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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Most Memorable Performances


When it comes to memorable performances only one actress top my list. Five decades, from being a child phenom to an a-1 caliber actress, Vilma Santos is no doubt the Meryl Streep of the Philippines. And maybe more. Maybe because Ms, Streep, didn’t start her illustrious career as child star.

Vilma Santos endured so many transformations that even Madonna will be pale in comparison. Of course, Vilma is not a singer but Madonna can’t even followed-up her half-decent excursion as Evita. Just a little trivia, Vilma tried successfully to be a singer with her golden album “sixteen” in the 70s but practically decided dancing was her forte hence the successful venture into television musical variety show “Vilma!” in the 80s to 90s. Vilma with her bountiful filmography is second to none. She did a wide variety of roles that even her closest rival can’t match. Listing her most memorable performances is a chore. It will take a true follower to figure out which one should be included in the list. And of course everyone have their favorites particularly Vilmanians who I am dedicating this article. The fact is Vilma’s closest rival, Nora Aunor who repeatedly ventured into a string of comeback vehicles since the mid 90s failed miserably to capture her lost sparkle. And the fact that her brand of acting have never came to its fruitful evolution since the 70s. Meaning – she became stagnant. As an actress in order to have longevity, one should adapt to changes. Sadly, Nora never learned this concept.

Clearly, if you will list Nora’s best, it will all be films in the 70s and early 80s. Movies like Tatlong Taong Walang and Bona. While Vilma’s list will be from the past five decades. A proof that like Ms. Streep she evolved into much more versatile and serious actress than anyone else in Philippine cinema. While Vilma is active in public service, film and TV producers are waiting for her availability; and corporate institutions are still lining up for her endorsements. All of these, of course made her still the highest paid actress/product endorser of the land. Should we change her title to the LONGEST REIGNING QUEEN OF PHILIPPINE CINEMA? You be the judge… Here’s my list of most memorable Vilma Santos performances:

Trudis - The year…an actress was born! Vilma acted like she’s been doing this craft for a long time eclipsing the dramatic tandem of Luis Gonzales and Lolita Rodrigues. Her most memorable scenes were with villainous Bella Flores which secured her winning the FAMAS best child actress of 1963!

Rossana/Armida - Vilma did 14 films this year and only six were musicals which means her career backers are starting to shift her into a more serious brand of acting. It was also evident that the musical genre was in that stage of phasing out. And Vilma embraced this by accepting a variety of projects from comedy (Ang Kundoctora), a light drama (Bernal’s Inspiration), action (Takbo Vilma Dali), horror (Hatinggabi Na Vilma) and drama (Tatlong Mukha Ni Rosa Vilma and Dama De Noche). Vilma’s portrayal of a twin sister in which one was insane in Dama De Noche signaled her willingness to take new daring projects seriously. This Emmanuel Borlaza melodrama showcased her ripe talents which earned her first best actress award. It maybe not be a full victory for some since she tied her best actress award with Boots Anson Roa but for many it was an honor to share this award to a veteran like Ms. Roa. Ms. Roa later on will confess her admiration for Vilma. She also went on to an extreme degree of explaining Vilma’s brand of acting, her different types of crying. Going back to Dama De Noche, the last scene where Vilma was showed crying and laughing like a true lunatic at the same time came to my mind. This alone, deserved the FAMAS statue all the more.

Narda/Darna - The most successful Darna film of all time. Vilma became the standard measurement of success for future Darna. The film was directed by three directors, all successfully gave us three different take on good versus evil, all with three scariest villain portrayed by three multi awardees veterans, Gloria Romero (babaeng impakta), Lisa Lorena (babaeng Lawin) and Celia Rodrigues (babaeng ahas). Vilma despite her being the shortest darna in history compensate her height with her bubbly almost animated movements which made this film true to its form, like an action hero marvel comics! All the fight scenes minus the high tech computer generated sequences are done the old fashion way, via camera tricks. Even the flying scenes were not bad at all like, I said, considering the medium, they have to use back then. Ordinary moviegoers will not even think of including this film as one of Ate Vi’s most memorable film/performance but for me, this is one of a good example how versatile Vilma is, even at the start of her illustrious career.

Nanette - All I can remember about this film was Ate Vi’s last scene in a car with her parents controlling her and Christopher De Leon chasing them in the street while rain falls down. A very melodramatic to some and yet very effective. Ate Vi’s portrayal of a girl who happens to be in love with her first cousin was commendable. She should have won an acting award for this. But of course, critics are all intoxicated by her popular nemesis back then. Falling in love with your first cousin was taboo back then and maybe still taboo in Philippine society today, Tag-ulan was the first film of Christopher De Leon and Vilma Santos. And it clearly show the chemistry between the two actors. It was the most dramatic and down to earth film by director Celso Ad Castillo. Here there is no over the top production design like the one in Pedro Penduko or the overtly sexual innuendo of Pinakamagandang Hayup sa Balat ng Lupa or even a sexual vulgarity of Virgin People. It was a love story based on a real life situation which made the film more realistic. Of course being a Castillo project, one can’t escape some creative adventure… like the trend back then, Ate Vi did a the “wet look”. Meaning she done a scene where her blouse got wet and you know what that means. To some, it was vulgar, to many, It’s like she’s testing the water. Will her fans accept her in a more mature daring roles? No more sweet image? Apparently, we will get more of this “testing” in her strings of films like Nakakahiya 1 & 2 (where she did a two-piece bikini) and Nagaapoy Na Damdamin among others. Her next move will shock the local cinema not even her closest rival can replicate. A transformation of great maneuvering. And this time, another Castillo project…

Chato - The test was over. Vilma Santos, the mature A-1 caliber actress has arrived. And she did it with a big bang. Burlesk Queen became not only the top box office grosser of the 1977 Metro Manila Film Festival, it also became the most awarded. It got 10 awards out of 13. Like typical sour losers, complaints flew and a big scandal came where the press reportedly said the awards were being returned to the festival organizers. No such thing happened in fact Ate Vi still possessed the medallion and award she received as the festival’s best actress. For movie critics, Vilma’s portrayal of not so innocent Chato was so revealing even her opponent’s regular drumbeater came to Ate Vi’s defense saying her acting was surprisingly good enough to win the award. Truth is, even the feminists applaud her matured performance and Times magazine couldn’t agree more, they featured Ate Vi in a short article, the very first for a Filipina actress. For a shocked Vilmanians, this movie became a revelation that indeed Ate Vi is embracing her independence. She no longer the sweet virginal teen star of the late 60s to early 70s. She is now an actress willing to conquer any roles. And Vilmanians embraced this transformation with pride. Vilmanians are now ready for Ate Vi’s resurgence on top. We are all ready to support her no matter what the other camp will say. As for her acting in the film, she proved once again that she has the goods. Critics noticed her multi-dimensional portrayal of a woman in pain. Her reluctant choice to survive poverty. Her father’s condemnation of her career choice. Her lover’s abandonment. All of these emotions captured into a superlative acting coup, surprising even her rival and her fans.

Julie Monserrat - Following up the success of Burlesk Queen, Celso Ad Castillo ventured into another love story with the backdrop of hukbalahap. It was a common knowledge now that this film costs Vilma and her film company a lot of money. This was due to Celso Ad Castillo’s lack of control over his film budget. His moody and lack of restrain took this film longer to finish. Later on, VS film company did not recuperate its huge capital, as the film was only a mild hit. Despite this, the film was applauded by critics and won Vilma numerous award as producer. As Julie Monserrat, a music-loving provincial lass raised by her two prudish, wealthy spinsters aunt (Adul De Leon and Angie Ferro), Vilma convincingly portrayed a woman who was very much in love with Dido Ventura (Bembol Rocco), the poor son of embittered woman (Mona Lisa). Like its earlier love story, Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw, the couple have its struggle to remain together. Aside from the beautiful scenery, Castillo did a wonderful job of combining poetical music to its scenes. And who can forget that kiss? It was said that Celso asked both Vilma and Bembol to put some condensed milk in their mouth prior to do the kissing scene. This was to signify their lust and love to each other as both have to control their desire as what most common in the Filipino society back in that period of time.

Rubia Servios - For many Vilmanians, Rubia Servios wasn’t given any recognition its truly deserved. Particularly the performance of Vilma Santos. It was a difficult role. A rape victim who managed to fight back at the end and killed her tormentor. Lino Brocka’s first film with Vilma. And he did it with careful manipulation of grief and emotion. A not so good director will falls into melodramatic scenes but Lino manages to showcase Vilma’s vulnerability with restraints with his carefully selected scenes. The twists at the end where Vilma was once again being raped by the devilish Philip Salvador this time in front of Vilma’s husband played effectively by Mat Ranillo III was brutal and painful to watch. Vilma’s defeat at the hands of Philip was clearly expressed by her lack of facial emotion and then at the nick of time, when she was able to grasp a piece of wood, a paddle in that boat scene, her face was ignited by terror. She showed revenge in her face and moviegoer will root for her. Kill that bastard! Kill that bastard! One might say. It was a hell of performance. One might assured her winning the best performer of the 1978 Metro Manila Film Festival. But we were all wrong. We were robbed. It was a painful night for many Vilmanians. I wasn’t able to eat and sleep even the following days after the awards night. Vilma accepted her defeat and learned never to expect any more come future awards night. And so, all Vilmanians did that too. Life is too short to cry over a spilled milk.

