Maria Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos-Recto (born Maria Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos November 3, 1953 in Bamban, Tarlac), commonly known as Vilma Santos-Recto or Ate Vi is a Filipino actress and box office queen for almost four decades. One of the original Philippine movie queens, she rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles, albeit in success both critically and box-office wise in some of Philippine cinema’s classics such as Trudis Liit (1963), Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973), Burlesk Queen (1977), Relasyon (1982), Sister Stella L. (1984), Alyas Baby Tsina (1984), Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989), Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Anak (2000) and Dekada ’70 (2002). She is currently the governor of Batangas, Philippines (2012)(Wikipedia).

For More Informations, Visit: Vilma Santos-Recto's Official Web-site

Thursday, September 29, 2011

SISTER STELLA L (PHOTOS)












Sister Stella L. is the award winning masterpiece by Mike de Leon. Its about a nun, Sister Stella Legaspi (Vilma Santos), who becomes involved in labor strikes after learning about the governments neglect of the poor and the working class. Her sworn duty to fight for the poor and the oppressed turnspersonal when her journalist friend Nick Fajardo (Jay Ilagan) is tortured and the union leader Dencio (Tony Santos) is kidnapped and killed. What follows is her eye-opening and tear-jerking battle against cruelty and injustice...This film is one of the most memorable roles for Vilma Santos. She is excellent in her portrayal of the resilient nun. (READ MORE)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

About Dekada 70, The Novel

About Dekada 70, The Novel: Dekada '70 (Dekada '70: Ang Orihinal at Kumpletong Edisyon), translated into Filipino as the '70s decade, is a Filipino novel written by Lualhati Bautista. Dekada '70 is the story of a family caught in the middle of the tumultuous decade of the 1970's. It details how a middle class family struggled with and faced the new changes that empowered Filipinos to rise against the Marcos government. These series of events all happened after the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, the proclamation of Martial Law, the bombing of Plaza Miranda, the random arrests of political prisoners. The oppressiveness of the Marcos regime made people become more radical. This shaping of the decade are all witnessed by the female character, Amanda Bartolome, a mother of five boys. While Amanda's sons grow, form individual beliefs and lead different lives, Amanda awakens her identity to state her stand as a Filipino citizen, mother and woman. Dekada '70 introduces the new generations of Filipino readers to a story and a family of a particular time in Philippine history. Its appeal lies in the evolution of its characters that embody the new generation of Filipinos.It is the story about a mother and her family, and the society around them that affects them. It is a tale of how a mother becomes torn between the letter of the law and her responsibilities as a mother. A defining but not subversive Filipino novel, Dekada '70 was one of the two grand prize winners for the 1983 Palanca Awards for the novel. It was adapted into a film by Star Cinema in 2003, starring Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos.

Context: Dekada '70 is set in the turbulent Martial Law era in Philippine history. In the 1970's, the Republic of the Philippines was under the rule of then President Ferdinand Marcos. On September 21, 1972, Marcos declared Martial Law which placed the country under the rule of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, but kept himself in power. Under the Martial Law era, Marcos consolidated control of the armed forces, freedom of the press was severely limited and opponents of Marcos were detained.

Plot summary: Amanda Bartolome is a mother of a middle-class family who has five young sons. Her eldest son, Jules, had a normal upbringing. Being the eldest in the family, he was already old enough during the declaration of martial law President Marcos. He became exposed to rebellious reading material, and inevitably molded his mind into that of guerilla. Jules grew up to become a member of the communist New People's Army. Amanda and her husband, Julian, had suspicions of their son's inclination to become an anti-Government winger but became convinced when they find copies of rebellious pamphlets lying around the house. They confronted their son about them, and he had to admit his decision. At first, conflict ensues in the family. Eventually, the parents learned to accept their son's decision, and eventually became proud of him. Since then, their home became a constant place of recreation for Jules who often brought a friend along with him. One of these friends of Jules is Domeng who stayed with the family for some time while recuperating from an injury. The family became close to the young man because, among other things, he reminded them of their son Jules. Unfortunately, it was already late when they realized that Domeng was an operative of the government all this time and that the friendship was all a front. Domeng exposed Jules participation and involvement in the NPA movement. And Jules was subsequently sent to prison.

Isagani, the second child, grew up to become a sailor, and became the family's cream of the crop. Gani, however, quickly became the goat of the family because he had made the simplest mistake of getting a girl, his girlfriend Evelyn, pregnant. Naturally, being a Catholic country, the parents insisted on marriage. Alas, their lives were nothing but hollow imitations of couples in love, without enough of the very essence that keeps two people together. Their separation was inevitable; Gani never lived the shame down. The third Bartolome offspring that provided himself with the most secure future. Emmanuel lived the same life as his elder brothers, but knew that the extreme left and the extreme right had no place in society. He called for peaceful evolution, change in the form of expression. He wanted to become a writer, a noble profession, one exceptionally crafted for someone of Emmanuel's ability. His problem was, his father violently objected to his son's decision, due to practical reasons. There is no good pay for a writer. Jason was Julian's favorite among his children. He was also the opposite of Emmanuel. While Emmanuel was studious and hardworking, Jason was a typical teenager. He joined rallies to make noise, not express a message. He was a constant failure in school, albeit his problems were self-inflicted. He stole from his parents. He lied to them. However, in the midst of the first three brothers' hardships, it was Jason's happy-go-lucky demeanor that provided Amanda and Julian with a well-needed dose of happiness. Unfortunately, in the end, it was Jason's felonious tendencies that caused hm his life; it wasn't his fault, but he was out with his usual round of pecadillos that the police accidentally killed Jason.

Sometime before he was sent to prison, Jules himself met a girl he wanted to marry. And unlike Gani, he truly loved this woman, Marah, and also got her pregnant. While in prison, he married Marah, and so there was the first addition to their family. The youngest son was Benjamin. After all had come to pass, he was in the middle of his teens. – Wikepedia


In the 70's, the Republic of the Philippines was suffering under the midst of then- President Ferdinand Marcos' reign as ruler. It was in September 21st, 1972, that he chained close whatever inkling of democracy the Filipinos had by declaring Martial Law. Unfortunately, it was a rule of a a twisted sort: the nation would be under the rule of the Armed Forces, but contrary to its definition, Marcos' Martial Law kept himself in power. Dekada '70 (Translated into English, the 70's decade) is a bittersweet tale of love in the face of hate, hope in the face oppression, and new life in the midst of death. It is a novel of a mother, her examination of her oft-unappreciated role in modern society, and how she struggles to find for herself a sense of purpose and identity while suffering through the very pit of the nation's disintegration. It is a novel of a mother and her family, how society around her affects her family. It is a tale of she becomes torn between the letter of the law or her responsibility as a mother.

Dekada '70 tells of how under hate, greed and corruption, one normal person transcends beyond right and wrong: instead learns that it is freedom that entails survival. Set in the 70's, urban Metro Manila, Amanda Bartolome is a middle-class mother of five young men. Amanda acts as a supposed symbolism of detachment. First of all, she was a mother, a housewife; such were not considered integral parts of society during those times. She was not the breadwinner; she did not experience the foremost effects of the decline of the Philippines economy back then. She was a member of the middle class; her family did not take money, like the rich, nor did her family suffer the worst of the financial crises, like the poor. The lives of Amanda's children each went in different directions in the story, and each varied. Her eldest son was Jules. Jules grew up normally, similar to every other ideal family. His upbringing was that of what ideally conformed to normal standards and circumstances. Being the eldest, however, Jules lived, and more importantly, matured through the shock caused by the declaration of President Marcos' martial law. Thus, Jules lived his adolescence exposed to rebellious reading material, and inevitably molded his mind into that of guerilla. Jules grew up to become a member of the communist New People's Army, and his evolution came full circle.

