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, August 30, 2012

Remembering Vic Silayan

"Mr. Silayan, I would like to do a documentary on your career as an actor." "A what?" came his voice over the telephone. "A documentary - on your life." This was June of 1984. Sadly, he was perplexed at the idea of committing his life story for the screen. He didn't know who I was and my request was even stranger. He hesitated for a few seconds. "Why don't we talk about it. Are you busy right now?" "No," I replied. 'Why don't you come over?" I got on the first bus to the Villamore Driving Range. It was his "office." People who needed to get in touch with him called or went to this place. When I arrived, he was watching some golfers practice. Later, I found out that he spent most of his time in the driving range just watching. "I'm not allowed to play. I haven't played in two years. Doctor's orders, you see." His heart trouble prevented him from doing a lot of things. Including accepting certain movie roles. But despite his precarious health, he persisted on taking certain risks. For instance, he drove his own car. I introduced myself as a preservor of films from De La Salle University. Our first meeting, a short one we both assessed, stretched to four hours. He was a fascinating storyteller. With some prodding, he unleashed a storm of details about his youth, his experiences in the war and his work in the movies. He capped the meeting with a fervid account of his close brush with death which happened towards the end of the second world war. "I was talking to a group of friends when a bomb exploded a ten meters away from where we were seated." He was 16 at that time. "I remember getting up from my seat when the explosions came. As I was being helped back to the house, all I could hear was a sharp ringing sound in my ear. As we entered, my sister saw me and they started screaming. Later, they told me that while I was trying to explain what has happened, blood was profuse coming out from mouth." he has shown wound all over his body. His right leg got partly burned and he lost his toenails. I remember the day flies crawling on the wounds on my upper legs. (later, he grew a mustache to cover the scar.) I was brought to San Lazaro where the doctors tried pulling the steel wires that got embedded in my chest. They pulled me up as they tried to pull out the wires." Born in Manila on Jan. 31, 1929, Vic Silayan is unquestionably one of the finest Filipino actors of this century. A Bachelor of Arts graduate from Ateneo, 1951, he once said that his education had a strong influence on his acting style. As an actor, he is a multi-media talents: be excelled on stage, on radio, on TV and in film. "Acting came naturally to me." He had done Shakespeare, Arthur Miller and even Broadway musicals. In the times that we met during and after the making of the documentary, he often talked about his own feeling about performing and creating character before an audience.

Among his early plays, Cyrafina J. Bergerac (1952), where he did the starring role, comes foremost to mind. "I remember the applause even though one is exhausted, the applause fills the heart. I remember Carlos P. Romulo being in the audience. I also remember Hilarion Henares, Sr. talking about Jose Ferrer's Broadway performance and how I compared to it; he said the limited budget did not diminish the impact of my performance at all. I only overheard it and I cried in the dark." A legend in his own time, Vic Silayan's film career began in 1953 when he was cast by director Lamberto Avellana to appeal in the role of a PC captain in the film Huk sa Bagong Pamumuhay. Since then he has appeared in over 300 films some of which where foreign production. Often, he was cast as a bad guy, a part which according to him, is more difficult to portray. Needless to say, he was a victim of typecasting - for a time he was the film industry's favorite Japanese officer. But it's to his credit that he has managed to make a mark in several Filipino classic. Among them are Anak Dalita, Badjao and Malvarosa. However, he is best remembered for his role of a psychologically imbalanced retired policeman in Mike de Leon's Kisapmata. In the film, he portrays an over possessive father who murders his whole family and eventually kills himself. "I didn't like the person I portrayed in that film," the actor once said. "There have been bad-men roles that I liked. But that one I didn't like. May diperensiya siya. He was mean to other people who couldn't fight back." Nonetheless, it was performance that earned him an Urian best actor award, his second. (In 1983, he won best supporting actor honors for Marilou Diaz Abaya's Karnal.) Aside from his work as an actor, many remember him for the rich, deep quality of his voice. Yet, he is modest about it.

"My father had a better voice. He was good in public speaking. He spoke excellent English. He even had a good singing voice but he refused to sing professionally." I say Vic Silayan for the last time at the Kidney Center, three weeks before he died. Obviously, his health had deteriorated - he had lost so much weight and he had difficulty in breathing. With his weak voice, he asked me how I was. I said, "Fine." "It's my heart," he mumbled. "The doctors said they couldn't do anything for me anymore." He had aneurysm, a lump on a blood vessel in his heart, which he said could rupture anytime and kill him. I promised to do all the talking that afternoon. And as if on cue, I started out on the subject of old movies, a subject which he always relished. Despite his condition, he tried recalling some films that he had seen as a boy. He also tried his best to show me that his memory has not failed him. We ended our talk on the subject of Filipino short films. "It's quite promising," I assured him. Before we parted, he asked me, "Do you think I should start thinking about another career?" "Why not try writing?" I replied. "I don't know. Sometimes it's fear that stops people from trying anything. Maybe I should." When I learned about his death last August 30, my mind raced back to the time after we had our first meeting. At that time, a thought crossed my mind: If I had lived just to hear him tell his own story, I believe it was worth it. The same thought still holds true today. - Emmanuel A. Reyes, Manila Standard, Sep 06 1987 (READ MORE)

Vic Silayan and Vilma Santos
  • Paano Ba Ang Mangarap (1983) - Vic Silayan played the husband of domineering snotty rich, Armida Sigueon Reyna and Vilma Santos played the unwed pregnant fiance of their son, played by the late Jay Ilagan.
  • Sinasamba Kita (1982) - Vic Silayan played the rich death-stricken father of Vilma Santos whose last wish is for Vilma to find her illigitimate daughter played by Lorna Tolentino.
  • Karma (1981) - Vic Silayan played a hypnotist/psychiatrist who explained to Ronaldo Valdez the concept of reincarnation. Vilma played the lover of Ronaldo Valdez.
  • Langis at tubig (1980) - Vic Silayan played the judge who convict the bigamist, Dindo Fernando. Vilma played one fo the two wives Dindo wed.
  • Ang galing-galing mo, Mrs. Jones (1980) - Vic Silayan played a conniving politician who abuse, Mrs Jones played by Vilma Santos.
  • Dugo at pag-ibig sa kapirasong lupa (1975) - Vic Silayan played a forgettable role in one of the four segments, so as Vilma.
  • Ikaw lamang (1973) - Vic Silayan played the supporting role to the new team of Paolo Romero and Vilma Santos.
  • Ito ang Pilipino (1966) - Vic Silayan played one of the major role in this Joseph Estrada-Barbara Perez film. Vilma Santos played a minor child star role with another child protege, Jay Ilagan.

Victor Payumo Silayan (popularly known as Vic Silayan) is a veteran movie-stage Filipino actor. He was born in Manila on January 31, 1929 and died on August 30, 1987 due to heart attack. His acting prowess has been higlighted in the movie, Kisapmata where he played a man who had an incestuous attraction to his daughter, traumatizing everyone around them. Silayan's sterling portrayals have earned him four awards. - Wikipilipinas (READ MORE)








Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ANG HIWAGA NI MARIA CINDERELLA (1973)


Basic Information: Directed: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Cast: Vilma Santos, Jay Ilagan, Blanca Gomez, Geena Zablan, Janet Clemente, Ike Lozada, German Moreno, Jannie Frias, Jingle, Winnie Santos, Maricel, Jonjon Salvador, Mary Rose Junco, Jerry Jackson, Dondon Nakar, Florence Aguilar, Romeo Miranda, Max Alvarado, Matimtiman Cruz, Joseph Sytangco, Elizabeth Vaughn; Original Music: Tito Arevalo; Cinematography: Tommy Marcelino

Plot Description: Filipino version of Cinderella.