Miss X - Filmed on location in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Miss X was a triumph for its director Gil Portes. It was like seeing a dark European film. Vilma Santos was exposed in a glass window at the red light district of this part of the world. These scenes alone deserve its being included in my list. A very brave act indeed for an actor who was never been to a place where actual sexual trade between people are legal. Gil Portes showed his masterful skills pre-Munting Tinig fame. Miss X was dark and moody at the same time which made the exposition of a life of a Filipina illegally recruited as prostitute in this country revealing and disheartening.

Ex-Wife (1981) - Perhaps Eddie Rodriguez’ best film as director, Ex-Wife was actually a psychological drama about marriage and its players. A woman who became victim to a series of bad relationships. Vilma showcased her acting maturity by portraying a bruised woman. Her scene in the end was reminiscent of Dama De Noche but this time, more restrained and controlled. She was seen, loosing her composure, crying and then laughing in a dinner table. She was a picture of defeat. Another wonderful performance too bad nobody took notice. In 1981, Vilma did four movies, Hiwalay, Pakawalan Mo Ako, Karma and Ex-wife. Pakawalan earned Vilma a FAMAS best actress while Karma gave her another Metro Manila Film Festival best actress. Of the four movies, she did, I believe Ex-Wife should be the one deserving of any awards not Pakawalan (although she’s really good in her court scene there) and not Karma.

Maria Lourdes Castaneda - So many times snubbed by the critics, Vilma Santos emerged out of nowhere as the new darling of award giving bodies via Ishmael Bernal’s poignant take of a story of a mistress in Regal films’ Relasyon. Prior to this, local films always stereotyped the mistress roles as the villain. Never in the history of local cinema that a societal taboo, the life of a mistress can be portrayed in a down to earth, very sympathetic way, only now in Relasyon. Vilma Santos did a splendid job as Marilou, an independent, insecure, career woman who happened to fell in love with a chauvinistic, egocentric, typical Filipino married man. It was apparent that Relasyon was a Vilma Santos vehicle and Christopher knows this and did a wonderful job supporting her leading lady. Perhaps the most memorable part of Relasyon was the death scene of Christopher. The scene wasn’t edited in parts but a continuous take from the shot where Christopher fell to the floor to Vilma’s marathon cry. The outcome was exhilarating. What a splendid decision for Bernal to take that scene as normally called in Philippine Cinematic lingo as “tuhog.” After this scene, Vilma’s look was that of a woman at peace with the outcome of her life. Her tired face indicates pain and we felt it too. Vilma’s performance here was so realistic that even her rival’s epic portrayal of Elsa in Himala was a no match. And we rejoice. She deserve all the awards. No one complained. No awards being confiscated. Vilma finally got her recognition she truly deserved.

Divina Ferrer - Before Meryl Streep did a wonderful job as the bitches of all bitches in the movie the Devil Wears Prada, Vilma Santos did a similar type of role. Produced by the house of glossy films, Viva and directed by Eddie Garcia, Sinasamba Kita broke all the local box office records at that time. Proving that by 1982 not only Vilma was the darling of all award-giving bodies, she was also the box office queen! Derived from a comic serial, Sinasamba Kita contained so many twist and turns that one might have a headache just figuring out what happens next. But to the credit of Garcia, he was able to make all the twists into a realistic, acceptable ones that midway to the film we are all rooting for Nora (Lorna Tolentino) and hating her bitch sister Divina (Vilma Santos). We are also amazed by the glossiness of the film’s locations (houses) and Vilma’s sophisticated dresses. All this made the film more credible and realistic. By the time, Divina gave way to her sister’s love for Christopher we also made amends and felt sympathy to the bitchy heiress. Making this film and Vilma’s performance a proof of her versatility as an actress that her rival will never – ever achieved.

Ellen - Bernal at his finest. This was our conclusion after seeing Broken Marriage in 1983. And this time the roles of Christopher De Leon and Vilma Santos were even. Meaning unlike Relasyon which was a one-woman show, Broken Marriage was a two persons story. From the point of view of a man, a husband and a woman, a wife. As the title said, it was a marriage destined for failure. The numerous arguments here about marriage life was carefully written with wit giving both Christopher and Vilma shining moments. As we are talking about Vilma here, I will concentrate on her, she did portray a woman looking for some justice in this unequal world of men and women in Philippine society. She even willingly did a scene where she doesn’t have any make-up on and the result was a realistic glance of a real life Filipina whose struggles were being exploited very realistically by Bernal. Vilma effectively did a wonderful job that the Manunuri, the local critics, gave her second consecutive Urian Best Actress.

Stella Legaspi - Most established local directors lined up for their turn to direct her, in Sister Stella L, It was Mike Deleon’s turn. And it was one of the most celebrated film of all time. And this was despite its disappointing result at the box office, Lily Monteverde, the producer of Regal films consolation was the numerous awards SSL earned. And Vilma’s performance here did not disappoint both the critics and her avid fans. Her take on SSL’s awakening was somewhat lacking in hysterics as what her critics always says, she’s always has the hysterical brand of acting. Here, Vilma’s acting was controlled and restrained even her speech scenes at the rallies were calculated. And these made her performance more effective transcending her character bit by bit from an innocent bystander to a militant activist. SSL was invited to the Cannes Film Festival in 1984 but due to technical problems the films wasn’t showed in there but at the Venice Film Festival which was equally prestigious. At the Venice, SSL was the second Filipino film after Genghis Khan in 1951 to be officially invited for exhibition.

Pina - originally offered to Maricel Soriano, Tagos proved to be another tour de force performance from Vilma Santos. The film was about the psychological state of being of Pina and her sexual needs that’s ends with her desire to kill her sexual partners. A study of mental state where Pina needs to change her physical looks each time she venture into manhunt. Vilma exposed herself into different characters. Each bate to a possible sexual mate ends into an erotic sex scenes and its graphic death scenes. Vilma did a good job of portraying an psychotic murderer. But perhaps the most visually effective scenes wasn’t that of the ending where she was finally caught by the authorities, it was the quiet scenes in the dirty bathroom while she’s sitting in the toilet bowl and where she took her slipper and slap a cockroach that was crawling in the ground. The shots started from the ceiling and then zoomed down. Then her face was seen smiling at her latest killing -the cockroach. It was a symbol. That’s just like killing men. Directed by Maryo DeLos Reyes, Tagos Ng Dugo may not be your typical Vilma movies. It was dark and very violent. It was another testament of how varied Vilma’s filmography is. She won two major awards for this, another best actress from FAMAS which elevated her into FAMAS hall of famer and another best actress from CMMA.

Juliet - As the dying Juliet Vilma Santos gave us another tour de force performance. I know, I have said this line so many times in this article but what can I do? It was indeed another tour de force performance. As the premises of this film was already gloomy, about a cancer victim who died at the end of the film, some mediocre director will fall into a soap opera technique but not Bernal. It was the last Bernal-Santos collaboration before Bernal’s sad demise. Bernal successfully controlled Vilma’s tendency to overreact to dramatic scenes. On Vilma’s part it wasn’t that hard, this was 1989 she already matured into a fine a-1 caliber actress. Most of Vilma’s scene here were really toned down. It’s like her tears where even choreograph falling down in her cheeks at the right moment. When she talked to the father of her child, asking him to take care of him, her voice trembles with regret and pain at the same time tears falls like in perfect connection to each words she delivered. Pahiram earned Vilma her first Star Award from PMPC. It took her nine years to finally earn their respect. Not surprisingly, PMPC consists of so many fans/reporter of her rival. Nowadays, Vilma has the most Star Awards (six compare to four for her rival). How times changes… for the better.

Celina Esquivel - It was a different diversion from a company who was known for comics adaptation and glossy commercial movies. Finally, Viva films produced a serious film with a simple story. A story with a social message. Ipagpatawad mo penned by Olivia Lamasan and directed by Laurice Guillen was a story about a couple with an autistic child. Autistism is a neurological condition that affects children in their early developments. The story focuses on the couples struggles with opposites views in how to deal with this misfortunes. The shame attached to it affects the typical Filipino manhood and the unconditional love typical of a caring Filipina woman hood. Another triumph for Christopher DeLeon and Vilma Santos. Christopher shared the spotlight as the insecure husband with the ever-consistent acting of Vilma Santos.

Dolzura Cortez - Another film with social relevance was this powerful true to life story of a woman who was the first person to publicly admit her sickness of AIDS. Typically stereotyped as gay’s disease, Dahil Mahal Kita tackled the ignorance of many Filipinos regarding this disease. Once again, Laurice Guillen gave us an realistic approach to story telling. She chronicled the life of Dolzura Cortez from her early life as a happy go lucky prostitute to the last stage of her life of giving a face to this deadly disease with a careful hand. Each stages gave us the reason to be compassionate. Vilma Santos gave a powerful, angry performance. Her delivery of lines were crisped. Her emotion overflowed with question about Dulzora’s mortality, about god’s plan and about the people who will read or see Dulzora’s life story. All of these were convincingly seen in Vilma’s Dolzura.