Amanda and the father, Julian, had suspicions of their son's inclination to become an anti-Government winger when they found copies of rebellious pamphlets lying around the house. It was when they confronted their son with it that he told them of his decision. At first, the conflict that had arisen was unbearable. But eventually, as parents, they grew to accept their son, and became proud of him. In fact, heir home became a constant place of recreation for Jules, and more often than not he would come by with a friend. The friend of Jules whom Amanda had become the fondest of was Doming. Doming stayed with their family for quite a while, because he was recuperating from an injury. The family became close to the young man because, among other things, he reminded them of their son Jules. But, it was all too late when they realized that Doming was an operative of the government all this time. He exposed Jules. His friendship was all a front. Jules was subsequently sent to prison. Possibly the most successful of the children was Isagani, their second child. With Jules becoming a rebel, they became more careful with how they handled Isagani, or Gani, as they fondly called him. Gani then grew up to become a sailor, and became the family's cream of the crop.Gani, however, quickly became the goat of the family because he had made the simplest mistake of getting a girl, his girlfriend Evelyn, pregnant. Naturally, being a Catholic country, the parents insisted on marriage. Alas, their lives were nothing but hollow imitations of couples in love, without enough of the very essence that keeps two people together. Their separation was inevitable; Gani never lived the shame down.

Ironically, it was the third Bartolome offspring that provided himself with the most secure future. Emmanuel lived the same life as his elder brothers, but knew that the extreme left and the extreme right had no place in society. He called for peaceful evolution, change in the form of expression. He wanted to become a writer, a noble profession, one exceptionally crafted for someone of Emmanuel's ability. His problem was, his father violently objected to his son's decision, due to practical reasons. There is no good pay for a writer. Jason was Julian's favorite among his children. He was also the opposite of Emmanuel. While Emmanuel was studious and hardworking, Jason was a typical teenager. He joined rallies to make noise, not express a message. He was a constant failure in school, albeit his problems were self-inflicted. He stole from his parents. He lied to them. However, in the midst of the first three brothers' hardships, it was Jason's happy-go-lucky demeanor that provided Amanda and Julian with a well-needed dose of happiness. Unfortunately, in the end, it was Jason's felonious tendencies that caused hm his life; it wasn't his fault, but he was out with his usual round of pecadillos that the police accidentally killed Jason. Sometime before he was sent to prison, Jules himself met a girl he wanted to marry. And unlike Gani, he truly loved this woman, Marah, and also got her pregnant. While in prison, he married Marah, and so there was the first addition to their family. The youngest son was Benjamin. After all had come to pass, he was in the middle of his teens. - The Beginning of the Revolution: Dekada ’70 A book review

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DEKADA 70 (2002)

“Buong buhay ko yan na lang lagi ang sinasabi nila sa akin…wala kang magagawa eto ang gusto ng asawa mo…wala kang magagawa eto ang kapalaran mo…wala kang magagaw dahil dapat…putris naman, dapat hindi ganuo…tapos sasabihin ng daddy n’yo hindi lang ang anak ko ang pinatay hindi lang ang anak ko ang dinukot…lalo akong nanggigigil, lalo akong nagagalit dahil kung nanay ka talaga, hindi ka lang dapat nanganganak kundi naiapaglaban mo rin ang anak mo dapat kaya mong pumatay para sa anak mo…gusto ko lang malaman bakit nila pinatay ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko, kahit sa oras na ito humarap ako sa diyos kahit sa dimonyo hindi masamang tao ang anak ko…hindi masamang tao ang anak ko!” - Amanda Bartolome

“You could stop being proud of me! Nagsawa na ako sa ganuon, gusto ko naman ngayon ako mismo just for a change, maging proud sa sarili ko!” - Amanda Bartolome


Basic Information: Direction: Chito S. Roño; Adapted screenplay: Lualhati Bautista; Original screenplay: Lualhati Bautista; Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Piolo Pascual, Marvin Agustin, Kris Aquino, Ana Capri, Dimples Romana, Jhong Hilario, Carlos Agassi, Danilo Barrios, Carlo Muñoz, Tirso Cruz III, Orestes Ojeda, John Wayne Sace, Marianne de la Riva, Manjo del Mundo, Cacai Bautista; Original Music: Nonong Buencamino; Cinematography: Neil Daza; Editing: Jess Navarro; Production Design: Manny Morfe; Sound: Albert Michael Idioma, Alex Tomboc;  Theme Song: " Hanggang" sung by Wency Cornejo; Producer: Charo Santos-Concio; Released date: 25 December 2002

Plot Description: Dekada 70 is a story of a family caught in the midst of a tumultuous time in Philippine history – the martial law years. Amanda (Vilma Santos) and Julian (Christopher Deleon) is a picture of a middle class couple with conservative ideologies, who must deal with raising their children, five boys – Jules (Piolo Pascual), Isagani (Carlos Agassi), Emmanuel (Marvin Agustin), Jason (Danilo Barrios) and Bingo (John Sace) in an era marked by passion, fear, unrest and social chaos. As siblings struggle to accept the differences of their ideologies, as a father faces the painful dissent of his children, a mother’s love will prove to be the most resonant in the unfolding of this family’s tale, will awaken to the needs of her own self, as she embarks on a journey of discovery to realize who she is as a wife, amother, a woman and a Filipino. - Star Cinema

"...Drama. Portrait of a middle-class Filipino family as they change over a period of repression..." - British Film Institute (READ MORE)

Film Achievements: FAP: Best Actress - Vilma Santos, Best Supporting Actor - Piolo Pascual; Gawad Urian Best Actress - Vilma Santos, Best Picture - Star Cinema, Best Screenplay - Lualhati Bautista, Best Supporting Actor - Piolo Pascual; STAR Best Actress - Vilma Santos; 2003 Cinemanila International Film Festival Best Actress - Vilma Santos; YCC Best Performer(s) - Vilma Santos, Piolo Pascual; 2002 Gawad Tanglaw Best Actress - Vilma Santos; 2002 One's RAVE Awards Best Performance - Vilma Santos; 2003 Cinemanila International Film Festival Netpac Special Mention Award - Chito S. Roño FAMAS Best Supporting Actor - Piolo Pascual; YCC Best Film - Star Cinema

Philippines’ Official Entry: The 76th Academy Awards (OSCAR) Best Foreign Language Film Philippines; The 2003 Toronto International Film Festival; The 2003 Hawai International Film Festival; The 15tth Ankara International Film Festival; Official Selection: Tous les Cinema du Monde (Cinemas of teh World) 2005 Cannes Film Festival, The 5th Makati CineManila International Film Festival, The Montreal International Film Festival, The 22nd San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, The 6th San Diego Asian Film Festival; Moviemov: Italian Cinema Now 2012; Special Screenings: 11th FilmAsia (2015) Czech Republic

Other Film Achievements: FAP: Best Actor nomination - Christopher De Leon, Best Director nomination - Chito S. Roño, Best Picture nomination - Star Cinema, Best Production Design nomination - Manny Morfe, Best Screenplay nomination - Lualhati Bautista, Best Story nomination - Lualhati Bautista; Gawad Urian: Best Actor nomination - Christopher De Leon, Best Director nomination - Chito S. Roño, Best Production Design nomination - Manny Morfe, Best Sound nomination - Albert Michael Idioma, Alex Tomboc

"......The combined efforts of Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos and drama king Christopher de Leon failed to life "Dekada '70" from its initial No. 5 standing on the box office list. The Chito Rono period drama, did not move from the fifth place since the start of the festival, despite heavy promo blitx provided by producer Star Cinema and its sister company ABS-CBN. "Dekada '70" earned only a total of P37,945,673.25..." - Marinel R. Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jan 15, 2003 (READ MORE)