Film Achievement: "...Jay Ilagan and Vilma Santos did seven films with commercial success except for one, their most critically acclaimed film, Sister Stella L. Total Number of films with Vilma Santos – 11 (Inspiration, Ang Konduktora, Tsismosang Tindera, Ang Hiwaga ni Mariang Cinderella, Paano Ba Ang Mangarap, Sister Stella L, Coed, Leron Leron Sinta, Ito Ang Pilipino, Remembrance, Karugtong Ng Kahapon)..." - RV (READ MORE)

"...Borlaza gave Vilma Santos her very first best actress, winning the 1972 FAMAS for via Dama De Noche. He is also credited in narrowing the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. Total Number of Films in our list of VSR’s Top 50 films = 4 (#10 Lipad Darna Lipad 1973, #32 Dyesebel at ang Mahiwagang Kabibe 1973, #48 Darna and the Giants 1973, #49 Dama De Noche 1972)..." - RV (READ MORE)

Film Reviews: "...Besides teaming up with Edgar Mortiz during her teen years, Vilma Santos also starred and appeared in many movies opposite other leading men..." - Simon Santos (READ MORE)

"...His films lack the arthouse style and social relevance that critics loves most in a Brocka or Bernal films but who cares about the critics when the paying public loves them. And the producers demand his service, from Doc Perez of Sampaguita Pictures, Atty. Esperidion Laxa of Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions and later on, Vic Del Rosario of Viva Films and Lily Monteverde of Regal Films. Clearly, his films exists with one purpose, to entertain the masses not to depress or remind them with the country’s sad fate of economy or the below poverty line lives of many. The success of the Vilma-Borlaza films gave Vilma Santos versatility and preparation to a more serious acting career. It also narrowed the popularity gap between her and the musical era’s darling of the 70s, Nora Aunor. These are perhaps, the most significant contributions of Emmanuel Borlaza to Vilma’s career. Vilma who was considered only second to Nora couldn’t matched her singing talent and so, Borlaza countered this lack of singing with films that showcased Vilma’s acting versatility..." - RV (READ MORE)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Noon at Ngayon

Siyam na taong gulang si Vilma Santos nang gawin niya ang kauna-unahang pelikula niya ang “Trudis Liit” ng VP Pictures na itinanghal noong Pebrero 21 – Marso 2, 1963. Naging abala siya pagkatapos sa linguhang taping ng TV series na “Larawan ng Pag-ibig” sa ABS (ang dating KBS sa Roxas Blvd. Noon) kung saan nakasama niya sina Zeny Zabala at Willie Sotelo. Noon pa man, kapuna-puna na madaling kumuha ng direksiyon si Vi, bukod pa sa mabilis itong magmemoya ng linya. Lubha rin siyang maingat sa kanyang pangkalahatang kaanyuhan bago humarap sa kamera. Kapag ang eksena ay sa loob ng tahanan, medyo guguluhin niya ang buhok, titiyakin na may kalumaan ang suot na simpleng damit, pati na ang tsinelas. Kapag sa labas naman ang eksena, pipili siya ng angkop na kasuotan, na para sa kanya ay komportable at simple. Dito sila madalas nagkakaiba ng panlasa ng kanyang ina. Pati na sa ayos ng buhok. Ang kay Vi, ang pananatili pa rin ng dating gawi. Ang sa kanyang mama, artista at kinakailangan nga naman ng kauting pagbabago sa panlabas na kaanyuan. Siyempre, ang kadalasang resulta, ang Mama niya ang nasusunod. After all, mother knows best, hindi ba? Bagay na hanggang nagdalaga si Vi ay muli at muli niyang napatunayan. Anyway, noon pa man, natural lang na mamalas kay Mama Santos ang understandeble pride sa anak, lalo pa’t madalas sabihin nina Zeny at Willie, “Artista talaga! Madali niyang masakyan ang prepesyong ito!” na matinding intriga at kontrobersiya.

Ipinanganak nga marahil si Ma. Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos sa show business dahil sa pagitan ng taping ng “Larawan..” ay nagkasunod-sunod na ang kanyang mga pelikula: ”Anak, Ang Iyong Ina” ng Sampaguita Pictures (Abril 5 – 13, 1963), “King ang Queen For A Day” (Hulyo 4 – 13, 1963), “Duelo Sa Sapang Bato” ng Larry Santiago Productions (Hulyo 13 – 22, 1963), “Aninong Bakal” ng Vitri Films (Oktubre 9 – 28, 1963), “Ging” ng People’s Pictures (Enero 20 – 29, 1964), “Larawan Ng Pag-ibig” ng Vitri (base sa TV series, Pebrero 19 – 28, 1964), “Naligaw Na Anghel” ng LSP (Agosto 8 – 17, 1964), “Sa Bawa’t Pintig Ng Puso” ng LSP (Nobyemre 16 – 25, 1964), “Sa Baril Magtuos” ng Medallion Films (Abril 12 – 20, 1965), “Maria Cecilia” ng LSP (Mayo 15 – 24, 1965), “Morena Martir” ng VP (Hulyo 20 – Agosto 9, 1965), “Kay Tagal Ng Umaga” ng LSP (Agosto 23 – Setyembre 1, 1965), “Iginuhit Ng Tadhana” ng 777 Films (Setyembre 7 – 15, 1965), “Hindi Nahahati Ang Langit” ng LSP (Enero 9 – 18, 1966), “Hampaslupang Maton” ng JBC (Mayo 5 – 12, 1966), “Ito Ang Dahilan” ng LSP (Agosto 1 – 8, 1966), “Batang Iwahig” ng LSP (Oktubre 21 – 28, 1966), “Ito Ang Pilipino” ng EMAR (Disyembre 30, 1966 – Enero 9, 1967), “The Longest Hundred Miles” ng VIP (Hunyo 18 – 27, 1967), “De Colores” ng Arco-Iris (Marso 30 – April 10, 1968), “Kasalanan Kaya” ng Virgo Films (Hunyo 16 – 28, 1968), “Sino Ang May Karapatan” ng Virgo (Nobyembre 16 – 25, 1968), “Pinagbukold Ng Langit” ng UBP (Agosto 7 – 28, 1969), “Pag-ibig, Masdan Ang Ginawa Mo” ng RVQ Films (Setyembre 7 – 13, 1969), “My Darling Eddie” ng JBC (Disyembre 16 – 23, 1969, “Mardy” ng JBC (Disyembre 31 – Enero 6, 1969) hanggang “Young Love” ng VP Enero 1 – 21, 1970) ng lumikha ng rekord sa takilya.

Ang tutoo niyan, ang pag-aartista ni Vi ay nag-ugat sa isang family reunion na usung-uso sa mga Santoses. Sa isa sa mga ganyang okasyon, nabanggit ng tiyuhin ni Vi, si G. Amaury Agra, (noo’y cameraman ng Sampaguita Pictures) na bakit hindi nito subukin ang pag-aartista. Katuwiran ng amain, lista naman ang pamangkin at napakalimit pa nitong mapasali sa school plays, siyempre, ayaw ng ina ang dating Milagros Tuazon na tubong Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. Pag-aaral muna, bago ano pa aman. Iba naman ang reaksiyon ng ama, si Amado Santos ng Bamban, Tarlac. Amused ito at siyempre, nandoon ang parental pride dahil batid niyang maganda, matalino at lista ang anak. Iba pa rin ang reaksiyon ng mag kapatid ni Vi, sina Ma. Michaela (Emelyn) at Ma. Theresa (Maritess). Tuwang-tuwa sila. Masarap nga namang pakinggan iyong may “artista” sa pamilya. Ang dalawang bunso, sina Ma. Norwena (Winnie) at Joel (Sonny Boy) ay mga paslit pa lamang upang maunawaan ang pinag=uusapan. Natapos ang family reunion. Nakalimutan ang suhestiyon.

Makalipas ang mga tatlong buwan, nakatanggap ng maikling sulat si Mama Santos muka lay G. Agra. Naghahanap ang Sampaguita Picutures ng batang babae na gaganap ng mahalagang papel sa “Anak, Ang Iyong Ina!” at isinali ng amain ang pangalan ni Vi. Hindi puwedeng lumiban si Papa Santos sa pinpasukang government office, at ayaw naman nilang mapahiya ang kamag-anak, kaya napilitan si Mama Santos na humingi ng day=off sa opisina (Aguinaldo’s). Pagdating sa studio, wala si G. Agra at nasa location shooting, ngunit totoong naroroon ang pangalan ni Vi, kaya’t pinapasok sila sa tanggapan. Napadaan sa harapan ni Mama Santos si Bella Flores na dala ang script ng “Trudis Liit.” Nagulumihanan si Mama Santos. Binasa niyang muli ang liham ni G. Agra. Mali yata ang napuntahan nila! Akma niyang tatawagin si Vi na noon ay nkikipaglaro sa iba pang mga bata upang yayain na itong umuwi, nang pumasok sina Mommy Vera, Dr. at Mrs. Perez, at Eddie Garcia. At doon nagsimula ang movie career ni Vi na magpahanggang ngayon ay batbat pa rin ng iba’t ibang panunuri, opinyon at konklusiyon.

Pagkatapos ni Vi ng “Young Love,” nagsimula naman ang napakalaking pagbabago sa buhay niya at career life. Ang trend noon ay musicals, kung kaya’t sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, umawit siya sa pelikula. Sa “My Darling Eddie” ng JBC, inawit niya ang “Devoted To You” ka-dweto si Edgar Mortiz. At dahil kararaos lamang ni Vi ng kanyang 16th birthday, sinulat ni Danny Subido ang awiting “Sixteen” na siyang naging unang plaka ni Vi sa Wilear’s Recording na ang likod ay “Wonderful To Be In Love.” Ang nasabing plaka ay agad naging number one sa loob lamang ng limang araw at tumagal ito sa gayong puwesto nang mahigit sa isang buwan. Noon, malaking rekord na ang gayon.

1970 rin nang magsimula ang professional rivalry nila ni Nora Aunor na lalong lumaganap at tumagal sa tulong ng mga publisidad, mga tagahanga at mga tao sa kani-kanilang paligid. Iisa ang pinagpatahian nila ng damit, ang Torino’s, halos iisa rin ang mga TV programs na dinadaluhan nial, gayon din ang mga movie companies na kanilang pinaglilingkuran, ngunit sa mata ng publiko, lalo na ng kanikanilang mga tagahanga, magkaiba sina Vilma at Nora. Iisa lamang ang dapat nakaupo sa trono ng katanyagan, iisa lamang ang dapat may hawak ng setro ng popularidad, iisa lamang ang puputungan ng korona ng superstardom.

