeLeon sa bandang huli at nakuha naman niyang bigyan ng buhay ang papel niya bilang abogado ng taga-usig kahit na parang pilit ang pagpapalit niya ng panig para sa tagapagtanggol sa bandang huli, sa kanyang closing remarks. Alam niya marahil na talagang pelikula ito ni Ate Vi. Mahusay rin ang pagganap ni Antony Castelo bilang isang matigas na ulong anak ng isang mayaman. Sa papel na ina ni Ana, nakaka-distract ang hindi tunay na boses ni Mila Ocampo. Bilang ama ni Bernard San Diego, very one-dimensional ang papel ni Subas Herrero. Ang pinakanakakatuwang papel ay ang papel na kaibigan ni Ana na ginampanan ni Deborah Sun. Meron siyan eksena sa hukuman kung saan tumistigo siya at natural na natural ang pagkababaeng bakla niya. Mabilis ang pacing ng pelikula at walang mahusay ang pagkakaedit nito. Hindi ako nagtaka kung bakit nanalo si Ate Vi para sa pelikulang ito mula sa Famas. Ito rin ang bale hudyat ng pagsibol ng bagong Vilma Santos pagpasok ng dekada otsenta dahil sa sumunod na taon ay nagkasunod sunod na ang parangal sa pagarte ni Ate Vi mula sa iba’t ibang award giving bodies. – RV (READ MORE)

“Dalawangpu’t Anim na taon na ang nakakalipas nang una nating napanood ang pelikulang Pakawalan Mo Ako (Now on 2012, PMA is 31 years old!) . Tumabo ito sa takilya at nagbunga ng pagkapanalo ni Ate Vi ng Best Actress mula sa Famas para sa taong ito. Prinudyus ng Sampaguita Pictures, ang “Pakawalan Mo Ako” ay isa sa mga pruweba na nasa ikataas na puwesto si Vilma Santos nang bagong dekada otsenta. Mula umpisa hanggang sa huli’y umiikot ang istorya sa karakter ni Vilma bilang si Ana, isang escort girl. Markado ang papel ni Vilma at makikita ito sa mga eksena sa kulungan at hukuman. Ang Pakawalan Mo Ako ay mula sa panulat ni Pete Lacaba at iskrinplay nina Pete Lacaba, Mao Gia Samonte at Isko Lopez. Kung ikukumpara sa mga ibang pelikula ni Elwood Perez mas pulido at makatotohanan ang mga eksena’t dialouge ng pelikula. Tulad ng konprontahin nga ma ni Bernard si Ana sinabi nito na: “Puta, Puta! Puta! Hindi lang naman kayo ang unang nagparatang sa akin ng ganyan! Puta! Puta! Putang Ina n’yong lahat…” At nang unang dalhin ni Bernard si Ana sa bahay nito at pagtangkaang gahasain, pumiglas si Ana at sabay kuha sa pera at sabay sabing: “kukunin ko ang bayad sa halik may sukli ka pa!” At siyempre ang eksena sa hukom kung saan paulit ulit niyang sinasabi ang salitang: “Sinungaling!…” Ang musika ni Lutgardo Labad ay minsan nakakaabala sa tunay na eksena ngunit angkop na angkop ang theme song ng pelikula, ang “Dati” na kinanta mismo ni Antony Castelo. Merong mahahabang linya si Christopher DeLeon sa bandang huli at nakuha naman niyang bigyan ng buhay ang papel niya bilang abogado ng taga-usig kahit na parang pilit ang pagpapalit niya ng panig para sa tagapagtanggol sa bandang huli, sa kanyang closing remarks. Alam niya marahil na talagang pelikula ito ni Ate Vi. Mahusay rin ang pagganap ni Antony Castelo bilang isang matigas na ulong anak ng isang mayaman. Sa papel na ina ni Ana, nakaka-distract ang hindi tunay na boses ni Mila Ocampo. Bilang ama ni Bernard San Diego, very one-dimensional ang papel ni Subas Herrero. Ang pinakanakakatuwang papel ay ang papel na kaibigan ni Ana na ginampanan ni Deborah Sun. Meron siyan eksena sa hukuman kung saan tumistigo siya at natural na natural ang pagkababaeng bakla niya. Mabilis ang pacing ng pelikula at walang mahusay ang pagkakaedit nito. Hindi ako nagtaka kung bakit nanalo si Ate Vi para sa pelikulang ito mula sa Famas. Ito rin ang bale hudyat ng pagsibol ng bagong Vilma Santos pagpasok ng dekada otsenta dahil sa sumunod na taon ay nagkasunod sunod na ang parangal sa pagarte ni Ate Vi mula sa iba’t ibang award giving bodies.” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos collaborated in seven films. The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other director, Borlaza and Gosiengfiao (these three are the most underrated and under appreciated directors in the Philippines), the remake of Mars Ravelo comic super hero, Darna in Lipad Darna Lipad. The film was a record-breaking hit Box-office Film. They follow this up with a more mature projects as Vilma started to switched her image from sweet to a mature/versatile actress, pairing her with Christopher DeLeon in five films starting with Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig in 1977. The Perez-Santos-DeLeon team produced several blockbuster hits and also gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards.  Both wins contributed to her elevation to the FAMAS’ highest honour, the “Hall of Fame” award she received in 1989.  The wins were for Pakawalan Mo Ako (1979) and Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos (1988)…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…The second memorable film experience for me was during early 80s where I saw the free sneak preview of “Pakawalan Mo Ako” at Gotesco Theatre near University of the East. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get in. My college mates weren’t. They got stocked in the pandemonium outside. I was worried sick as I took the long escalator and saw them being crashed by the crowd. The security guards have to closed the gate of the lobby. Fans became so restless and broke the glass windows (where they displayed posters and still photos) . Inside, It was crowded, hot and wild. We were seeing a more mature Vilma Santos.  The moviegoers reacts to every scenes from the very beginning up to the very end (the courtroom scene where Vilma cried and swear, “Liars!  Liars! You’re all Lying!”)…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Natatangi ang pelikulang Pakawalan Mo Ako (MVP Pictures, 1981) dahil sa matagumpay nitong pagtatangkang ilahad ang proseso tungkol sa pag-ibig at pagbabahagi ng sarili nang buo ang pagkatao. Nilinaw ng pelikula ang mga personal at pang-ekonomiyang salik na naghatid sa pangunahing tauhan tungo sa pagpuputa at inilalantad ang bunga nito gaya ng madamdaming pagsasadula ni Vilma Santos. Nang muli silang magkita ng kasintahan, ibang babae na ang kanyang nakatagpo, mas may tiwala sa sarili at mulat na sa kalakaran ng mundo. Nakakaantig ang transpormasyon ng kanyang karakter mula biktima ng nasawing pag-ibig at di-makalingang propesyon tungo sa pagbabago at paninindigan ng kanyang pagiging babae. Mapangumbinsi rin ang pagganap ni Christopher de Leon dahil sa kanyang sensitibong pagpasok sa katauhan ng isang abogadong makiling sa sistema ng batas. Sa unang tingin, tila makababae ang punto de bista ng Pakawalan Mo Ako dahil sa paglalahad ng babae bilang biktima pa rin ng ispontanyong reaksiyon ni Bernard, ang lalaking nagnanasa sa kanyang katawan. Subalit madulas ang daloy ng iskrip nina Pete Lacaba, Mao Gia Samonte at Iskho Lopez, konsistent ang disenyong biswal at sinematograpiya. Malinis ang editing at akmang-akma ang musika. Ngunit habang hinihimay ang naratibo, unti-unting natuklasan ang melodramatikong proposisyong ipinapakain ng pelikula. Isang proposisyong taliwas sa pagnanasang patuloy na makibaka, magmahal at mabuhay…” – Jojo Devera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