Film Reviews: "...On it's 11th year of presenting Asian cinema to Czech audiences, 2015 FilmAsia, the Czech Republic’s premier Asian film festival, is putting Filipino cinema in focus for the first time. Initiated by Czech Embassy in Manila, in cooperation with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), this year’s FilmAsia premieres six Filipino feature films, old and new. Among the films brought to Prague are the recently rediscovered and restored classic Genghis Khan (1950) directed by Manuel Conde which opened the festival on Dec. 4, and the acclaimed political family drama Dekada ’70 (2002) based on the novel by Lualhati Bautista, a film which mirrors the similar experience of the Czechs, who were also fighting for their democracy in the 1970s and 1980s while under communist rule. “As only a single Philippine film, The King of Sulu and the Emperor of China by Eddie Romero, ever entered the Czech film distribution [system] as long as a quarter a century ago, and not more than a dozen, often independent, films have been screened at Czech film festivals in recent years, this very first Philippine selection will be a unique glimpse into otherwise unknown cinematography in my country,” said Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Jaroslav Olša, Jr. The core of the Philippine focus are three independent Filipino films namely Lihis (2013), Sonata (2013), and Badil (2013), all co-produced by the FDCP. And to give the Czech audiences a glimpse of Philippine superhero films, the iconic Philippine superheroine will get the opportunity to fly over Prague with the Czech premier of Darna, starring Vilma Santos. “As the only Asian film festival in the Czech Republic, FilmAsia offers Czechs a glimpse of the best of what Asian cinema can offer,” said Karla Stojáková, the festival´s director and producer who has a long history of cooperation with Asian filmmakers. “Therefore I was happy to share the idea of Ambassador Jaroslav Olša, Jr. to present Filipino cinematography for the very first time in our country. Our festival is entering second decade this year and so it is symbolic and oportunity for our film enthusiasts to discover another Asian cinematography.” In previous years, FilmAsia has featured award-winning works by notable directors in the Asian region, among them Park Chan-wook, Kim Ki-duk, Hou Hsia-hsien, Johnnie To, Wong Kar-wai, Tsai Ming-liang, and Takashi Miike..." - Interaksyon, 07 December 2015 (READ MORE)

No. 26 of 50 Best Films of the 21st Century - "...Today, close to ten national film festivals showcase feature-length and short films every year, and around fifty festivals, not to mention the increasing number of filmmaking workshops, exclusively show short films in many campuses, local cinemas, and alternative venues around the country. While local film enthusiasts are being spoiled by the availability of choices offered by the increasing number of filmfests, distribution of independent films is still a nightmare. Unlike mainstream pictures that can be readily accessed as DVDs or pay-per-view content even many years after their dates of release, audiences wanting to catch indie films need to watch them during their release in select venues (which are mostly located in Metro Manila), otherwise, chances of seeing them being viewed again are not very high, especially if their themes are not geared for mainstream consumption. It’s a good thing that efforts are being made both by government and the private sector (FDCP’s regional cinematheques and its partnership with SM for CineLokal, the UP Film Institute, TBA’s Cinema ’76, Cinema One channel) to feature indie films released in earlier years at affordable rates. The various filmfests have different arrangements with filmmakers regarding ownership and distribution rights, and some are more proactive in marketing their entries than others. A few filmmakers (like Lav Diaz, Khavn dela Cruz, and other younger indie filmmakers producing their own films) directly make their films available for a modest fee to interested viewers. Also, online streaming platforms such Culture Unplugged, iflix, iTunes, Netflix, Vimeo, Hooq, and Viddsee (for short films) will surely play a bigger role in the near future. At present, only 11 of the top 50 films below can be viewed in iflix. Forming a canon of modern classics is an obviously herculean task, so we’ve invited 33 critics, academics, archivists, and reviewers who have closely followed Philippine cinema’s output since the turn of the century to name their 10 favorite local films since 2001 (technically the first year of the 21st century). The voters relayed to us that it was a very challenging but fun undertaking. A total of 163 films received votes: of the top 50, 3 are documentaries, 14 are made by filmmakers who are based or primarily working outside Metro Manila (proof that regional cinema has made a lasting impact on the modern national cinematic landscape), and a whopping 46 are produced independently. Here are the top 50 films of the 21st century so far...No. 26 - Dekada ‘70, Chito Roño, 2002...“Hangga’t patuloy na inililibing sa puntod ng kasaysayan ang panahong (Batas Militar), patuloy na magmumulto ang mga Pilipinong itinimbuwang ng karahasan sa gitna ng pambansang pakikibaka laban sa diktadura. Ito ang halaga ng pelikulang Dekada ’70 na hindi kayang igpawan ng mga kaalinsabay nito-pagbalik-tanaw sa panahong nagluwal sa mga bayaning walang pangalan tungo sa paglaya ng bayan. Habang nagsasawalang kibo ang maraming Pilipino sa tunay na kabuluhan ng panahong ito, patuloy na gagamitin ng iba’t ibang pwersa ang kilusang naipundar ng luha at dugo ng mga Pilipinong nagmahal sa sariling bayan. Isang testimonya ang pelikula sa kamalayang hindi magagapi at patuloy na magsasatinig sa katotohanan.” – Ariel Valerio, Young Critics Circle..." - Pinoy Rebyu, Filipino Film Aggregator (READ)

In critical acclaim and commercial grade, Lualhati Bautista’s “Dekada ‘70” is the most significant Filipino novel in the 1980’s. That’s just about saying it is also the most difficult to adapt to other versions, notably film. Chito Rono and Star Cinema have taken on that challenge and the result is what to many estimates is the best movie of the 2002 Metro Manila Film festival, not withstanding the vastly different estimation of the jurors. “Dekada ‘70” is difficult to adapt partly because as a best-selling novel, it is like a film that has already been made in the minds of its many readers. But a bigger difficulty it poses to adapters is its social realism since it is basically a chronicle of the Marcos era. Its time-bound character makes it difficult to transcribe on screen in as much as a logistical gulf divides the original material from its realization in another medium. But perhaps the biggest difficulty is generational. Despite the fact the Marcos dictatorship aand its overthrow were historic turning points, they seem to have receded from the collective memory, particularly the memory of the young, as a result of the nation’s failure to come to grips with them, so that up to now, the Marcoses have made inroads at political rehabilitation and young Filipinos know more about the crimes and misdemeanors of the American presidency and the glamour of Hollywood than the depredations of Marcos.

The logistical gulf can be bridged by resources (and Star Cinema has plenty of them), but it requires a creative vision on the part of the filmmakers and creative faith on the part of the audience to make a socio-political novel spring to life. In coming up with the creative vision to complement a largely hypothetical creative faith on the part of Filipino moviegoers. Rono and his cast and production have achieved a rare feat. They have made a socio-political novel come alive with urgency and import. The movie is largely successful because it is defined by an economy of focus (the Bartolome family), of vantage point (the developing sensibility of Amanda, the mother character), and of milieu and setting (the Philippines in the ‘70s under martial law). The novel was written from a woman’s point of view, and it is the particular strength of the film that it underscores the patriarchy of much of Philippine society in terms both macro (the military dictatorship) and micro (Bartolome’s excruciatingly macho husband Julian, played convincingly by Christopher de Leon, and her all-male brood).

Rono and Bautista, who writes her own adaptation, have obviously worked very closely in fleshing out the novel on screen. The result is an effective and even subtle tableau of scenes to present the Bartolome family’s struggles from the late ‘60s to ‘70s that not only set the domestic drama, but also prefigure the wider social and historical saga unfolding before the nation. No scene is wasted, no useless pandering to the viewer’s sense of spectacle or penchant for soap opera is even attempted. The competent production design, the agile editing, the stark photography (which impresses even the Paris-based Filipino-Spanish painter Sanso who calls it comparative to the best in Europe) ensures a panoply of images that is immediate, recognizable, and keen. Like Regal Films, Star Cinema has been compelled to throw in its stable of stars so that the Bartolome siblings look distractingly too much like a boy band. But because they play well-thought-out characters, their damage is put to a minimum. In some cases, like Piolo Pascual as Jules, the young communist rebel, the effect is heart-wrenching.