1970 rin nang magsimulang i-ugnay si Vi kay Edgar, na siyang naging kauna-unahang nobyo niya sa tunay na buhay. Sunod-sunod ang kanilang pagtatambal: “Songs and Lovers” ng Tagalog Ilang Ilang Productions, “My Pledge Of Love” ng TIIP, “Love Is For the Two Of Us” ng AM, “From The Bottom of My Heart” ng TIIP at “Sixteen” ng Sampaguita, Ang naging mahigpit na “kalaban” ng kanilang tambalan ay ang love team nina Guy at Pip (Tirso Cruz III).

Dahil sa sunod-sunod na siyuting, hindi lang natigil sa pag-oopisina si Mama Santos, kung hindi nanganib din na matigil sa pag-aaral si Vi na nasa fourth year high school na. Minabuti nilang kumuha ng private tutor, na pinayagan naman ng pamunuan ng St. Mary’s Academy sa Trozo, Tondo, Maynila. Sa kanyang graduation, halata na mahal ng mga madre, guro at kamag-aral si Vi. Nagbalak siyang magpatuloy sa college, kahit na hindi kumpletong units bawa’t semester, ngunit iba pala ang balak ni Atty. Laxa ng TIIP.

1970 pa rin nang unang manibang bansa si Vi. Ginawa nila ni Edgar doon ang “Aloha, My Love” at “Never Say Goodbye.” Pagbalik niya rito, ginawa naman niya ang “Dingdong” ng Sampaguita ng siyang unang pinagtambalan nila ni Pip. Balik-tambalan sila ni Edgar sa “Sweethearts” at “Love Letters” bago niya sinimulan ang una nilang pagtatambal ni Jay Ilagan, ang “Inspirasyon” ng TIIP sa direksiyon ni Ishmael Bernal. Nasundan ito ng pagkakapanalo niya sa FAMAS (“Dama De Noche” ng TIIP) at nagpatuloy na niyang makasama ang iba pang mga batikan sa mga pelikulang tulad ng “Karugtong Ng Kahapon” (Eddie Rodriguez), “Mga Tigre Sa Sirra Cruz” (Charito Solis, direktor Augusto “Totoy” Buenaventura) at “Batya’t Palu-Palo” (Fernando Poe Jr.).

Anupa’t walang naging ibang daigdig ni Vi, mula 1963 kung hindi ang show business. Sabi ng niya sa isang interview: “…ibang-iba talaga. Para bang di man lamang ako dumaan sa pagkabata…heto akong naka-lollipop, and then bigla, ni wala man lamang transition, tumanda na akao, kayod na ako nang kayod, daig ko pa ang isang padre de familia. Noon, hindi ko pa na realiza na parang abnormal pala ang growing-up years ko. Paano, bising-bisi ako lagi sa trabaho. Besides, I was too young to understand about such things then, I ondly got to realiza about the things I’ve missed in life when I saw my younger sisters growing up. Ang saya-saya nila, they’re completely free to do anything they please, ang dami-dami nilang experiences na di mo man lamang naranasan. Somehow, in a way, inggit ako sa kanila. Pero all the same, ang mga nangyari’y nangyari na. Kahit ano pa ba ang gawin mo, di na na babalik ‘yung mga nakalipas na. And then, I’ve also learned it isn’t right to blame other people for what you’ve become. Kasi, ano e, talagang di tama. After all, if you don’t really want to do something, wala namang makakapilit sa’yo a. It’s not right for me to blame my Mama or my Papa dahil they never pushed me into becoming a movie personality. Ang aking pag-aartista’y kagustuhan ko. Lahat naman tayo, we all have to do what we feel we have to do. Everything in this world naman is dedicated by necessity. And yet, at the same time, di naman siguro ako masisisi for feeling cheated about some good things in life that somehow I feel I’ve missed...”

At nagpatuloy ang paggawa niya ng pelikula. Siya’y naging si “Dyesebel,” si “Darna,” si “Wonder Vi,” at ‘Bertang Kerengken” at ang “Kampanerang Kuba.” Nagpatuloy din ang pagsubaybay sa kanya ng publiko, bagama’t ibang aspeto sa buhay ni Vi ang nais laging malaman, ang kanyang love life. Naghiwalay sila ng landas ni Edgar at naging paboritong paksa ng hulaan ay kung sino ang susunod na aangkin sa pag-ibig ni Vi. Lahat halos nang nakatambal niya ay nasali sa “hulaan,” Jojit Paredes, Ronnie Henares, Dave Brodett, Jay Ilagan, Tirso Cruz III, Christopher De Leon, Mat Ranillo III, Bembol Roco, ABM Junior, Romeo Vasquez, Mark Gil at Lito Lapid. Maging sina Fernando Poe Jr., Dolphy at Eddie Rodriguez ay hindi nakaligtas. Ang hindi lamang yata nadawit kay ay sina Mayor Joseph Estrada (“The Sultan and I”), Victor Laurel (“Ophelia at Paris”), Jun Aristorenas (“Mahilig Ang Mister Ko”), Rudy Fernandez (“Makahiya’t Talahib”), Philip Salvador (“Rubia Servios”), Angelo Castro Jr at Ramil Rodriguez (“Modelong Tanso”) at Al Tantay (“Ang Galing Galign Mo Mrs Jones”). Wala isa mang nakakula na si Ronnie Henares ang naging mapalad na pangalawang kasintahan ni Vi.

1975 nang magsimulang magbago ng image si Vi. Pumayag siyang gumanap ng nagdadalang-tao sa “Mahilig…” at makipaghalikan ng lips to lips sa “Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw.” 1976 ay lalong napagtibay ang bold image ni Vi. Nag-prodyus siya at gumanap sa “Mga Rosa Sa Putikan” na sa pamagat lamang ay mahuhulaan kung anong uri ng karakter ang kanyang ginampanan. Ngunit sa kabila ng mga iyan, naroroon pa rin ang “hulaan” sa love life ng dalaga. Lalo pa nga at noong Marso 22, 1976 ay naging panauhin siya ng TV show ni Edgar na “People,” kapalit nung pagtungo nito sa TV show ni Vi, ang “Ayan Eh!” Natural, iisa ang konklusiyon ng karamihan. Magkakabalikan ang dating magkasintahan ng tatlong taon.

Nang sumunod ng taon, 1977, nakilala niya at nakatambal si Romeo Vasquez sa “Nagaapoy Na Damdamin.” Nang mga panahong iyon, nagpasiya na si Vi na bumukod ng tirahan. Ang tanging hangarin niya noon: matutong mamuhay nang mag-isa, magpasiya nang siya lamang ang mananagot sa anumang kahihinatnan, at matikman ang inaakala niyang kalayaan na ganap lamang niyang mapagsasawaan kung siya’y nakahiwalay sa mga magulang at kapatid. Naganap nga ang kanyang kagustuhan, ngunit hungkag pa rin ang kanyang buhay. Walang direksiyon. Ang naging publisidad nang hakbang na ito ni vi ay ang diumano’y pagsasabi niya na “I want to be liberated.” Marami ang nagtaas ng kilay. At lalo nang hindi nila maibaba ito nang mapabalita na si Bobby ay kasintahan na ni Vi. Lalong gumulo na ang iba’t ibang nasulat tungkol sa dalawa. Hanggang sa tuluyan nang maghiwalay sila ng landas.

Muli, pelikula na naman ang nagpaliit ng daigdig ni Vi. Bagama’t ang 1978 ay tinaguriang taon ng mga rosas para kay Vi (panay ang padala ng mga rosas nina Bobby, Christopher, Mar Ranillo, Rolly Quizon at isang nagngangalang Ricky), iyon din ang taong ng “Rubia Servios.” Sa awards night na ginanap noong Enero 3, 1979 sa CCP, marami ang humula na mananalo si Vi. Ngunit si Guy ang nanalo sa “Atsay.”

Ilang araw matapos ang awards night, nabalita na nagtangkang magpakamatay si Vi dahil sa sama ng loob. Paano at saan nagsimula ang balita? Mahirap tukuyin. Ang madali ay ang katotohanan. Pagkagaling sa CCP, nagkita-kita sina Vi at ang kanyang pamilya, Manay Ichu (Marichu Vera Perez), mga kapatid nitong sina Lilibeth at Chona, Cleo Cruz at ang manunulat na ito sa Palamigan Express. Pagkagaling doon, naganyaya si Vi sa kanyang tinutuluyan, sa Tuscanny sa Makati. Hindi sumama si Cleo. Pagdating doon nagpaalam na rin ang mga magulang at kapatid ni Vi. Naiwan ang mga Vera-Perezes, ang alalay noon ni Vi si Viring at ang ang inyong lindkod. Tahasang inamin ni Vi: “Hinangad ko ang manalo, dahil alam kong mahusay ang pagkakaganap ko sa tulong ni direk (Lino Brocka), Ipe (Philip) at Archie (Mat) at iba pang mga kasama. Pero hindi ako umasa. I hoped I’d win, but I did not expect naman. Of course, disappointed ako, masakit, pero kailangang tanggapin…” at iniba na ni Many Ichu ang usapan. Naglabas si Vi ng alak, naging topic ang mga off-the-record na love life at ilang personal na suliranin ni Vi at bago namin namalayan umaga na pala.