Filmography: Engkanto (1992)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Basic Information: Directed: Tata Esteban; Cast (in credits order) Vilma Santos, Robin Padilla, Roderick Paulate, Raul Zaragosa, Janice de Belen, Susan Lozada, Francis Magalona, Maila Gumila, Cita Astals, Tanya Gomez, Evelyn Vargas; Original Music: Jaime Fabregas; Cinematography: Vic Anao

Plot Description: As modern man continues to plunder our environment, the Engkantos prepare for battle to protect what is left. Always remember: We are not alone in this world! – Kabayan Central (READ MORE)

Film Accomplishments: 1992 Metro Manila Film Festival Third Best Picture

Film Reviews: “…He gave free passes to people from the showbiz industry to earn more clout in the business. He met Celso Ad Castillo, Lino Brocka and Mario O’Hara who opened for him a new world: directing. In 1985, at age 29, he directed his first movie, “Alapaap,” starring Tanya Gomez. It won 13 awards in the Metro Manila Film Festival and was bought later to Japan for the Tokyo Film Festival. Tata Esteban discovered that he had the gift. He was proud of his achievements. “I became a star builder,” he says. “I made many actresses, bold stars, famous. I gave them movies and built their names…” – Aliwan Avenue (READ MORE)

“Lea Salonga’s leading men in Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal, Aga Muhlach and Ariel Rivera won as best actor and best supporting actor in the Metro Manila Film Festival’s Gabi ng Parangal Monday night. Gina Alajar was Best Actress….best supporting actress went to Sylvia Sanchez…Although the Eddie Garcia-Eddie Gutierrez starrer Andres Manambit did not win acting awards, the movie nevertheless won the most number of awards, including the plum Best Picture that came with P250,000.00 cash…Second best picture and P150,000.00 went to Takbo, followed by Engkanto which received P100,000.00 as third best picture…” – Manila Standard, Dec 28, 1992 (READ MORE)

“…Maribuhok is an enchanted place deep in the mountains. The dwellers of Maribuhok are engkantos (nature spirits or elementals) tasked to protect nature. They are headed by Uban (Francis Magalona) the deity of animals and Yorac (Roderick Paulate) the deity of plants. Uban rejuvenates as a young man and proceeds to reinvent himself as a star specializing on cause-oriented environmental songs. He neglects his kingdom and his daughter Karina (Janice de Belen) grows up away from his guidance. Meanwhile illegal loggers continue to denude the forests and Yorac decides to do something about it. He holds some loggers hostages including Carlo (Raul Zaragosa) Karina’s boyfriend. Karina discovers the land of her birth including the fact that Uban is her father. She asks his help regarding Carlo. But Yorac remains unyielding. Uban and Yorac gear up for a showdown until Mother Nature (Vilma Santos) herself intervenes. Her meaningful lesson? We must all work for the preservation of our environment before it is too late…” – Mav Shack (READ MORE)

RELATED READING:

FILM REVIEW: TRUDIS LIIT

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Plot: Ang Trudis Liit ay isang pelikulang Drama kung saan inaapi ang kaawa-awang si Trudis (Vilma Santos) ng kanyang madrasta (Bella Flores). Ito ay ipinalabas noong Pebrero 21, taong 1963. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “This is, of course, Vilma’s first film and it has all the elements of a melodrama – the good guys and one extremely bad woman (Bella Flores). This early, you can already tell that Vilma was to the acting profession born. (She won FAMAS Best Child Actress for this film). She doesn’t allow herself to be eclipsed by her veteran co-stars: Luis Gonzales and the Lolita Rodriguez. But with due respect to Vilma, even if she is the one who plays the title role here and is undeniably good in this Sampaguita Pictures box-office hit, the one who leaves a really lasting impression in the minds of most viewers is the character played by Connie Angeles – Oreng. After all, wasn’t it this girl who gets chewed up by a German Shepherd in the film?” – Butch Francisco, Newsflash.org Feb 2004 (READ MORE)

“Nakihalo lang ako doon sa mga nag-a-audition sa Trudis Liit [1963],” pagbabalik-tanaw ng aktres kung paano siya napasok sa showbiz at naging bida nga kaagad sa nabanggit niyang proyektong iyon. Hindi ako dapat talaga doon [sa audition na iyon]. Nakipila lang ako. Pagpila ko, tinatawag ako ng mommy ko na, ‘Hindi ka diyan! Sabi ko, ‘Andito na, e!’ Makulit na ako no’ng time na ‘yon! So, anyway, tinawag ako ni Doc Perez [of Sampaguita Pictures] at that time. Pinaarte ako. Nag-adlib-adlib pa ako. Nakuha naman ako. So, when I started, dalawa kaagad ang pelikula ko—Trudis Liit at Anak, Ang Iyong Ina [1963]. Ang naaalala ko lang tungkol sa maaga kong pagpasok sa pag-aartista, parang laro lang sa akin iyon. Parang naglalaro lang ako noon kaya hindi trabaho sa akin iyon, e. So, very-very memorable sa akin iyon. At saka no’ng Trudis Liit, every lunch, lagi akong may apple. Lagi akong may chicken. Every lunch talaga ‘yon. Parang… Siguro bata, so ibibigay nila ‘yong gano’ng ano sa ‘yo. Parang may prize ka, gano’n. So, memorable sa akin iyon.” – Vilma Santos (READ MORE)

“This is, of course, Vilma’s first film and it has all the elements of a melodrama – the good guys and one extremely bad woman (Bella Flores). This early, you can already tell that Vilma was to the acting profession born. (She won FAMAS Best Child Actress for this film). She doesn’t allow herself to be eclipsed by her veteran co-stars: Luis Gonzales and the Lolita Rodriguez. But with due respect to Vilma, even if she is the one who plays the title role here and is undeniably good in this Sampaguita Pictures boxoffice hit, the one who leaves a really lasting impression in the minds of most viewers is the character played by Connie Angeles – Oreng. After all, wasn’t it this girl who gets chewed up by a German Shepherd in the film?…” – Butch Francisco, Philippine Star November 3, 2005 (READ MORE)

“Throughout the years, the local film industry saw a continuous parade of child actors and actresses who eventually became adult performers to take their rightful places in the pantheon of movie stars. Hereunder are some of those phenomenal thespian-turned-stars:..Vilma Santos—She was the original Trudis Liit in 1963. Paired with Edgar Mortiz as a loveteam, they appeared in Our Love Affair, My Love at First Sight, Don’t Ever Say Goodbye and Young Love. But her filmography is filled with outstanding films directed by top-notch directors. Her unforgettable films included: Bata..Bata..Paano Ka Ginawa? (Chito Rono) which won for her a best actress award from Belgium directed by Chito Roño; Anak (Rory Quintos); Dekada 70 (Chito Rono) with Christopher de Leon; Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (Ishmael Bernal); Relasyon (Ishmael Bernal) which gave her a gand slam of all local best actress awards from FAP,FAMAS, Star; Broken Marriage (Ishmael Bernal); Hahamakin Lahat (Lino Brocka); Rubia Servios (Lino Brocka); Kapag Langit ang Humatol (Laurence Guillen); Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-Itim ng Tagak (Celso Ad. Castillo); Burlesk Queen (Celso Ad. Castillo) and Sister Stella L. (Mike de Leon)…” – FAP (READ MORE)