Pascual plays, along with Vilma Santos as Amanda, one of the centers of gravity of the movie; the other center consists of Santos and Christopher de Leon. As arguably the first unabashedly feminist Filipino novel, “Dekada” shows a woman’s awakening to her nature and gender through the men of her life-her husband and her first born. Their age, generation and preoccupation divide both men, and Amanda serves as their bridge and transition. In the process, Amanda herself is transformed. She becomes herself. The most moving scenes of the movie are of Jules and Amanda meeting on the sly and forced to carry on mother-and-son endearments hurriedly because of the threat of arrest. But the most poignant scene is Julian and Amanda confronted with the terrible loneliness of their advanced years, left by their children, he turning away from her to hide his tears, and she asking him to face her and not to be ashamed. It helps that the scene is played by Santos and De Leon, truly one of Filipino cinema’s most effective screen couples. As Amanda, Vilma Santos shows again why Brocka, before he died, had likened her to water. “She can register anything,” he said. In “Dekada”, its the same Santos of vigor and transparency. The only difference is the depth, the resonance, and the greater confidence. Can she ever go wrong? Written by Lito Zulueta, "Dekada ‘70 makes the creative leap of faith," Philippine Daily Inquirer, 30 December 2002

For the Philippines, the seventies was more than just a period of shaggy hair, bell-bottom jeans, platform shoes, and disco music. It represented the rise of the conjugal dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, a U.S.-sponsored regime characterized by military repression and wholesale human rights violations. Conversely, it was also the fecund period for the sociopolitical awakening and involvement of many Filipinos; the humus for the renowned religious-political event, the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. Dekada 70 journeys with the central character Amanda Bartolome (Vilma Santos), the reticent wife of an alpha-male husband, and the worrying mother of a boisterous all-male brood. Thoroughly relegated to domesticity in a world slathered in testosterone, Amanda begins to undergo a transformation when her family becomes imbricated in the sociopolitical realities brought about by the Marcos dictatorship. The declaration of Martial Law, the lifting of the writ of habeas corpus, the curfews and police searches, all these could have easily floated past Amanda’s head had her sons not found themselves caught in the crossfire between the government and the pro-democracy movements. As one son after another faces the oppressive forces of the dictatorship, Amanda gradually realizes that the personal is political. While chanting slogans for sociopolitical change, she finds her own voice and comes to terms with the fullness of her own person.

It is notable that in the film, the divine presence is sublimated in the refusal to acquiesce to societal structures that perpetuate injustice. The characters’ eyes are opened to the dehumanizing impact of such oppressive structures and they join in the prophetic denunciation of what they have identified as “not-God.” This importantly resonates with the praxical imperative associated with theologies of liberation, which configure God as imbricated in the collective protest of the oppressed. Amanda then, in her “conversion to justice,” can be seen as synechdochic of the epiphanous becoming of Filipinos as a true people of the eucharist. Based on an awarded novel of the same title, Dekada 70 essays Amanda's personal and political journey is a patient navigation of each year of the seventies. To director Roňo’s credit, the film has a clear focus and steadily gets to its point through engaging but inobtrusive camerawork. The politically-charged scenes are strident enough to be visually disturbing, yet tempered enough to work on a more psychological level.

There are touches of seventies style Filipino humor that foreign audiences might miss; they effectively establish that this is a real, average Filipino family trying to navigate through the eye of the political storm. The acting is generally impressive, most especially that of lead actress Santos, who gives a luminous, sensitive performance. Santos essays the transformation of Amanda so effectively that we do see clearly at the end of the film that there has been a fundamental change in her character. If there is something to be faulted about the film, it is Roňo’s failure to keep melodramatic moments in check. The funeral sequence of one of Amanda�s sons, for instance, becomes an over-extended session of copious tears. The rich story material of Dekada 70 could do away with such “in your face” paroxysms, which only work to dull the film’s cutting edge political trajectory. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that Roňo had created a noteworthy, epic-scale Filipino film, and on a Third World budget at that. It also cannot be denied that Roňo had not forgotten the sentence of history on his home country. Neither will Filipino audiences. Written by Antonio D. Sison, "Dekada 70," Institure for Pastoral Initiatives, University of Nebraska, Vol. 8 No. 1 April 2004

I admire the director of this movie for being able to make a dramatic film based on a ground-breaking novel. It really pays tribute to the Philippines' Martial Law history. I really felt the seventies in this film. Too bad, this one didn't qualify for an Oscar Award in 2002. But it doesn't matter at all. This is really and excellent film. Vilma Santos once again acted like a superior actress who kbows no bounds. Christopher de Leon was okay. All their children did a good job acting. I also admire the make up designers of the movie who made everything fit to the seventies: the house, the furniture, the clothes, the hairstyle, the fashion and etc. I also liked the ending as well and the soundtrack song. It was really touching.People who like based-on-history films should really watch this one. IMDB

What the other critics said about Vilma Santos' performance in Dekada 70: “Santos’ Amanda effortlessly and movingly chronicles the changed consciousness of the family and the country, with understatement her most reliable tool. Pic begins and ends with images of Santos at the forefront of a political demonstration, and nothing, from first image to last, for 128 minutes, is allowed to spontaneously or slyly deviate from the logic of her consciousness-raising.” – Ronnie Scheib, Variety Magazine

“…about Vilma’s performance in “Dekada ‘70”: Some jurors, viewers and reviewers have expressed dissappointment over it because they regard it as too passive, low-key, unemotional, too much taken up with observation, and reflection instead of action. Thus, it doesn’t deserve the best actress award. We disagree. We think that, precisely because Vilma’s portrayal was so restrained for the most part, it was more difficult to achieve. It’s far easier to rant and rave, to “feel” bigtime, to run the gamut of emotions from A to Z- but, if Vilma did that, she would have gone against her character’s nature, as written...during the first half of the film, Vilma’s character occasionally felt unhappy, taken for granted or unappreciated as a person, but she held her emotions in check to keep the peace in the family. It was only later, when the national trauma of martial law rule affected her sons in various tragic ways, that she found the voice and rediscovered the heart to assert herself as a person and to give her emotions full play. We submit that Vilma’s portrayal is excellent precisely because she vivified he character as the wife and mother was in the ‘70s. Her thematic and emotional high points towards the end of the film rivetting, but it was her quieter, more controlled moments that showcased Vilma’s true gift as an actress. During those moments, Vilma didn’t just observe what was going on, she was constantly conflicted only, she had been programmed not to speak out because it wasn’t her “place”. Thus, when she finally changes and expresses herself in the end, the contrast makes her transformation all the more stunning. In the movie’s first half, Vilma is such a good actress that, although she may not be the active element in her family (her husband is), she is quietly involved in each and every scene, and every new development is seen from her point of view. Even better, despite her relative lack of dialogue at this point, we can “read” her thoughts on her face as clearly as though she were speaking. And we see her slowly changing before our very eyes, gradually overcoming her reticence, discovering her true worth, and finally finding and expressing her true self. This is very difficult to do, as any true thespian will affirm. Which is why, unlike some people who dismiss Vilma’s portrayal as passive and weak, we think it ranks among her best, right up there with her performances in and fully deserving of the filmfest’s coveted best actress trophy.” - Nestor Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer

“…Last seen in ANAK (SFIAAFF ‘01), Vilma Santos delivers an understated, profoundly moving performance as the matriarch whose awakening redefines the traditional mother and wife role she donned for years. This is the story of an incredible character that survived an unforgettable decade.” - Michael Magnaye, San Francisco Premiere, 22nd San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

“…The reason “Sister Stella L” will probably end up better appreciated is that the movie was shown during the martial law era. The movie was relevant to the times and Vilma was portraying an activist nun, a role not usually associated with the Star for all Seasons… As the mother, Vilma does justice to her character, holding back her strong emotions until the end, when she finally confronts Christopher de Leon and wants to break up with him. Despite the many tragic events that befall her character, Vilma chooses to underplay her role except at key points towards the end of the movie. Boyet is his usual competent self as the chauvinistic husband of Vilma who is forced to change when his wife breaks out of her shell. Piolo Pascual also deserves mention for his realistic portrayal of the activist turned NPA rebel…” - Edmund L. Sicam, Philippine Daily Inquirer