Duon, sa Tuscanny, muli naming napatunayan ang isa pang aspeto ng personalidad ni Vi. Ang kanyang pagiging masinop at pagiging systematic. Kung sabagay, noon pa mang nagsisimula pa lamang si Vi, agad mapapansin sa kanya ang breeding, sincerity at pagiging very gracious. Ang ganyang kaugalian ay nadala niya magpahanggang ngayon. Maging nang dumating ang panahon na nagkasabit-sabit ang kanyang mga schedule na naging dahilan nang pagiging unprofessional niya at times. Hindi pa rin nagbago ang kanyang basic and inherit traits.

Ngayon, nahaharap si Vi sa panibagong chapter in her life, ang pagiging isang ina. At sa halip na unawain siya ng iba, ngayon pa lamang hinuhusgahan na siya. May nanghihinayang. May kumukondena. Ngunit sa pagkakatanda namin, noon, ang tanong ay: ano ang pumipigil sa pag-aasawa ni Vi? Tipong inaapura nila ito noon at ngayong magpasiya ang aktres at bigyan daan ang sariling kaligayahan, iba naman ang naging reaksiyon.

The Cover: Anu’t-anuman, sa paglingon ni Vi, taas-noo niyang masasabi na naibahagi niya sa kanyang publiko at tapat na mahabang pagbibigay-kasiyahan sa pamamagitan ng kanyang mga pelikula, plaka, TV shows at personal appearances. Altogether, she gave the best years of her life to her adoring public and it is but her right for her to now give herself the chance to live her life the way she wants it. Sinulat ni Ched P. Gonzales, Vilma Santos: Noon At Ngayon written by Ched P. Gonzales, Modern Romances & True Confessions Magazine, December 15, 1980, Pelikula AtBP

Friday, August 24, 2012

IN MY LIFE (2009)

"Huwag kang magmagaling! Dahil wala kang alam!" - Shirley


Basic Information: Directed: Olivia M. Lamasan; Story: Raymond Lee, Olivia M. Lamasan; Screenplay: Raymond Lee, Senedy Que, Olivia M. Lamasan; Cast: Vilma Santos, John Lloyd Cruz, Luis Manzano, Tirso Cruz III; Executive producer: Malou N. Santos; Original Music: Nonong Buencamino; Cinematography: Charlie Peralta; Film Editing: Marya Ignacio; Production Design: Elfren Vibar; Theme Song: “Something New In My Life” Performed by Sarah Geronimo; Official Web-site: www.inmylife.starcinema.com.ph

Plot Description: Santos plays Shirley, a public school librarian who wants to be in control of everything. Her unwarranted intervention in the lives of her children and their families leads to their emotional detachment from each other. Feeling she has lost her command over her children, she flies to New York to reunite with his estranged son, Mark (Manzano) only to find out that her son is gay and she has to live with him and his lover, illegal immigrant Noel (Cruz). As Shirley struggles to deal with the situation and with living in the Big Apple, she discovers that being gay is not the only huge secret that Mark is keeping. Discovering what this is will change Shirley’s life forever. – mannythemovieguy.com

Film Achievement: Star Awards: Movie of the Year – Star Cinema; Best Actress – Vilma Santos; Best Actor – John Llyod Cruz; Best Supporting Actor – Luis Manzano; Best Screenplay – Lee, Que, Lamasan; Best Cinematography Nomination – Charlie Peralta; Best Editing Nomination – Marya Ignacio; Best Musical Score Nomination – Nonong Buencamino; Best Production Design Nomination – Efren Vivar; Best Sound Nomination – Albert Michael Idioma; Gawad Tanglaw: Best Film – Star Cinema; Best Actress – Ms. Vilma Santos; Best Actor – John Lloyd Cruz; Best Supporting Actor – Luis Manzano; Best Director – Olivia Lamasan; Golden Screen: Best Actress Nomination – Vilma Santos; Best Actor Nomination – John Llyod Cruz; Best Supporting Actor Nomination – Luis Manzano; Best Motion Picture Drama Nomination – Star Cinema; Best Director Nomination – Olivia Lamasan; Best Screenplay Nominations – Lee, Lamasan, Que; Best Cinematography Nomination – Charlie Peralta; Best Editing Nomination – Marya Ignacio; Best Production Design Nomination – Elfren Vivar; Best Sound Nomination – Albert Michael Idioma; Best Musical Score Nomination – Nonong Buencamino; Gawad Urian: Best Actress Nomination – Vilma Santos; Best Actor Nomination – John Llyod Cruz; FAMAS: Best Picture Nomination – Star Cinema; Best Actor Nomination – - John Lloyd Cruz; Best Supporting Actor Nomination – Luis Manzano; Best Director Nomination – Olivia M. Lamasan; Best Cinematography Nomination – Charlie Peralta; Best Sound Nomination – Albert Michael Idioma; Best Screenplay and Story Nominations – Raymond Lee/Olivia Lamasan; Best Musical Score Nomination – Nonong Buencamino; Best Art Direction Nomination – Elfren Vivar

‘In My Life’ Earns a Record P20M On First Day - Star Cinema’s “In My Life,” the ABS-CBN movie outfit’s grandest film offering for 2009, earned a record P20 million in ticket sales on its first day of screening on Wednesday. This was according to the data released by Star Cinema’s Booking and Distribution Department, “SNN: Showbiz News Ngayon” reported. Under the direction of well-acclaimed director Olivia Lamasan, “In My Live” is posing to surpass the total earnings of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos’ 2002 Star Cinema film, “Dekada ’70.” “Dekada ’70″ was Santos last film project before she agreed to do “In My Life.” “In My Life” lead stars Luis Manzano, John Lloyd Cruz and Santos were grateful to all moviegoers who supported their film. “Maraming salamat po sa inyo. It’s a happy movie. Medyo may kurot sa puso. Buhay niyo po ito, iyong nanay niyo at kung paano magmahal nang unconditional,” Santos said. Cruz added: “Sa totoo lang hindi ako makapaniwala na natapos ko itong movie at naka-trabaho ko si Ate Vi, si inang (Lamasan). I will be forever grateful sa naabot kong ito.” Manzano also thanked all those who commended him for his genuine portrayal of a gay man. “Hindi po biro ang pinanggalingan naming lahat. So the fact na masabi iyon na I gave justice to Mark’s role, napakalaking bagay na po noon para sa akin. Thank you very much,” Manzano said. – ABS-CBN News, Sep 17 2009

In My life screened in selected cities in United States and Canada in October of 2009 with huge success.  The film was ranked 13th on the All-time highest-grossing local films, earning 2.89M US$ (135.74M PH).

Film Reviews: In My Life, which stars Vilma Santos as a librarian, opens on September 16 and, predictably enough, articles about the film are beginning to appear. In “Direk Olive’s ‘In My Life’ is bold and fresh,” by Walden Sadiri (Manila Bulletin, 2009), its director Olive Lamasan is quoted as saying that she helped Santos “rehearse how a librarian walks and looks ‘losyang.’” If this were an article for a scholarly journal, I suppose some questions that could be asked are: Is there such a thing as a “librarian walk”? Are all librarians losyang (Tagalog slang for unglamorous)? But it probably isn’t fair to ask such questions of an article that only seeks to promote the release of a soon-to-be shown film. I think it’s important to remember that Lamasan is talking about a specific character in a particular film. And that it would be a mistake to focus only on this one phrase in the 20-paragraph article or judge the entire movie based on how the librarian is portrayed. I don’t think there was any intention to characterize ALL librarians as losyang. But we also cannot deny that this stereotypical librarian exists. I look at the photo above and remember that more than a few librarians I’ve met dress exactly that way. Should the director perhaps have made sure that all kinds of librarians were represented in her film? It’s not her responsibility to do so and that’s not really how movies are made. Librarians can probably condemn the movie and/or call for a boycott, but what will that accomplish? I think it’s much better to take this opportunity to say that, yes, there is an existing stereotype, but there are so many different kinds of librarians AND promote what these librarians are doing that do not fit the stereotype. The reason the image of the losyang librarian persists is that people do not see any other kind of librarian in media.

