FILM REVIEW: PAHIRAM NG ISANG UMAGA


The Plot: Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga revolves around Juliet (Vilma Santos), who finds herself struggling against an ever-escalating series of problems. A determined single parent, she manages to raise a child while remaining successful in her career as an advertising executive. Everything in her life seems to go well until she is diagnosed with a terminal disease. For her son’s sake, and without revealing her condition, she is forced to resolve her most important life relations: rekindling first her connections with her parents, and then with the very man who fathered her son. In the twilight of her life, she meets and falls in love with a beleaguered artist, Ariel (Eric Quizon), who is constantly depressed and perpetually contemplating suicide. She slowly loses her health but unknowingly reawakens Ariel desire to live, and they both engage in a meaningful affair – one that makes each day they live through together more meaningful than the last. – Regal Films

The Reviews: Weepies are a common movie fare in the Philippines, along with extremely violent action thrillers and trite youth comedies. It is, therefore, a cause for cheer when a filmmaker tries to elevate the very common genre of the melodrama into a rich and intellectually rewarding film experience, such as director Ishmael Bernal has done with his Pahiram ng Isang Umaga. Director Ishmael Bernal has seen in the material an opportunity to put substance to what has often been denigrated as the unthinking man’s entertainment, and to a considerable degree, his attempt has been a success. Pahiram is both effective as a tearjerker and meaningful as a depiction of people in crisis. Using a traditional element of the genre, the theme of death, Bernal and writer Jose Javier Reyes probe into the life of a woman who has been told that the end is near. Juliet (Vilma Santos, one of the two reigning Philippine female superstars for the past two decades now) is told that she has eight or maybe seven months to live. As a progressive advertising creative director who has been promoted (rather late) as vice president of her company, she has the means to attend to the less mundane demands of life, examine what may have been an unexamined life, and make the most of the limited time left. In all these, Bernal explores the emotional and psychological condition of the person who lives on borrowed time. Naturally visible here are the many symbols not only of death but also of life to serve as some kind of counterpoint or irony. Sometimes, they blend with each other, and at other times, they contradict.

From the peasants’ ritualistic rice planting to the backyard harvesting of sun-dried patola cultivated as life-giving seedlings, the evidence of life renewing itself could hardly be ignored. Then there are the more obvious symbols of fire, daybreak and persistent rains (the latter of which are used to reinforce the gloomier mood at the second half of the movie, and also suggest the rains’ refreshing and replenishing results). But the most eloquent symbol here of life is the process of artistic creation, personified – again paradoxically – by the expressionist painter Ariel who befriends and then is smitten by Juliet. There are ironies here. The painter creates life through his art, but at the same time, psychologically tormented, he wants to end his own life. Such a restless, free soul, grappling with the complexities of life, he has a whole life ahead of him, his artistic world limited only by his imagination, and yet he wants to quit. In contrast, Juliet who is dying, wants to live. Here is a woman who saves a man’s life (the artist’s) but cannot save her own. The idea of art as life or art vs. life is examined at length. Asked by the boy why he has to put on canvas the seascape, the artist makes the clarification that he is not copying the scenery. Ostensibly, he is recreating it on a different plane, art being something else, with a life of its own. This is suggested by the portrait the artist is making of Juliet. The model may soon die, as she will, but the portrait will live on. Life may indeed be short, an idea which used to be stated directly in previous Bernal movies, but art endures. It is the one thing in this world which is eternal. The briefness of life is suggested with the graphic sight of wet sand dripping down from the hand.

Bernal and Reyes go farther by including a scene in which the artist explains the origins of art. By the fireside at the beach, and watching the flame cast a glow on them, he notes that prehistoric men “discovered” art when they made outlines of shadows on the caves. Those artworks, though crude and primitive, still exist. Implicitly, Juliet’s death, no matter how saddening, is not going to be the end. Philosophical musings like these are not standard soap opera fare, and may alienate a lot of ordinary moviegoers (even the more cerebral ones who cannot accept the conventions of the soap opera genre). Woven unobtrusively into the plot, however, they add texture and enrich the drama. Juliet in a way will continue to live – in that portrait, in her young son who will survive her and hopefully continue her legacy whatever it may be, and in her good deeds. In the last scene, the imagery and symbolisms of life and death abound. Juliet dies at the break of dawn, the start of a new day (and life), but not without first making her last sentimental paean to life. Supported by the artist, her eyesight having failed completely and with the waves caressing their feet, the weak and dying cancer victim remarks how beautiful life is.