“…Contravida Queen Bella Flores was featured in “Showbiz Central’s” Most Influential segment as she plays a big part in GMA Films’ new movie with Rhian Ramos and Aljur Abrenica, “My Kontrabida Girl.” It’s also a tribute to Bella as she’s celebrating her 60th anniversary in showbiz. The screen name Bella Flores was given to her by the late Sampaguita Pictures’ boss Dr. Jose Perez. “I was so glad when I was told it means beautiful flowers,” she said. Her real name is Remedios Dancel and she was born on Feb. 27, 1936, which means she turned 76 yesterday, Monday (Feb 27/2012). She was only 15 when she did her first villain role maltreating child star Tessie Agana in the blockbuster “Roberta.” She recounted that Vilma Santos auditioned with her for her first movie, “Trudis Liit,” in 1963. “Natakot siya at tumakbo dahil nakita niyang pinahirapan ko ‘yung ibang batang nag-audition,” she said. “Ngayon, governor na siya. Sina Roderick Paulate at Gina Alajar, sa’kin din nagsimula as child stars sa ‘Kaibigan Kong Sto. Nino’…” – Mario Bautista (READ MORE)

“Ang pelikula ni Ate Vi na Trudis Liit ay tandang tanda ng maraming Vilmanians. Nagdulot ito ng unang karangalan para kay Ate Vi at sa murang edad ng siyam. Sa mga Vilmanians ang maraming madramang eksena ni Vilma rito’y natanim sa ating alaala. Ang sabi nga ng isa sa ating Vilmanian na si Henry Llaneza, “the first movie I’ve seen in Black & White TV mula sa bintana ng kapitbahay ay ang “Trudis Liit” na napaiyak ang lahat ng nanonood dito nagsimula ang lahat…” ng kanyang pagiging isang Vilmanian. Katulad ni Henry, dito rin nagsimula ang aking paghanga sa star for all season. Galit na galit ako nuon kay Bella Flores dahil sa pang-aaping ginawa niya kay Trudis. Sa pagkapanalo ni Ate Vi ng FAMAS Best Child Actress sa pelikulang ito, sinundan pa ng Sampaguita Pictures ang tagumpay nito sa pamamagitan ng pelikulang Ging. Dito makikita ang malinaw na talento ni Ate Vi. Hindi lamang sa kanyang hindi pilit na pag-iyak kundi sa pagkanta rin. Dito rin sa pelikulang ito’y nakipagsabayan siya sa pagganap ni Olivia Cenizal at sa pang-aapi ni Carol Varga. Ang dekada ng sisenta ay patuloy na nagbigay ng maraming pelikula kay Ate Vi magmula sa pagiging isang batang artista hanggang sa isang teenager. Umabot ito sa unang karangalan niya bilang isang hindi na batang artista sa pamamagitan ng pagkanominado niya sa Best Supporting Actress muli sa FAMAS at ang kanyang pagkapanalo ng parehong titulo mula naman sa San Beda College…” – RV (READ MORE)

“…Vilma was talking about Trudis Liit, the ’60s Sampaguita tearjerker in which she played the title role, with Luis playing her father, now US-based Lolita Rodriguez her mother and Bella Flores as the kontrabida. Luis, whose real surname is Mercado, died of complications of pneumonia at 11:30 Thursday night, March 15, at the Makati Medical Center where he was confined for the last time (he had been in and out of the hospital). As in the case of movie greats, Luis’ age is confidential and maybe not even his wife Vina Concepcion, who belongs to the clan that owns Concepcion Industries, and their three children can be forced to reveal it. After Trudis Liit, Vilma would star with Luis years later when she was already a teenager, in Iginuhit ng Tadhana and in Pinagbuklod ng Langit, produced by Sampaguita Pictures, believed to have helped Ferdinand Marcos win when he ran for President and then for reelection. In both movies, Luis plays Marcos, with Gloria Romero as First Lady Imelda Marcos and Vilma as Imee Marcos (now Ilocos Norte Governor). In the second, Gina Alajar plays as Irene Marcos (Mrs. Greggy Araneta), Now-Sen. Bongbong Marcos plays himself in the first movie (it was Jonjie Aranda, ex-husband of Sen. Loren Legarda, who plays Bongbong in the second). “I shot Palimos ng Pagibig (a Viva drama, with Edu Manzano and Dina Bonnevie) at Luis’ house,” added Vilma. “I remember him as sobrang kalog, palabiro. Ang tawag namin kay Tito Luis palengke kasi nga Mercado ang real surname niya. I was nine years old then and he always reminded me to just enjoy everything. We were always shooting dramatic scenes at parati akong iyak nang iyak, but after every take, tawa na kami nang tawa because Tito Luis would start cracking jokes…” – RicoJr (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: GING

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Plot: A young Vilma Santos starred as Ging. A smart mouth street kid who have to beg for money to support her crippled mother. She was adopted by a deceitful couple who heard her sing in a restaurant. The couple made Ging into a singing sensation but abuse her, limiting her food intake and sleep to prevent her to grow. Ging eventually left them and surprisingly discovered her father. She reconciled with him and her crippled mother.

The Reviews: Ang sarap balikan ng mga pelikula ng the Premier Acress of the Land. Mga pelikulang may mga temang napapanahon kahit sabihin pang luma na ang mga ito. May tatak Vilma Santos. GING (1964) – all of 11 years, here is the newly-crowned FAMAS best child actress sa isa sa mga title roles niya bilang anak ng laos na artista (Olivia Cenizal) na nalumpo after she gave birth to Ging (Vilma). Ang ama ni Ging ay isang bit player na Mama’s boy, si Jose Padilla, Jr.(SLN) whose mother is the screen’s perennial conravida, Etang Discher (SLN), mother of the late Panchito. Padilla abandoned Ging and her mother on her mother’s wishes so he won’t be dropped from her “pamana” (will). Mother and daughter lived in a slum area. Their squalid lives are made bearable with the presence of a cantankerous neighbor Aruray and her son who was sired by a black G.I. named George. Aruray’s son is about Ging’s age. They practically were street urchins who beat the other kids in soliciting alms, thanks to Ging’s histrionics: she would fake syncope (play dead) and “kawawa” by relating her sad plight as an abandoned poor daughter with a paraplegic of a mother – through a song that would drive her audience at a restaurant to tears and pity – and would give her free food and money. The ploy works all the time. Little did Ging realize that an unscupulous couple, racketeers Ramon D’Salva and Carol Varga were observing her in a restaurant and saw in her a goldmine: they would adopt her and make them rich as her talent manager. Talk of child exploitation. Reluctant at first, Ging agrees to go with the evil couple provided she would go to shool and that they would send her alcoholic mother (bagay na bagay ito sa isang artista) to the hospital for treatment. Of course, the evil and scheming couple reneged on their promises. They exploited Ging by forcing her to work overtime and would starve her so she wouldn’t grow up and lose her audience. Luckily, she has a guardian angel in Georgie Quizon, Dolphy’s erthswhile brother who, along with Aruray provided comic relief, and who would protect Vilma from her exploiters. Young Vilma’s raw, innate talent surfaces most especially in her scenes where she vacllates or mulls in leaving her mother. Her final goodbye scene with her mother is heartbreaking, enough a motivation for a Vilma fan Nora Aunor in Iriga city to follow in her footsteps. “One day, I wanna be like Vilma, I will sing and make people cry. Love that “gripo” princess to death. Idol ko siya.” Shot in black and white and adapted from the comics to the screen by Mars Ravelo, the movie was directed by Cirio Santiago and Teodorico Santos. The movie is a must have for any true blue Vilmanian. Listang-lista at ang husay ni Vilma rito. Naroong kumanta siya (the voice over seemed like her singing voice), sumayaw at nagdrama. Luma si Madonna doon sa isang parang La Isla Bonita number niya. One memorable scene was when she was singing her signature song to the audience of her longing to see her mother and her father – the camera captures her pain and agony and the deep wound she suffers from her abusers – a poignant scene, complete with tears and and a well-internalized acting. Bravo! Karapat-dapat na U.P. Gawad Plaridel Awardee – maliit pa lang ang dyaske, ang husay talaga. Sa katunayan, some scenes from Ging were included in the audio-visual presentation at both the FAMAS Hall of Fame awards and the recent U.P. Gawad Plaridel coronation of the Summa Cum Laude of All Philippine Actors. Ang galing-galing mo talaga, Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos-Recto! – Mario Garces, V magazine 2006