“…Unlike Vilma Santos’ Sister Stella L. character, who becomes politicized practically overnight, her Amanda role in “Dekada ‘70” takes longer to mature politically (almost the whole decade). And she goes through a very painful process because she experiences the abuses of the marcos regime by seeing her own children suffer. With Vilma hurting inside and suffering almost in silence, we have here in “Dekada ‘70” some very moving dramatic scenes that are mostly devoid of hysterics but are still very effective nonetheless. Actually, we see yet another facet of Vilma Santos’ acting talent in this film. In the story, she goes through guilt (with the fate of one of her sons), pain, anguish and anxiety (particularly with the eldest, Piolo)-plus discontent as a plain housewife who wants to do something more with her life other than to keep house for her husband and kids. The great actress that she is, Vilma is able to manifest clearly the different layers of her character in a very quiet manner, which-you have to admit-is quite difficult to achieve. But Vilma-after all these decades -can do no wrong anymore in the field of acting. Although it’s not the greatest performance of her career (it’s still Sister Stella L), her portrayal of Amanda in “Dekada ‘70” is no doubt one of her finest. More importantly, her role (and her approach to it) is different from the hundreds of other roles she has done in the past…” - Butch Francisco, The Philippine Star

In Chito S. Roño’s superb “Dekada ’70,” a family in the Marcos-era Philippines has a domineering father and five sons, but it is the mother (Vilma Santos) who provides the mental stamina. She fights for her family in ways the father can’t even dream of. “To give birth to these children isn’t enough,” she says. “You have to defend them, protect them.” That’s the ’70s. In 30 years, that kind of woman will deal with difficult questions of divorce and motherhood, one in which women want freedom, yet must be willing to share blame when something goes wrong. The young woman who leaves her husband and thinks about aborting her pregnancy in South Korean filmmaker Gina Kim’s “Invisible Light” is an experimental example. Moon’s great performance in “A Good Lawyer’s Wife” almost makes you believe wrong is right, and, taken with her much-lauded portrayal of a girl with cerebral palsy in “Oasis,” reveals her as one of the world’s best actresses. Hollywood, take note. – No stereotypes of Asians here — G. Allen Johnson, festival celebrates real women, San Francisco Chronicle March 4, 2004

Fernando Poe Jr.'s "Lawin" (hawk) failed to soar high at the box office after Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.'s "Agimat" (amulet) proved to be more powerful. Working wonders at the tills, "Agimat ni lolo," Revilla's action-fantasy-adventure movie was the top grossing film on the first day of the festival last Wednesday, edging out Poe's "Alamat ng Lawin," from top slot. Caloocan Mayor Rey Malonzo, chair of the MMFF executive committee, refused to divulge the box-office figures because "that was the request of the other producers." An MMFF insider, however, disclosed that "Agimat" earned P14 million gross on the day it opened. Imus Productions bankrolled "Agimat." As early as yesterday noon, Revilla said he was told that "Agimat" was already leading in the box office race. A number of theaters opened as early as 9 a.m.yesterday, making it easy to determine the results after only the first screening. Revilla outshone even comedy king Dolphy's "Home Along da Riles," which ranked only third. Regal Entertainment's "Mano Po," which boasts a powerhouse cast and Joel Lamangan at the helm, came in fourth. Star Cinema's period opus, "Dekada '70," directed by Chito Rono and top billed by drama royalty Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon, was fifth. The epic tale of Filipino hero "Lapu-Lapu," with Pampanga Governor Lito Lapid in the lead, took the sixth place, and Reflection Films' "Hula Mo, Huli Ko," starring Rudy Fernandez and Rufa Mae Quinto, came in seventh in the box-office race. But the box-office tallies might still change after tonight's "Gabi ng Parangal," when the MMFF hands out the awards to this festival's best films. Two more entries - OctoArts Films' "Lastikman" starring Vic Sotto and Regal Film''s "Spirit Warriors 2: Short-cut" -will be shown starting Jan 1. The filmfest will run until Jan 10. - Leah SalterioPhilippine Daily Inquirer, Dec 27 2002 (READ MORE)

This year's Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) sports a new name, but its trademark controversial image and reputation remain the same. The 28th MMFF has included a "P" in its official name. The "P" which stands for Philippines, means the entries in the festival can now be seen nationwide. The cast of "Dekada '70" staged a walkout. A special effects awardee returned his trophy. A film that failed to make it to the filmfest's top seven won thrid best picture. These and other inconsistencies were the "highlights" of this year's "Gabi ng Parangal" awards ceremony last Friday. Piolo was "Dekada '70's" biggest winner as best supporting actor for his compelling portrayal of a tortured rebel leader in Chito Rono's period drama. John Wayne Sace, who plays Pascual's brother Bingo, bagged the best supporting child actor award. "Dekada '70" also bagged the second best child actor award. "Dekada '70" also bagged the second best picture award. Regal Films' "Mano Po" romped off with the most number of awards, including the best actress plum that went to Ara Mina, who best-ed the veteran "Dekada '70" star Vilma Santos. Eddie Garcia was adjudged best festival actor, while Joel Lamangan was named this year's best director. Kris Aquino won best supporting actress also for "Mano Po." Regal Films matriarch Lily Monteverde thanked the filmfest committee in Aquino's behalf. Mother Lily has two more reasons to say "Chi chien" after "Mano Po" won best picture and best original story for writer Roy Iglesias. Iglesias also won the best screenplay citations for "Mano Po." Resty Garchitorena and Tara Limberger took home the best cinematography and best film editor awards, again for "Mano Po." The cross-cultural drama, which even partly filmed in Beijing, China, bagged a toral of 12 awards that night. Bong de Guzman snatched the best musical score trophy from such veteran composers as Louie Ocampo, Nonong Buencamino, Jimmy Fabregas and Elmer Sayson.

Best festival production design trophy was awarded to Tatus Aldana for his spectacular work on "Mano Po." The biggest surprise came when Chito Rono's "Spirit Warriors 2: Shortcut." won third best picture. The award came as a surprise even to its director Chito Rono, who upon hearing the news, commented that "the award only proved how good the movie is." "Spirit Warrior 2" snatched the festival's two most important technical awards - best make-up for Warren Munar and best visual effects for Dodge Ledesma and Road Runner Productions. Unlike "Alamat" and "Lastikman" which didn't get any award, Reflectin Films' "Hula Mo, Huli Ko" and RVQ Productions' "Home Alone da Riles" each won an award. RVQ Productions' "Nasaan Ka" was heralded as this year's best theme song, while Caloy de Leon won the best sound recording plum for his work on "Hula Mo." De Leon, however, returned the award later that night. "I want the jurors to explain to me how can a film dubbed in mono like "Hula Mo" win over other films dubbed in Dolby digital," he said. Imus Productions' spectacular "Agimat" float took home P75,000 after bagging the best festival float award. Noticeably absent during the awards night were "Alamat ng Lawin" lead star Fernando Poe Jr., his leading lady Ina Raymundo, and the entire cast of "Lastikman," led by comedian-producer Vic Sotto. Poe's long-time aide, Amay Bisaya, said the action king chose not to attend the ceremony to "avoid intrigues and politicking." - Marinel R. CruzPhilippine Daily Ingquirer, Dec 29 2002 (READ MORE)

"...In this sense, the ultimate triumph of Dekada '70 lies not so much in recounting the horrors of Martial Law but in taking into account how one can embrace social change and follow the path towards struggle. This is dramatized in the metaphorical odyssey taken by the film's central figure, a wife and mother named Amanda Bartolome. At first, she would think that pleasing her husband and raising her five boys are all that matters in life. When monstrosities entailed by the turbulent times would prove otherwise, she would come to realize that to be a dutiful wife and loving mother means nothing amidst the social landscape without the wheels of justice, suffused with the spilt blood of oppression and severely debilitated by rampant poverty. The abiding wife and caring mother would then stop just tending to her home to reach out to the larger society that she would find in need too of her cradling. The symbolic trek Amanda would set out to embark on could nevertheless be hers alone. It must also be the inspiring odyssey involving countless others that audiences may do well to emulate for the valor and resolve they exemplify in taking up a cause. Dekada '70 pays homage to them as well. The film is also recognized for Best Screenplay, Best Achievement in Sound which includes music and Best Performance by the mother-and-son team of Vilma Santos and Piolo Pascual..." - Nonoy L. Lauzon, NCCA, 23 June 2003 (READ MORE)