This is the reason I always identify myself as a librarian AND started putting my photo on my blog. If we do not present alternative images of librarians, there is no way the stereotype will be replaced. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We can’t just leave it to others to tell the people who we are; that’s why the stereotypes about librarians continue to flourish. We have to be the ones to go out there and tell people who we are. It’s not enough to complain about inaccurate images of librarians; we must be able to present alternative, positive images in movies, books and, yes, blogs =) An article entitled “It’s hip to be a librarian” appeared in the same newspaper last month. A few weeks before that, the influence of Reynaldo G. Alejandro as a librarian on a young boy was specifically mentioned by the grown journalist who benefited from his guidance. It is my hope that more journalists will consider doing more stories about non-stereotypical librarians on TV and in print. And that librarians will be more conscious about promoting their profession as well. - The Filipino Librarian READ MORE

The best thing about it is that it got made. Star Cinema, the most mainstream of movie studios in the country, lagged behind the so-called gay bandwagon, perhaps by strict design: It’s not supposed to be their territory. Homosexuality, believed to be a niche concern, presumably falls outside the realm of Star Cinema’s broad, PG-13 market. Yet by some dint of miracle, it casts Vilma Santos, one of the biggest stars ever, and a present provincial governor no less, in the main role of a mother to a gay son, played by Luis Manzano, Santos’ real life son. And then, oh boy, in the role of Manzano’s lover, the country’s current most bankable romantic leading man, John Lloyd Cruz. It’s directed by Olivia Lamasan, whose female-centered melodramas have come to emblematize the Star Cinema brand. With such trusted names, is there still reason for the public to shy away from the gay topic? The uncanny hat-trick of In My Life is that the bandwagon it jumps is not the gay one, but still the female-centered family melodrama that Star Cinema helped galvanize, and also the OFW movie — a drama mapping the plight of Overseas Filipino Workers and their families — perhaps one of only two originally Filipino genres to emerge from our lifetime. (The other one is the macho dancer movie.) This one is largely set in New York City, and it’s centrally the woman’s story, with the gay elements tempered and almost subliminal. That is the film’s winning strategy, but also its debilitating blind spot. What suffers is specificity. What do we know of the two guys’ relationship? Most of it is left to the imagination, or, more accurately, to That Which We Know But Never Show Or Talk About. Is their relationship even sexual? The film’s one kiss, which arrives late in the movie, is a swift, barely-brushed lip-to-limp. It’s also meant to express apology and forgiveness — you know, the wholesome, Catholic facet of love. It’s hard for me to muster enough love for a movie that’s intentionally castrated and guilty.

But it’s not just the sex that’s missing. I vaguely get to understand the lives of these two gay men in New York City. For example, what is Mark’s job and why is he so damn busy? There’s also a gay bar, but we barely see what goes on there, or what the interior even looks like. And the ultimate missing information: Is Noel gay, bi, confused, pretending, or maybe just another straight guy who happens to love a gay guy? It’s up to the viewer to decide; Your Mom might have a different opinion than you. Cruz’s family-friendly persona is spared of the damage. Not to give away spoilers, but he does end up quite a chaste man by film’s end. All’s well in the happy sin-free world, where only one of two things can happen to a gay man: He either dies violently or just stops being gay. Of course, John Lloyd Cruz as Noel is the archetypal leading man of Star Cinema: a man who loves unconditionally, who suffers for his love, who also happens to be devoted to his parents. He’s predictably given moments to bare his heart out. But Manzano as Mark is the more interesting creation. He’d rather go to the gym than spend time with his Mom, and he makes that strange proposal to her (I won’t give away the surprise), tapping into a son who’s both practical and caring, tough and sweet. Plus, with all that missing sex in the movie, Manzano manages to hint at someone who’s comfortable with it, next to Cruz’s somewhat frozen take on man-to-man touching.

But what little gay moments that are permitted to slip through are strong. In one scene, Shirley (Santos) complains that her son never even “came out” to her. In defense, Mark points out the double standard: If his straight siblings were never obligated to declare their straightness, why should he announce his gayness? Lamasan’s co-writers, Raymond Lee and Senedy Que, are minds behind two of the most progressive queer films of our time. (Lee produced Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros; Que wrote and directed Dose.) Like those films, In My Life belies a fierce intelligence, wisdom that comes from a place of experience, at least whenever it’s allowed. The film’s most special move is that it roots Mark’s anxiety — He’s never good enough for Mom — to that moment in adolescence when he felt his homosexuality was a disappointment. But the makers don’t know when to ease up on the melodramatic conventions, which stall the movie here and there. Shirley’s journey is marked with obvious, rigid plotpoints. She spends the first part whining about America with a capital A, then finds mini-success as a career woman, complete with feel-good montage. There’s an old-fashioned, weary mannerism to Lamasan’s approach, not helped by her visual team. New York is a flat, gray city in the eyes of cinematographer Charlie Peralta, and lifeless and generic according to production designer Elfren Vibar. Somewhere in this movie is a shining work of art, but it’s shrouded in mediocrity. GRADE: B – The Bakla Review (READ MORE)

It is easy to blame it on distance. They say distance kills families. Distance breeds rebellious children who account their parentless childhood for lack of love towards them. It breeds children who don’t finish school and do drugs instead. It breeds children who would rather party all night than call their parents and ask them how they’re doing. It breeds children who complain they can’t find time to call their parents because it’s so late, why don’t they just call me instead? And when the parents call, Oh, shit, tell them I’m busy. Studying. These children who have always thought that the lack of attention given to them, like Claudine Barretto’s character in Anak, is more important than the attention given to them. They don’t need material things, they don’t need tuition for school, they don’t need extra allowance, they don’t need a secure home and steady future: what they need is the only thing not given to them. Their parents rearing them, being with them, seeing them everyday. Like that scene, the best moments in the film are those which meld specific personal experience to the anyone-can-relate universal — which is really the aim of the genre of melodrama. Santos may be a mother to a gay son, but she’s really just any parent who wants to say sorry for her mistakes. Dimples Romana, in a great supporting performance, is any daughter (or son) who felt like a failure. That response to parental distance is not exactly wrong, but the movies made out of it make it appear that distance is the only reason why families break up, and why children lose their lines of communication with their parents. No one wants to go away, no one wants to work abroad and leave their children behind, no one wants to see them brought up by somebody else. But a family has to eat, kids have to go to school, young ladies need nice clothes for the prom, boys need boy things, the house must be repaired, your cousin Boyet has cancer, your Lolo Tasyo died and we have to pay for the coffin and the funeral parlor, and so on and so forth. Necessities pile up, so parents try their luck abroad and stay there for years. Children are left to stay with their lolos and lolas, or titos and titas. Parents send money once or twice a month, send boxes of imported goods, chocolates, clothes, love letters. Years go by. They go back. They see the worth of their sacrifice. Their children have all grown up. They don’t even recognize them, even if they send pictures once a year on their birthdays. But some things are lost, some things are left unsaid between them, or rather, some things are preferred not to be said. The distance mattered. From geographical to emotional, the distance continues to separate them.

But as I said, it is easy to hold the distance responsible. The homebreaker. The murderer of good relationships. We are so acquainted with these overseas worker stories that we tend to limit our understanding and segregate them into labeled “lucky” and “unlucky” boxes. In My Life closes the deal for me upon setting this matter straight. In this case, the son works abroad and the mother follows him, initially for a vacation. After mulling things over, or as it seems, she plans to stay for good. She thinks she has nowhere to go. Her daughter is migrating to Australia. Her former husband and her children prod her to agree to sell the house more than its worth. Staying in New York wouldn’t be a bad idea, especially that she is an American citizen by birth. The baggage of family problems she carries dents the narrative. Apparently, working in another country is an issue here. But it is not what keeps her family apart. For one, her daughter and her family want to stay in Australia holding on the promise of better life. Her son works in New York after an opportunity given to him by his employer. Or—he chooses to stay because he wants the hell out of his boring life in the Philippines. Or—sounding more judgmental, maybe he just wants to have fun, collect strangers, knit love stories out of them and make himself happy. Or—we just don’t know how many reasons we can come up with. But I wish to raise my tone here. Distance is not the problem. It is the mother’s failure to bring up her children well. As you see, the same producers who gave us Milan, Dubai, and Caregiver also made For The First Time and Love Me Again. Once love and work are set in another place, they become special. And In My Life is special in the virtue of the mother’s character as a failed one. She spent time with her children trying to raise them like any good mother does. She hardly listened to what they wanted because she thought she knew what’s best for them. She was there, as they all grew up. Along the way, her children made choices, and she was unaware that she was neglecting things that were important to them. Her son’s sexuality, her daughter’s dream of becoming a doctor, her husband’s unknown reason for splitting up. In defense of her character, she did her best. But she failed, and it took its toll on her. Gravely.