All Vilmanians and even those who just love watching old Tagalog movies must have been glued to their TV screens last Thursday afternoon when Channel 9’s “Premiere Pilipino Klasiks” aired “Ging”, Vilma Santos’ follow-up movie after she was introduced in Sampaguita Pictures’ “Trudis Liit.” Produced by Premiere Productions when Vilma was only 10 (circa 1963), “Ging” casts the now-Star for All Seasons (and Batangas Governor, too!) as a street child who is in charge of taking care of her invalid mother, played by Olivia Cenizal. In flashback fashion, we find out that Ms. Cenizal was once a big movie star who fell in love and married a young rich man (portrayed in the film by Jose Padilla, Jr.) Padilla’s aristocratic mother (Etang Discher), unfortunately, breaks up the union and the two lovers go their separate ways. Vilma, as Ging, was born shortly after. While begging for food scraps from customers at the restaurant of the Chinese Ponga (I doubt if today’s generation have any idea who he is or how he looks like), she is spotted by Ramon D’Salva and his wife, Carol Varga. The couple immediately express their wish to adopt her. Vilma was hesitant at first at the idea – until she was promised by D’Salva that she would be sent to school, and her mother, to the hospital for medical treatment. Once she is in the D’Salva home, the couple show their true colors. They exploit her by making her perform in vaudeville presentations. Although she is a hit and a top money maker, she is still badly treated by Varga. For one, she is not given proper nutrition to stunt her growth (child stars are supposed to be cute and small). Little Vilma rebels when she finds out that D’Salva does not fulfill his promise of sending her mother to the hospital for treatment. She runs away and in the process bumps into people related to her biological father. Padilla and Cenizal are reunited and the little heroine lives happily ever after with her parents. “Ging” was directed by Cirio Santiago and Teodorico Santos. Although it was made in the old-fashioned way of making films (the flashback scenes in particular), the material used here is timeless – especially since there are more street children in our midst now more than ever. As far as the showbiz scene is concerned, there are still a lot of heartless impresarios today exploiting young talents in the business. But what really made “Ging” a delight to watch was the performance of the very young Vilma Santos. Even at the early age, it was clear that she was already brimming with talent. Vilma, apparently, was born into this world to perform, entertain and make people happy. She was utterly convincing in the dramatic scenes and thoroughly graceful in her musical numbers. Listang-lista – as we’d say in the vernacular. Even then, she was already living up to her showbiz title of “Star for All Seasons” because her performance in “Ging” is not only brilliant, but timeless as well. – Butch Francisco, People’s Journal March 04 1999

RELATED READING:
Ging (film) From Wikipedia
Vilma Santos – The Child Star
Vilma Santos in Mars Ravelo’s “Ging” (1963): Komiks Serial and Movie Adaptation
The Quixotic Quizons of R.P. Movies

FILM REVIEW: PINAY AMERICAN STYLE


The Plot: PX, short for Paula Xavier (Vilma Santos) was an illegal alien in New York City. She’s broke and waiting for fiancé, Cocoy laurel to fulfill his promise of marriage despite the fact that Cocoy has already married an American to secure a green card. Hiding from the authorities, PX met two men who are willing to take care of her but conflicts arise as the two wanted to maintain a serious relationship with her. Played wonderfully by Christopher Deleon and Bembol Roco, the film resolved the love quadrangle between ex-fiancé, Cocoy Laurel and the two brothers when the jealous Cocoy reported Vilma to the immigration authorities. PX was deported back to the Philippines. But the films didn’t end in a sour note, PX found herself reunited with Christopher Deleon when the later followed her in the Philippines. – RV (READ MORE)

The Reviews: Shot in New York City and directed by Elwood Perez, this film seems to be a precursor to Miss X (1980) ’Merika (1984) starring Nora Aunor and Milan (2004), even Anak (2000) and Dubai (2005). Talaga bang masarap ang buhay sa ibang bansa? Bakit nagpapakamatay sa green card ang mga Pinoy? PX, mahal na mahal kita, PX, I love you walang iba. Paula Xavier or PX (Vilma Santos) is a TNT like boyfriend Victor Laurel (what an effective undersated performance) who leaves her as his live-in to be engaged to an American to get a green card who promises Vilma to divorce the White girl and to marry PX so they could live happily forever after. Not. Vilma is pissed that Laurel dropped her for good and he left her with unpaid rent and a broken heart. Enter Boyet De Leon, as Vilma’s next boyfriend who has two jobs who has been around long enough to know what he wants in life – women and the American Dream. Enter Bembol Roco, in a great performance as Boyet’s Kuya who is a bagito green card holder in America. He was in the opening scene of the movie where he owns his business and lives comfortably even have someone to make him coffee. Rosa Mia are Roco and De Leon’s battered mother who suffers from the physically abusive second husband (a geriatric Irishman), and verbalized regrets for leaving the Philippines. She has the best lines in the movie and summarized the movie’s theme: “Kung uuwi ako sa Pilipinas ay kung patay na ako. Ayokong umuwi ng buhay at malaman nila na ang hirap ng buhay dito – kayod ka talaga to survive, at di pinupulot ang dolyar, ubas at mansanas sa daan. Ang dami kong dinaanang hirap para lang magka green card.” Vilma Santos as PX is most effective in her scenes as a dumped/bitter girlfriend of Laurel, as a conflicted girlfriend of De Leon, and as a grateful soul who thank Roco for saving her from paying her overdue rent to her white landlord. Her PX is a toned down Sandra of Ikaw Ay Akin. She says to Roco: “Dati, sa konting pagkain, I offer myself to be laid. Napakabait mo.” Roco answers back: “Hindi ganoon kababa ang tingin ko sa sarili ko.” You see, Roco falls for the beautiful PX too and was upset to learn that PX is already making it with his brother, which drove him to drink and was depressed for a while. Panoorin na lang ninyo ang movie. The movie’s hopeful view of America begins with Perry Como singing White Christmas as Roco, in a dream scene, cavorts in the snow in slow motion. In his dying scene in the arms of his brother De Leon, Roco whispers “ni hindi ko man lang nakita ang snow and the above Winter Wonderland scene was replayed, while Boyet’s cry for help fell on deaf American ears. Vilma was deported after Laurel clandestinely reported her to the INS which arrested her at her birthday party. Her farewell scene with De Leon, handcuffed and all in a train station was one of the best scenes in the movie. The movie has a happy ending, with De Leon finding Santos, a flower picker amidst a field of white daisies with Benguet/Baguio as a backdrop. In a typical Elwood Perez slow mo fashion, amidst the daisy flower plantation, the box office love team of all time hugged and lived happily ever after. As credits rolled, Florante’s song Pinay played on. Pinay, American Style. Ang ganda! Vilma Santos yata iyan! – Mario O. GArces, V Magazine Issue No. 6 2006 (READ MORE)

Vilma was obviously under utilized as PX in these Elwood Perez experiment. Despite this predicament, Vilma was able to give us a splash of her abilities. While Nora was in full bloom as Mila in these quiet Portes film. She gave us a convincing portrayal of lonely woman who realized that she was being used by a man she truly loves. The contrast of style was the main point why I matched these two roles. As PX, Vilma was talkative, hiding her insecurity and vulnerability with her fragile disguise pretending to be a rich New Yorker with almost caricature gestures.

