Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vilma Santos’ “Sixteen” Interview

What does Vilma Santos think of Vilma Santos now? At Sixteen, I guess is far cry from the Vilma Santos I’ve known eight years ago. I remember I was very childish and too carefree then, pretty naïve to what life would seem to offer and…oh yes, physically, I was skinny. But now, in such a little period of time, I’ve learned so many things about life really is, the differences between winning and losing…the many faces of happiness and success and yes, from a skinny girl…uh, what d’ya know, I fully bloomed into…ugh, would you believe fastest weight gainer! Gee whiz, it makes me feel sick everyday. I wonder how I will look come eight years more and the next to come. But one thing is sure, by that time I’m already a full-grown woman.

Do you have many friends? What king people do you choose for friends? I have lots of friends. But real friends, I doubt if there are many. I admire persons who know how to mingle with anybody and everybody. I despise the opportunist and the unkind.

At present, do you think people you meet are interested in you only as Vilma Santos, the movie star? Nope and…well, yes. There are some. I just don’t know the others.

Does acting come easy for you? Well, for me it’s only a matter of little concentration. I study the part I play and try to feel it in more realistic way. Emotion easily gets me you know, especially when I’m already in front of the camera.

How do you evaluate yourself as an actress? As a singer? I can act, yes but I don’t consider myself a very good actress yet. I guess, I have to learn more, especially in dealing with everybody, with people who support me and work with me and most especially I still have to learn how to accept criticism open-mindedly, gratefully and patiently in which some of the blasts you’ll deserve, many you won’t. And as a singer, gosh…I feel a funny thing inside everytime na naiisip kong I was not a born singer. But everytime I hear my records play, I couldn’t help but kid myself, that I was made after all.

What kind of reaction did you have when your first recording became a hit? Ofcourse I was very very very happy…overwhelmed with joy, for somehow, I didn’t fail my producer William leary, and the great song writer, Dannie Subido.

Did you feel pressure in preparing your LP album, Sixteen? I’ve felt pressure ever since I began to work in show business. Let’s just say, I was a little nervous.

Is it true that after you were given five complimentary copies of your first LP album, you immediately gave them to five special people closest to your heart, and the two of them were Jay Ilagan and Edgar Mortiz? Yes, but it didn’t mean anything on my part. It’s just a sort of a token of friendship. Just like when they also gave me a copy of their first record.

Is it true that one of your favorite songs which is entitled “Dry Your Eyes” reminds you of Jay Ilagan? Why? Well, its not exactly that way. I mean, kayak o lang nasabi youn kasi… kuwan, ;yon bang…tsk. Kasi kuwa, e ah it reminds me of Jay, because I was deeply touched sa mga write-ups na nababasa ko tungkol sa kanya – na gusto raw niya akong maging ka-love team. But it seems, as he himself said before, were not meant for each other even in real life that’s why I couldn’t help but dedicate the lyrics fo that song to him which goes like this…”Look around, never try to run, for the things to come could be your chance. You’re still young to suffer and to cry, don’t you deny, for I know your part and don’t be afraid to be alone.” And that’s it.

Is it also true that Jay and Edgar are two of your most ardent suitors in real life? Hmmm….yes….

Between Edgar and Jay, who of the two do you think has the greater chance of winning your heart? I haven’t thought about it yet. And besides, I enjoy life as it is now – - being free from love worries. Just wait na lang till I have enough time to study the matter closely, huh?

Speaking of Jay, how did you feel when you were separated as loveteam in Bata-Batuta? I felt sad, not because si Edgar ang ipinalit sa kanya. It was not Edgar’s fault, nor Jay’s or mine. But I was happy, too not because nagkahiwalay kami ni Jay. Tsk…you see, it’s hard to explain eh! Some people might misunderstand me, so let’s better not talk about it anymore, okay?

But do you also dream of working with Jay someday? Yes, why not? Kung may alok, that is. I think Jay is a very nice guy to work with and I’ll look forward to make picture with him in the near future.

Why is it that Edgar reportedly always gets jealous everytime you talk with other boys? I don’t know that! All I know is that I’m free to talk with anybody, and I guess, I have all the freedom to do so.

What qualities of Edgar do you find most attractive? Ditto with Jay Ilagan? They are different personalities. And qualities too. But I like them both, as friends, that is.

Lastly, at what age do you want to go steady with somebody? After my 18th birthday. But it all depends upon the situation, you know. Maybe this year, maybe next year…or maybe never. END. Submitted for publication by A. Trambulo for V Magazine

Thursday, October 27, 2011


When Vilma Santos released her first album in 1969 under Willears Record, no one expected that her vinyl record would sell 500,000 units making it the company’s surprise record-breaking album of that year. The signature song, “Sixteen” became the most played single of that year proving that Vilma Santos can be as phenomenal as her closest rival and the more established singer, Nora Aunor. The young Vilma won a Golden Record Award for her debut album that comprised of 16 English songs including four original songs composed and arranged by Dannie Subido.

Prior to her debut album, Vilma Santos’ first stint in singing was in her earlier film, 1964's Ging. She played a child singing sensation opposite drama staple, Olivia Cenizal. Her career continued with string of dramatic roles and when the musical trends started in late 60s her career aspiration become limited mainly because everyone expected young stars to sing well. She admitted her limited range as singer and concentrated with her promising acting talents and dancing. When Vi found commercial success with Edgar Mortiz as her love team, she occasionally sings with him. Their fans did not mind Vilma’s soft thin voice. Actually, Vilma’s sweet tone blends well with Edgar’s balladeer pipes.

The success of Vi & Bot love team was evident with numerous films and it was only a matter of time that the idea of having Vilma have her own album came in 1969. There was a market and demand for Vilma’s very own long-playing vinyl. William Leary, Vilma’s manager asked musical director Dannie Subido to gather songs that will suit Vilma’s limited range. It was reported that Subido find the project challenging. They have to find songs that are light but will still give Vilma’s fans enjoyment. They decided to make it fun and sort of child like. They also wanted to make sure that the songs reflect Vilma’s current state of mind, that of a growing teenager. Sort of like early Britney, “no longer a child not yet a woman.” Her promotional interview clearly confirmed some of the issues teenagers are experiencing during this time. Body image, sex education, adulthood, friendship, and dating are some of the topics the album tackled which are topics that are still relevant today. “…as a singer…gosh…I feel a funny thing inside every time na naiisip kong, I was not a born singer. But every time I hear my records play, I couldn’t help but kid myself that I was made after all.” She commented when asked to evaluate herself as singer. What she really meant by that line, “I made it” is that by making her record a success no one cannot say that she cannot be sell records. This success proves that she can be a successful singer like her closest rival, Nora.