Philippine's Entry to the Oscar - "...Santos’ performance is so vivid and insightful that we can see her changing in front of our very eyes...We were enthralled...we were moved. And we valued the film’s important contribution to the very urgent task of reminding everyone of the trauma in our collective lives that was the martial law period of the '70s,” noted Nestor Torre of Inquirer News Service. Chito Rono’s Dekada ‘70 made its world premier at the Asian American International Film Festival in June of 2003. The film has also won numerous domestic awards...Judging by the number of awards, one could easily classify Dekada ‘70 a success, but unfortunately box office figures are considered classified in the Philippines so it impossible to tell exactly how well the movie did domestically. However, Nonoy Lauzon of the University of Philippines Film Institute and president of the Young Critics Circle, which named Dekada ‘70 Best Film of the Year (2002), stated “Sources who request anonymity place the domestic take of Dekada ‘70 at P53, 962,413 (in Philippine peso) or roughly 1.079 million in US dollars. For a Filipino film to be counted as a blockbuster, it must break the P100M mark.” So obviously, this was by no means a mega-hit, yet it was selected to represent the Philippines as the film submitted to the 2004 Oscars for possible nomination. A film is selected to be submitted for an Academy Award nomination by The Film Academy of the Philippines, which creates a committee for this purpose. “The committee reviews and picks the best film from among those shown within the period stipulated by AMPAS rules. A film sent to the Oscars has finished its commercial run in the country such that the distinction could not at all be said to make an impact on the film's profitability,” according to Lauzon. While being submitted for possible nomination is surely gratifying to the makers of the film, only when it is actually nominated will Filipino films and their makers gain more credibility in the U.S. and in their own country, where Hollywood imports drown out the domestic films..." - Sara Stokoe, Additional research by Shirley Hsu, Asia Media UCLA (READ MORE)

Educational Value - "...As expected, the beginning has a brief prologue with the country’s political climate before jetting off to deal with the Seventies in a year-by-year basis, mostly revolving around a rotation of drama between a married couple’s five growing boys, and their growing involvement in the country’s politics. (Down with imperialism, down with feudalism, up with communism, etc.) The momentum moves along smoothly from 1970 ‘til 1975, with the title-marked year at each transition helping to feel a sense of accomplishment in Cliffs Notes-ian breakdown. But, as much of the familial drama heats up (this son joins a militant group, that son writes communist propaganda, another son gets a girl pregnant, et al), circa ‘76-‘79, the pacing is botched and things are slowed down a great deal without a separation of time. During that period, though not to much surprise, the perspective is tendentious to the repressed mother, whom all of her children find to be the voice of reason and understanding, as much as their father tries to play it cool. It remains soap-operatic without any stretch of the imagination (well into the epilogue in 1983), though despite many of its faults, there is a certain educational value consistent throughout and applied systematically via the various functions each of the children entail. Lualhati Bautista adapts her own best-selling novel, and feminist agenda aside, the story and the movie would crack without the mother character, and the solidifying presence of Vilma Santos, whose only unfortunate requirement is to give voice to all of the repressed Filipinas at once. Directed by Chito S. Roño; with Christopher De Leon, Piolo Pascual, Marvin Agustin, Carlos Agassi, Danilo Barrios, and John Wayne Sace..." - Greg Muskewitz, efilmcritic (READ MORE)

Brutal Effects - "...The mother in Dekada '70 is played by the attractive Vilma Santos (Amanda). She ably portrays the loving mother and the trials and tribulations of a woman. Her husband, played by Christopher De Leon, is a very truthful rendition of a middle-class man from an Asian country in the 70s. The sons, two out of five are played by Piolo Pascual and Marvin Agustin, heed different callings. One becomes a radical leftist. Another one joins the U.S. Navy. Yet another becomes a writer. Everything is represented. Obviously the choices are going to lead to conflict and strife. It is how Amanda navigates the life she has chosen and how she deals with the men in her life that gives us a compelling story. There were times when the script didn't feel entirely "tight," but perfection is not what this film is aiming for--it is the message...This was a dark time for the Philippines. The film lets us feel that reality...Dekada '70 was a contribution from the Philippines which realistically portrayed the Marcos dictatorship. What might have been perceived as a "benevolent" authoritarian government by some, was a nightmare to many of its people. Because of the fact that they followed the American line, I think we were led to believe that things were not so bad. In fact, the brutal effects of a government that turned to martial law are clearly shown in this movie--as it affects a family. A family of boys, one would assume that the audience would get a male-dominated version of reality. But, the story really revolves around the mother..." - Mukul Khurana, San Diego Asian Filmfestival.blogspot.ca, September 30, 2005 (READ MORE)

State Fascism - "...The film was successful in presenting state fascism so vividly. Violent dispersal of protest actions. Curfew imposition. Forced disappearances. Salvaging. But the horror that was martial rule was best reflected in the torture scenes, which were based on actual testimonies of the victims’ relatives. After Marcos was ousted by the 1986 people uprising, almost 6,000 persons were killed, 737 missing, 35,000 tortured and 70,000 arrested. Ruins of the Marcos bust flashed to my mind. It could only tell so much of the ire earned by the Marcoses. What struck me most was that I realized I was not only looking at the past but also at the present state of human rights in the country. A dear friend was shot while pleading for her life. Another colleague abducted and harassed. Another one raped. Perpetrators were men in uniform. The victims were plain civilians..." - Ronalyn Olea, Bulatlat (READ MORE)





Sunday, September 25, 2011

DEKADA 60: Si Ate Vi, Si GING


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 Lipa City Mayor, too! (now Governor of Batangas-FRV)) 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, 04 March 1999

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

GING (1964)

“Pagmasdan n’yo ako…ako po’y ulilang lubos…inaapi at hinahamak…kung hindi n’yo po kahahabagan ay nasaan ang katarungan?!” - Ging


Basic Information: Direction: Cirio H. Santiago, Teodorico C. Santos; Adapted screenplay: Teodorico C. Santos; Original screenplay: Mars Ravelo; Cast: Vilma Santos, Jose Padilla Jr., Olivia Cenizal, Carol Varga, Ramon D'Salva, Aruray, Etang Discher, Georgie Quizon, Ponga, Jose Garcia, Paquito Salcedo, Eva Montes, Marvin Molina, Pol Todd; Original Music: Tony Maiquez; Cinematography: Lito Padrino; Editing: Demetrio De Santos; Production Design: Bert Amazar; Theme Song: “Ulila” composed by Levi Celerio, sung by Vilma Santos; Producer: Adela Santiago

Plot Description: 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.

Film 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, "Tatak Vilma Santos," V magazine issue no. 6 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, "DEKADA 60: Si Ate Vi, Si GING,"  People’s Journal 04 March 1999

"...Young and cute Vilma Santos is one of the few child stars who have hit the screen with continued success. Although not as well-publicized as the adult stars, she is gaining popularity with lot of fans who recognize her warm personality and talent. Her successful debut in Sampaguita Pictures' Trusdis Liit gave her more movie offers. Vilma, who just turned 13 last Nov. 3, has been in the movies for three years and already has 16 pictures to her credit. A talented youngster, she often steals the spotlight from her senior colleagues. In Ging, Naligaw Na Anghel, Anak Ang Iyong Ina, and many other films, she was a standout in tear-jearking scenes. As a result, she is always in demand for such roles. Despite her success, Vilma remains unaffected as a child. At the St. mary's Academy where she is a six-grader, she has more than her share of friends not because she is a celebrity but because of her natural chumminess. In fact, she is so fond of her friends that their house on Lunas St in La Loma, Quezon City is often filled with them. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Amado Santos, do not discourage her gregariousness and instead look upon it as part of her developing personality...Vilma's movie commitments don't prevent her from being a good student. She could have been easily way above average if only her shooting schedules sometimes do not prevent her from attending her classes. "Doing two tasks at the same time gave me a hard time at the beginning but I've adjusted to it now," said this youngster who still goes for lollipops, ice cream, toys, and play. Vilma, who spends her leisure hours listening to radio dramas, dancing and playing with her three other sisters, will be seen in her coming films, Sigaw Ng Batingaw of Argo Productions..." - Julio F. Silverio, The Weekly Nation, 31 December 1965, reposted at Pelikula Atbp blog (READ MORE)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Eva Linda sa Wish Ko Lang