Regal films’ Pinay American Style was as commercial as one can imagine. Regal films producer, Lily Monteverde hired three leading men to support the most bankable actress of 1979, Christopher DeLeon, Bembol Rocco and Victor Cocoy Laurel. It was a period in Vilma’s career where she is doing one commercial films after the other. Two dance/musical hits Swing it Baby and Rock Baby Rock and a string of sexy films like Rubia Servious the previous year, Coed and Magkaribal mostly targeting the mature adult audience established her status as the number one box office superstar of 1978-79. Vilma in 1979 was a picture of self-assured bankable star. She did two movies with Elwood Perez, Magkaribal and Pinay American Style both were box office hits. She also produced an Eddie Rodrigues starrer Halik sa Paa Halik sa Kamay, and teamed-up with comedy king, Dolphy in Buhay Artista. As the year 1979 ends, she battled the drama queen Charito Solis in the local festival entry, Modelong Tanso. The end of the decade marked her stronghold as the box office queen. Clearly, Vilma Santos’ versatility as an actress was the secret weapon of her box office success. And this weapon was in full display in Pinay American Style.

Pinay American Style was the story of PX, an illegal alien or TNT – “tago ng tago.” Her boyfriend played by Victor Laurel abandoned her for a rich American girl mainly to secure a green card. PX met an Americanized Filipino, Christopher DeLeon but found him not serious of having her as a steady girlfriend. It just so happened that PX also met Christopher’s brother, Bembol Rocco, a new immigrant. PX and Bembol fell for each other. And a love triangle surfaced the screen. Adding to the drama was Victor Laurel’s enraged, jealous appearances. Laurel eventually tipped the police ending PX stays in New York. As Bembol Rocco realized that America doesn’t fit his lifestyle, he reconciled with his brother and advised him to follow PX in the Philippines. Christopher and Vilma reconciled in a farm field in the Philippines. The end.

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

“…Elwood Perez and Vilma Santos colloborated in seven films (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). The first one was the trilogy that he co-directed with two other director, Borlaza and Gosiengfiao (these three are the most underrated and under appreciated directors in the Philippines), the remake of Mars Ravelo comic super hero, Darna in Lipad Darna Lipad. The film was a record-breaking hit Box-office Film. They follow this up with a more mature projects as Vilma started to switched her image from sweet to a mature versatile actress, pairing her with Christopher DeLeon in five films starting with Masarap Masakit Ang Umibig in 1977. The Perez-Santos-DeLeon team produced seven blockbuster hits that gave Vilma two FAMAS best actress awards that secured her elevation to FAMAS highest honour, the FAMAS Hall of Fame award. She won in 1979 for Pakawalan Mo Ako and 1988 for Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos…” – RV (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: SAAN NAGTATAGO ANG PAGIBIG


The Plot: Stella got pregnant by boyfriend Rick. Unfortunately, Rick is not willing to gamble on his inheritance. He is tied up with a promise to his super snotty, super rich old grandmother that he have to finish law school before he can get any money. In order to avoid scandal Stella agreed to be married to Rick’s retarded brother, Val. Together with his adopted family Stella learned to love the retarded Val and at the same time discovered that Val is a product of infidelity that cause the suicide of Rick and Val’s father. Unfortunately Stella’s new found love ended when Val accidentally fell from a window when he had a fight with his irrational brother one night. – RV (READ MORE)

The Reviews: Nang malaman ni Stella na buntis siya ay pinilit niyang managot ang kasintahan nitong si Rick, isang law student na tagapagmana na ariarian ng kanyang matapobreng lola. Dahil sa panakot na mag-i-iskandalo’y ipinakasal nila si Stella sa kapatid ni Rick na retarded upang hindi mawala ang mana nito at kasabay ay maiwasan ang kahihiyan ni Stella na mabuntis ng walang asawa at ama ang kanyang dinadalang bata. Kasabay ng pagbubuntis ni Stella ay natutunan nitong mahalin ang retarded na si Val. Kasabay rin nito’y natuklasan ni Stella na si Val ay anak sa labas ng kanilang ina at ito’y hindi sinilang na kulang-kulang. Dahil sa kalupitan ng matapobreng lola ng mga bata’y nahulog ito sa hagdanan ng pagbintangan si Val ng matandang nagnanakaw ng pera. Nahulog ang batang si Val habang pinapalo ito ng kanyang ina. Isang gabi’y nagwala si Val nang Makita nitong nakikipagtalo si Stella kay Rick. Sinunggaban ni Val si Rick at nagaway sila. Ang naging resulta ng pag-aaway na ito’y aksidenteng nahulog sa balkonahe ang kaawa-awang si Val.

Namatay ito at sa araw ng libing ay dumating ang matapobreng matanda para ibigay ang abuloy nito kay Stella. Isinauli ni Stella ang tseke sa matanda at ipinahayag na si Val ang ginawa nilang ama ng kanyang anak pero ang tutoo’y dahil sa takot na mawalan ng mana’y ito ang pinaako ng responsibilidad ni Rick. Galit na umalis ang matanda at tuluyang naglaho ang mana ni Rick. Nagdesisyon na iwan ni Stella ang bahay kasama ng kanyang anak. Mula sa direksiyon ni Eddie Garcia, ang Saan Nagtatago Ang Pag-ibig ay hango sa komiks. Bagama’t mahahalatang puro isang dimensiyon lamang ang halos lahat na karakter ng pelikula’y mahusay naman naihayag ni Direktor Eddie ang komiks na komiks na istorya nito. Bakit kailangang maging binata si Rick habang nagaaral ito ng abogasya? Bakit napakahalaga ito sa matapobreng si Alicia Vergel? Bakit may nakatakip ang isa sa mata ng matanda na parang bandido? Sa ubod ng yaman ng matanda hindi ba puedeng maglagay ng pekeng mata kesa sa bendang itim? Bagamat nakakatawa ang obserbasyon na ito’y dahil sa bisyuwal na kaanyuan ng matapobreng matanda kung kaya naman epektibong makikita ang pagiging kontrabida nito.