Vilma’s first album was pure fun and still very relevant today. Consist of twelve songs six on each side. The vinyl record on side A starts with its carrying single, Sixteen. Composed by Dannie Subido, Sixteen talks about "making out" in the park. This might alarm some of the religious zealots in the 70s but Ate Vi’s wholesome sweet voice makes the song wholesome and child like. The hidden sex - "making out" - kissing and hugging in public place - message of the song would probably the reason why "Sixteen" became the favorites of teenagers. The song catapulted Vilma’s signature song. A feat that even her closest rival, Nora Aunor can’t replicated (Nora Aunor despite successful singing career lacked a signature song). Remember this is the hippie era and the start of the feminist movement. A clear reason why "Sixteen" was a major hit with the free love carefree young generation of this era. The next songs, Dry your Eyes and Bring Back Your Love both arranged by Dannie Subido are love songs that boils down to frustration of a girl in love. Followed by a turned around in terms of mood with Vi’s version of a Bacharach composition, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, a funny but out of place song. One of the two final songs on side A, came as a surprise. "When The Clock Strikes One" was an original composition of Robert Medina and like “Sixteen” was about “making out” – kissing and hugging but this time its more fun because of its unusual up-tempo mood that’s actually more like a hip-hop song.

Side B of Sixteen was pure fun too. Three songs that stands out were the original compositions of Dannie Subido, "Sometimes," "It is Wonderful to be In Love" and "Then Along Came You Edgar.” The lyrics of these songs are simple and obviously catered to the massive followers of the Edgar – Vilma love team. Before Britney Spears came up with her hit song, “Sometimes,” Vilma has her own song titled “Sometimes.” Both Britney and Vilma’s songs are about teenage love confusion. It’s a Wonderful To Be in Love is self-explanatory, yes Ate Vi is in love and she expressed it nicely in this song. The up-tempo and simple lyrics of this song makes it more like a children rhyme song except that it’s about almost "adult-kind" of love. The puppy love theme of the album continued with an uplifting song, well at least for the Vi and Bot fans with "Then Along Came You, Edgar.” This song confirmed Vi's puppy love to the dark and handsome but not so tall cutie-pie, Edgar Mortiz. Once again, Dannie Subido’s arrangement and lyrics are simple but playful, a perfect fit to Ate Vi’s sweet range.

The success of Sixteen can be attributed to the playfulness and simplicity of the song selections. It suited the sweetness and purity of Vilma’s almost child like voice. The album earned Vilma her first golden record award and a remarkable signature song, “Sixteen.” The album established her as a successful recording artist. If I will compare her to today’s list of contemporary artists, I will compare Vilma to the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Madonna. Jennifer, Britney, and Madonna has thin but sweet voices just like Vilma. Like Vilma, these pop superstars have to work hard to achieve almost perfect products that their fans loved. Like Vilma, the three pop stars are great dancers which they all used to the max in their choreographed production numbers. The reluctant singer came out on top. Vilma Santos’ debut album made history. Sixteen made Vilma Santos a remarkable singer.

After Sixteen - The success of Sixteen brings out another facet of Vilma Santos’ talent. Everyone knows that she is a good actress and a wonderful dancer but nobody expects that she will be able to succeed as a singer. At the early stage of her young career, the rivalry between her and a more established singer, Nora Aunor was lapse sided because Aunor was the number one singer in town. The success of Sixteen brings about an even playing field between the two young stars. Vilma's record-breaking sales positioned her career into high gear. She continued to act in several musical films and at the same time recorded fun-filled songs. To her critics, Vilma’s recording success were attributed to pure luck. And so, to prove them wrong, Vilma’s manager smartly plotted follow-up recordings. Not only did Vilma record her follow-up album, she recorded a string of mini-LPs. Mini-LPs are shorter version of the big vinyl record with two songs on each side. She ventured into Tagalog songs, recording six songs that include instants hits like Isipin Mong Basta’t Mahal Kita, a theme song to a film she did opposite Filipino chess grand master, Eugene Torre; Palong-Palo, where she received a golden record award in 1974 and an up-tempo opm, Tok-Tok Palatok, another theme song from one of her comedy film with the same title opposite Jojit Paredes. Vi and Bot also released two mini-LPs, "Something Stupid," a song that they regularly sings at their TV show, D’Sensations and "Christmas Tiding," a collection of famous holiday songs like Silver Bells and Vilma’s now famous version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Mommy Kissing Santa Claus that’s been circulating in the internet in recent years. In addition, Vilma recorded Baby Vi, another mini-LP. She also shared equal billing with Edgar Mortiz, Esperanza Fabon, Ed Finlan, Hilda Koronel, and Sahlee Quizon in a Christmas compilation album titled, Christmas Carols.

Willears Records continued Vilma’s recording projects with two albums, Sweethearts and Aloha My Love both featured her with off and on screen love partner, Edgar Mortiz. The company who introduced the resurgent singer, Vilma in Sixteen followed up her solo success with Sweet, Vilma, Sweet, a much more ambitious offering with Vilma doing popular cover songs. Songs that are mostly identified with more established singers, like Nora Aunor. It is worth noting that during the peak of the musical genre in the early 70s, the musical films relied heavily on foreign influence. Maybe this was the reason why Vilma’s rival Nora Aunor doesn’t have a signature song. Recorded songs are mostly versions of the foreign recordings. Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, Neil Sedaka are the usual suspects. Instead of original simple composition, Willears selected songs like Mama, Sad Movies, and Our Day Will Come and let Vilma create her own version. The result was a disappointment not because Vilma didn’t work hard for the project but because it lacks the originality of her first album. Vilma’s thin voice also didn’t help.

But despite this visible contrast to her first album, Sweet Vilma Sweet was a successful follow-up. She continued her singing stints with an album most Vilmanians seems to forget, All I See Is You carried the folk song, Ati Cu Pung Sing-sing and Wonderful world of Music. The later song became a title of a musical film that paired Vilma with Edgar and co-starred with Snooky, Tony Ferrer, and Boots Anson Roa. The demand for Vi & Bot's recordings increased and Willears produced Sweetheart, perhaps a confirmation album of the real score between the two young teen stars. Out of 25 films Vilma and Edgar made in 1970, both Sweethearts and Sixteen stands out as two of their certified hits both as films and recorded albums.

By 1972, Vicor Music Corporation took over Vilma’s singing career and smartly went back to the original fun-loving carefree theme that suited Vilma's voice and made her a successful recording artist. With the guidance of Orly Ilacad, Vilma recorded original compositions that were light hearted, up-tempo and simple. Sing Vilma Sing arrived at the radio airwaves with the carrying single, “Bobby Bobby Bobby.” Despite the declaration of Martial law in 1972, the album became another instant hit. Also, Vilma and Edgar recorded their third album together, a follow-up with the hit, The Sensations. Aloha My Love came afterwards which also became a film and appropriately shoot entirely in Hawaii. Aloha was artistically packaged and contained Hawaiian and popular cover English songs like All Alone Am I and Eternally.