Leah Bustamante - Re-titled as Lea’s Story for international release, Bata bata paano ka ginawa was one of the most successful film of 1998. That was in terms of critics response and box office returns! Bata was based on the award winning 1983 semi autobiographical novel of Lualhati Bautista. Bautista updated the novel to have a more fresh take. With a superb cast which includes the irresistible Serena Dalrymple as Maya (she reminded us of that child star in the film, the Goodbye Girl), the very innocent Carlo Aquino as Ojie and of course the men in Lea’s life, Albert Martinez, Ariel Rivera and Raymond Bagatsing. Like many Vilma Santos starrer, Bata bata paano ka ginawa was of course belongs to Vilma. She has become the most effective actress in Philippine cinema. Her choice or roles made her the feminists’ kind of woman and ordinary Filipinas’ role model. Roles that yes, struggles… and vulnerable.. .but roles that shows resistance and fighting spirits. Bata bata paano ka ginawa was showcased Vilma’s maturity as an actress. A proof that she was indeed in command of her choices of roles. Two traits that has never seen in her closest rival. Bata earned Vilma her first international recognition from the prestigious Brussels International Independent Film Festival.

Josie Agbisit - The most successful film at the start of the new millennium in terms of box office returns and critical acclaimed. Anak, directed by Rory Quintos was a story of a domestic helper in Hongkong, Josie Agbisit, played masterfully by Vilma Santos and her family headed by her eldest daughter, Carla, played by Claudine Barretto. The story focuses on the mother and daughter relationship. Two decades ago, Vilma Santos played an ungrateful daughter to the multi awarded veteran, Charito Solis in a drama titled Modelong Tanso. The films was a big disappointment even with the exploitation of Charito slapping Vilma in the face as their promotional stills. Now comes year 2000, Vilma nows plays the role of the mother and Claudine as the spoiled brat daughter. Yes, there was a scene where the mother slap her daughters face in Anak but Star Cinema who produced it were smarter. They didn’t exploit these scene instead they promote the film as a story about typical Filipino family. The story was the selling point why Anak became one of the most successful film of Star Cinema and Vilma Santos. Of course and again, despite the excellent performance of Claudine Barretto, Anak belongs to Vilma. And again, It was a tour de force from start to finish.

Amanda Bartolome – Chito Rono’s take on the forgotten 70s and the effects of the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippine society, Dekada 70 turned out to be a realistic adaptation of the lives of typical family back then. It features an excellent cast and performances particularly Vilma Santos and Piolo Pascual. Dekada was originally offered to Nora Aunor but for some reason it didn’t materialize. Following the success of Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa, another lualhati Bautista opus, Dekada was offered to Vilma and accepted the project without any hesitation and despite the fact that she wasn’t the first choice for the role of Amanda Bartolome. As Amanda Bartolome, Vilma Santos delivered an understated, profoundly moving performance deserving of all the awards. Vilma was once again showed here without make-up. Her scene in a room where she’s holding her son’s clothing after the burial of her son was so moving we couldn’t help but cry our hearts out. All in all, the film (again) belongs to Vilma. Her transformation here from a bystander mother and wife at start to the end where she became a militant activist was so unexpected that we were convinced that her sufferings made her who she was at the end. Dekada earned Vilma her second international recognition. There. What’s in your list? - RV

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Classic Vilma Santos Movies


RELASYON (1982)

“Vilma Santos represents womanhood in the film…Santos portrays a mistress who is an out-and-out martir. She serves De Leon hand and foot, ministering to his every need, including fetching beer for him, washing his clothes, serving as his shoulder to cry on, even baby-sitting his child. In return, all she gets from De Leon is chauvinistic love, void of tenderness, full of immature aggressiveness… Vilma Santos’ acting is adequate and extraordinary…” – Isagani Cruz, Parade, July 01, 1982.

“Vilma Santos confidently showed she felt the character she was portraying. Her depiction of feelings and emotions easily involve the viewers to share in her conflicts and joys. In this film, she has peeled-off apprehensions in her acting. Christopher de Leon has also been supportive in emphasizing the characterization of Marilou. He suitably complements Vilma’s acting.” - Lawrence delos Trinos, Star Monthly Magazine, July 10, 1982

”VILMA SANTOS holds the first ace on acting this year with her terrific performance in Relasyon – the range is wide, the insight deep, hardly a false note in the entire performance – she was always in control, even when she seemed totally lost in her role…basta magaling si Vilma, tapos!“ - Ador Cs Tariman

FACTS: Vilma Santos’s first best actress grand slam win.

FICTION: Vilma Santos’ wins can be attributed to her connection to Imelda Marcos. (That’s absurd.)

BURLESK QUEEN (1977)

“Naiiba ang Burlesk Queen, kahit ikumpara sa mga naunang trabaho ni Celso at sa iba pang direktor na nagtangkang tumalakay sa paksang ito. Matagal-tagal na rin namang nauso ang kaputahan sa pelikula, pero walang nakapagbigay ng katarungan sa lahi ni Eba bilang Pilipina at bilang puta… para kay Celso…ang tao ay hindi basta maghuhubad at magtatalik. Maraming pangyayari sa buhay ang dapat munang linawin at unawain, at iyon ang basehan ng kasaysayan.” - Jun Cruz Reyes, Manila magazine, Dec 1977

“(about the hospital scense with Vilma and Leopoldo Salcedo) Tuloy-tuloy ‘yun. nag-experiment ako noong una, kumuha ako ng second take, pero di ko na rin tinapos. Perfect na iyong una. Alam mo bang nang gawin namin ang eksenang iyon tatlo kaming umiiyak sa set? Ako, si Vilma, at si Leopoldo? Dalang-dala si Leopoldo sa pagsasalita ni Vilma, lumuha siya kahit patay siya dapat doon. Buti na lang di siya nakuha ng kamera…(Kung Nahirapan ka ba kay Vilma?) …Oo, hindi sa acting dahil mahusay talaga siya kundi sa scheduling. Alam mo kasi it takes time before I can really get into the mood of a picture, mga two weeks, tapos kapag nandiyan na, that’s the stage when I’m ready to give my life to the project. Tapos biglang walang shooting ng two weeks dahil busy siya sa ibang pelikula…” - Ricardo Lee, Manila Magazine, Dec 1977

FACTS: The film won 10 out of 13 Awards at the 1977 Metro Manila film festival including Best Actress for Vilma Santos.

FICTION: All of the awards that’s been given to the film has been given back due to the investigation that the verdict were rigged. (Up to this date, Vilma still has her medal and award.)

RUBIA SERVIOS (1978)

“The second rape scene in “Rubia Servios” which stars Vilma Santos, is reminiscent of the rape scene in “Santiago”, shown in 1970. Instead of Caridad Sanchez as the wife who is assaulted in full view of husband Mario O’Hara, it has Vilma Santos and Mat Ranillo III. This coincidence is not surprising since Brocka also directed Santiago, and O’Hara, who has since graduated from supporting roles, is the scriptwriter for “Rubia Servios”. Vilma does not expose much skin and Philip Salvador (as the attacker) has his pants on, but the scene could well be one of the most realistic rape scenes on screen in a long, long time. The anguish in Vilma’s face and the lust in philip’s eyes blended so well the effect was dramatic rather than sensual. The real climax of the film, however, is the killing of Philip by Vilma with a paddle aboard a motorboat at sea. Lino Brocka, who directs Vilma for the first time, succeeded in muffling her sobs even in the most hysterical moments. To our mind, Rubia Servios” is geared towards mature audiences. It is engrossing despite the lack of fancy camera shots and an almost chronological presentation.” – Ricky Lo

FACTS: Vilma Santos lost The Best Performer Award in this 1978 Metro Manila Film Festival to rival Nora Aunor. Admittedly, this was the most painful lost she experienced in her whole career. With its “For Adults Only rating” in consideration, the film still managed to end up as one of the Festival’s top grosser.

FICTION: Vilma committed suicide after her lost, luckily Manay Ichu, her Rubia Servios producer came and rescued her. (Both Manay Ichu and Vilma managed to get drunk but Vilma did not commit suicide.)