Tulad ng “Paano Ba Ang Mangarap,” merong ‘dream sequence” ang pelikula kung saan kunwari’y hinuhusgahan si Val na isang baliw. Kung puputulin ang eksenang ito’y hindi magiging sagabal sa paglalahad ng buong istorya ni Gilda Olvidado. Mula sa lumang bahay hanggang sa eksena sa libingan ay mahusay ang sinematograpiya ni Romy Vitug at disenyong pangproduksiyon ni Manny Morpe. Mahusay ang mga katulong na artista mula kay Cherrie Gil, Alicia Alonzo at Alicia Vergel. Mahusay rin si Ricky Davao bilang Rick at Gloria Romero bilang ina ni Rick at Val. Ngunit ang pelikulang ito’y tungkol kay Val at bilang si Val ay nabigyan ng mahusay na pagganap ni Tonton Gutierrez ang papel na sinto sinto mula sa pagsasalita na utal utal haggang sa pisikal na mukha at pa-ika-ikang paglalakad. Tulad ng inaasahan, mahusay si Vilma bilang si Stella. At tulad ng maraming pelikulang ginawa niya sa ilalim ng Viva at sa direksiyon ni Eddie Garcia ay merong linya o dayalogo siya na hindi malilimutan, ito ay nang bigkasin niya ang linyang, “…si Val, si val na wala naman malay…” na magpahanggang ngayon ay natanim sa mga Pilipino na mahihilig sa pelikulang tagalog. – RV (READ MORE)

“…Viva Films produced a movie adaptation of this story in 1987 that starred Vilma Santos as Stella, Ricky Davao as Rick and Tonton Gutierrez as Val. The movie received five citations in the 36th Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences including Best Picture, Best Director for Eddie Garcia, and Best Story for Gilda Olvidado. This line from the movie: “Si Val! Si Val! Puro na lang si Val! Si Val na walang malay!”, delivered by Vilma Santos is claimed to be one of the most memorable lines in Philippine Cinema in the June 11 episode of QTV’s “Ang Pinaka”, hosted by Pia Guanio…” – Wikipilipinas (READ MORE)

FILM REVIEW: DAHIL MAHAL KITA THE DOLZURA CORTEZ STORY

ARTICLES - Vi in Dolzura Cortez

The Plot: “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, All Movie Guide, The New York Times (READ MORE)

The Reviews: 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. It was the first movie on AIDS in the Philippines that provided ‘a name and a face’ among the 50 recorded lives that were lost to AIDS in 1992. This movie was utilized as a focus of discussion by some health care personnel to express their thoughts, opinions and recommendations regarding the use of cinema as a powerful tool for AIDS information dissemination. – You and Aids web-site

The “Dolzura Cortez Story” was the Philippines’ first movie on AIDS that provided ‘a name and a face’ among the 50 recorded lives that were lost to AIDS in 1992. This movie was utilized as a focus of discussion by some health care personnel to express their thoughts, opinions and recommendations regarding the use of cinema as a powerful tool for AIDS information dissemination.

Responding to a newspaper advertisement looking for a person with AIDS, Ms. Dolzura Cortez agreed to have her life story serialized in print and later developed into a movie. The “Dolzura Cortez Story” was subsequently produced as the Philippines’ first movie on AIDS which documented the real experiences of a person living with AIDS in the country. The author reports findings from a study conducted to determine the social impact of the movie as perceived by some health care personnel. Specifically, it aimed to identify the messages that health care providers derived from watching the movie and to make recommendations on how this and subsequent films could serve as an effective tool for AIDS education. 134 health care personnel representing 13 regional hospitals from all over the country watched the film, then answered a questionnaire. The sample was of mean age 35.6 years, 84.3% female, and with mean experience of 10.1 years. 20.1% were doctors, 21.6% nurses, 32.4% social workers, and 25.4% other health personnel. 22.9% had direct experience caring for persons with AIDS and 32.8% knew someone with AIDS. Although these participants perceived some simple and subtle messages from the movie, they also noted its shortcomings. The movie lacked realism; overemphasized the dangers of having multiple sex partners at the expense of warning about other risk factors for HIV transmission; the counsellor pressured the patient and failed to provide enough information on infection control; the psychosocial, economic, and spiritual concerns of people with AIDS were not addressed; and there were some misinterpretations and twisted truths about AIDS facts and the story itself. The respondents suggested that health care providers and people directly involved in AIDS education and counseling be involved in the production of such movies. Moreover, documentary pictures and testimonial footage of the woman would have added realism, while additional basic information about AIDS could have been mentioned in either the movie or a trailer. – NCBI

‘Dolzura Cortez Story’ is an artistic and brilliant film from Manila’s finest director. The movie’s leading actress, Ms. Santos, played her part so powerfully, and is very convincing as Dolzura, the first Filipino HIV/AIDS patient to come- out to the public. The movie is a thought- provoking film, ready to challenge the Filipino idea of what is right and what is wrong. – Jonard, “A thought- provoking, honest film from Philippine’s finest director,” IBDB, March 11, 2000

“…In 1992, wala ni isang pelikulang tinampukan si Nora, samantalang si Vilma starred in only one: Maryo J. delos Reyes’ Sinungaling Mong Puso, na hindi niya pinagtamuhan ng anumang major Best Actress award. In 1993, gumawa si Vilma ng pelikula na ang kuwento’y base sa unang Pilipinang nag-reveal ng pagkakaroon niya ng AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), si Dolzura Cortez. Directed by Laurice Guillen for Octoarts Films, Dahil Mahal Kita (The Dolzura Cortez Story) won Vilma the Best Actress honors at the 1993 Manila Film Festival, Star, Gawad Urian and FAP…” – William Reyes (READ MORE)

“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 (READ MORE)

“…Previously, HIV/AIDS “victims” were seen either as homosexual men, or women who worked in the sex industry. The former stereotype was even turned into a mainstream 1993 Hollywood movie Philadelphia that won a best actor Academy Award for Tom Hanks. The latter, on the other hand, was the subject of a 1993 Filipino film The Dolzura Cortez Story starring Vilma Santos. As a disease, AIDS was highly misunderstood two decades ago. Religious fanatics considered it “a punishment from God” for the sexual excesses of its victims. While a complete falsehood, there was some truth to the other mistaken belief about AIDS—that it would lead to certain death for whoever had the disease, which had no known cure. Fast forward to 2013 and Filipinos still generally remain in the dark about HIV/AIDS…” – Beting Laygo Dolor, Manila Times, 14 August 2013 (READ MORE)

Related Reading:

FILM REVIEW: RELASYON

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Plot: A young woman falls in love with a married man, and they eventually try to live together — may be tame for Western audiences, but director Ishmael Bernal made this film for the Philippines, where divorce is forbidden at this time. Marilou (Vilma Sanders works as a guide in a Planetarium and has an on-going affair with Emil (Christopher de Leon) that neither her family nor friends can condone — Emil is married and has two sons. But when his wife leaves him, Emil and Marilou move in together, and that is when the problems start. She tries to make everything work out perfectly, and Emil, in turn, shows an arrogance that was quite hidden before. Given society’s disapproval of their arrangement in the bargain, their future together hardly seems bright. Ishmael Bernal was one of the most prolific directors in Philippine film history, he died in 1996 after making more than 50 films. – Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide

“In a time when the concept of divorce does not exist, much less imagined possible, we find Marilou, a planetarium guide who decides to pursue an affair with Emil, a college teacher sepatated from his wife. They seem perfect for each other, and soon decide to move in together. Their once happy affair turns sour as Marilou slowly discovers the real Emil, a chauvinistic, domineering, and emotionally abusive man who disctates everything to her, from how she should act and manage her life to the most inconsequentials details of running their house. They soon find themselves in an on-again, off – again relationship, with Malou going as for as laying a let’s meet only three times a week rule to protect herself.” – UP (READ MORE)