She had to realize it—so there goes the fish-out-of-the-water setup in New York. She meets her son’s partner who willingly guides her in the city. The partner is heavily used as a device to reveal her nature. Personally, it is the mother’s relationship with him—as opposed to the mother-son or mother-daughter or mother-herself relationship—that is integral to the film’s premise. The most beautiful part of the film is not when her son confesses to her about his childhood, but when she and her son’s partner exchange snide remarks after the wake, and they argue and throw rocks of guilt at each other. From then on the doubt we raised on her character becomes truth. She has no one to blame for her suffering but herself. The woman who plays the mother tries hard to be young, which might be the pattern of her recent films. It is not a bad path after all, for one has to graduate from doing the same things for a long time. She has comedic timing, and she has dramatic prowess. When she complains, “Ginagawa niya akong turista! Ikaw ang pinunta ko rito, hindi ‘yung tour!” we laugh because she is witty. When she throws a tantrum after getting lost in the subway, we hate her. Apart from knowing that it was her fault, we can’t stand the charming partner being blamed despite his niceness by an ingrate. It crossed my mind to call her character one of the weakest roles ever written for her, but that’s just because Shirley Templo isn’t too likable. She is repulsive most of the time. Reflecting, the actor has portrayed “unlikable” characters before, even taboo roles for that matter, yet we still like her. But in In My Life, her role tends to go beyond understanding; you just need to be her to understand her. Yet the actor delivers; she deceives us. But the blood of the film flows from the actor who plays the son’s partner.

Amid the histrionics and uneven noise of the film in general, he shows his restraint without fuss. Apparently the writers intend to make his character subdued. He exists in the periphery without losing his grip. When he cries at his partner’s back as he hugs him on the bridge, he is the equivalent of sacrifice. Never show the pain, never show the loneliness. That’s us, on the screen. The brief exposure of his family’s life is enough for us to connect with him. Contrary to the emphasis given to the mother’s family, we would like to know him more, know if the lump in his mother’s breast is just a false alarm, know if he’s just fine after crying overnight. We learn about his troubles in staying in the States, how he juggles work and hobby, how he struggles to earn for his marriage. God forbid, we don’t want him to fall into the arms of Pamela. His issues are more interesting, yet what makes him special is that like most people around us, we only get to know him up to a certain extent. He comes and goes. We miss him. We want to see if he’s fine. His distance unsettles us, in a good way. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that these locations that the producers choose are just a way to make more money. They could show it abroad and Filipinos there would flock to the theaters, filled with expectations of connecting with the film one way or another, see their lives projected on screen, see themselves in the characters. It’s some sort of self-discovery. They want to be intimate with themselves, see how it works, see their situations from afar, observe how other people react. Their identification with the characters is what they paid the tickets for. If they don’t shed a tear, that’s disappointment. But more often they just find ways to connect. They look at the nuances with affection, checking if the characters reacted the same way they did in similar situations. Audiences seek connection, and if they don’t find it, they create it. Even if the film is more of an examination of their faults as parents and children than the circumstances that brought them where they are. – Richard Bolisay, Asian Films, Noypi, QueerREAD MORE

"...Vilma Santos seldom appears in movies anymore, so when she does it is an event. In My Life is a good choice because she is allowed to act her age. Her character Shirley Templo (great name) is cute but frequently unsympathetic and even irritating, the way fussy old people who are set in their ways, who are resistant to anything new and never admit their own mistakes, are irritating. A human being! Wow. But she is still Ate Vi so there will be dancing. The bagel guy, though: too ancient. The extras: Please..." - Jessica Zafra (READ MORE)

"...Her last film project In My Life told of a mother (Vilma Santos) coming to terms with her son’s (Luis Manzano) gay lifestyle, understanding the emotions of his lover (John Lloyd Cruz) and accepting her own defects as a person and mother. One reviewer stated that the story of In My Life was just too much to digest with a lot of unnecessary subplots. Another said that the acting was fine but it didn’t need to be shot in New York. Still another complained that it was the mother’s story with the gay relationship glossed over. It was obvious they weren’t ready for the film..." - Bibsy M. Carballo, The Philippine Star, August 31, 2012 (READ MORE)

"...Vilma Santos chose this as her comeback film in lieu of Raya Martin's Independencia. The latter film is among the best films released so far this year, while In My Life will soon be forgotten after the media hype whimpers down. The blurbs boldly scream... Passionate scene of John Lloyd Cruz and Luis Manzano! Acting showdown between Cruz and Vilma!! 16th Anniversary Presentation of Star Cinema! The prolific production company should have selected a better story for the triumvirate of Vilma, Cruz, and Manzano...The much-hyped passionate scene is a dud. If you blink, then you will probably miss it. The beautiful shot before the kissing scene is the one that should have been talked about. We see Noel hugging Mark while a tear drop rolls down his cheek. Now, that is a passionate person who is very much in love! There are directing and script flaws that bother me. The travelogue scenes diminish the impact of the fish-out-of-the-water concept. The initial scenes give the impression that Shirley is very much adapted to the city. Also, Shirley is not a bumbling moron. She is an educated person and a librarian at that. The wacky scenes are completely out of line. The film seems to be about how a mother comes to grips with her homophobia. Well, it turns out, that she is not only distant to her son but also to her two daughters. She is not homophobic. She is plainly a bad mother. How she ended up being a bad mother was not tackled at all. The film was so caught up with other topics such as marriage for convenience, and gay couples that it forgot the major topic..." - Film Angel (READ MORE)

kabahan ka - "...Veteran actresses Anita Linda and Rustica Carpio, who play two elderly women at opposing ends of a murder case in the Brillante Mendoza drama “Lola,” shared the Best Actress award at the 33rd Urian Awards given by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino on Thursday night. “Lola” tells the story of grandmothers who find themselves at opposite ends of a murder case involving their grandsons. “Some people told me, ‘You’re nominated for Best Actress pero kalaban mo si (but you’re running against) Vilma (Santos for ‘In My Life’) kaya dapat kabahan ka na (so you should be nervous). Everybody knows how good an actress she is.’ To be nominated alongside Vilma and the other ladies, panalo na agad ako (already makes me a winner),” Linda told the Inquirer shortly after the awards show held at the UP Cine Adarna at University of the Philippines compound in Diliman, Quezon City..." - Marinel Cruz, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 05/01/2010 (READ MORE)

challenged - "...Vilma said she chose In My Life as her comeback movie because she feels "challenged" to do it. "Kung wala yung excitement, hindi challenging yun sa iyo. Pero once na na feel mo na you're excited, the whole thing from the script actors shooting hanggang ipalabas na yan yung excitement mo nandun. That's very, very challenging for an artist," she said. However, it took a while for her to accept the project, because it meant spending time away from her duties as the governor of Batangas. When Star Cinema offered the movie to her two years ago, she said she had to say no to it because she had just won the government seat. "E, kung gagawin po namin yun at that time wala pa kong isang taon nagsisilbi as governor. Kaya nakiusap po ako baka puwedeng maka-isang taon lang po akong governor bago natin magawa uli," Vilma explained. After some years of serving as the provinces' mother, Vilma finally said yes to play another one-of-a-kind mom role. She said she can never leave the biz. "Kahit po siguro ngayong nasa pulitika na ko hindi po talaga maaalis talaga yung dugo kong artista. Talagang hinahanap ko po. Kapag nanonood ako ng TV hinanahanap ko talaga," the veteran actress explained. In My Life, for her, is a very different experience. "First time ako nagkaton ng ganitong itsura sa pelikula. And second, parang may pagka-comedy ba, yung character niya pero hindi naman siya nagpapatawa," she said. When the children of Shirley (Vilma's character) grow up and begin to have lives of their own, she thinks that nobody loves her anymore. "Yung character ko dito lihis na lihis sa totoo kong character sa buhay. Yung feeling ko dito hindi siya mahal. Cold. Parang may laging iniisip na negatibo. Which is kabaligtaran ng totoong character ko sa buhay," Vilma explained..." - Mark Angelo Ching, 02 Sep 2009 (READ MORE)

"...This begs the question: should we expect this kind of progressive view on homosexuality from the mainstream in general and In My Life in particular? Perhaps not. In an industry dominated by conservative values—rooted in the ideal economic feasibility of a G-rated film—In My Life’s gay publicity is simply a ruse, the film’s bid to package itself as daring and sensitive, as is fitting for the Star of All Seasons. Vilma Santos’s comeback cannot be centered on anything but her. The film must project Vilma as a daring actress (and liberal-minded politician) willing to tackle controversial roles, while maintaining her palatable sensitivity as the ordinary matriarch of Anak and Dekada ’70 fame. In My Life, then, is ultimately a film about mothers. Though packaged as a queer film, it is actually a family movie, the much-publicized homosexual angle between Cruz and Manzano just one of the many issues mothers like Shirley have to deal with in these times..." - Edgar Allan Paule, Viewer Discretion, 14 Oct 2009 (READ MORE)

"...Perhaps one of the most rare and unforgettable showcases of a librarian in the history of Philippine movies was Vilma Santos, known as Philippine’s Star for All Seasons. Vilma had a stint in the movie In My Life released in 2009. The film was about the struggles of a mother, Shierly Templo, feeling alone and left out of her brood, with her daughter expressing the desire to migrate to Australia and her gay son already working in New York...The movie was really not that descriptive of the librarian role as the main character only showed up in library and school scenes in just few frames. No scene firmly suggests her activities inside the library except her acts of hissing students. She can be identified as a stereotypical librarian complete with her glasses and her choice of classic cardigans and coats; a staple to stereotypical librarian fashion. She was also punningly recognizable in the way the character shushes her workmates in the restaurant where she worked later in New York..." - InterLibnet, 08 May 2015 (READ MORE)






Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pre-filming article about “In My Life”


Bonggang bongga ang celebration ng birhday party ni Governdor Vilma Santos noong Lunes, November 3, 2008 na ginawa sa Capitolyo ng Batangas City na kung saan sa labas pa lang nang nasabing guasali ay pinalibutan na iyon ng mga naglalakihang tarpaulin na pawang pagbati mula sa mga kasamahan at kaibigan ng Star For All Season sa pulitika. Bago ka makapasok sa bulwagan ay kapansin pansin ang isang malaking stage na makikita ang malaking larawan ni Ate Vi habang sa gawing kanan naman ay ang sampung litson baka. Alas kuwatro na nang hapon nang dumating sa okasyong iyon ang ABS-CBN.com na kung saan ay agad kaming binati ng staff ng gobernador noong mga sandaling iyon dahil abala naman ang aktres sa kanyang tanggapan. “Hindi ko rin talaga alam ito sa pagkakaalam ko kasi magsi-celebrate lang ako ng simple lang. Monday kasi is a working day nagkataon lang na exact date ito ng mismong birthday ko ang dami pala nilang preparation na ginawa. So I’m very, very thankful mga Mayors na andito, department heads at halos lahat ng mga empelyado ay narito at nakiisa sa akin,” masayang panimula iyon ni Ate Vi habang pawisan dahil noong mga sandaling kausapin namin siya ay abala ito sa paglilibot sa mga mesa na kung saan naroon ang kanyang mga kaibigan at kasama sa pulitika. “Now that I’m turning 38 I’m so happy,” biro pa ni Ate Vi.

Ayon kay Ate Vi walang pagsidlan ang kanyang kaligayahan dahil hindi daw niya talaga alam na bibigyan siya nang bonggang party ng mga taong nagmamahal sa kanya. At dahil dito ay ipinangako niya na kung paano siyang minamahal ng mga taga Batangas ay higit pa run ang pagmamahal at pagsiserbisyong ibibigay niya sa kanyang mga kababayan. “Nakakahiya naman siguro kung alam mong mahal ka ng mga tao at sinusuportahan tapos wala kang gagawin sa kanila, ‘ay hindi naman siguro puwede ang ganun., Bilang Gobernadora ng bayang ito nais kong ipakita sa kanila at ipadama na rin na ako ay karapat-dapat sa pagtitiwalang ibinigay nila sa akin kung kayat marami pa rin akong magagandang plano sa Batangas, At hindi ko ito basta magagawang mag-isa kung hindi nila ako tutulungan.” Maraming wish si Ate Vi pero hindi para sa pansarili kundi para sa bayan at isa dito ay ang kasaganahan at katahimikan hindi lang ng buong lalawigan ng Batangas kundi nang buong bansa. Maraming kwento si Gov. Vi tungkol sa kanyang pagiging lingkod bayan subalit mas binigyan pansin ng ABS-CBN.com ang pelikula nila ni John Loyd Cruz. “Tuloy na tuloy na ang movie namin ni John Llloyd maybe mag-istart na kaming mag shooting hanggang end of the year. Pero ano we will take our time lang because ang full blast talaga nito next year na kasi. Ang sixy percent nito ay kukunan sa New York so kukunin ko ang summer vacation ko next year dahil iyon ang isi-shoot ko sa New York nang three weeks.”

Samantala inamin din niya na tinanggap na ni Luis Manzano ang role na gay sa pelikulang pagsasamahan nila ni John Llloyd. Kung matatandaan ay naging malaking isyu noon ang nasabing role. Hindi pa raw kasi handa si Luis sa mga gay role na nangangailangan ng kissing scene at bed scene sa kapwa lalaki. “Pumayag na si Luis. Tinanggap na niya talaga ang gay role which is sa tingin ko ay napakagandang role kasi dito iikot ang buong kuwento ng pelikula. So antayin na lang natin at hayaan na lang natin siyang mag-comment so I’m very excited. Imagine this is the first time na magkakasama kami ni Luis plus John Llloyd.” Ayon kay Ate Vi hindi siya nakialam sa naging desisyon ni Luis na tanggapin ang gay role dahil ever since ay hindi naman daw siya nakialam sa mga maseselang desisyon ng anak dahil kilala niya si Luis na smart ito at matalino. “Hindi ako nakialam sa negotiation, ang talagang pinagharap ko ay si Olive Lamasan at si Malou Santos because inirerespeto ko ang desisyon ng anak ko kung ayaw niyang gawin okay lang anak, walang problema pero kung oo, eh, oo. It’s not because of me kundi gusto niya talagang gawin ang movie. Sila ang nagkumbinsem, of course, kasama rin si June Torejon, sila ang nakipag usap kay Luis kaya nga nung malaman ko ang sabi ko lang sa kanila, it’s good. Maganda iyan. Maganda kasi excited talaga ako dahil nung first time akong interbyuhin ni Luis for Entertainment Live hindi talaga ako makapaniwala na ang kaharap ko na ay ang aking anak. At ngayon hindi ko siguro alam kung ano ang magiging feeling ko kung ka-eksena ko siya pero alam ko magaling ang anak ko siyempre kanino pa ba naman siya magmamana ‘di ba?” tumatawang sabi pa ni Gov. Vi. Sa kaarawan ni Ate Vi ay dumating ang kanyang asawa na si National Economic Development Authority o NEDA Secretary Ralph Recto, bunsong anak na si Ryan, si Luis at ang napapabalitang kasintahan nito na si Angel Locsin. Naroon din at nagbigay saya sa stage ang ilang Participante ng Pinoy Fear Factor at ang Pinoy Dream Acadamy Top Six. - Morly Alinio, November 06, 2008, Kapamilya Multiply

Monday, August 20, 2012

Da King and Ate Vi

On the set of “Alay kay Da King,” a new TV special on the life and times of Action King Fernando Poe Jr., segment host and “Star for All Seasons” Vilma Santos reminisces about her favorite leading man. But, in the middle of a heartfelt spiel, she’s interrupted by a passing ambulance, an airplane … and a tricycle. Since the production is using live sound, such incidental noises can grate on some people’s nerves. Not Ate Vi’s. The Batangas governor jests: “Maybe Ron (FPJ’s nickname) is toying with us.” That’s a seldom-seen side of Da King, she later tells Inquirer Entertainment in an exclusive interview. “He’s a jester.” Paired in three movies (1974’s “Batya’t Palo-Palo,” 1976’s “Bato sa Buhangin” and 1996’s “Ikaw ang Mahal Ko”), they shared an uncommon friendship that withstood the test of time…and, she recalls candidly, political intrigues. Although she’s recovering from an illness, she turned up at the studio in ParaƱaque, a day after the Manila Peninsula debacle, to tape the TV special, to be aired Dec. 9 on ABS-CBN. The TV special was put together by the Kapamilya network, Asian Eye Productions and the Poe family to premiere a 38-minute music video that was edited by Da King shortly before his passing three years ago. The music video is composed of choice scenes from his 200 or so movies—including those with favorite leading ladies, from Charito Solis to Sharon Cuneta, and favorite co-actors, from Van de Leon to Lito Anzures. Da King’s pet cause, Mowelfund, is the project’s main beneficiary. Highlight of the music video is a scene from “Batya’t Palo-Palo”—which Ate Vi considers “unforgettable.”

What’s it like shooting this TV special?
I miss Ron. I really miss Ron. When I saw his pictures on the set, I told everyone: It’s as if he never left us. He’s still here; we just don’t see him.

How did it feel when you saw the wedding scene from your first movie together?
Memories! I started reminiscing instantly. I want to ask Ate Susan (Roces, FPJ’s wife) nga for DVD copies of our three movies. I was only 21 when we made “Batya.” Ninety percent of the movie was shot in Hacienda Luisita (Tarlac) where we stayed for two months. He taught me how to swim in the hacienda’s swimming pool. We were with (co-star) Lorna Tolentino then. I admit that I didn’t know how to swim when I did “Dyesebel.” But the most memorable scene [from “Batya”] was the ending, where I ran after him, while he was aboard a train.

What did you call him again?
Ron.

What did he call you?
Vi! But I call Ate Susan, Ate Susan.

What was the real Ronnie Poe like?
Oh my God! It’s true what [the special’s] script says: He was the quiet type. Very sensitive and the most generous man I ever met in the entire industry. Please allow me to generalize. Among all my leading men, no one’s like him. It’s true that if you were his leading lady, he’d treat you like a queen. He’d give you everything you needed and wanted, just to make you feel comfortable. However, he extended the same respect and care to the staff. One time, I craved balut. He bought balut not only for me, but for the entire crew. The mambabalut ran out of balut so Ron asked him to call his vendor friends. Ron treated everyone on the set equally. That’s why he’s the most respected actor in the industry, along with Dolphy. It’s a well-earned respect. You cannot buy that respect. You have to work for it. He was not an overnight success. He started as a stuntman, as an extra. He started from scratch.