Unfortunately, all good things must end. By 1973, Vilma made her move. After almost one hundred films with Edgar Mortiz, she decided, it was time to venture out of the love team and test the water as solo star. This move also signaled the end of her singing career. At the same time, the musical genre started to subside as more turmoil politically spreads around the country. The bomba films exploded in mainstream local cinemas in mid 70s. Movie theatre owners illegally inserts porn clips in the middle of film. It was so popular back then that even the first Manila International Film Festival organized by former first lady, Imelda Romualdez Marcos allowed the bomba or sexy films to be shown during the midnight time slots of the festival. The bomba period created a long line up of respectable sexy actress like Elizabeth Oropeza, Daria Ramirez, and Chanda Romero. Even former beauty queen, Gloria Diaz ventured into the sexy film. The emergence of sexy or "bold" films as what they referred to by local film buff challenged the now solo superstar, Vilma Santos. Tagalog Ilang Ilang production transformed her into an action super hero as the new Darna, Philippines' version of Wonder Woman. Lipad Darna Lipad (Fly Darna Fly) defeated entertainment giants Fernando Poe Jr and Joseph Estrada, both have films being shown at the same time and the usual bomba films. A very long line-up snake down the streets of Claro M. Recto Avenue's Cinerama theatre. It was recorded that Tagalog Ilang Ilang Production distributed Darna dolls and Coka-Cola bottles to the massive patrons during the film showing. Lipad Darna Lipad became the most successful Darna film ever. It broke box office records and solidified Vilma’s clout as the new box office queen of Philippine movies. Vilma’s stature as the most bankable artist of that time validated her decision to leave her love team with Edgar Mortiz and the singing stints to her closest rival, Nora Aunor. She became more adventurous and accepted roles that showcase her versatility. And this move cemented her position as the actress to watch, the actress on top of her game.

Remarkable History - As a singer, Vilma’s thin voice didn’t stop her to become a successful singer. Her hard work paid off and earned her a piece of history. The reluctant singer recorded strings of solo albums that created her signature songs, “Sixteen” and “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby.” Signature songs that enlisted her together with famous singers like Imelda Papin (Bakit), Eva Eugenio (Tukso), Claire DeLaFuente (Sayang), Sharon Cuneta (Mr. DJ), Didith Reyes (Nananabik), Aiza Siguerra (Pagdating Ng Panahon), Freddie Aguilar (Anak), Florante (Handog), and Gary Valenciano (Di Na Natuto). Her sweet and child like voice reflected the innocence of her original up-tempo songs that tackles teenage issues like dating, sexual education, body images, and adulthood. Teenage issues that are still remarkably relevant today. - RV Credits: album text and photos: Nar Santander, Eric Nadurata; Additional photos: Rene Maximo READ MORE

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Edgar Loves Vilma

I saw this book of Lorna Kalaw Tirol titled “Above the crowd.” It caught my attention when I saw the drawing of Vilma’s face which was the most beautiful one compared to other caricatures. This book contained interviews of Kris, Kuh, Nora, Lino Brocka, and others. The pictures were illustrated by Nonoy Marcelo. Let me share you the article about Vi (Vilma Santos) and Bot (Edgar Mortiz)…

If Vilma comes, can Edgar be far behind? - In the colorful world of the Filipino movie fan, circa 1971, the ideological lines (with all due respect to the radicals and the moderators in the movement) are sharply drawn. One is either for Nora Aunor or for Vilma Santos. One cannot like both and be worthy of the name “movie fan.” In fact, there are no fans in the case of Nora and Vilma; they are only fanatics. Nora, her loyal subjects maintain, has a far better singing voice than Vilma. That, counters the Santos camp, is because Vilma is primarily an actress and only incidentally a singer. And Vilma of the doll-like face is definitely the prettier of the two, her fanatics boast. There, we think, the debate should end. The assignment was to interview Vilma Santos for a cover story. We were told that we could catch her one Saturday morning at an Antipolo resort where she was shooting “Wonderful World of Music” for Tagalog Ilang Ilang. Her director was there, all right, and so was Snooky (child star), too self conscious and too small for her age. But Vilma was still in Cabanatuan, and so was Edgar.

The following Wednesday she was scheduled to start filming for another Tagalog Ilang Ilang picture, Young Lovers. With a title like that, we thought, the movie couldn’t be anything but a further buildup of the Edgar-Vilma love team. But who wants a story when you can have your fill of Vilma and Edgar exchanging sweet words and glances? We were at this house in Quezon City, site of the first day of shooting, at nine in the morning. The entire cast and crew were there, except for the leading lady and her leading man. When they arrived an hour and a half later, the place seemed to come alive. The young lovers were chaperoned by Mrs. Santos, pretty and amply proportioned. We were relieved to see none of the burly tomboys who smothered Nora. It was Edgar Mortiz, with his height and size, who looked more like Vilma’s bodyguard. If he were slim and shorter, he could pass for her shadow. Yet it is difficult to imagine him in the role of bodyguard, he is what older folk would describe as mukhang musmos pa. Edgar Mortiz is, in fact, younger than Vilma Santos who, at 17, is no giggly teenager.

She is a woman and she knows it. “A LOT of people tells me that I am very mature for my age,” she says at the start of the interview. “I feel it myself. I like to think that I have the mind of 23-year old woman.” She speaks with unusual poise and self-confidence, a self-assurance that must explain why she strikes some people as suplada. Vilma had little time to be a child. When she was nine and a student at St. Mary’s Academy in Manila, an uncle who was a cameraman at Sampaguita introduced her to Dr. Jose Perez. Not long afterward, Rosa Vilma Santos made her first film, Trudis Liit, where she played the title role. Shooting schedules were arranged so as not to conflict with her studies. She attended school in the morning, reported to the set in the afternoon. More pictures for Sampaguita followed, including two on the life of Ferdinand Marcos, in which she was cast as Imee. When the time came for Vilma to choose between school and a film career, she readily chose the latter.