True enough, this dying scene set on a beach, with the woman in white, dainty night gown, is one of the most exquisite, breathtaking moments in Philippine movies. But before giving us this grand, highly emotional death scene, the director has gradually introduced various motifs of death, from the artist’s pet black bird which at one point he cruelly squeezes in his hand, to the funeral rituals for Juliet’s father. This is a striking part of the movie, Juliet watching intently as morticians work on her father’s remains, as everyone weeps when the coffin is lowered to its final resting place, and during the ritualistic “pasiyam,” the nine-day novena for the dead. It’s as though Juliet can see herself in her father’s lifeless body while mourners mill around it. The attempts to raise the level of the melodrama and present insights on life and death provide the movie its greatest strength – and wide appeal. How strangely ironic that a movie dealing with death could have so much life- – Mario A. Hernando, “A Look at Death and the Affirmation of Life,” Malaya, 5 March 1989

“…In Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga, Ishmael Bernal’s very competent handling of the material, coupled with Santos’ intelligent portrayal of Juliet, a terminally ill cancer victim, saved the film from becoming a glorified soap opera…” – Jojo Devera, Sari-Saring Sineng Pinoy 03 Nov 2009

“…A series of unfortunate events seemed to hound Nora’s career up to this point. October 1, 1989 was to be the last airing date of the 22-year-old musical-variety show Superstar on RPN 9. A month later, it was revived on IBC 13 with a new title, The Legend … Superstar, but this was short-lived lasting only up to early 1990. Naging mas masuwerte si Vilma Santos sa hinu-host na Vilma! on GMA 7, which started in 1981 as VIP (Vilma in Person) ng lumang BBC 2 (naibalik sa Lopez owners ang ABS-CBN after the EDSA Revolution). Nagbida si Vilma sa isa sa mga pinakaimportanteng pelikula ng Dekada ‘80: Regal Films’ Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (by Ishmael Bernal), na sinimulan in 1988 at ipinalabas in early 1989. In December 1989, Vilma headlined a period romance-drama (Viva Films’ Imortal, megged by Eddie Garcia) at nanalo sila ng kaparehang si Christopher de Leon ng acting plums sa MMFF. Sa awardings for that year, si Vilma ang nanalong Best Actress sa Star Awards (for Pahiram), her first form the Philippine Movie Press Club. ‘Kumpletung-kumpleto na ang career ko!” nasabi ni Vilma as she accepted her trophy. Later, it was Nora’s turn to get a Best Actress trophy for the first time from the Film Academy of the Philippines, for Elwood Perez’s three-year-in-the-making Bilangin Ang Bituin Sa Langit. ‘Kumpletung-kumpleto na ang career ko!” sabi rin niya in her acceptance speech. Na-elevate si Vilma sa FAMAS Hall of Fame, for having bagged five Best Actress statuettes: Dama de Noche, Pakawalan Mo Ako, Relasyon, Tagos ng Dugo, and Elwood Perez’s Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos. Nora won her fourth Best Actress plum sa FAMAS, also for Bilangin. Walang itulak-kabigin sa dalawa, kaya marapat lang na mag-tie sila for Best Actress, as in the 1990 Gawad Urian, na ‘pantay na parangal ”ang ipinagkaloob ng Manunuri kina Nora (for Bilangin Ang Bituin Sa Langit) at Vilma (for Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga)…” – William Reyes (READ MORE)