DOLZURA CORTEZ (1993)

"This Philippine drama chronicles the colorful life of Dolzura Cortez, the first publicly recognized AIDS patient in the Philippines. The film begins with a brief examination of Cortez’s pre-AIDS life. Initially she lived in a small village with her cruel husband and three kids. The spunky woman leaves them and moves to the big city where she engages in several affairs. Her second marriage to a rich foreigner does not last long. To support her children, Dolly begins an all woman “contract worker” agency. This also serves to facilitate her love of night-life. Tragedy comes to Dolzura after she collapses on a dance floor one night and learns that she has full-blown AIDS. At a Manila hospital she meets ex-lover Paulo, an AIDS researcher who encourages to tell her story publicly. The courageous woman does and she becomes instrumental in spreading AIDS awareness to the islands." - Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide, The New York Times

“Still bearing activist weight is Vilma’s effort in Laurice Guillen’s Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story in which she fleshes out a body and a mind for a person with AIDS. This initiative constitutes an advocacy not only for people afflicted with the dreaded pandemic, but also for women who have to overcome strata of ostracism in the process of survival and resist their being reduced to an aberration, in this case, a pathology.” – Patrick Flores, Manila Standard Today Jan 11, 2003

FACTS: Vilma Santos’ earned her 2nd Best Actress grand slam wins.

FICTION: Dolzura Cortez wanted Nora Aunor to play herself in this film. Aunor declined. (No. No. No. That’s the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard – Simon Cowell from AI)

PAHIRAM NG ISANG UMAGA (1989)

“A striking part of the movie (was when), Juliet watching intently as morticians work on her father’s remains, as everyone weeps when the coffin is lowered to its final resting place, and during the ritualistic pasiyam, the nine-day novena for the dead. It’s as though Juliet can see herself in her father’s lifeless body while mourners mill around it. The attempts to raise the level of the melodrama and present insights on life and death provide the movie its greatest strength – and wide appeal. How strangely ironic that a movie dealing with death could have so much life.” – “A Look at Death and the Affirmation of Life” by Mario A. Hernando, Malaya – 5 March 1989 “…Vi goes to the kitchen to prepare breakfast at habang nagbabati siya ng itlog, doon pa lang ipinakitang una siyang nag-breakdown. And this is shown nang nakatalikod siya sa camera. No overly ornate kind of emoting na akting na akting ang dating. Pero damang-dama mo pa rin…she becomes the part (lalo na sa eksena nila ni Gabby Concepcion sa simbahan na binalikan nila kung paano sila nagkasira), and if you notice that she is good, well, salamat po…Sa second viewing ng movie namin lalong napansin ang subtle nuances ng performance ni Vi, up to her death scene which confirms our supposition that the movie is not really so much about death than a celebration of life..’yan ang opinion namin…” – Mario Bautista

FACTS: Vilma Santos won her first PMPC Star Awards Best Actress.

FICTION: Mario Bautista fought hard to make sure Nora Aunor won the Star Awards. (It was actually the opposite!)

LIPAD, DARNA, LIPAD (1973)

“the quintessential actionfantasy Pinoy flick that appeals to all ages, from generation to generation. This movie is a major milestone for Vilma because it proved that she could really carry a solo movie and bring in the dough (up to now of course!). Vilma’s Darna franchise is the most memorable and successful of all Pinoy fantasy-action genre. Imitated but never equalled, Vilma’s Darna lives on. Unforgettable. Memorable. It grows on you. No Pinoy kid ever grows up without being a part of the Darna magic. Vilma, practically flew at the top of the box office in Sine Pilipino’s trend setting trilogy “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” Many fans consider Lipad, Darna, Lipad, as one of the most entertaining Darna movies ever. After all, who could forget that climactic aerial battle scene between Darna and the Impakta (Gloria Romero)? That shot of Romero impaled in a giant crucifix ensconced on top of a church tops any gory scene in The Omen. The enormous success of Lipad, Darna, Lipad led to three more Darna movies with Vilma Santos. As a result, the star for all seasons became the star for all Darnas—Santos played her four times, more than any other actress in the superheroine’s history. “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!” were divided into three separate segments, directed by three different directors. In Darna’s case, the three directors were Maning Borlaza, Joey Goesiengfao, and Elwood Perez—three names that promised an adventure that could do Andy Warhol proud.” – Eric Cueto, Mar Ravelo’s Darna Web-site

FACTS: Lipad Darna Lipad broke all box office records and made Vilma as the most successful Darna to date.

FICTION: Vilma was immediately wanted to wear the two-piece sexy Darna cutomes. (Vilma wore skin coloured suit on top of the Darna custom but after some people who works for TIIP and her entourage convinced her that it looks tacky, she agreed to wear the custom without it.)

ANAK (2000)

“Living complex emotions with subtlety and humor, pic resists melodrama until the dam abruptly burst after 90 minutes; ill judged pileup of crying scenes, plot crises and more crying ensues…That’s too bad, since early reels observe parent-child relationships with considerable delicacy… veteran local star Santos is in fine form, while barretto lends impressive shading to what might have been a stock sexy “bad girl” role…” - Dennis Harvey, Variety Magazine, March 19, 2001

“The slick production is turned into art by its star Vilma Santos. Her magnetic star quality makes her look so wrong for the part and yet she makes it all her own. She’s a natural comedianne and a great tragedienne-her look of resignation is heartbreaking. Vilma discards the glittering clothes and make-up for Anak, but she still looks youthful. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if the sensitive young actor playing her son would go on to play her leading man a few years from now.” - Dennis Ladaw

FACTS: Official Philippine Entry to the 73rd Academy Awards Best Foreign Film. Anak grosses 14 Million Pesos, a record breaking for a Filipino film!

FICTION: Vilma can’t portray a poverty stricken maid or “atsay” role, that role only suited Nora! (Tell that to the marines!)

 SISTER STELLA L. (1984)

“For a heart-warming film, the entire cast deserves congratulations, particularly Vilma Santos who reveals another aspect of her multi-faceted talent. From her usual soft and sweet romantic roles, she can be transformed into a strong and militant woman without losing any of her charm and beauty. Jay Ilagan, Tony Santos, Anita Linda and Liza Lorena are also in their best form. Mike de Leon as director, Jose F. Lacaba as scriptwriter are likewise to be congratulated for making a truly human film and for contributing to the cause of workers for justice and of the religious for the recognition of their social role. Not to be overlooked is the producer Lily Monteverde of Regal Films who has this time shifted from puerile erotic dramas to make a courageous film for which she will always be well remembered.” – Alice G. Guillermo, Who Magazine, May 30, 1984

“De Leon’s film was to have had special screenings, on the unanimous request of the Cannes’ board of critics. Sister Stella L., however, suffered from the rush of subtitling work that descended upon Cannes’ select group of translators and De Leon opted not to show the film without subtitles. He nevertheless had the distinct honor of holding a retrospective under the sponsorship of the French Cinematheque right after the festival. The film eventually competed at the Venice Film Festival. Under its original title Sangandaan (Crossroads), Sister Stella L. was invited to the Venice Film Festival in 1984, the second Filipino film (after Genghis Khan in 1951) to be honored with such recognition.” – Agustin L. Sotto and Pet Cleto, Philippine Panorama, 02 December 1984

FACTS: Vilma Santos admittedly confessed SSL was a flop at the box office.

FICTION: Vilma was overshadowed by the supporting cast of this film. (The Urian critics disagreed! They gave Vilma, her third consecutive best actress! Hah! Beat that!)

DEKADA 70 (2002)

“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

“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 – The 22nd San Fransisco Asian-American Film Festival, (2004)

“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?” – Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 30, 2002

FACTS: Vilma Santos’ 4th Grand Slam wins for Best Actresses. The film was exhibited in last year’s “Cinema of the world” section at Cannes. Philippines’ Official Entry at the 76th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film. Vilma’s 4th Grandslam Best Actress wins.

FICTION: Dekasa 70 was written by Lualhati Bautista for Nora Aunor.

BATA BATA PAANO KA GINAWA? (1998)

“Sa tingin ko, sa Bata, Bata… pinakamagaling si Vilma Santos. Sa dami ng kanyang award, may ibubuga pa pala siya. Iba ang akting niya rito…Halatang feel na feel ni Vilma Santos ang kanyang papel dahil, gaya ng karakter ni Lea Bustamante, dalawa ang anak ni Vilma sa magkaibang lalake.” – Marra Pl. Lanot, Diario Uno, September 16, 1998

”And Vilma Santosis more than up to the challenge. Gone are the hysterically flapping hands, the melodramatic emoting, all the trademark acting tics. In their place is a heartfelt performance that distills Lea’s essence to an exquisite point-no movements are wasted, no gestures are overwrought. …Vilma rolls them on her tongue like the finest wine; when Lea is on the verge of breaking down, Vilma remains true to the spirit of her character… If the Lipa City mayor decides never to do another movie again, she can retire assured that her last performance-in a career already studded with formidable portrayals-may conceivably have been her best.” – Andrew E. Pardes, Manila Times, September 13, 1998

FACT: Opening gross was 5.2 million pesos. Another record breaking for Vilma. The film earned her a third grandslam best actress wins and her very first international recognition, winning the Brussel International film festival’s best actress award.