The Reviews: “…The notion of the martir resurfaces in Relasyon (1982), a stellar example of a mistress movie with genuine depth. It portrays Marilou (Vilma Santos) as not just a mistress, but also a servant for the chauvinistic Emil (Christopher De Leon). There is a poignant scene in the aforementioned: in spite of catering to her lover’s every need, she is still left alone in the house on Christmas Eve, because he really isn’t hers to begin with. Santos’ brilliant, appropriately emotive acting in the movie gave the star her big break. Filipino Department faculty member Jayson Jacobo, PhD expounds on Santos’ role in Philippine media. “[Her] middle period presents us a social sphere of material conditions which articulate the context of amorous situations that persuade a woman to enter and exit a relasyon.” Jacobo finds that more recent mistress films are devoid of the dramatic sophistication that these older films presented. He points out their key faults, saying, “These films of late are too concerned with the calisthenics of sexual encounter, the scandalous confrontation, the fashionable hysteria, the publicity of neurosis and the contrivance of normative resolution…” – Rissa A. Coronel, Katipunan The Guidon Magazine, 30 January 2013 (READ MORE)

“Dalawang magagandang pelikula ang sabay na itinatanghal ngayon. Ito’y ang “Relasyon” ni Ishmael Bernal at “Hubad na Gubat” ng baguhang si Lito Tiongson. Sa taong ito, tatlo pa lamang ang talagang namumukod tangi para sa amin. Ang “Ito Ba Ang Ating Mga Anak” ni Bernal, “In This Corner” ni Brocka at ngayon nga’y ang “Relasyon” ni Bernal na naman. Napakahusay ni Vilma Santos sa papel ng pangunahing tauhan, isang dalagang umibig sa isang may asawa. It’s one hell of a role and a heaven of a performance. Kasama si Vilma sa lahat ng eksena sa pelikula at talagang ito na ang pinakamabigat na papel na napaatang sa mga balikat ng isang local actress mula ng gampanan ni Gina Alajar and lead role sa “Salome”. This time, sigurado nang mano-nominate si Vilma sa Urian (ito lamang ang award na hindi niya napapagwagihan) at malamang na ang maging pinakamahigpit niyang kalaban dito ay si Nora Aunor na very demanding din ang role sa “Himala” (na si Bernal din ang direktor). Ito’y kung matatapos ang ECP project na ito sa taong ito na sa palagay nami’y hindi kahit gusto ng ECP na isali ito sa filmfest sa Disyembre. Dinalirot ng “Relasyon” ang lahat ng mga anggulong maaaring suutan ng isang babaing nagiging kerida. Maraming madamdaming tagpo sa pelikula, lalo na ang death scene ni Christopher de Leon na tuhog ang pagkakakuha. Bagay na bagay kay Jimi Melendez ang papel niya bilang torpeng talisuyo ni Vilma. Hit na hit siya sa audience. Hanggang ngayon ay patuloy na dumarag sa dito sa amin ang mga sulat na pumupuri sa acting ni Vilma Santos sa “Relasyon”. Sabi ni Nelda Santiago ng Arellano St., Marikina : “Napakagaling ni Vilma at kahit hindi pa ako nagiging kerida, para bang na identify ako sa kanya.” Sabi naman ni Hector Cruz ng 14 Malaya St., Q.C. : “Maraming nasasabi ang mga mata ni Vilma lalo sa mga eksenang wala siyang dialogue. Pati pilikmata niya ay umaarte. Dapat lang na magka award siya rito. Magaling din sina Jimi Melendez at Beth Mondragon.” Ayon naman kay H. Santillan III ng UP Village : Hindi kami fan ni Vilma pero kung ganito ng ganito ang performances niya, dapat siguro’y maging fan na nga niya kami. Tour de force ang acting niya at dapat ilagay sa textbook on acting. Hindi mapapantayan ang rapport nila ni Christopher de Leon.” May iba pang mga sulat pero hindi na namin masisipi sa kakulangan ng espasyo…” – Mario E. Bautista, People’s Journal July 1982 (READ MORE)

“24 years after its release, Relasyon remained relevant and fresh due to its social topic (the flight of many mistresses in society) and Vilma Santos’ performance in this film made it possible for everyone to sympathize their (mistresses) flight. Even critics agrred Here’s what one said: “…Napakahusay ni Vilma Santos sa papel ng pangunahing tauhan, isang dalagang umibig sa isang may asawa. It’s one hell of a role and a heaven of a performance. Kasama si Vilma sa lahat ng eksena sa pelikula at talagang ito na ang pinakamabigat na papel na napaatang sa mga balikat ng isang local actress mula ng gampanan ni Gina Alajar and lead role sa “Salome.” This time, sigurado nang mano-nominate si Vilma sa Urian (ito lamang ang award na hindi niya napapagwagihan) at malamang na ang maging pinakamahigpit niyang kalaban dito ay si Nora Aunor na very demanding din ang role sa “Himala” (na si Bernal din ang direktor). Ito’y kung matatapos ang ECP project na ito sa taong ito na sa palagay nami’y hindi kahit gusto ng ECP na isali ito sa filmfest sa Disyembre. Dinalirot ng “Relasyon” ang lahat ng mga anggulong maaaring suutan ng isang babaing nagiging kerida. Maraming madamdaming tagpo sa pelikula, lalo na ang death scene ni Christopher de Leon na tuhog ang pagkakakuha. Bagay na bagay kay Jimi Melendez ang papel niya bilang torpeng talisuyo ni Vilma. Hit na hit siya sa audience…” – Mario Bautista, Puna at Puri People’s Journal July 1982 (READ MORE)

“…Technically, the film does not rank high in Ishmael Bernal’s canon of films. The production design, presumably middle class, raises questions (especially about the fact that Santos can withdraw a thousand pesos from a bank at a moment’s notice:lower middle class persons do not have that kind of instant money.) The music is undistinguished, and the cinematography sometimes places the actors in shadows. There is one technical achievement worth watching for: De Leon’s death scene, covering more than one minute, is taken with one continuous shot (no cuts). Otherwise, the editing is spotty, especially with one sequence completely out of its proper place (before Santos says in one sequence that they have been together only for eight months, a sequence is shown in which she asks De Leon how many years they have been together, even allowing for hyperbole, that is too much of an exaggeration). Santos’ acting is adequate and extraordinary. De Leon gives another of his solid performances, though he could have worked harder to show how inconsiderate his character is. The supporting cast do not stand out; since two of them are supposed to be mistresses themselves, and the third loses much of her credibility when she starts lecturing on man’s selfishness…” – Isagani Cruz, Parade magazine, July 21, 1982 (READ MORE)

“…Makatotohanan ang akting sa pelikulang ito. Hindi sila caricature. Sila’y mga karakter na marahil ay mga kapitbahay natin. Muli na namang ipinamalas ni Bernal ang kanyang kakayahan sa pagpapagalaw ng mga artista. Hindi lang akting ang mapapanood mo. Ang nakikita mo ay ang tunay na takbo ng buhay. Nananatili si Christopher bilang isa sa iilan nating mahuhusay na kabataang actor. Makakalimutan mo na siya si Cris at ikaw ay ganap na mabibihag ng karakter na kanyang binubuhay sa aninong gumagalaw. Marahil, higit pa nating mauunawaan sana ang karakter na ginagampanan ni Chris kung nalaman natin kung ano ang kanyang propesyon at nagkaroon pa tayo ng ilang background ng kanyang buhay. Hindi tulad ni Vi na medyo kumpleto ang background…Napakadramatiko ang pagkompronta ni Vi kay Chris sa direksyon ng kanilang relasyon. Higit sa lahat, sa pamamagitan ng huling eksena, ang pagsasara ni Vi sa pinto ng kanilang bahay, ang pugad ng kanilang “relasyon”, inihayag ni Bernal na ang ganitong relasyon ay may hindi maiiwasang magwakas tulad ng sa tunay na buhay. Maaaring kamatayan o isang panibagong relasyon. Kung ang isang lalaki ay may-asawa, at mayroon na siyang relasyon o nagbabalak pa lang magkaroon ng relasyon sa ibang babae, dapat niya itong panoorin ng dalawang beses. Una, kasama ang kanyang misis at ikalawa, kasama angkanyang no. 2 o magiging ka-relasyon. Sa mga babaing katulad ni Vi sa pelikulang ito, mabuting panoorin ninyo nang nag-iisa ang pelikulang ito upang higit na maunawaan ninyo ang inyong relasyon o magiging relasyon.” – Mando Plaridel, Star Monthly Magazine July 10, 1982 (READ MORE)