“…Vi goes to the kitchen to prepare breakfast at habang nagbabati siya ng itlog, doon pa lang ipinakitang una siyang nag-breakdown. And this is shown nang nakatalikod siya sa camera. No overly ornate kind of emoting na akting na akting ang dating. Pero damang-dama mo pa rin…she becomes the part (lalo na sa eksena nila ni Gabby Concepcion sa simbahan na binalikan nila kung paano sila nagkasira), and if you notice that she is good, well, salamat po…Sa second viewing ng movie namin lalong napansin ang subtle nuances ng performance ni Vi, up to her death scene which confirms our supposition that the movie is not really so much about death than a celebration of life..’yan ang opinion namin…” – Mario Bautista, People Journal 1989 (READ MORE)

“…The only thing I can say about this film is that of its performances – from Vilma Santos (as the woman who spends her last days on earth looking for love) and Eric Quizon (as the ill painter who falls in love with Santos). This film is best fitted for a made-for-TV slot, considering its premise (which may attract mothers). Passable…” – Oscar 99, IMDB web site, September 13, 1999, Manila,Philippines (READ MORE)

“…The last time Bernal and Santos collaborated was in 1989. Santos, still active with her musical variety television show, did three films, all were commercial success. “Imortal” directed by Eddie Garcia was a local festival entry that earned Santos another local festival best actress. “Rizal Alih, Zamboanga Massacre” was directed by Carlo J Caparas. And “Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga” directed by Bernal. The film earned Santos the local critics best actress and Bernal the best director. Vilma her very first Star best actress, considered the Golden Globe local equivalent at that time. Pahiram also received nominations for best actress for Vilma and best director for Ishmael both from FAP, now the local equivalent of OSCAR…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)

“…Eric’s role in “Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga” is the manic-depressive love of Vilma Santos. He was contrapuntal to Vilma’s existence who wanted to prolong her life while he wanted to end his. But the Method Acting-oriented scribes at teh Philippine Movie Pres Club saw in Eric the mere physicality in his attack of the role. No anxiety in the eyes; all overt body movements to the point of the Nora Aunor anxiety-laden eyes. Eric rationalizes; “That was exactly how I was supposed to attack my role according to Direk Ishmael Bernal – overacting at physical level lang talaga. Wala nang pa-anxiety-anxiety pa. All the other major characters in “Pahiram…” were already making lupasay na with heavy emotions. From Vilma to Zsa Zsa Padilla to Vicky Suba to Gabby Concepcion – silang lahat emotionally loaded na. If I do the same, boring di ba? Ayaw ni Direk Bernal na pa-heavy emotion approach for my role. But you know my homework for that role was to watch several English sad movies on tapes and was told to cry with the characers if I wanted to or feel like crying. I felt so stupid talaga, but that exercise paid off I tell you.” If you have watched “Pahiram…,” the scene where Eric has to strangle a Myna bird was such a memorable highlight. Eric recalls; “I had to do an improvisation for that scene. Sabi ni Direk Bernal, don’t plan anything with the bird. Basta you just confront the bird at bahala ka na sa sarili mo. So what I did was to make mura and kind of strangle pero acting lang out of my supposed madness. You know what happened? The day after, nagpakamatay ‘yung bird. Nagtampo siguro ‘yun. Kasi raw ang Myna bird ay very sensitive, di ba? Sayang ‘yung bird, ano?…” – George Vail Kabristante, Manila Standard, Feb 20, 1990 (READ MORE)

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FILM REVIEW: PALIMOS NG PAGIBIG (Video)

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“Okay you’re fertile and I’m barren…pero sa mga pangyayari…para kang karinderyang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain!” – Fina

The Plot: On the outside, it looks like a marriage made in heaven. But inside the thick walls of what they call home, theirs is a relationship waiting to crumble. They have been wanting a child for so long, but the wife does not have the capacity to bear a child. And when her husband cannot take it any longer, he decides to end his misery once and for all. – IMDB