FICTION: The film was offered to Nora Aunor.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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: Directed: Cirio H. Santiago, Teodorico C. Santos;Story: Mars Ravelo; Screenplay: Teodorico C. Santos;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; Executive producer: Adela Santiago; Cinematography: Lito Padrino; Film Editing: Demetrio De Santos; Production Design: Bert Amazar; Theme Songs: “Ulila” composed by Levi Celerio, performed by Vilma Santos

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. - RV

GING is a poignant story of a poor gifted girl, trying to make both ends meet by singing and dancing in crowded streets and cafeterias. - Komiklopedia READ MORE

Film Achievement: In 1963, prolific komiks writer Mars Ravelo came up with a beautiful novel titled, Ging, a poignant story of a poor gifted girl, trying to make both ends meet by singing and dancing in crowded streets and cafeterias. It was one of the popular komiks serial that time that eventually landed into the big screen in 1964 with nine or ten-year old Vilma Santos in the lead role. It was a terrific follow-up to her highly successful debut film, Trudis Liit in 1963. - Komiklopedia READ MORE

Film Reviews: "...Pagbalikang tanaw naman natin ngayon ang mga batang karakter sa komiks. Sila ang nagbigay aliw, kinalugdan at minahal ng mga komiks readers noon, particularly ng ating mga ina (kasama na dito ang yumao kong nanay) na siyang tumangkilik, nagbasa at sumubaybay sa kanilang mga kasaysayan. Unahin natin si GING, isang batang iniyakan ang kasaysayan at unang ipinakilala ng creator nito na si Mars Ravelo ka-tandem ang dibuhistang si Elpidio Torres sa mga pahina ng Liwayway Magazine noong 1963. Ito ay isinalin sa pelikula sa ilalim ng pamamahala nina Direk Cirio H. Santiago at Teodorico C. Santos. Si Vilma Santos ang gumanap sa title role na Ging..." - Arman Francisco, Komixpage, 28 June 2015 (READ MORE)

"...Pagbalikang tanaw naman natin ngayon ang mga batang karakter sa komiks. Sila ang nagbigay aliw, kinalugdan at minahal ng mga komiks readers noon, particularly ng ating mga ina (kasama na dito ang yumao kong nanay) na siyang tumangkilik, nagbasa at sumubaybay sa kanilang mga kasaysayan. Unahin natin si GING, isang batang iniyakan ang kasaysayan at unang ipinakilala ng creator nito na si Mars Ravelo ka-tandem ang dibuhistang si Elpidio Torres sa mga pahina ng Liwayway Magazine noong 1963. Ito ay isinalin sa pelikula sa ilalim ng pamamahala nina Direk Cirio H. Santiago at Teodorico C. Santos. Si Vilma Santos ang gumanap sa title role na Ging..." - Arman Francisco, Komixpage, 28 June 2015 (READ MORE)

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 READ MORE

Ang sarap balikan ng mga pelikula ng the Premier Acress of the Land. Mga pelikulang may mga temang napapanahon kahit sabihin pang luma na ang mga ito. May tatak Vilma Santos. GING (1964) – all of 11 years, here is the newly-crowned FAMAS best child actress sa isa sa mga title roles niya bilang anak ng laos na artista (Olivia Cenizal) na nalumpo after she gave birth to Ging (Vilma). Ang ama ni Ging ay isang bit player na Mama’s boy, si Jose Padilla, Jr.(SLN) whose mother is the screen’s perennial conravida, Etang Discher (SLN), mother of the late Panchito.

Padilla abandoned Ging and her mother on her mother’s wishes so he won’t be dropped from her “pamana” (will). Mother and daughter lived in a slum area. Their squalid lives are made bearable with the presence of a cantankerous neighbor Aruray and her son who was sired by a black G.I. named George. Aruray’s son is about Ging’s age. They practically were street urchins who beat the other kids in soliciting alms, thanks to Ging’s histrionics: she would fake syncope (play dead) and “kawawa” by relating her sad plight as an abandoned poor daughter with a paraplegic of a mother – through a song that would drive her audience at a restaurant to tears and pity – and would give her free food and money.

The ploy works all the time. Little did Ging realize that an unscupulous couple, racketeers Ramon D’Salva and Carol Varga were observing her in a restaurant and saw in her a goldmine: they would adopt her and make them rich as her talent manager. Talk of child exploitation. Reluctant at first, Ging agrees to go with the evil couple provided she would go to shool and that they would send her alcoholic mother (bagay na bagay ito sa isang artista) to the hospital for treatment. Of course, the evil and scheming couple reneged on their promises. They exploited Ging by forcing her to work overtime and would starve her so she wouldn’t grow up and lose her audience. Luckily, she has a guardian angel in Georgie Quizon, Dolphy’s erthswhile brother who, along with Aruray provided comic relief, and who would protect Vilma from her exploiters.

Young Vilma’s raw, innate talent surfaces most especially in her scenes where she vacllates or mulls in leaving her mother. Her final goodbye scene with her mother is heartbreaking, enough a motivation for a Vilma fan Nora Aunor in Iriga city to follow in her footsteps. “One day, I wanna be like Vilma, I will sing and make people cry. Love that “gripo” princess to death. Idol ko siya.” Shot in black and white and adapted from the comics to the screen by Mars Ravelo, the movie was directed by Cirio Santiago and Teodorico Santos.

The movie is a must have for any true blue Vilmanian. Listang-lista at ang husay ni Vilma rito. Naroong kumanta siya (the voice over seemed like her singing voice), sumayaw at nagdrama. Luma si Madonna doon sa isang parang La Isla Bonita number niya. One memorable scene was when she was singing her signature song to the audience of her longing to see her mother and her father – the camera captures her pain and agony and the deep wound she suffers from her abusers – a poignant scene, complete with tears and and a well-internalized acting. Bravo! Karapat-dapat na U.P. Gawad Plaridel Awardee – maliit pa lang ang dyaske, ang husay talaga. Sa katunayan, some scenes from Ging were included in the audio-visual presentation at both the FAMAS Hall of Fame awards and the recent U.P. Gawad Plaridel coronation of the Summa Cum Laude of All Philippine Actors. Ang galing-galing mo talaga, Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos-Recto! - Mario Garces, V Magazine No. 6 2006

"...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 24, 2012

2005 Gawad Plaridel Award 3/3

Vilma Santos sa Puting Tabing: Ikaw, Siya, Tayo - My Film 100 professor had said that when you see Vilma Santos in person, it’s really hard not to get starstruck with her stellar appeal. UP Diliman Chancellor Francis Sergio Cao agrees. In his opening remarks at the Gawad Plaridel 2005 Awarding and Lecture, he confessed it was still his first time to see the famed actress in person and just how “starstruck” he was to be near her (two seats away); yeah, I could almost hear him jittering. Well, good for them; they got to be a meter or two away from this still youthful even in her golden age film icon. Me, the closest that I could get was just around 8-10 meters. I was in awe, of course, to have seen one of my favorite older actresses. But not much awe for me to be considered starstruck. I was just way beyond the “Starstruck Radius”.

Multi-awarded Filipino actress Vilma Santos is this year’s UP Gawad Plaridel awardee. The UP College of Mass Communication (my college!) gave her this award for her innumerable and invaluable contribution to the film industry, and mass communication as a whole. Santos was given the award at the Cine Adarna (formerly UP Film Center) just this afternoon, where she also delivered a half-hour lecture, reminiscing her almost fifty-year life as an actress and speaking strongly against the problems that plague the film industry today (lets give one of them a name: piracy). Ms. Santos’ speech, for me, was very profound and candid. I always had great respect and admiration for her as a person, public servant, and actress. After the lecture, that respect and admiration hot-air-ballooned. It became clear to me that even if this person is now worthy of having a constellation named after her, she is still as human and feet-on-the-ground as possible. During the reminiscing part of her speech, she told us about her humble beginnings as an artist, and about her mistakes and the challenges that spiced up her life. There was that time, she confided, when she had just won grandslam best actress and she was filming another movie and she sort of…”laxed” a bit. Her director, whom she had previously worked with, scolded her saying, “di dahil nanalo ka na ng grandslam e magaling ka na!” The director had Vilma Santos jog for 10 minutes to awaken her from her “illusion.”