“…The writers have fed significance into the conversations by filling them with popular ideas on marriage and relationships, engaging the viewers to respond with their own beliefs. There is irony though in the confessions of Emil and Marilou – in happier times – that each had been a better person upon being loved by the other. But their life together contradicted that statement. Her selfishness is revealed. “Ikaw lang ang iniintindi mo” he says and it uncovered his insensitivity. “Ako rin, may ego”, She replies. 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. The director, Ishmael Bernal, displays his flair for taking scenes of Vilma putting on make-up. Unwittingly, he has suggested that whatever make-up is put on over adultery, it is still adultery.” – Lawrence delos Trinos, Star Monthly Magazine, July 1982 (READ MORE)

“…Sa kabuuan, mahusay ang pagsasalarawan ni Vilma Santos ng kanyang papel bilang Marilou ngunit hindi ito maihahanay sa ibang pelikula kung saan kinakitaan ang aktres ng kaibahan sa kanyang pagganap tulad ng ating nasaksihan sa Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon (1977) at Broken Marriage (1983). Samantalang ibayong talino naman ang ipinamalas ni Christopher de Leon bilang Emil. Naipahiwating lang sana ng maayos ang motibo ni Emil sa pakikisama nito kay Marilou. Hindi maitutulad ang aspetong teknikal ng Relasyon sa ibang obra ni Bernal. Ang disenyong pamproduksiyon ni Benjie de Guzman ay hindi kapani-paniwala. Ipinakitang mababa ang estado ng kabuhayan ni Marilou ngunit madalian siyang nakakuha ng isang libong piso sa bangko. Ang mga tulad nito ay karaniwang walang natatagong ganoong kalaking halaga. Halos hindi marining ang musika ni Winston Raval habang ang sinematograpiya ni Sergio Lobo ay kadalasang nababalot ng dilim. Makikita din ang pagkakamali ng editing ni Augusto Salvador. Sa isang tagpo ay ipinakitang walong buwan nang nagsasama sina Marilou at Emil at nang sumunod na mga eksena, tinanong nito si Emil kung ilang taon na silang magkasama. Ngunit sa kabila ng mga pagkukulang na ito, naging matagumpay pa rin si direktor Ishmael Bernal sa kanyang paglalahad ng isang pelikulang sumubok sa ating mga kaalaman at paniniwala.” – Jojo Devera, Sari-Sarng Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

“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 Magazine Vol. 1 No. 10 July 1982 (READ MORE)

”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 (READ MORE)

“…Like 1972 of the previous decade, 1982 turned out to be a repeat in terms of success for Vilma Santos. If critics took noticed in 1972, her performance in Dama De Noche, a decade after, the critics went gagah over her performance in ”Relasyon,” directed by Bernal. The film earned Vilma all the local best actress trophies from all award-giving bodies. Aside from this success, she will also be crowned as the box office queen of 1982 (the next year for her body of work this year) because of the financial success of her six films notably, “Sinasamba Kita” a film directed by Eddie Garcia and “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan?’ directed by Danny Zialcita. Bernal on the other hand not only was credited for Vilma success for “Relasyon” he also received accolades for “Himala” a film by Nora Aunor, Vilma’s rival. Both “Himala” and “Relasyon” were considered two of Bernal’s signature films. In addition to this, he did two Marecel Soriano films, the comedy “Galawgaw” and the drama, “Hindi Kita Malimot” and finally another Cherrie Gil film, “Ito Ba Ang Ating Mga Anak…Bernal gave Vilma Santos her first grandslam best actress awards and consecutive Gawad Urian best actress (1982 and 1983). Their first film together was Inspiration (1972) and last was Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989).” – RV (READ MORE)

“23 Years has passed since Vilma Santos did “Relasyon.” As we all know, this film gave her first grand slam best actress, winning four best actress from URIAN, FAP, FAMAS and CMMA (the four major award giving bodies that time). It is worth noting that the film has been successfully transferred into DVD and VCD and everyone can buy a copy, click here. Relasyon has been exhibited in many international film festival. Sub-titled, “The Affair” was screened in New York Filipino Film Festival with its rival film, “Himala.” Relasyon has been tested by times. All award giving bodies agreed. Vilma’s performance outscored the intricate and overrated performance of her rival, Nora Aunor…” – RV (READ MORE)

“Relasyon was the only film with three screenings at the on-going Pelikua at Lipunan last March 3, 2006. No other films hold this record. We were enthusiastic about the students who reviewed the film of more than two decades. Talagang relevant and timeless ang theme at plot ng nasabing pelikuka at maituturing na isa sa great films of Philippine Movie history. Before the screening of the film ay masaya kaming nag-uusap and at times our attention was called sa mga updates and or instructions ni Jojo Lim for the next group activity like March 8 sa U.P. sa Cine Adarna para sa Diwata Awards kung saan ay confirmed na darating si Ate Vi who is one of 4 distinguised honorees. Tumigil lang kami ng magsimula na ang screening. Wala ka ng makausap pa. Nakatuon lahat sa pelikula. Animo’y mga magagaling na kritiko ng gawad Urian na magre-review ng nasabing pelikula sa unang pagkakataon?! Hmp. For the film’s final highlight, we all sat in real silence. Motionless. Then, the expected tour de force/acting coup cum real drama essayed by Ate Vi. Her solitariness remained absolute in this particular scene with her heart wrenching monolgue. Then I thought I caught a glimpse of some of our co-Vilmanians wiping away “precious tears” in between sobs. Several more moments passed in silence. Tinapos namin ang panonood ng pelikula with an ovation. ’Di lang kaming mga Vilmanians ang pumalakpak! We hope ay nakapag-contribute ang mga Vilmanians in support of Mowelfunds worthy projects. Mabuhay Ms. Vilma Santos The Philippines Movie Queen For All Seasons. Mabuhay Vilmanians around the globe.” – June Sison, 5 Mar 2006 (READ MORE)

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

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

“…Relasyon remains in the Philippines, on the ground of facts. But the film does not end with social criticism. Behind the well-meaning film problem hiding an everyday epic of real existing love, so how and if it is to have in the wrong world. Sometimes this gets epic train of the film with its stated educational content in conflict. Marilou suggests that the advice of the well-informed uncle in the wind, of course, is unreasonable. But it is just their stubborn irrationality adverse circumstances over which so occupies us for it. Therein also lies the quiet, growing with each minute of film Would this really banal figure. At some point, it is sufficient Vilma Santos watch when make-ups – and the heart wants to rip one…” – Nicholas Perneczky, Critic.de, 10 Sep 2014 (READ THE TRANSLATION)

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

Related Reading: The First Grand Slam Best Actress in the Philippines