The story is about an infertile couple who never had a child of their own. The husband, frustrated by his wife’s infertility, hired somebody who was willing to carry his child. The hired woman got pregnant but she fell in love with the child’s father. The husband falsely adopted the child, hiding the fact from his wife that the child was his own. All the attention the husband gave to the child drove his wife to jealousy. To complicate things, the husband eventually had a secret affair with the child’s mother, and this affair produced another baby. The mistress left the newborn baby at the footsteps of the husband’s house. The wife then took care of the baby, and the children grew without their adoptive mother knowing that the two kids were fruits of her husband’s secret love affair. – Wikipilipinas

The Reviews: “…Eddie Garcia first directed Vilma in the Marcos film, Pinagbuklod Ng Langit. She reprised the role of eldest of the Marcos children, Imee and again co-starred with movie queen, Gloria Romero and dramatic actor, Luis Gonzales. Garcia directed Vilma again in 1982′s box Office Record Breaker, Sinasamba Kita. Three more hit films follows that gave us memorable movie lines like “Para Kang Karinderyang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain” in Palimos Ng Pag-ibig and “Si Val, si Val, si Val na walang malay!…” – (READ MORE)

“…Hit novels serialized in Aliwan Komiks were also adapted into movies:“Blusang Itim” by Elena M. Patron and Joey Celerio;“Pardina” by Jim Fernandez and Sonny Trinidad;“The Family Tree” by Pablo S. Gomez and Louie Celerio;“Palimos ng Pag-ibig” by Nerissa G. Cabral and Ernie H. Santiago;“Anak ni Zuma” by Jim Fernandez and Ben Maniclang;“Kamay ni Hilda” by Pablo S. Gomez and Louie Celerio…” – Wikipilipinas (READ MORE)

“…Palimos ng Pag-ibig (Filipino: “Begging for Love”) was a movie in 1985 and turned into a TV series in 2007 for the first installment of Sineserye Presents. This was from the original story by Nerissa Cabral. This movie was home of the famous tagline: “Para kang karenderiang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain!” (You’re like a restaurant that’s open to anyone who wants to eat!), In context of prostitution reference…” – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

“…Ang surrogacy or womb for hire, eh isang katotohanan na na­pagtanto nating lahat. Tinalakay ito in all its melodrama splendor sa Palimos ng Pag-Ibig, ang pelikula nina Vilma Santos, Edu Manzano at Dina Bonnevie. Sa movie, si Fina Alcaraz (Ate Vi) ay may infertile uterus. Desi­rous ang kanyang husband na si Rodel (Doods) to have a biological child so he hired Ditas (Miss D) na isang baby maker for a fee. Walang pros and cons ang surrogacy issue sa movie lalo na’t galing ang material sa komiks. Ang pinaka­memorable sa movie eh ang linya ni Vilma na, “Para kang ka­rinderyang bukas sa lahat ng gustong kumain.” Sosyalera si Ate Vi sa movie pero she can say lines like these…” – Alwin Ignacio, Abante Tonite, 22 March 2015 (READ MORE)

RELATED READING:
IMDB: Palimos ng pag-ibig (1986)
IMDB: Eddie Garcia
IMDB: Dina Bonnevie
IMDB: Edu Manzano
Eddie Garcia From Wikipedia
Vilma Santos’ Top 10 Film Directors (part three)
50 Famous Lines from Pinoy Movies (Video)

Filmography: Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989)

“Irene…Di ko kaya ang walong buwan! Kung mamatay rin lang ako…mamatay na ako ngayon o bukas o sa linggo pero hindi ko kaya ang walong buwan!” – Juliet Espiritu

“…Irene, ayoko ng mahabang burol kung maari kinabukasan rin ipalibing mo na ako.” – Juliet Espiritu

“Ayoko ko pang mamatay…paano si Chad?…hahanapin ako ng anak ko, hindi siya sanay ng wala ako…Ariel…gusto ko pang mabuhay, kahit ilang araw lang, kahit konting oras lang, kahit isang umaga lang…” – Juliet Espiritu

“Ariel maliwanag na ba?…anong kulay ng langit?…at ang dagat?…ang mga mangingisda nandiyan na ba?…Ariel…ang ganda ng mundo!…ang sarap mabuhay!” – Juliet Espiritu