But aside from Vilma Santos, many prominent people were also present in the occasion. Here’s a list of those I can remember: Sen. Ralph Recto, UP President Emerlinda Roman, National Artist Napoleon Abueva (who sculpted the Gawad Plaridel trophy), ABS-CBN boss Charo Santos-Concio, Eugenia Apostol (Philippine Daily Inquirer founding chairperson and last year’s Gawad Plaridel awardee) and Film director Chito Roño. Members of the media were also there. I even got to see Mario Dumaual, that showbiz reporter in ABS-CBN! It was him whom I got to see closest; he and his crew were shooting a mere meter in front of me. That portion where he is talking, with the stage and the lecturing Ate Vi in the background–I was right at the back of the cameraman. Vilma Santos’ mother was also there. There sure were many film producers and directors present in the affair, it’s just that I forgot their names or they were not acknowledged at all. Students and faculty members from different universities and colleges occupied most of the theater’s seats. And yes, magpapahuli ba ang mga die-hard Vilmanians? They occupied the middle seats; you’ll know its them with their distinctive gray hair. PS. I don’t have a camera to prove that what I say is true (but trust me, it really is true). Thankfully, in less than two months, I’m having my first digital camera! My aunt in Ohio is sending me one (bless her) after a month of grueling “courtship.” So you might as well expect a photoblog from me in August. Written by Ringhithion, July 04, 2005

How I wish there were more intelligent and passionate individuals like her in local show biz. - My long overdue visit to my beloved alma mater, UP’s College of Mass Communication and our tambayan, the Broadcasting Association, was a dejavu of sorts for me, and an overall enjoyable afternoon. Besides seeing the newer breed of young “broad-assers” as we call them (pardon the term of endearment), as well as my close professor-associates, I also witnessed the awarding of the Gawad Plaridel to the country’s premiere actress, Lipa Mayor Vilma Santos, which my friend Rome Jorge talks about in today’s banner story. Instead, let me fill you in on the glittering list of Ate Vi’s well-wishers that day—from her industry colleagues to the academic multitude to her loyal Vilmanians—who all gave the gem of an artist a standing ovation at the end of her 45-minute speech. She had of course her husband the Senator Ralph Recto to escort her. I meanwhile, had the privilege of attending the event with the head of the Film Institute Prof. Ed Lejano and his brilliant namesake, my fave, Prof. Ed Piano. The audience, meanwhile, had such bigwig names like Atty. Esperidion Laxa, ABS-CBN and Star Cinema executive Charo Santos-Concio, film director Chito Roño, scriptwriters Ricky Lee and Pete Lacaba, fellow actor Tirso Cruz III, film critics Bienvenido Lumbera and Mario Hernardo, and National Artist Napoleon Abueva, who is the sculptor of the highly revered Gawad Plaridel trophy. To say that Ate Vi’s lecture was powerful is an understatement, as Rome will no doubt tell you. How I wish there were more intelligent and passionate individuals like her in local show biz. Inspiring rather than . . . never mind! Let’s just get on with my prowl! – Written by Amiel Martin Cabanlig

UP honors Vilma Santos with Gawad Plaridel - She was unforgettable as Burlesk Queen, as Sister Stella L and as Dolzura Cortez. On Monday, however, she was Vilma Santos, the artist. “Ako po pala ay nakapag-ambag na sa industriya,” said Rosa Vilma Santos as she accepted the Gawad Plaridel, a citation given by the University of the Philippines to media practitioners who excel in their profession. The award was named after Filipino propagandist Marcelo del Pilar who used the pen name Plaridel. “Paulit-ulit ko pong binasa ang citation,” Santos said. She is the first artist to receive the award for her contribution to the movie industry. In her lecture on the relevance of the film industry on society, Santos said actors can be role models through the various roles they play. She said she was able to internalize her role in the movie “Sister Stella L.,” a story of a nun who became an activist during the martial law years. “Totoong-totoo ‘yong sinabi ko sa Sister Stella L. na ngayon hindi na lang ako nanonood. Nakikisama na ako at tumutulong sa abot ng aking makakaya,” Santos said. She called on the public to support the local film industry. Santos, who acted in over 200 movies, said she owes her success to the film industry.

She is now mayor of Lipa City in Batangas and is supporting the movie business by lowering the amusement tax in Lipa from 30 percent to 15 percent. She started her career when she was nine years old in the movie “Trudis Liit.” She, however, said the turning point came when she did “Burlesk Queen” when she was 23 years old. It was a tough decision, she said. She used to attend a school run by nuns. But it was a good choice, she said. “Ang pelikula pong ito ang nagpamulat sa akin sa maraming bagay,” she said. “Burlesk Queen,” shown in 1970, was a social commentary of the country’s patriarchal society. Santos movie career, however, was not always happy endings. “Sister Stella L.,” for instance, did not rake in profits compared to the movies of Sharon Cuneta during those days. “Nilangaw po ang pelikula ko,” Santos said, adding that she cried over the box-office flop. It was worth the gamble, however. The movie is now considered a classic. Acting is an endless process of learning, Santos said. Despite the many awards she got she always remembers that she still needs to learn a lot. During the shooting of the movie “Relasyon,” director Ishmael Bernal told her: “Tanggalin ang ilusyon sa iyong sarili.” He ordered her to jog inside the toilet for ten minutes to internalize her role. Santos said she is grateful to the directors who megged her most unforgettable films. She thanked directors Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, Mike de Leon, Laurice Guillen, among other. Among the films that made marks in her acting career were: “Relasyon,” “Broken Marriage,” “Sister Stella L,” “The Dolzura Cortez Story,” “Anak,” and “Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?” Bravo Ate Vi! - Vanessa Bago, ABS-CBN News

Recognizing Vilma Santos, thespian and nationalist - She is the grieving mother of sons to the struggle, linking arms and manning the front lines of a peaceful revolt. She is the mistress demanding the dignity deserving of a wife, a friend and a woman. She is the nun preaching the gospel of liberation against a dictatorship. She is the stripper dancing in tears as she lets go a love and a life never meant for one such as her. She is the single mom struggling to keep her wits amid domestic, financial and romantic dilemmas. She is the overseas worker facing down AIDS and its inevitable consequences. And she is Darna, a superhero fighting the giants, saving Ding and flying off to the stars. Burlesk Queen, Relasyon, Sinasamba Kita, Sister Stella L, Imortal, Dahil Mahal Kita: Dolzura Cortez Story, Bata, Bata...Paano Ka Ginawa?, Dekada ’70, not to mention Darna at Ding are just some of her countless films. Vilma Santos is all these and more. From the every woman to the other woman, she elevates every role as worthy of a superstar and every character as deserving of precise and passionate acting. She braves patriarchal traditions and murderous dictatorships to play burlesque dancers, mistresses and activist nuns. “She gambles her popularity to widen her scope as an actress,” proclaims Dr. Nicanor Tiongson, Dean of the College of Mass Communication of the University of the Philippines (UP). He adds, “She proves popularity and ratings need not degrade the craft.” For that and more, Vilma Santos wins the 2005 UP Gawad Plaridel Award. Santos received the award designed by National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva on July 4 in ceremonies at the Cine Adarna, UP Film Institute. Besides speeches, renditions of original movie soundtracks from Santos’s best loved films, as well as an insightful audiovisual presentation directed by Jun Austria, regaled audiences comprised of students, entertainment industry luminaries and fans who packed the venue. The Gawad Plaridel is an annual award to honor the exemplary media practitioners of the highest professional integrity in the interest of public service. Adopting the pen name of propagandist and La Solidaridad publisher Marcelo H. del Pilar, the award recognizes those who, like del Pilar, use the media to advocate libertine principles. Newspaper publisher Eugenia Apostol is the award’s first recipient. Now Vilma Santos joins the highly esteemed ranks of nationalist media professionals.

Beyond celebrity - She won despite being a star. Bookish and unglamorous academics instinctively scornful of celebrities and politicians bowed to her stellar performance as thespian, woman, politician, and yes, superstar. Dr. Sergio Cao, chancellor of UP Diliman confessed being a star-struck fan, “I had to nebulize before coming here; I couldn’t breath.” He later thrilled to busing her on the cheek. Nevertheless, Cao sermonized, “Star power is real power. It is the power to move people to tears, to make them cry and laugh and urge them to by with endorsements. It is to make them think what you want them to think, to make them feel what you feel. They should use it wisely, make people do good and aspire for better lives.” The Gawad Plaridel validated that Santos has done just that. Her multifaceted portrayals of strong independent women have inspired those she has mirrored. Her portrayals of antidictatorship advocates have immortalized unsung heroes of the movement for generations to come. Her fearless gambles at parlaying her celebrity to triumph at portraying the most challenging of roles have set the mark for generations of actors. Vilma Santos is a class act, not by any accident of pedigree, but rather by the brilliance of her artistry and the strength of her convictions. Santos herself credits her success to “nonstop learning.” She remembers basking in the glow of a grand slam win at every major award-giving body for best actress with the movie Burlesk Queen. On her next movie with director Ishmael Bernal, she recalls a humbling experience she remembers to this day: “I took seven takes just for the first scene on the first day. I wasn’t focused. Bernal trapped me in the toilet and ordered me to jog in place to work off many illusions from my grand slam win.” The Gawad Plaridel recognizes Santos as a consummate thespian and nationalist. In an industry marred by dubious awards, it is the academe that remains the unimpeachable judges of exceptional talent and principle.

Tough times - Vilma Santos, ever fearless, used her time at the podium not only to thank the industry and her supporters for her awards; she enumerated specific problems besetting the local cinema and television industry, and more importantly, specified solutions for the current crisis. The problems include the huge entertainment taxes imposed by government; digital video piracy; the lack of spending power of the masses; competition from foreign films that open on the same time as local films; and foreign television drama series that producers find cheaper to import instead producing ones locally. Santos proposes reducing taxes on films and television productions to bring down costs; better scripts and original stories that are distinct from foreign counterparts; lower talent fees for superstars—”Show me the script and we’ll talk about the talent fee,” Santos dares independent filmmakers; and Sen. Ralph Recto, Santos’s husband, passed a law that offers 10- to 50-percent tax rebates on film of worth and quality as adjudged by the Film Rating Board. “We can still overcome,” Santos rallies the Gawad Plaridel audiences. From superstars such as her to the new crop of independent filmmakers now with immortal lines from Sister Stella L. “Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino? Kung hindi ngayon, kalian pa?” - Rome Jorge (READ MORE)




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Saturday, September 22, 2012

2005 Gawad Plaridel Award 2/3


When Vilma Santos or Ate Vi, to most of us, was handed the trophy as the 2005 UP Gawad Plaridel awardee, she exclaimed “Wow! Ang Bigat!” I’m sure she meant it literally but it can also mean figuratively.