“We study so we can get a job later, di ba? Well, I have a job already.” When she does decide to resume her studies (she was in fourth year high school when she quit), she wants to go into fine arts. Right now however, her thoughts are on her career and, if we are to believe her studio’s drumbeaters, Edgar. Is he or isn’t he? That is as intriguing a question to their fanatics as Imelda Marcos’s political ambition is to newspaper columnists. The love team of Vilma and Edgar has been going strong for two years now. Whether on TV’s Sensations and Edgar Loves Vilma or on radio’s “Hot line 1250 with Edgar and Vilma” or in advertising gimmicks, the latest of which is birthday party with Vilma and Edgar, the team-up has proved to be a hit. They are, in addition, neighbors somewhere in Quezon City. Doesn’t she get tired of being paired with him? “Of course not,” she says petulantly. Whether their apparent fondness for each other is the real thing or just plain acting is hard to tell. When not holding hands, which are most of the time, they have their arms around each other. “I’m not really a singer,” Vilma admits, “but Edgar is teaching me how to sing.” Love team come and goes, but that is the least of Vilma’s worries. Show business is her world. She wants to stay in it for as long as she can. “Sana magtagal ako” she says. Even without Edgar? – Asia-Philippines Leader, July 9, 1971

Today, Vilma Santos is still the most bankable star of Philippine cinema. Her movies continued to be box office hits. She is the most awarded actress in the country and a respected public servant. Edgar on the other hand is now a TV director. He is now a happy family man. He’s now part of the Teleserye “Kampanerang Kuba” which happened to be the remake of a Vi & Bot hit during the 70’s. Recently, Vilma was one of the sponsors of Edgar’s daughter’s wedding. The former love team is now Kumpares & Kumares. - Franco Gabriel, V magazine, Volume 1 Issue Nos. 1 June – July 2005

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pagputi ng Uwak Pagitim ng Tagak (1978)

"...sabi mo pa nga nuon mahal na mahal mo ako...sabi mo pa na hindi magbabago ang pagtingin mo sa akin...dahil papaano mo papatayin ang hangin? Paano mo papatayin ang ulan? Paano mo papatayin ang araw? Sabi mo pa nga hindi mo na ako iiwan kahit na anong mangyari...kaya naisip ko nuon magpaligaw na ako sa'yo...kahit hindi pa pumuputi ang uwak, o umi-itim ang tagak..." - Julie

Basic Information: Direction: Celso Ad. Castillo; Assistant Director: Rubén Domingo; Adapted screenplay: Celso Ad. Castillo, Iskho Lopez, Lando Jacob, Ruben Nicdao; Original screenplay: Celso Ad. Castillo, Ruben Arthur Nicdao; Cast: Vilma Santos, Bembol Roco, Robert Talabis, Joonee Gamboa, Angie Ferro, Olivia O'Hara, Mona Lisa, Mario Escudero, Fred Panopio, Adul de Leon, Lito Anzures, Miniong Alvarez, Andres Centenera, Carpi Asturias, Filing Cudia, Yolanda Luna, Mervyn Samson, Dolores Pobre, Jennifer Cortez, Diomedes Maturan; Original Music: George Canseco; Cinematography: Romeo Vitug; Editing: Celso Ad. Castillo; Production Design: Peter Perlas; Sound: Gaudencio Barredo; Producer: Vilma Santos, VS Films

Plot Description: It is the 1950's at the height of the Huk (local Communist armed forces) movement, in a part of the country beset with agrarian unrest. During the town fiesta of Santa Ines, Julie Monserrat is introduced to Dido Ventura and Maestro Juan Roque, an old musician. Julie, an orphan who comes from the local aristocracy, is on vacation from school in Manila, and is staying with her two spinster aunts Beatriz and Miguela. Dido Ventura, a young man from a poor family, lives with his mother who nurses an old grievance against the Monserrats; she believes they grabbed the Ventura's property. Maestro Juan Roque, a well-known composer and violinist, has just returned to Santa Ines to finish a zarzuela he has been planning to write for a long time. Dido falls in love with Julie at their first meeting. One night, he sneaks into the spinsters' house and spends a passionate night with Julie. The brief liaison leads to their elopement. When the two lovers return to ask for the aunts' blessing, Julie is made to choose between a life of poverty and uncertainty with Dido, or a life of comfort and respectability with her aunts. Julie chooses to stay with her aunts. Dido is shaken by the turn of events.

He meets Cristy, his girlfriend, who insults him for the embarrassing situation he has gotten himself into. Dido turns roughly against the girl and beats her up. Cristy's brother finds out about this and challenges him to a fist fight. Dido kills Cristy's brother. Cristy's father, who is the town mayor, decides to dispose of Dido immediately. But when his secret police nab Dido one night, the jeep taking them to Dido's execution is ambushed by a band of Huk rebels led by Kumander Salome, Dido's uncle. Saved, Dido decides to join his rebel uncle in the mountains. Meanwhile, Maestro Roque, on a visit to the spinsters' old house to talk about Julie's violin lessons, finds out that Julie is actually his own daughter by one of the Monserrat sisters now deceased. Julie herself is pregnant with Dido's child. The old musician's visit to her house and the ensuing revelatin make he decide to keep the baby. Maestro Roque arranges for Julie and Dido to meet again. On the night of Good Friday, Dido leaves the rebel camp to see his newborn child. Kumander Salome decides to go along with the young man. Government spies learn of this and an ambush is set. The child of Julie and Dido is the only survivor and witness of the masscre that ends the film. - Rosauro de la Cruz (READ MORE)

Film Achievements: Official Selection - 1983 Manila International Film Festival: Restrospective Festival "Focus on the Philippines"; Official Philippines Entry - The Latin American Film Festival - Sao Paolo, Brazil; Official Philippines Entry - The 1981 Asean Film Conference; FAMAS: Best Picture - Vilma Santos, Best Art Direction - Peter Perlas, Best Cinematography - Romeo Vitug, Best Director - Celso Ad. Castillo, Best Music - George Canseco, Best Story - Celso Ad. Castillo, Ruben Arthur Nicdao, Best Supporting Actress - Angie Ferro; Gawad Urian: Best Director - Celso Ad. Castillo, Best Picture - Vilma Santos, Best Screenplay - Celso Ad. Castillo, Lando Jacob, Iskho Lopez, Ruben Arthur Nicdao, Best Sound - Gaudencio Barredo, Best Supporting Actor - Joonee Gamboa

Other Film Achievements: FAMAS: Best Actress nomination - Vilma Santos, Best Screenplay nominations - Celso Ad. Castillo, Lando Jacob, Iskho Lopez, Ruben Arthur Nicdao, Best Supporting Actor nomination - Joonee Gamboa; Gawad Urian: Best Cinematography nomination - Romeo Vitug, Best Music nomination - George Canseco, Best Supporting Actress nomination - Adul de Leon