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Basic Information: Directed: Ishmael Bernal; Story, screenplay: Jose Javier Reyes; Cast: Vilma Santos, Gabby Concepcion, Eric Quizon, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Billy Crawford, Olivia Cenizal, Tita Muñoz, Gil de Leon, Dexter Doria, Vicky Suba, Subas Herrero, Cris Vertido, Toby Alejar, Tony Angeles, Symon Soler, Gina Perez, Alma Lerma, Roy Alvarez, Becky Misa; Executive producer: Lily Monteverde; Original Music: Willy Cruz; Cinematography: Manolo Abaya, Eduardo Jacinto, Nonong Rasca; Film Editing: Augusto Salvador; Production Design: Elmer Manapul; Sound: Joe Climaco; Theme Songs: “Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga” performed by Zsa Zsa Padilla

Plot Description: Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (English title: “To Live Another Day,” “On Borrowed Time” or “Lend Me One Morning”) revolves around Juliet (Vilma Santos), who finds herself struggling against an ever-escalating series of problems. A determined single parent, she manages to raise a child while remaining successful in her career as an advertising executive. Everything in her life seems to go well until she is diagnosed with a terminal disease. For her son’s sake, and without revealing her condition, she is forced to resolve her most important life relations: rekindling first her connections with her parents, and then with the very man who fathered her son. In the twilight of her life, she meets and falls in love with a beleaguered artist, Ariel (Eric Quizon), who is constantly depressed and perpetually contemplating suicide. She slowly loses her health but unknowingly reawakens Ariel desire to live, and they both engage in a meaningful affair – one that makes each day they live through together more meaningful than the last. – DVD cover description

After getting bumped up to vice president at her advertising firm, Juliet (Vilma Santos) is floating on cloud nine, but fate soon delivers a brutal shock that knocks her off her perch: a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. With just eight months to live, Juliet embarks on a mental and physical journey to erase her regrets. Along the way, she meets a painter (Eric Quizon) who changes her outlook in this poignant drama. – Netflix

To Live Another Day (Pahiram ng Isang Umaga) revolves around Juliet, who finds herself struggling against an ever-escalating series of problems. A determined single parent, she manages to raise a child while remaining successful in her career as an advertising executive. Everything in her life seems to go well until she is diagnosed with a terminal disease. For her son’s sake, and without revealing her condition, she is forced to resolve her most important life relations: rekindling first her connections with her parents, and then with the very man who fathered her son. In the twilight of her life, she meets and falls in love with a beleaguered artist, Ariel, who is constantly depressed and perpetually contemplating suicide. She slowly loses her health but unknowingly reawakens Ariel’s desire to live, and they both engage in a meaningful affair – one that makes each day they live through together more meaningful than the last. – Cine Filipino/Unico Home Entertainment

Film Achievements: 1989 URIAN: Best Actress – Vilma Santos; Best Cinematography – Manolo Abaya, Eduardo Jacinto, Nonong Rasca; Best Director – Ishmael Bernal; Best Picture – Lily Monteverde, Regal Films; Best Screenplay – Jose Javier Reyes; Best Supporting Actor – Eric Quizon; 1989 STAR: Best Picture – Lily Monteverde, Regal Films; Best Actress – Vilma Santos; Best Cinematography – Manolo Abaya, Eduardo Jacinto, Nonong Rasca; Best Director – Ishmael Bernal; Best Musical Score – Willy Cruz; Best Supporting Actor – Eric Quizon; 1989 FAMAS: Best Musical Score – Willy Cruz; Best Theme Song – Willy Cruz; 1989 FAP: Best Sound – Joe Climaco

Other Film Achievements 1989 FAP: Best Actress nomination – Vilma Santos; 1989 URIAN: Best Actor nomination – Gabby Concepcion; Best Editing nomination – Augusto Salvador; Best Music nomination – Willy Cruz; Best Production Design nomination – Elmer Manapul; Best Sound nomination – Joe Climaco; Best Supporting Actress nomination – Vicky Suba; 1989 FAMAS: Best Child Actor nomination – Billy Crawford; Best Director nomination – Ishmael Bernal; Best Picture nomination – Lily Monteverde, Regal Films; Best Supporting Actor nomination – Eric Quizon