The trophy designed and made by National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon Abueva, was made of bronze and was really heavy. This is the third Abueva designed trophy that ate Vi has received. She earlier received Abueva made trophies from the CineManila International Film Festival as Best Actress and as Lifetime Achievement awardee. The trophy may be heavy but the prestige that goes with it is heavier! As what the citation says, Gawad Plaridel is the sole award in the University of the Philippines (UP) system given to outstanding media practioners. For this year, the recipient is from film, next year will be from radio, next is television, then new media, print and after 5 years back to film again. Ate Vi is the very first awardee in film and it will take 5 long years before this feat will be duplicated. The awards rite is scheduled to start at 2pm, and we, my mother and a cousin, whom I asked to take video of the event, arrived just a few minutes before 2. We were welcomed by no less than the Dean of UP-CMC, Dr. Nick Tiongson, ( I must admit, I’m impressed with his memory, dahil natandaan niya ako kahit minsan pa lang kami nag-meet ng ihatid naming ni Jojo (Lim) ang mga materials for lobby display and for the souvenir program), sabi ni Dean, “O, kumusta ka na?” Sagot ko naman, “Heto ho, nanlalamig sa nerbiyos.” Talagang ninenerbiyos ako dahil alam kong hindi lang ito isang ordinaryong award para kay ate Vi. To some extent, kasing ka-prestigious na ito ng National Artist Award. Imagine, ang mga bumoto para sa gawad na ito ay mga professor ng UP na halos lahat ay may PhD! Sumunod na sumalubong ang mga kasamahang vilmanians na sina Jojo, Cesar at Noel, binibiro nga nila ako na nagpa-star for all seasons daw ako. Sabi ko “Bakit andyan na ba si ate Vi?” Chorus nila “Andyan na! 10 minutes ago!” Sa loob-loob ko naman, ganito pala ang feeling ng mag-grand entrance!“

Cesar lead us to our assigned seat. Malapit lang kami sa stage which is good para makalapit agad kami ng Mama ko kay Vi after the awards rite. I didn’t know na may naka-assign pala akong seat na mas malapit sa stage, sa tabi nina Jojo at Paolo. This is reserved for those who in one way or the other, have helped in the mini exhibit and the materials used in the souvenir program. Anyways, after my mom was settled sa upuan niya, I went outside of the theatre to buy the souvenir program. The souvenir program is a collector’s item para sa mga Vilmanians at para sa mga Vilma followers. It was very tastefully done, gold ang kulay ng cover at nakasulat lang ang “UP Gawad Plaridel 2005 – College of Mass Communication. Naka-emboss sa cover ang logo ng UP. While reading the messages sa souvenir program, I can’t help but feel very proud of being a vilmanian. Very glowing ang mga messages nila! On my way back to the theatre, naka sabay ko na sina ate Vi escorted by Sen. Ralph. I greeted both of them, na in-acknowledge naman nila, with ate Vi’s very warm smile on her lips. I went inside before them dahil they will march going into the theatre. The processional will start at the back of the theatre going to the stage. First in the processional, were the professors of the College of MassCom, followed by Dean Tiongson, then UP Chancellor Mr. Sergio Cao and UP President Ms. Emerlinda Roman. Next is last year’s awardee Ms. Eugenia Apostol, then this year’s awardee Ms. Ate Vi, no less escorted by her husband, Sen. Ralph Recto.

The program was emceed by Prop. Jane Vinculado, director, Office of Extension and External Affairs. After the National Anthem was sung, nagbigay ng opening remarks si Dr. Tiongson, after which ay naghatid naman ng kanyang mensahe si Dr. Sergio S. Cao, PhD. In his speech, he said that “This is the first time that I saw Ms. Santos in person and I’m starstruck! You are so beautiful!” He even kidded that he had to go to the infirmary to use the nebulizer, dahil nagsikip ang dibdib niya after makita niya si ate Vi! While listening to his speech, I was teary-eyed. Dahil mga salita ito na nagmumula sa isang hindi ordinaryong tao! He said that he was awed by what ate Vi has accomplished both as an actress and as a mayor. He also said that he has not watched many of ate Vi’s films, in fact, he hadn’t seen much Filipino movies, but of the few that he saw, he likes ate Vi’s acting very much, and he specially mentioned “Ikaw ay Akin”, where he said that ate Vi was marvelous! After his speech, ng pabalik na siya sa upuan niya tumayo si ate Vi to greet and thank him, and he planted a kiss on ate Vi’s cheek to the delight of the crowd who cheered him on.

The audience was composed of students from UP, Ateneo, Mirriam College, La Salle-Lipa, PUP, UE and Trinity College, of course hindi mawawala ang mga over loyal, over true Vilmanians. The theatre’s capacity is 800 at punong-puno ang theatre, marami pa ang mga nakatayo sa magkabilang aisle. Sabi nga ng isang staff ng UP, had they known na ganito karami ang attendees, sana ang UP Theatre na lang ang ginamit, which is much bigger. Among the celebrities spotted were Tirso Cruz III and wife Lyn, Charo Santos-Concio, Ricky Lee, Chito Rono, Atty. Laxa, Jerry Sineneng, Laurice Guillen and Chit Guerrero among others. The press was also there led by Ricky Lo, Mario Dumaual, Lhar Santiago, Morly Alinio and Ambet Nabus. Next in the program, was a song number by Ms. Katrina Saporsantos, a soprano who sang “Ipagpatawad Mo”, next is Dean Ramon Acoymo, a tenor who sang the most moving version of “Sana Maulit Muli”. They then, sang together a medley of “Bato sa Buhangin”, “Tubig at Langis” and “Sinasamba Kita” all theme songs from Vilma’s movies. They were accompanied in the piano by Mr. Jeremiah Calisang.

Next is the documentary entitled “Vilma sa Putting Tabing: Ikaw, Siya, Tayo” . Medyo misty eyed na naman ako dito sa portion na ito dahil sa mga testimonials nina Atty. Laxa, Christopher de Leon, Marra Lanot and others. Meron din portion na in-interview ang kasama nating vilmanians like Jojo Lim, Remy, Cora and Zeny aka Pitimini (ni Kuya Ike Lozada). I wish I can ask for a copy of this docu, sana rin malinaw ang register sa video na nakuhanan namin. After this documentary, ay iginawad na kay ate Vi ang parangal nina Drs. Roman, Cao and Tiongson. After which ay nagbigay na si ate Vi ng kanyang lecture/speech. She started her speech by saying na kinakabahan siya. Sabi niya sa presentation na ginawa nila para sa kanya, overwhelmed siya talaga! Para daw siyang presidente! She acknowledge all who attended the event, and started to look back on her 42 glorious years in the business. She enumerated some of her landmark films and some notes that go with them, like when Burlesk Queen was offered, she said “Diyos ko, paano ako magsasayaw ng burlesk eh nag-aaral ako sa mga madre!” She was a product of the RVM Sisters which ran the St. Mary’s Academy where she studied from kinder to high school. She also recalled that after winning her very first grandslam for Relasyon, she was scheduled to shoot for another Bernal film, Broken Marriage. Sa isang eksena nila ni Boyet de Leon, naka take 7 siya! Sabi raw ni Bernal, “Ano ka ba, Vi, dapat malungkot ka dito sa eksena eh bakit may stars ang mga mata mo?” Paalala sa kanya ni Bernal, “Hindi por que naka-grandslam ka na ay ikaw na ang pinakamahusay”. Pinapasok daw siya ni Bernal sa comfort room at pinag-jogging siya for 10 minutes, bago kuhanan muli ang eksena which turned out to be perfect. At ito raw ang hanggang sa ngayon ay naging guide niya, kaya hanggang sa ngayon ay patuloy pa rin siyang nag-aaral sa kanyang propesyon. Sabi niya ang pag-arte ay walang katapusang pag-aaral. Kahit daw sa panonood ng news sa TV, iba iba ang pag-iyak ng mga tao, at pinag-aaralan niya ito para hindi rin pare-pareho ang kanyang style ng pag-iyak.