During the late 70s, her star was among the brightest in the silver screen. Because of her beauty and appeal, she often bagged the roles of a seductive villainess. Eva Linda was only 14 years old then. In one of the Darna movies, Eva played the role of a modern Valentina. And her arch-enemy is no other than the "star for all seasons", Ms. Vilma Santos. But Eva decided to start her own family and leave the showbiz industry when the 80s came. Little did she know that this would also mark the beginning of her hardships in life. She got separated with the man she's with, and even her three children was taken away from her by circumstances. The only opportunity that knocked her door is to work as a house maid, which she accepted to get by. This Saturday, Eva gets a surprise visit by a former co-star. Once her "rival", now offers a helping hand. Wish Ko Lang! with Vicky Morales airs every Saturday, after Misteryo. Sa mga huling taon ng dekada sitenta, isa sa mga bituing nagningning sa pinilakang tabing ay si Eva Linda. Maganda at punong-puno ng alindog kaya naman ang mga papel na bilang matapang pero mapang-akit na kontrabida... nakuha ng noo'y 14 taong gulang na si Eva.

Sa isang pelikula ni Darna... siya ang gumanap bilang modernong Valentina…at ang katunggali niyang Darna, walang iba kungdi ang “star for all seasons" na si Vilma Santos. Ngunit pagpasok ng dekada otsenta, nagdesisyon si Eva na bitiwan ang pag-aartista at magsimula ng pamilya...hindi nya alam, ito na rin ang umpisa ng kanyang kalbaryo sa buhay. Naghiwalay sila ng kanyang kinakasama at maging ang tatlong anak ay nawalay din sa kanya dahil hindi niya kaya silang itaguyod. Hindi nakatapos ng pag-aaral ang dating artista, kaya wala siyang ibang trabaho. Hanggang sa kumatok ang pagkakataon sa kanya, pero ito ay ang mamasukan siya bilang katulong. Tinanggap ito ni Eva para kahit papano ay may pangtawid ng gutom. Tunghayan, isang dating ka-eksena sa pelikula ang susorpesa kay Eva. Kung dati, tarayan at labanan ang kanilang eksena, ngayon papalitan ng mga ngiti at papuri. Sino itong bisita ni Eva? Isa siyang Gobernadorang taga Batangas…promise… Abangan sa Wish Ko Lang! kasama si Vicky Morales, Sabado ng hapon, pagkatapos ng Misteryo sa GMA-7. ("Actress Then, Housemaid Now" and "Gov. Vilma Santos Surprise!").

Darna Vs. the Planet Women (1975) Narda (Vilma Santos) finds her boyfriend (Zandro Zamora) paralyzed by a mysterious beam shot from a UFO. With her brother Ding (Bentot Jr.), she prays for help for her boyfriend. Then, a mysterious voice answers and sends her an enchanted amulet of power. The power of Darna is contained within the magic pebble. With her new powers she now battles The Planet Women, headed by the evil Elektra (Rosanna Ortiz), who paralyzed her boyfriend, and then foils their plan to move the Earth to their home star system. Also stars Lita Vasquez, Eva Linda, and Diana Villa as The Planet Women. (Superstrangevideo.com).

Casts: Vilma Santos - Darna/Narda, Rosanna Ortiz - Elektra, Bentot Jr. - Ding, Zandro Zamora - Ramon, Eva Linda - Planet Woman, Lita Vasquez - Planet Woman, Liza Zobel - Planet Woman
  • Eva Linda's Filmography:
  • 1975 Darna vs. the Planet Women
  • 1975 They Call Him Chop-suey
  • 1974 Master Samurai
  • 1973 Anak ng aswang
  • 1973 Bakit may bilanggo sa anak ni Eba?
  • 1973 Dyesebel
  • 1973 Fight Batman Fight!
  • 1972 May lihim ang gabi
  • 1972 Trahe de trahedya
  • 1972 Trubador
  • 1971 Sangre
Wish Ko Lang (Just My Wish) is the first wish-granting show on Philippine television. Its pilot episode was broadcast July 2002, hosted by Bernadette Sembrano. She was later replaced by Vicky Morales after Sembrano transferred to rival network ABS-CBN.[1] The show celebrated its 8th Anniversary November–December 2010 (Wikepedia).





Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ricky Lo's "Mano Po, Ate Vi!”

Last but definitely not the least. The Mano Po series by Regal Films closes at the 2004 Metro Manila Film Festival with Mano Po 3: My Love, following Mano Po 1: My Family and Mano Po 2: My Home, again with Joel Lamangan at the helm (Mano Po 2 was megged by Erik Matti). And to celebrate the culmination of Local Movies’ only successful trilogy, sustained with a big cast and astronomical budget, Regal Matriarch moved heaven and earth to enlist Vilma Santos, The Star For All Seasons, as lead actress opposite Mano Po "veteran" Christopher "Boyet" de Leon, marking the loveteam’s 23rd movie together since 1975. Funfare/Conversation’s Toronto-based "international correspondent" Ferdinand Lapuz has listed down (chronologically) Vilma and Boyet’s starrers:

1975 – Tagulan sa Tagaraw (the first movie of Alma Moreno)
1977 – Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig (with Mat Ranillo III)
1978 – Ikaw ay Akin (with Nora Aunor)
1978 – Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali
1979 – Pinay American Style (with Bembol Roco and Cocoy Laurel)
1979 – Disco Fever (first film of Rio Locsin)
1979 – Magkaribal (with Alma Moreno)
1980 – Gusto Kita, Mahal Ko Siya (with Romeo Vasquez, shot in the US)
1981 – Pakawalan Mo Ako (with Anthony Castelo, Vilma winning her 2nd FAMAS Best Actress)
1981 – Karma (with Vilma winning as Best Actress at that year’s Metro Filmfest)
1982 – Sinasamba Kita (with Lorna Tolentino and Phillip Salvador)
1982 – Relasyon (with Vilma scoring a Best Actress grand slam)
1982 – Haplos (with Rio Locsin)
1983 – Paano Ba ang Mangarap?
1983 – Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan ang Nakaraan (with Eddie Garcia)
1983 – Broken Marriage (with Vilma winning her second consecutive Urian trophy)
1989 – Imortal (with both Vilma and Boyet won acting trophies at the Metro Manila Filmfest)
1991 – Ipagpatawad Mo (with Vilma winning her fifth Urian trophy)
1993 – Dahil Mahal Kita, The Dolzura Cortez Story (with Vilma winning as Best Actress at the Manila Filmfest and second Best Actress grand slam minus the FAMAS which elevated her to its Hall of Fame in 1988)
1994 – Nagiisang Bituin (with Aga Muhlach)
1997 – Hanggang Ngayon Ika’y Minamahal
2002 – Dekada ’70 (with Vilma winning her fourth grand slam; she scored her third with Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? in 1998).

There. Twenty-three all in all (including Mano Po 3). Count ‘em. From Oct. 4 to 8, Vilma and Boyet, together with the other stars of Mano Po 3 led by Mother Lily, were in Beijing for a photo shoot (both for the press releases and the movie’s MTV) with Raymund Isaac. The STAR’s contributing celebrity photographer Richard Chen was a member of 50-strong entourage. Two days after they came back, Vilma sat down for a free-wheeling Conversation.

Why Mano Po 3 of all the offers? "Something new kasi, e. I want something that will make me look good naman for a change, ‘yung maayos naman ako. In my previous movies (Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?; Anak; and Dekada ’70), I played a housewife forever wearing a duster. The public might get used to seeing me in duster, so I want a movie whose plot suits me and a role which requires me to wear nice clothes."