Film Reviews: A Look at Death and the Affirmation of LifeWeepies are a common movie fare in the Philippines, along with extremely violent action thrillers and trite youth comedies. It is, therefore, a cause for cheer when a filmmaker tries to elevate the very common genre of the melodrama into a rich and intellectually rewarding film experience, such as director Ishmael Bernal has done with his Pahiram ng Isang Umaga.

Director Ishmael Bernal has seen in the material an opportunity to put substance to what has often been denigrated as the unthinking man’s entertainment, and to a considerable degree, his attempt has been a success. Pahiram is both effective as a tearjerker and meaningful as a depiction of people in crisis. Using a traditional element of the genre, the theme of death, Bernal and writer Jose Javier Reyes probe into the life of a woman who has been told that the end is near. Juliet (Vilma Santos, one of the two reigning Philippine female superstars for the past two decades now) is told that she has eight or maybe seven months to live. As a progressive advertising creative director who has been promoted (rather late) as vice president of her company, she has the means to attend to the less mundane demands of life, examine what may have been an unexamined life, and make the most of the limited time left.

In all these, Bernal explores the emotional and psychological condition of the person who lives on borrowed time. naturally visible here are the many symbols not only of death but also of life to serve as some kind of counterpoint or irony. Sometimes, they blend with each other, and at other times, they contradict. From the peasants’ ritualistic rice planting to the backyard harvesting of sun-dried patola cultivated as life-giving seedlings, the evidence of life renewing itself could hardly be ignored. Then there are the more obvious symbols of fire, daybreak and persistent rains (the latter of which are used to reinforce the gloomier mood at the second half of the movie, and also suggest the rains’ refreshing and replenishing results). But the most eloquent symbol here of life is the process of artistic creation, personified – again paradoxically – by the expressionist painter Ariel who befriends and then is smitten by Juliet.

There are ironies here. The painter creates life through his art, but at the same time, psychologically tormented, he wants to end his own life. Such a restless, free soul, grappling with the complexities of life, he has a whole life ahead of him, his artistic world limited only by his imagination, and yet he wants to quit. In contrast, Juliet who is dying, wants to live. Here is a woman who saves a man’s life (the artist’s) but cannot save her own. The idea of art as life or art vs. life is examined at length. Asked by the boy why he has to put on canvas the seascape, the artist makes the clarification that he is not copying the scenery. Ostensibly, he is recreating it on a different plane, art being something else, with a life of its own. This is suggested by the portrait the artist is making of Juliet. The model may soon die, as she will, but the portrait will live on. Life may indeed be short, an idea which used to be stated directly in previous Bernal movies, but art endures. It is the one thing in this world which is eternal. The briefness of life is suggested with the graphic sight of wet sand dripping down from the hand.

Bernal and Reyes go farther by including a scene in which the artist explains the origins of art. By the fireside at the beach, and watching the flame cast a glow on them, he notes that prehistoric men “discovered” art when they made outlines of shadows on the caves. Those artworks, though crude and primitive, still exist. Implicitly, Juliet’s death, no matter how saddening, is not going to be the end. Philosophical musings like these are not standard soap opera fare, and may alienate a lot of ordinary moviegoers (even the more cerebral ones who cannot accept the conventions of the soap opera genre). Woven unobtrusively into the plot, however, they add texture and enrich the drama. Juliet in a way will continue to live – in that portrait, in her young son who will survive her and hopefully continue her legacy whatever it may be, and in her good deeds. In the last scene, the imagery and symbolisms of life and death abound. Juliet dies at the break of dawn, the start of a new day (and life), but not without first making her last sentimental paean to life. Supported by the artist, her eyesight having failed completely and with the waves caressing their feet, the weak and dying cancer victim remarks how beautiful life is. True enough, this dying scene set on a beach, with the woman in white, dainty night gown, is one of the most exquisite, breathtaking moments in Philippine movies.