Film Reviews: "...Compared to Burlesk Queen, Pagputi ng Uwak is less of a technical mess. Particularly exceptional are the shots of rustic religious rituals; unfortunately their use does not progress beyond the literal level. This makes for increasing predictability toward the picture’s end, as when the preparations for a military massacre are intercut with recitations of the tribulations of Jesus Christ. Attempts at authenticity appear to have been assiduous, but the project may have also proved too ambitious in this aspect. Thus one can find high-tension wires and Scotch-tinted car windows, not to mention recent beautification accomplishments, making their way into a 1950s period movie. Performance-wise Pagputi ng Uwak leaves a lot more to be desired. Among the cast, only Mona Lisa manages to pull off a convincing characterization as Bembol Roco’s mother. Angie Ferro and Adul de Leon, as Vilma Santos’ spinster aunts, are no better than caricatures: funny maybe, but quite incredible. Joonee Gamboa has mellowed since his rudimental portrayal of an impresario in Burlesk Queen; his role, however, is far less significant this time, reduced as it is to playing the intermediary between star-crossed characters. Executive producer Vilma Santos does better outside camera range. Her production is financially and artistically liberal, the sort the local audience has been deprived of since the dissolution of the previous censors board. Her performance though is about as effective as that of a drama guild’s star performer: she renounces her lover like she would a final exam, and later professors love for him like she would a teen idol. The same applies to Bembol Roco, about whose character more will be said later; suffice it to say that he still has yet to employ under-acting to his advantage. Meanwhile he and Santos are the industry’s star couple, and there one has the trappings of the star system at work again. Is there nothing at all to be said in favor of the movie? Come to think of it, Burlesk Queen did have a saving grace, and it is this same virtue – intention – which redeems Pagputi ng Uwak. In his works Castillo the artist seeks to depict the Filipino as only a fellow Filipino will understand, particularly in terms of pride and sentiment – values associated in Western aesthetics with melodrama. Which is what makes Castillo easy prey for local culture vultures: with technical excellence as a basic requisite for deserving favor, he falls short at first try; infatuation with alien modes of behavior further ensures their alienation from the obviously progressive statements he wishes to make..." - Joel David, Philippine Collegian/The Urian Anthology 1970-1979, 26 July 1978 (READ MORE)

Celso Ad. Castillo's Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak (When the Crow Turns White, When the Heron Turns Black) injects political overtones into its story, about a poor young man (Bembol Roco) who, when abandoned by his upper-class lover (Vilma Santos), joins the Hukbalahap rebels. Ad. Castillo in this film demonstrates an amazing visual language--not flashy, but quietly, lyrically brilliant. He also demonstrates a more masterful grasp of music and song than possibly any other Filipino director--the film is a model on how to use kundimans, ballads, pop songs to differentiate social classes, to satirize and comment on the narrative action. – Noel Vera, An End-of-the-Millennium List: Thirteen Important Filipino Films, Full Alert Review

Celso Ad Castillo's epic masterpiece of romantic love, family relationships, class struggle and political rebellion, Vilma Santos star as Julie Monserrat, a music-loving provincial lass raised by her two prudish, wealthy spinsters aunt (Adul De Leon and Angie Ferro) Julie falls in love w/ Dido Ventura (Bembol Rocco) the poor son of embittered woman (Mona Lisa) who holds grudge against the Monserrats for wrong doing several years earlier. Other memorable characters populate this beautifully photographed drama, among them Maestro Roque (Jhoonee Gamboa) a composer-violinist and huk Kumander Salome (Lito Anzures), Dido's freedom-fighting uncle. rich in texture and full color, charm love and joy, tenderness, violence and despair and hope. The movie won critics awards and stars Yolanda Luna, Marvin Samson, Mario Escudero, Olivia O' Hara and Robert Talabis. Cinematograhy by Romy Vitug. Produced by VS film. - IMDB

Kuwento ng magkasintahang pinaghiwalay, na ipinaloob sa isang panahong dinadaluyong ang lipunang Pilipinong rebelyong Hukbalahap. Iyan ang buod ng ‘Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak’. Dekada ng 1950 noon, at sa pista ng matandang bay an ng Santa Ines ay nagkatagpu-tagpo sina Julie Monserrat (Vilma Santos), Dido Ventura (Bembol Roco) at Maestro Juan Roque (Joonee Gamboa). Mula sa mayaman at makapangyarihang pamilya si Julie, isang ulilang pinalaki at pinapag-aral sa Maynila ng kanyang mga tiyang matandang dalagang sina Beatriz (Adul de Leon) at Miguela (Angie Ferro). Si Dido ay maralitang binatang ang Ina (Mona Lisa) ay may iwing poot sa mga Monserrat na kumamkam sa kanilang lupain at naging dahilan ng kanilang paghihirap. Si Maestro Roque naman ay kilalang kompositor at biyolinista na umuwi sa Santa Ines upang tapusin ang kanyang sarsuwelang pinamagatang “Pangarap ng Bagong Umaga.”

Sa unang pagkikita pa lamang ay napusuan ni Dido si Jutie. Nagkahulihan ng loob ang dalawa, at isang gabi’ypinangahasang akyatin ni Dido si Julie sa kuwarto nito. Ang kanilang pagtatalik ay humantong sa pagtatanan. Nang magbalik ang magkasintahan upang humingi ng pahintulot na sila’y pakasal, si Julie ay pinamili ng kanyang mga tiya sa maginhawang buhay na kanyang kinagisnan, at sa walang-katiyakang hinaharap bilang asawa ni Dido. Nagdalawang-isip si Julie, at pinili niyang manatili sa pangangalaga ng kanyang mga tiya.

Masamang-masama ang loob ni Dido sa nangyari. Nang siya ay laitin ng kanyang kasintahang si Cristy (Olivia O’Hara), sinaktan niya ito. Nalaman ni Claro (Robert Talabis) ang ginawa ni Dido sa kanyang kapatid, at nagharap ang dalawa sa isang labanang mano-a-mano. Napatay ni Dido si Claro. Alkalde ng bayan ang ama (Mervin Samson) nina Cristy at Claro, kaya’t pinakitos nito ang mga pulis upang iligpit si Dido. Nang gabing lihim na kunin si Dido sa kulungan upang patayin, inambus ng mga Huk ang sasakyan ng mga pulis. Tiyo ni Dido ang pinuno ng mga Huk na si Kumander Salome (Lito Anzures). Sumamang namundok si Dido sa kanyang Tiyo.

Minsang dumalaw sa bahay ng mga Monserrat si Maestro Roque, siya ay hinamak ng magkapatid na Beatriz at Miguela. Mula na rin sa mga tiya ni Julie, natuklasan niya na anak pala niya si Julie sa patay nang si Ana Monserrat. Nang magkahiwalay sina Julie at Dido, nalaman ni Maestro Roque na buntis si Julie. Ito ay dinalaw niya sa konserbatoryong pinag-aaralan ng dalaga sa pagka-biyolinista. Ipinagtapat niyang siya ang ama ni Julie. Tinalikdan ni Julie ang kanyang ama, subalit ang pagdalaw na iyon ang naging dahilan upang magpasiya ang dalaga na huwag ipaampon ang kanyang anak na isisilang.