She also recalled how she went to Mother Lily after hearing reports that her Sister Stella L was not as well accepted as Sharon’s Bukas Luluhod ang mga Tala, on which mother Lily anwered “ganyan talaga ang buhay”. She also said that malayong-malayo ang estado ng pelikula noong nagsisimula pa lamang siya at sa ngayon. She said that we used to produced more than 200 movies a year pero last year it was down to just a little more than 50. Sinabi niya na marami sa mga kasamahan niya sa industriya ang walang trabaho. Ang iba nga raw ay nagpupunta pa sa kanya sa Lipa upang humingi ng tulong. Sinabi niya na dapat daw ay mas bigyan ng priority ang ating mga pelikula kaysa sa dayuhang pelikula. She cited Spiderman 2 na nasabay sa isang local movie, syempre panalo ang Spiderman 2 with more than P20M gross sa first day nito sa Metro Manila alone, samantalang ang nakasabay na pelikulang pilipino ay nagpasalamat na sa P5M first day gross nito. Sana raw ay huwag naman sabayan ang playdate ng mga pelikulang pilipino ng malalaking pelikulang dayuhan, after all wala namang pinapalabas na pelikulang tagalog every week. Isa pang problema ng pelikulang pilipino ay over-taxation, mahigit daw 50% ng gross ng pelikulang pilipino ay napupunta sa tax.

Sinabi niya na sila sa Lipa ay nagpasa ng batas na from 35% ay 15% na lang ang ibubuwis sa mga pelikulang pilipinong ipalalabas sa kanilang lunsod, while si Sen. Ralph ay nagpasa ng batas sa senado para sa Film Ratings Board, na nagbibigay ng 100% tax rebate sa rated A films, 50% sa rated B at 25% sa rated C. Sinabi rin niya na willing siyang magbaba ng kanyang talent fee basta maganda at makabuluhan ang proyekto, na sinalubong ng mainit na palakpakan. She also mentioned the problem of film piracy. Kung minsan daw nauuna pa ang pirated VCDs sa commercial theatres, kaya talagang apektado ang mga pelikula. A director once told her that his movie can easily gross an additional 20M if not for the pirated VCD that came ahead of its commercial run. Sa pagtatapos ng kanyang lektyur, binigkas niya uli ang kanyang dialogue sa Sister Stella L – “Na marami pang siyang dapat matutuhan, ngunit hindi na siya nagmamasid lamang. Sabi nga ni Ka Dencio, kung hindi tayo ang kikilos, sino ang kikilos, kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?” Umugong ang malakas na palakpakan at karamihan pa ay hindi napigilan ang pagtayo bilang pagbibigay pugay sa isang aktres na naiiba, nag-iisa at patuloy na ginagamit ang kanyang talino para sa kapakanan ng mas nakararami. And mind you, hindi lang mga Vilmanians ang nag-standing ovation! Tunay ka! Iba ang isang Vilma Santos!

Who and How they Voted? – The Second U.P. Gawad Plaridel (2005, Film)For 2005, the award is given to an outstanding film practitioner.The U.P. CMC received nine nominations from various media organizations and academic institutions on April 8, 2005, the deadline for nominations. The nine nominees were Nora Aunor, Celso Ad. Castillo, Ricky Lee, Mike de Leon, Lily Monteverde, Eddie Romero and Vilma Santos. The first round of deliberations was held on April 19, 2005. The screening committee was composed of the following: Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Dean, U.P. CMC), Dr. Rolando B. Tolentino (Acting Director and Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Dr. Grace J. Alfonso (Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Ms. Eliza Cornejo (Instructor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Anne Marie G. de Guzman (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Roehl J. Jamon (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Eduardo J. Lejano (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Eduardo J. Piano (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Arminda V. Santiago (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute). This committee recommended three nominees, Mike de Leon, Eddie Romero and Vilma Santos as finalists for the awards.

The second screening with the representatives of the three departments of the U.P. CMC took place on May 11, 2005. The body, known as the U.P. CMC Gawad Plaridel Faculty Committee, was composed of the following: Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Dean, U.P. CMC and Chair, CMC Faculty Committee), Dr. Lourdes M. Portus (College Secretary, U.P. CMC), Dr. Rolando B. Tolentino (Acting Director and Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Eduardo J. Lejano (Assistant Professor, U.P. Film Institute), Prof. Victor C. Avecilla (OIC, Dept. of Broadcast Communication), Mr. Fernando A. Austria (Instructor, Dept. of Broadcast Communication), Prof. Ma. Cristina I. Rara (Assistant Professor and Chair, Dept. of Journalism), Prof. Luis V. Teodoro, Jr. (Professor, Dept, of Journalism), Dr. Aleli A. Quirante (Associate Professor, Dept. of Communication Research), Ms. Alexandra More M. San Joaquin (Instructor, Dept. of Communication Research) and Prof. Elizabeth L. Enriquez (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Graduate Studies). After deliberating on the credentials of the three finalists, the committee chose Ms. Rosa Vilma Santos as the recipient of the U.P. Gawad Plaridel for 2005. She is scheduled to received the U.P. Gawad Plaridel trophy and deliver the Second Plaridel Lecture on July 4, 2005 at the Cine Adarna of the U.P. Film Institute.

Message from the Dean of UP-CMC 31 May 2005 - Traditionally, academia has always kept a discreet distance from show business, and for good reason. For one, academics have always emphasized critical thinking and professional integrity, both of which seem to be rare commodities in a movie world obsessed with instant gold and glamour. For another, the popularity of a movie star, to be sure an unwanted legacy from Hollywood, has been used by producers to cover up for a multitude of their cinematic sins, such as the lack of intelligent scripts, competent directors, and solid production values.But stardom is not a sin in itself. In the hands of film actors who are sincerely committed to their art, popularity can be harnessed to uplift the artistic standards of the whole film industry. In fact, it can contribute significantly and directly to the development of a Filipino national cinema, if the movie star, with cunning and imagination, can use his or her popularity as a way of pressuring filmmakers to create screen characters and stories that reflect and interpret urgent issues and concerns in contemporary Philippine society.In choosing Vilma Santos as the U.P. Gawad Plaridel Awardee for film, the College of Mass Communication would like to offer to the film and media industries incontrovertible and living proof that popularity – and ratings – need not lead to the degradation of media tastes and standards. In fact, they can inspire media practitioners to compete with each other to be the best that they can be and encourage filmmakers to create films that liberate and transform the many levels of consciousness of the Filipino people. - Nicanor G. Tiongson, Dean, College of Mass Communication, Message from UP Chancellor, 31 May 2005

Message from the Office of the Chancellor - Every year the U.P. Gawad Plaridel honors the media person whose work successfully merges the artist and the public servant, and constantly raises standards of artistry by being true to the craft while at the same time challenging the conventional notions of art as being merely “for art’s sake.” This year’s awardee, Ms. Vilma Santos, is one such media person. She has earned recognition here and abroad for her fine and powerful performances as wife, mother, lover, NGO worker, and OFW in films that are now considered modern classics. In the process, she has also redefined womanhood, questioned traditional gender roles, and clarified the relationship of an individual to her society.More importantly perhaps, Ms. Santos has used her status as a celebrity to pursue public service. As Mayor of Lipa City, she has proven that art and politics do not exist in separate planes. She has shown us that women artists can transform society in more ways than one.Congratulations, Ms. Vilma Santos. – Sergio S. Cao, Chancellor, U.P. Diliman, Gawad Plaridel Citation, 31 May 2005

Gawad Plaridel Citation - For crafting and creating her varied cinematic roles with consummate artistry, making us empathize with whatever character she is portraying by delineating for us the character’s history, problems, and aspirations, in dynamic interaction with the film’s ensemble of other characters;For bravely using her popularity as an actor to choose roles which brings to the public attention an astounding range of female experiences as well as an array of problems confronting women of different classes and sectors in contemporary Filipino society, even if these experiences or problems would not only not enhance but could even detract from her mass appeal;For bringing to life on screen characters whose stories have the effect of raising or transforming the consciousness of women, leading them a few steps closer to a deeper understanding of their situation vis-à-vis the patriarchy and to the ability to control their own lives and make choices of their own;For courageously playing maverick characters which dared to speak the truth in a period of intense political repression and reprisal, thereby showing a concern not for her own self but for a Filipino society fighting for basic human rights under a dictatorial regime;For building a brilliant career which saw her grow from popular icon to professional actor through self-discipline and tireless honing of her craft, thereby challenging writers, directors, and producers to come up with films that would be worthy of her enormous artistic resources and repaying their efforts with some of the most unforgettable performances in Filipino cinema;For showing that the movie star can place the stamp of her own individuality and talent on the films she choose to make, thereby proving that the star can be regarded as an auteur in her own right; For excellence, integrity, and social responsibility which have distinguished her major performances, and for being a model of professionalism to other actors and technicians engaged in the creation of a Filipino national cinema;The U.P. Gawad Plaridel 2005 is given to Rosa Vilma Santos on the 4th day of July 2005 by the U.P. College of Mass Communication at the Cine Adarna, U.P. Film Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. - Emerlinda R. Roman, Ph.D.President, University of the Philippines; Sergio S. Cao, Ph.D.Chancellor, U.P. Diliman; Nicanor G. Tiongson, Ph.D.Dean, U.P. College of Mass Communication

Transcribed and written by Eric Nadurata Published in V Magazine May 31, 2005. To download V magazine issue 03, CLICK HERE


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