But before giving us this grand, highly emotional death scene, the director has gradually introduced various motifs of death, from the artist’s pet black bird which at one point he cruelly squeezes in his hand, to the funeral rituals for Juliet’s father. This is a striking part of the movie, Juliet watching intently as morticians work on her father’s remains, as everyone weeps when the coffin is lowered to its final resting place, and during the ritualistic “pasiyam,” the nine-day novena for the dead. It’s as though Juliet can see herself in her father’s lifeless body while mourners mill around it. The attempts to raise the level of the melodrama and present insights on life and death provide the movie its greatest strength – and wide appeal. How strangely ironic that a movie dealing with death could have so much life. – Mario A. Hernando, Malaya – 5 March 1989

“…Epektibo ang Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga bilang isang tuwirang dramatikong pelikula naglalahad ng suliranin ng mga taong pumapasailaim sa isang krisis. Sa paggamit ng tradisyonal na pamamaraaan ukol sa tema ng kamatayan, si Bernal at ang manunulat nitong si Jose Javier Reyes ay sumilip sa buhay ng isang babaeng nalalapit na sa kanyang huling hantungan. Napag-alaman ni Juliet (Vilma Santos) mula sa kanyang doktor na mayroon siyang pito hanggang walong buwang palugit sa kanyang buhay at ninais nitong isaayos ang mga suliraning bumabalot sa kanyang buong pagkatao sa loob ng maikling panahong ilalagi niya sa mundo. Lahat ng emosyonal at sikolohikal na kundisyon ng isang taong nabubuhay na lamang sa hiram na panahon ay tahasang ipinakita ni Bernal sa mga manonood. Mababanaag dito amg iba’t-ibang simbulo ng pumapaimbulog sa konsepto ng kamatayan. Kadalasa’y naangkop ito sa mga situwasyong dinaranas ng karakter ni Juliet at taliwas din kung minsan. Mula sa pagtatanim ng mga magbubukid hanggang sa pag-ani nito bilang simbulo ng pagkabuhay ay mahirap maitanggi. May mga tagpong ipnapakita ang paglubog ng araw, at ang walang patumanggang pag-ulan ay pagpapahiwatig ng pagbuhos ng bagong hinaharap. Ngunit isang mariing simbulong ginamit sa pelikula ay ang proseso ng paglikha ng sining sa katauhan ng pintor na si Ariel (Eric Quizon) na kinaibigan ni Juliet. Maraming maihahalintulad dito. Sinasalamin ng pintor ang buhay sa pamamgitan ng paglikha ng mga larawang kadalasan ay naglalahad ng gulo at pagkalitong umabot sa pagnanasa nitong kitlin ang sariling buhay, dahilan sa hindi niya makayanan ang pakikipagsapalaran sa buhay. Napapalibutan ng imahinasyon ang kanyang mundo ngunit nais pa rin niya itong talikuran. ito naman ang pagkakaiba ni Ariel kay Juliet na gagawin ang lahat upang madugtungan ang nauudlot na buhay…” – Jojo Devera, Sari-saring Sineng Pinoy (READ MORE)

Mas Mahusay si Vilma Kaysa kay Nora – Vi goes to the kitchen to prepare breakfast at habang nagbabati siya ng itlog, doon pa lang ipinakitang una siyang nag-breakdown. And this is shown nang nakatalikod siya sa camera. No overly ornate kind of emoting na akting na akting ang dating. Pero damang-dama mo pa rin…she becomes the part (lalo na sa eksena nila ni Gabby Concepcion sa simbahan na binalikan nila kung paano sila nagkasira), and if you notice that she is good, well, salamat po…Sa second viewing ng movie namin lalong napansin ang subtle nuances ng performance ni Vi, up to her death scene which confirms our supposition that the movie is not really so much about death than a celebration of life..’yan ang opinion namin…” – Mario Bautista, People Journal 1989