Nilakad ni Maestro Roque na pagtagpuing muli sina Julie at Dido. Isang gabi ng Mahal na Araw, nagkita ang magkasintahan at nakilala ni Dido ang kanyang anak kay Julie. Natunugan ng mga espiya ng gobyerno ang pagbaba sa bayan ng mga rebeldeng pinamumunuan ni Kumander Salome. Ang uha ng anak nina Julie at Dido ay nangibabaw sa masinsing putukang lumipol kina Dido at mga kasama. - Manunuri

"...Furor is really an understatement. "Burlesk" swept the awards in that year's MMFF, resulting in a controversy that led to the wholesale return of trophies. In spite of the scandal, "Burlesk" is still regarded by critics as the "quintessential" Filipino film. "Hinamon ni Brocka si Tinio ng suntukan (Lino Brocka dared Rolando Tinio to a fight)," Celso remembers. "Tinio, who was the head of the jury, heralded "Burlesk as the most beautiful Filipino film" past, present and future." Vi's turnaround: Adding fuel to the fire, ?Burlesk? had stunned moviegoers because it unveiled a new Vilma Santos?from ingénue to wanton woman. Vilma says of "Burlesk?" - "It marked a transition in my career. Working with Celso Kid is a privilege. He's a genius." With good humor, Vilma recalls a "quarrel" on the set of "Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak," which she produced in 1978. "It took so long to finish. I lost money on that. But we're still friends." Burlesk and Pagputi brought a lot of honor to me..." - Bayani San Diego Jr. (READ MORE)

"...This veritable spiritual co-ownership ostensibly has enriched us all, Asians or Asean. It is no mark of a monarchical hauteur to say, for instance, that the films of Celso Ad Castillo, once dubbed as the Messiah of Filipino movies, are contemporaneous in their being a classic. If all these seem contradictory, Celso can easily point to his filmography to prove that there has always been, and will always be, fire in his filmmaker's eyes. His "Burlesk Queen" and "Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak," (When the Crow Turns White, When the Heron Turns Black) for one, are now a classic, conscience-searing sociological film tractatus on structutal violence and institutional injustice that probed into the hearts of little people amidst a third world setting as encapsulated in the microscopic life of a poverty-stricken, young woman. It's Rossellini, you would say? Think again...Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak was sent to Sao Paolo, Brazil for the Latin American Film Festival and represented the Philippines at the Asean Film Conference in 1981..." - Celso Ad Castillo Presents web-site (READ MORE)

"...Celso Ad. Castillo, known as L'Enfant Terrible of Philippine Cinema, was best remembered with his fully independent spirit and out of the box ideas both on narrative and style. I always remember an Ad. Castillo film watching was always crazy in different ways. From the mock-tribal language of Snake Sisters (1984), the living house in Mga Lihim ng Kalapati (1987), to his melodramas charged with socio-political statements (Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan (1979), Burlesk Queen, (1977)). His ideas has always been crazy and there are some of those "first" experiences that was only given by his films: the first to see Fernando Poe Jr. die on a film (Asedillo), the first surrealist Filipino film I saw (Mga Lihim ng Kalapati(1987)), and also the first to see historical parallelism realized on both narrative and it's image (Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan (1979)) which he probably used on remaking his own films (Nympha (1971, 2003), Ang Lihim ni Madonna (1979)). Being a lover and creator of Genre, he thinks that aiming for box office success was never a hindrance to make a good film. This he has proven on his body of work. I remember Burlesk Queen as one the film with the best performances ever, both from Vilma Santos and Joonie Gamboa. Especially Joonie Gamboa. Santos starred as Chato, once was an assistant of a dancer on a burlesque bar dreams also of being in the limelight even though her father won't approve. Chato went from this dilemma to failed relationships until finally realizing her dream. Contains a lot of powerful scenes that would drove my emotions into a mixed state. Burlesk Queen is the proof of Celso's vision: a success on the artistry and mass reception. Other Celso Ad. Castillo Films to prioritize: Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan, Payaso, Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak, Asedillo..." - Epoy Deyto, Kawts Kamote, September 12, 2013 (READ MORE)

"...Malakas ang deconstruction ng “Romeo and Juliet” sa obra na ito. Maraming reference (pinaka-given na siguro na ang pangalan ni Vilma Santos dito ay Julie) sa tragedy ni Shakespeare. Dito ko nakita si Celso Ad in a different light. Nage-gets ko ang poesiya ng mga nature shots n’ya sa ibang pelikula pero rito, klarong klaro ang pagkahilig n’ya sa literary classic. Pinakagusto kong shot eh ‘yung terrace scene na malakas maka-tribute. Wala kasi akong katiting na abiso tungkol sa pedigree ng pelikula at masayang naglalaro sa isip ko ang mga reference hanggang sa sumabog ito sa dulo na nagbigay konklusyon sa mga hinagap. Maraming eksena na may kilometric line si Vilma rito. Napaalala rin sa akin ang era kung saan ang sukatan ng isang pagiging aktres ay nasa haba ng mga linya na kayang mamemorya. Pinagsamang sensuality at controlled acting ang pinamalas n’ya. Maigting din ang chemistry nila ni Bembol Roco rito..." - Manuel Pangaruy Jr., Tagailog Specials Presents, 02 August 2013 (READ MORE)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bienvenido Lumbera’s Review of “Pagputi ng Uwak, Pagitim ng Tagak"

Skeptics disappointed by the clumsiness of craft and the excess of theatrics of Burlesk Queen will have to revise their prejudices against director Celso Ad Castillo. Admirers of the wildly poetic, though erratic and often hysterical, works of the director of Nympha, Ang Alamat, Daluyong at Hagabat have reason to rejoice. Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak, Castillo’s newest film, securely established its director in the ranks of Bernal and Brocka as filmmakers who have something to say and possess the craft and art to say it cinematically. Castillo’s Pagputi ng Uwak is a movie that is truly impressive this year or any other year. The title, Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak is a traditional metaphorical way of saying “Never.” It is the first statement of the tragic theme of this tale about a class-divided (not “star-crossed”) Romeo and Juliet in a small Southern Tagalog town called Santa Ines in the mid 1950s. The screenplay is focused on the young music student Julie Monserrat (Vilma Santos), who has had to grow up without a father, in the care of two domineering old maid aunts (Adul de Leon and Angie Fierro).

As a young woman born in a tradition-bound town but raised in the modernizing atmosphere of Manila, Julie gropes towards maturity without benefit of guidance from understanding elders. Home for the traditional town fiesta, she meets the poor boy next-door, Dido Ventura (played by Bembol Rocco) whose passion and impulsiveness rush her into an elopement But Dido’s family has a long-standing grievance against the Monserrats who, through fraudulence in the past, had grabbed the Ventura property. When the young lovers ask for permission to marry, Julie’s snooty aunts make her choose between her present status as a rich single Monserrat, and an uncertain future as housewife of Dido. In a moment of indecisiveness, Julie gives up Dido and goes back to her music studies. At the university, Julie is visited by the elderly violinist from her hometown whom she idolizes. Maestro Juan Roque (Jonee Gamboa) has learned she is pregnant, and he has come to tell Julie that he is her father and then walks out on him. When she gives birth, against the wishes of her aunts, Julie decides to keep the baby and give the baby to its father. By this time, it has become impossible for the baby to have its father. Dido has joined the band of Huks headed by Kumander Salome (Lito Anzures). Driven by the desire to help his daughter out, Maestro Juan Roque goes to the Huk hide-out to effect a reconciliation between Dido and Julie. A quick night visit for Dido is arranged, and the lovers rediscover each other. Too late, for government agents have learned of the presence of the Huks, and a bloody shoot-out affirms the nihilism of the film’s title.