You started shooting the other day. Have the "issues" been ironed out? "There was really no issue except in the casting. But Mother (Lily) has the last say on that. Well, it’s already Sheryl (Cruz) in the final cast, so that’s it."

What about your talent fee? Have you settled that (minor) issue? "No problem. Mother knows how much I am worth."

How long are you shooting for the movie? "Supposedly 25 days. I can shoot three days a week, mostly on weekends."

So you didn’t shoot any scene in Beijing? "Mostly pictorials and some shots for the MTV."

During your four days there, did you have a chance to see the sights? "Not much, not many. In a way, yes, I was able to visit the scenic spots because we did our pictorials there, like the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall which are the places tourists go to."

I heard that you walked in The Great Wall. You had such stamina, huh? "Oh, yes, I did walk. I was in rubber shoes. But during the pictorial, I changed to high heels because I was wearing cheongsam(s). Since we moved from one spot to another, I would sometimes walk on high heels."

Fit na fit ka, huh! "Because I exercise regularly... at least twice a week, no matter how tired I am. I do the treadmill and Taebo as soon as I go home from work."

And your diet? "I eat anything but in moderation. I seldom eat rice."

Which of the scenic spots in Beijing impressed you the most? "Of course, The Great Wall. One of the wonders of the world, isn’t it? Correct me if I’m wrong but I learned from the tourist guide that it took many, many years – I’m just not sure how many years – to build The Great Wall. And they used clay to start building it!"

Is it true that you’re planning to build a Great Wall around Lipa City? "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"

It’s good that you were able to go on tour. "A bit. We were tired but we were happy. We were a good company; walang killjoy. Mother saw to it that we were comfortable. She booked us in a nice hotel; the food was, wow, talagang masarap! She really pampered us."

It was your first time in Beijing. Don’t you have any plan of going back as a tourist, maybe with your family? "I’ll go back – definitely! It will purely be a holiday, no work at all. The goods are very nice – the tablecloths, pillowcases, etc. But I hardly bought anything because we were busy with work. Besides, where would we put those things? We brought several suitcases, all right, but they were packed with our costumes, most of them bulky. Next time, I’ll go there to relax and enjoy."

Did you study Chinese for your role? "I did. Every member of the cast was taught how to speak Fookien by a tutor. Two days before we flew to Beijing, hayun, I could already speak some Chinese, such as ni hao ma? (Are you okay?), shi-shi (Thank you) and chay hui (Goodbye)."

Did you and the other members of the cast have time to bond? "Oh, yes, we did. Actually, our Beijing trip was the start of our bonding. During the presscon last month, not all of us knew one another very well, especially the bagets (new faces) in the cast. Nag-bonding talaga kami doon. Everybody was professional. We enjoyed each other’s company."

How many times have you worked with Boots? "Tita Boots... let me see. A few times but the last time was years ago. I think I was very young then."

Eddie Garcia? "Oh, several times already! He even directed me in some pictures. Our last project together was Imortal."

Jay Manalo? "My first time with him and my first time, too with direk Joel and Sheryl (Cruz)."

Let’s make it clear. Sheryl is playing not your daughter but your sister-in-law (Bernadette). "That’s right. In the story, Bernadette is the one member of the clan who’s always with me. Later on, we clash. Sheryl and I have confrontation scenes. Sheryl’s character is close to me but when she learns that I’m seeing the character of Boyet, she fights with me. Bernadette, the sister of Jay’s character, is a stickler for Chinese customs and tradition and when she realizes that I’m breaking some, she really fights with me."

Bernadette is the same role originally intended for Judy Ann Santos, right? "Or so I heard."

Either Sheryl or Judy Ann would have been okay with you? "Okay lang kahit sino sa kanila. I’d rather not comment anymore about it."

Among the bagets cast, you’ve worked with only Carlo Aquino (in Bata, Bata, Paano ka Ginawa? which won a few awards for him) and Angelica Panganiban (in Lipa Masssacre). Of course, the other bagets must be "intimidated" to be working with the Vilma Santos. "I hope they are not."

How do you reassure them? "It’s also my first time to work with Karylle, Dennis (Trillo), Angel (Locsin), Patrick (Garcia) and John (Prats). When we met, they greeted me, all right, but I noticed that they were somewhat shy. So I embraced them and asked, ‘Kumusta na?’ Dennis is the most quiet of them all, so I told him, ‘Why are you so quiet?’ I touched his face and asked him to join in the fun. By and by, they were relaxed na and comfortable with me."

You really have a way with the young ones, like Piolo Pascual, Marvin Agustin, Carlos Agassi and Danilo Barrios who worked with you in Dekada ’70. "Until now, they get in touch; they call. I call them anak and they call me Mommy. They call me regularly. We talk about their work and their problems. With them, I’m just Vilma Santos, their friend, and not Vilma Santos the actress or the Mayor. Ordinaryo lang ako sa kanila."

Of course, you and Boyet have worked on 22 movies already (with Mano Po 3 as the 23rd). "I think Boyet and I are the longest-running loveteam in Philippine movie history."

Amazing, ‘no, considering that there’s no love angle between you in real life. "Ibang klase ang chemistry namin."

Has Boyet ever tried to court you (when you were still both single)? "A, basta. Platonic kami. Whether kami o hindi, what’s important is that the public loves us and believes in us."

In Mano Po 3, you don’t play husband and wife... "...No, we don’t. Jay plays my husband but Boyet is my first love. We did have a relationship when we were young (played by Carlo and Angelica), pero di kami nagkatuluyan because of the Chinese custom which paired me off with Jay. Then, Boyet and I meet again when we already have respective families."

As lolo and lola? (Knocking on wood) "Not yet. Not now!"

Of the 22 movies you’ve done with Boyet, which three would you consider most memorable? "Relasyon, definitely (The movie, directed by Ishmael Bernal, won a Best Actress grand slam for Vilma. – RFL). Tagulan sa Tagaraw because it was our first (in 1975, directed by Celso Ad. Castillo). Ang dami! All of them are memorable – Broken Marriage, Ipagpatawad Mo, Dolzura Cortez Story, Dekada ’70, all of them!"

If you and Boyet were a real-life couple, who would you be? "Who do you think? Which couple ba is interesting and colorful?"

You and Ralph. (Laughs and laughs) "Not yet. Marami pang sequels at subplots ang buhay namin. Many things can still happen."

Twenty years from now, what’s the ideal film for you and Boyet? "Something like On Golden Pond (starring Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn). Ang ganda! When we are old and grey and we’re still a loveteam, Boyet and I should do a movie like that."

You’re turning, well, 51 on Nov. 3. What are your thoughts on growing, ehem, wiser? "Ano, e...First, I’m not scared of growing old, especially if you learn many things as you mature. I still don’t feel that I’m 50-plus; feeling ko I’m only 38."

How do you preserve your looks? "Attitude. I’m a very positive person. I don’t store up negative feelings. It’s unhealthy, di ba? I take good care of myself by exercising regularly and eating the right food."

Aside from Eskinol, what do you apply on your face? "As much as possible, I don’t apply anything on my face. I have a sensitive face kasi; maa-allergy lang ako. What’s important is not to sleep with make-up on. I put hot compress before I sleep para bumukas ang pores ko and cold compress before I put on make-up para sumara ang pores ko. Besides that, I don’t apply anything else."

Haven’t you ever thought of any "enhancing" surgery? "Like lipo? Thank God, I don’t need it yet. I’m not against it. Maybe someday, why not? But not now."

So every part of you is natural. "I don’t need that kind of thing yet, not even Botox. Maybe someday...but not yet, not now. All of us grow old and nobody can stop it. What’s important is to grow old gracefully...and still be pleasant to be with and pleasing to look at."

What’s the best thing about being a Golden Girl? "That you’ve learned a lot, you’ve learned your lessons and you have a purpose in life. That’s the most important thing. Now that I’ve matured, I begin to realize that, in your later years when you look back, what really matters is what good things you’ve done and what kind of legacy you’re leaving behind and not how much money you’re leaving behind."

How would you sum up your present state of being? "Heaven!" - Ricky Lo, Philippine Star, October 24, 2004
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