“…Topping Vilma Santos’ showbiz career for 1988 was her winning the “best tv host” title and her tv program Vilma as the best musical variety show from the Star Awards of the Philippine Movie Press Club. Vilma is a constant top rater. Nobody can question the result of the survey for its popularity, because everybody could see the glitter of the show with all the grand seting, artistic costumes, and selected celebrities as guests plus Santos’ vibrance, enthusiasm and untiring efforts in entertaining her audience. The actress is meticulous even in the selection of the color scheme of her costumes. For 1989, Santos promises a much better show for Vilma with more expensive props, more interesting musical numbers and some attractive numbers and novelties to render it a delightful viewing. The actress is now resuming shooting of Pahiram ng Isang Umaga which did not make it at the recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival due to certain delays, like Ibulong Mo sa Diyos her current movie Pahiram… is supposed to be Regal Films’s first main attraction for 1989. Some of the scenes were filmed in the virgin forest of Botolan, Zambales. The serenity of the rustic place enabled the actress to re-evaluate her life before the New Year sets in. Santos has Gabby Concepcion and Eric Quizon for leading men in the movie. Quizon has admitted that so far this is his most challenging role in his entire movie career. The drama flick is expected to be another blockbuster and will reap acting honors for the actress. She is back with Ishmael Bernal in this movie, the same director who made possible her bagging all the best actress awards in 1982 for the movie Relasyon…” – Eddie O. Libo-on, Manila Standard, Jan 9, 1989 (READ MORE)

“…Koronel is all set to do a film for Viva and we’re sure her fans are all agog about it. Will she be a threat to the throne now occupied by Vilma Santos as “The Actress” to be reckoned with? If we’d make a guess, Lino Brocka’s the right director for the first comeback film of this actress. There’s a certain chemistry between them in the same way there’s an “artistic symbiosis” between Santos and Ishmael Bernal. And speaking of the last duo, we finally got to see “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga” and it’s true what they were all raving about. It’s Vilma’s best to date and we’re willing to bet that she’ll garner another grand slam next year for this movie. Ditto with Bernal. It’s not only an artistic movie; It’s very commercial. Only we should have brought a towel instead of a hankie…” – Nena Z. Villanueva, Manila Standard, Mar 2, 1989 (READ MORE)

“…Eric’s role in “Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga” is the manic-depressive love of Vilma Santos. He was contrapuntal to Vilma’s existence who wanted to prolong her life while he wanted to end his. But the Method Acting-oriented scribes at teh Philippine Movie Pres Club saw in Eric the mere physicality in his attack of the role. No anxiety in the eyes; all overt body movements to the point of the Nora Aunor anxiety-laden eyes. Eric rationalizes; “That was exactly how I was supposed to attack my role according to Direk Ishmael Bernal – overacting at physical level lang talaga. Wala nang pa-anxiety-anxiety pa. All the other major characters in “Pahiram…” were already making lupasay na with heavy emotions. From Vilma to Zsa Zsa Padilla to Vicky Suba to Gabby Concepcion – silang lahat emotionally loaded na. If I do the same, boring di ba? Ayaw ni Direk Bernal na pa-heavy emotion approach for my role. But you know my homework for that role was to watch several English sad movies on tapes and was told to cry with the characers if I wanted to or feel like crying. I felt so stupid talaga, but that exercise paid off I tell you.” If you have watched “Pahiram…,” the scene where Eric has to strangle a Myna bird was such a memorable highlight. Eric recalls; “I had to do an improvisation for that scene. Sabi ni Direk Bernal, don’t plan anything with the bird. Basta you just confront the bird at bahala ka na sa sarili mo. So what I did was to make mura and kind of strangle pero acting lang out of my supposed madness. You know what happened? The day after, nagpakamatay ‘yung bird. Nagtampo siguro ‘yun. Kasi raw ang Myna bird ay very sensitive, di ba? Sayang ‘yung bird, ano?…” – George Vail Kabristante, Manila Standard, Feb 20, 1990 (READ MORE)

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