The screenplay sets the rather conventional plot against a vividly characterized locale and times, using religious festivals to mark the periods of the year and key characters to show feudal society under stress from the challenge of new social forces. It weaves a tragic tapestry around the lovers by juxtaposing social and economic inequity, the pursuit of art, small town police brutality and revolutionary ferment. The result is a reading of the Romeo-and-Juliet story as filtered by a sensibility attuned to the social and historical pressures that mold human relationships in a Philippine town in the 1950s. This is where the writers (Ruben Arthur Nicdao, Lando Perez Jacob and Ishko Lopez) with whom Castillo worked, go beyond other screenplays which had worked on the same plot. The writers have located their characters against a backdrop of social realities which allows the viewer new insights into the ragged twists and turns of a tired plot. Julie and Dido’s fate is made ur concern because the lovers are figures of young Filipinos of the 1950s uprooted from a past they never made and reaching out for a future they are not allowed to make. The lovers are both without a father, and the only fathers in the story are a dedicated musician a staunch revolutionary and a revengeful town mayor, who is the only real family man of the three. This would seem to imply a social comment which is much to veiled to be coherently perceived.

Castillo-watchers who had to cringe at the amount of its acting that Castillo allowed or demanded from his actors and actresses, will be gratified at the quiet intensity of the performances in Pagputi ng Uwak. Although one is never convinced that Vilma Santos can indeed bow music out of violin, her characterization of Julie displays the maturing talent of an actress fast learning to explore and shape her emotional resources in creating a character. Bembol Roco is disadvantaged by the script’s focus on Julie, but he impressively communicates the change in Dido from reckless teenager to hardened rebel. The acting highlights in the film, however, are provided by the three capable stage performers playing supporting roles. At long last Jonee Gamboa has been allowed to shed the irritatingly mannered caricatures he has been made to do in his previous films. As Maestro Juan Roque, he gives a serene portrait of a man who sublimates the turmoil of his inner life into the music he plays and composes in a performance memorable for its restraint and sincerity. Angie Ferro tends to be over-empphatic in places, but her portrayal of Miguela effectively keeps the role from degenerating into a contra vida stereotype by touching it up with humor that is broad yet never out of character. It is Adul de Leon, however, who emerges luminously as a character actress of the first magnitude. Her interpretation of Beatriz is a piece of complex character portraiture all the more admirable for having made a role of rather limited range so persuasively human.

Good performances are not unusual in Filipino movies. What is rare is that coming together of temperaments and skills that make film art possible. In Pagputi ng Uwak, Castillo’s work does not display anything that he has not already shown in his previous films. The fondness for story material that reeks of social overtones, the lyrical exuberance with which he invests starkly realistic situations, and the intensely theatrical confrontations among his characters – these have been qualities evident even in Castillo’s lesser works, where they are often pushed to absurd lengths. What has happened in Pagput ng Uwak is that the director has been able to bring to a focus his varied talents, and found fellow artists with temperaments congenial to his. With cinematographer Romy Vitug and musical director George Canseco, he seem to have found working partners who share his penchant for the poetic, and their collaboration has resulted in a film where narrative imagery and music fuse into a memorable whole. Vitug’s cinematography, always marked by the same lyricism that distinguishes his still photography, adds considerably to the visual impact of Pagputi ng Uwak through lightning and framing that enhance the poetic nuances of Castillo’s direction. In Vitug, perhaps, Castillo has found the ideal cinematographer, one who can effectively translate into visual terms and lush the poetry of Castillo’s imagination. Canseco’s music for Pagputi ng Uwak redeems his execrable work in Isang Gabi sa Iyo, Isang Gabi sa Akin. Inspired by Castillo’s vision and Vitug’s imagery, he seems to have caught fire, and the music (principally, Classical violin music) with which he supports the scenes in Pagputi ng Uwak demonstrates sensitivity to the intentions of the director at the same time that it transports the moviegoers from one image to another, from one point in time to the next, and from poetry to reality or vice-versa. A skeptic turned admirer is perhaps prone to gloss over the flaws of Pagputi ng Uwak. To be sure, cynics will find fault with editing and the production design. Yes, the camera lingers too long at the religious festivals and no, a young woman in the 1950s will not be caught dead wearing a long dress at a fiesta. However, the already considerable amount of art and craftmanship in evidence in Pagputi ng Uwak ought to be ample justification for a more forgiving eye. It is enough that Celso Ad Castillo has demonstrated that he has what it takes to be a major director and most of all, he has come up with a movie that makes film year 1978 begin in July. – Bienvenido Lumbera, "Pagputi Ng Uwak Is Here, Film Year 1978 Has Begun," Who Magazine, July 29, 1978, Posted at: James DR’s Pelikula ATBP, May 11, 2009

Monday, October 17, 2011


Ang hirap dito sa relasyon natin, puro ikaw ang nasusunod, kung saan tayo pupunta, kung anong oras tayo aalis, kung anong kakainin natin, kung anong isusuot ko sa lahat ng oras, ako naman sunod ng sunod parang torpeng tango ng tango yes master yes master!” - Maria Lourdes Castaneda

“Ano ba ako rito istatwa? Eh dinadaan daanan mo na lang ako ah, hindi mo na ako kinakausap hindi mo na ako binabati hindi mo na ako hinahalikan ah…namputsang buhay ‘to. Ako ba may nagawa akong kasalanan hah? Dahil ang alam ko sa relationship, give and take. Pero etong atin, iba eh! Ako give ng give ikaw take ng take! Ilang taon na ba tayong nagsasama? Oo, binigyan mo nga ako ng singsing nuong umpisa natin, pero pagkatapos nuon ano? Wala na! Ni-siopao hindi mo ako binigyan eh dumating ka sa bahay na ito ni butong pakwan hindi mo ako napasalubungan sa akin eh kaya kung tiisin lahat pero sobra na eh…hindi naman malaki hinihingi ko sayo eh konti lang… alam ko kerida lang ako…pero pahingi naman ng konting pagmamahal…kung ayaw mo ng pagmamahal, atleast konsiderasyon man lang. Kung di mo kayang mahalin bilang isang tunay na asawa, de mahalin mo ako bilang isang kaibigan, Kung ayaw mo pa rin nun bigyan mo na lang ako ng respeto bilang isang tao hindi yung dadaan daanan mo lang sa harapan na para kang walang nakikita!” - Maria Lourdes Castaneda