That was something you shared?
Yah! And we both joined politics. When I first ran as mayor [of Lipa in 1998], Ron was among the few people I sought, for advice. He told me one thing: “You can do it. You have the character for politics. But can you give up your earnings as an actress?” (Laughs.) The next time we saw each other was at the wedding of Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzalez in Baguio two years later. I was then running for a second term, so he teased me: “I thought you didn’t want to run?” Then, two years later, we saw each other again at the Metro Manila Film Fest parade, we both had entries then (hers, “Dekada ‘70;” his, “Ang Alamat ng Lawin”). It was my turn to tease him: “I heard you’re running?” I asked if he was really considering it and he told me that he’d rather not, but that he couldn’t ignore the public clamor. Unfortunately, we ended up in different political parties when he ran for president in 2004 (she’s with the administration; he was an oppositionist). We were even pitted against each other. There was a rumor that I didn’t allow him to campaign in Lipa. But our friendship went beyond politics.

Did you get to talk to him after that?
Yah. But we only talked about our friendship. The only time politics was mentioned was when he congratulated me on my work as mayor. He never mentioned the controversies. But that’s Ron. He was a class act. That’s why I have such high respect for him.

What’s the secret of the FPJ charm?
It was in his character. He was very malambing (affectionate). When in the mood, he was also a comedian. Very caring.

Why does the masa love him so?
That’s the magic of Ronnie Poe. I’m also an actor; my life is the masa, but that’s something I can’t explain.

Was it because he was makatao (pro-people), matulungin (helpful) and mapagkumbaba (humble)?
Was it because he made movies that told the stories of the masses? He also gave importance to the principles and struggles of our Muslim brothers. That’s why he’s still well-loved in Mindanao. There’s this famous story. His movie (“Eseng ng Tondo”) was playing in a [Quiapo] moviehouse. In the scene, he was about to be shot by his enemy (played by Chuck Perez). An audience member shouted: “Duck!” Then, someone shot at his enemy on the movie screen!

What were the lessons you picked up from him?
That, in spite of your fame and achievements, you should keep your feet on the ground and continue to help those who have less in life.

After doing this special, how did your perception of FPJ change?
It just confirmed what I already knew. I really meant every word I said in the spiels. Even if the world turned upside down, no one can replace him. Like I said at the end of my spiel “Long live Ron!” - Bayani San Diego Jr., Inquirer, 12 02 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2012

IKAW ANG MAHAL KO (1996)

Basic Information: Direction: Tony Cruz; Story: Fernando Poe Jr. aka Ronwaldo Reyes; Screenplay: Pablo S. Gomez, Manny R. Buising; Cast: Fernando Poe Jr., Vilma Santos, Maritoni Fernandez, Bob Soler, Paquito Diaz, Max Alvarado, Dencio Padilla, Boy Alano, Bella Flores, Odette Khan, Melisse Santiago, Tony Bernal, Gamaliel Viray, Ruby Rodriguez, Jimmy Santos; Executive producer: Fernando Poe Jr., Susan V. Tagle; Original Music: Jaime Fabregas; Cinematography: Ver Reyes; Film Editing: Augusto Salvador; Production Design: Ben Payumo; Film Poster: Video 48

Plot Description: The King of Philippine movies and the Star for All Seasons team up in this hilarious and heart-warming romatic comedy. FPJ is Pilo, a mild-mannered bodyguard whose only daughter considers every single woman she knows as a prospective new mother. Vilma is Miling, an old-fashioned probinsiyana who stows away when she learns that her aunt has bethroted her to the richest man in town. They meet in the most bungling of situations and they become fast enemies. But when two people are meant to stay together, it doesnt really matter if their first meeting was disastrous.

In this highly entertaining action flick, Fernando Poe Jr. plays Pilo, a widow driver whose only daughter yearns for a mother. Vilma Santos stars as Miling, a beautiful but combatant single lady who comes to Manila to escape an old man who wants to mary her in the province. She lands a job in a department store owned by Pilo's employer, Bianca, played by Maritoni Fernandez. The first time Pilo and Milling meet, it starts with a kiss and ends in jail. Pilo's blunder makes Milling hate his guts, and she demands almost the impossible for her to forgive him. But for Pilo, it's nothing that cannot be worked out. Bianca starts to notice Pilo's growing interest in her newly-hired saleslady. Driven by jealousy, she makes life hell for Milling. Things take a turn for the worse when a group of men hunts her down for something she unknowingly possesses. Amidst the chaos, Pilo fights for her life, hoping that this woman he loves will also capture his child's heart. - FPJ DVD covers

Film Achievement: The last film of FPJ and VSR.

Film Reviews: "...In 1996 Vilma Santos did “Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko” with the late FPJ. The film did not do well, both critically and commercially. This year also was a bad year for the local entertainment industry as Ishmael Bernal died on June 2nd. It was reported that he was scheduled to direct a film about the life story of Lola Rosa Henson, the comfort woman during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. The project was also reportedly offered to Vilma Santos. From 1997 to 2009, Vilma Santos completed 6 full featured films, two were considered record breaking films and almost all gave her acting recognitions including two international best actress recognitions..." - RV (READ MORE)

"...Memories! I started reminiscing instantly. I want to ask Ate Susan (Roces, FPJ’s wife) nga for DVD copies of our three movies. I was only 21 when we made “Batya.” Ninety percent of the movie was shot in Hacienda Luisita (Tarlac) where we stayed for two months. He taught me how to swim in the hacienda’s swimming pool. We were with (co-star) Lorna Tolentino then. I admit that I didn’t know how to swim when I did “Dyesebel.” But the most memorable scene [from “Batya”] was the ending, where I ran after him, while he was aboard a train..." - Vilma Santos (READ MORE)

After more than a year's absence, Vilma Santos is back to where her heart really belongs - show business. "This is my life." she told us at an informal dinner last Saturday. "I can't imagine myself not making movies, or being on television." In fact, the 'star for all seasons," as Santos is endearingly referred to, is very visible promoting Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko, the movie that officially signals her return to the big screen. She is reunited with Fernando Poe Jr. 20 years after Bato Sa Buhangin, their second team-up after the box-office smash Batya't Palu-palo. The multi-awarded actress quit television and the movie last year when she and her husband Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto decided to have a baby. " I just had to do it because I don't want other people to accuse me later that I didn't give importance to my marriage," she explained. "That's how I love Ralph so much, I can give up so many things for the sake of our marriage." At one point, Santos almost gave up hoping that she could have another baby. She had one 15 years ago, Lucky, by then husband Edu Manzano. "But I prayed so hard that I even made a promise to Him to attend Mass every Sunday," she recalled. I am so glad the Lord answered my prayers." And, as if to return the favor, the Recto couple named their newborn baby Christian.

Santos remembered being house-bound for almost a year. "I am still lucky I wasn;t totally bedridden," seh said. "My doctors allowed me some physical movements, although these were vey minimal like bathroom privileges or a short walk around the room. It was so boring I turned into a couch potato. Napanood ko na yat lahat ng palabas sa TV." But even before she gave birth, she was already being besieged with offers. Santos said she never really intended to quit show business permanently. She studied all those offers carefully during her delicate pregnancy. When she finally emerged from her self-imposed leave, she found herself facing the cameras again. There is a whiff of anticipation in Santos' eyes, especially on how the audience would react to Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko. Many are expecting to see her onscreen in a dramatic role something she is quite famous for. But to her, playing a light romantic lead to the country's action king is just the right preparation for heavier stuff in the future. In a way, she is excited about this reunion with Poe. Despite having been together in just two movies, both had ignited a different kind of excitement among their respective fans. Poe feels the audience is ready for another one.

The Last Pinoy Hero - Come to think of it Philippine cinema has only one remaining screen hero - Fernando Poe Jr. His movies no matter how similar the stories and the characters he plays are, have always drawn moviegoers to the theaters nationwide. Many Filipino men look up to him as their role model. Women find him more than just a screen hero. He is to a lot of them, an enigma who subtly seduces them to watch him. Poe is possibly the only actor this side of the world that can slug it out in the local box office with Hollywood heavies like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenneger or Bruce Willis, and, perchance, even survive an alien invasion. He rarely goes on a promo blitz to generate interest in his movies. His leading ladies do the job for him.. But, cash register figures always prove his indubitable and formidable stature as the country's box-office king. Remember Ang Syota Kong Balikbayan? Every industry doomsayer predicted its plunge in the tills. A least-promoted project, Ang Probinsyano similarly earned a dark forecast. Both, to every pseudopsychic's shame earned more than what FPJ even expected. Now, will the FPJ enigma woek once again with Ikaw Ang Mahal Ko? Vilma Santos hasn't made a movie for almost two years and her fans are eagerly awaiting her return. Poe's fans apparently still enjoy watching their idol terminate his onscreen foes with the now-patented left-hand-multiple jab. - Isah V. Red, Manila Standard, Nov 27, 1996 (READ MORE)



 




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