Basic Information: Direction: Ishmael Bernal; Adapted screenplay: Ricardo Lee, Raquel Villavicencion, Ishmael Bernal; Original screenplay: Ricardo Lee; Cast: Christopher De Leon, Jimi Melendes, Bing Caballero, Olive Madrilejos, Beth Mondragon; Original Music: Winston Raval; Cinematography: Sergio Lobo;Editing: Augusto Salvador; Production Design: Benjie De Guzman; Sound: Vic Macamay; Theme Song: "Relasyon" sung by Eva Eugenio; Producer: Lily Monteverde

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

"...The story of an adulterous affair, and its implications for the families involved..." - British Film Institute (READ MORE)

Film Achievements: FAMAS Best Actress - Vilma Santos, Gawad Urian Best Actress - Vilma Santos, Film Academy of the Philipiines Best Actress - Vilma Santos, Catholic Mass Media Awards Best Actress - Vilma Santos, The very first “Grand Slam” for Best Actress in Philippine Entertainment history

Other Film Achievements: RPN Channer 9’s Let’s Talk Movies Awards Best Actress for body of Works - Vilma Santos for Relasyon, Sinasamba Kita, T-Bird At Ako, Never Ever Say Goodbye, Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan? and Haplos; Official Selection - 1983 Manila International Film Festival: Restrospective Festival "Focus on the Philippines"

25 Filipino films shown at Lincoln Center "In celebration of the 100th year of Philippine Independence, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in partnership with the Philippine Centennial Commission, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, IFFCOM, the Philippine Information Agency, the Consulate General of the Philippines in New York and the Philippine Centennial Coordinating Council - Northeast USA, presented a series of Filipino films at the Walter Reade Theater of the Lincoln Center. Slated July 31 through August 20, and with a line-up of about 25 films, the series was the most extensive Filipino film retrospective ever to take place in the United States. All prints are subtitled in English. By including old classics as well as contemporary films, the three-week festival brought the country's centennial commemoration into sharper historical focus. It also featured some of the best works by acclaimed director Lino Brocka, and concluded with the award-winning short films and videos of young, upcoming Filipino and Filipino-American filmmakers. The members of the film selection committee were Richard Peña (Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center), Domingo Hornilla, Jr., Vincent "Ting" Nebrida, and Agustin "Hammy" Sotto. Some of the titles shown in the festival were: In the Classics Category...two films by Mike De Leon: Sister Stella L. starring Vilma Santos and Batch '81 starring Mark Gil; and three works by Ishmael Bernal namely Nunal sa Tubig (A Speck in the Water) starring Daria Ramirez, Aliw starring Suzette Ranillo and Relasyon starring Vilma Santos...Among Brocka's films being spotlighted were Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag, Insiang, Tinimbang Ka Nguni't Kulang (You Were Weighed But Was Found Wanting) and Ina, Kapatid, Anak (Mother, Sister, Daughter)..." - Seapavaa Bulletin (READ MORE)

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

"...On Relasyon. “I won my first grand slam with this movie. I shot this two months after I gave birth to Lucky. I was besieged with enormous financial problems. I owed the BIR, the banks. Thank you to Manay Ichu and Atty. Esperidion Laxa who guided me through this difficult phase in my life. My loans were re-structured. I produced five films which lost a lot of money. One was Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak which we did in three years. Life was miserable. Hinarap ko lahat ang problema ko. Everything that I earned went straight to the banks to pay off my debts. And I paid all of them. Thank God. So when I was doing Relasyon, I was drawing a lot of emotions from the troubles, the pain I was experiencing. Yes, I will not also forget that tuhog scene I did with Boyet and his death scene. Ishmael Bernal our director was great. And Luis is really lucky...” - Boy Abunda, The Philippine Star, July 31, 2009 (READ MORE)

Finally in Ishmael Bernal’s Relasyon, we have a film made explicitly for adults. There is no explicit sex sequence (adults don’t really go for that sort of thing, only adolescent boys do). But the psychological problems faced by the film are comprehensible only to adults, those who know what it means to live with someone one loves (or, at least, used to love). This film is, thus, not entertaining in the usual prurient sense, but in a deeper, psychological, intellectual sense. There are basically two themes that this film tackles: sex roles and divorce. Vilma Santos represents womanhood in the film: Christopher de Leon represents manhood. The Filipina woman is commonly thought of as a martir or long-suffering masochist. 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.

De Leon represents chauvinist maleness. He portrays a character who is totally insensitive to his woman’s needs. He wants the house done exactly to his own taste. He expects his woman to be there when he needs her, but does not even think that he should be there when she wants him. He finds nothing wrong with having a wife and a mistress at the same time. On the other hand, he sees everything wrong with Santos entertaining suitor Jimi Melendez in the house. He’s even jealous of Manny Castaneda, Santos’ gay acquaintance. In short, he is selfishness personified. The trouble with sex roles in our society, the film argues, is that they are widely accepted without question. Men are suposed to have mistresses, and women are supposed to be faithful. Men are supposed to make the decisions (about where to live, what job to get, when to dine out), and women are supposed merely to follow. The Philippines may justifiably boast that, in politics, women are almost as powerful as men, but it is undeniable that in every other field including the home, it is the men who are the masters and the women who are the slaves.

The other theme tackled by the film is that of divorce. Again and again, the characters discuss the lack of divorce in the Philippines. If De Leon could only annul his marriage, if he could only divorce his wife, if he could only get to Las Vegas and marry Santos there... Such possibilities remain mere possibilities, because Philippine law, unfortunately, still does not allow for divorce. In the film, it is made clear that the marriage of De Leon and his wife is totally beyond repair. With De Leon, being the male chauvinist pig that he is, and with his wife, being the non-entity that she is, there is no hope for the loveless couple. On the other hand, Santos and De Leon clearly love each other, clearly deserve chance to be man and wife, clearly should be helped (not damned) by society. It is an implicit case for divorce, made even more convincing by the fact that the characters are so familiar, so realistic..

Technically, the film does not rank high in Ishmael Bernal’s canon of films. The production design, presumably middle class, raises questions (especially about the fact that Santos can withdraw a thousand pesos from a bank at a moment’s notice:lower middle class persons do not have that kind of instant money.) The music is undistinguished, and the cinematography sometimes places the actors in shadows. There is one technical achievement worth watching for: De Leon’s death scene, covering more than one minute, is taken with one continuous shot (no cuts). Otherwise, the editing is spotty, especially with one sequence completely out of its proper place (before Santos says in one sequence that they have been together only for eight months, a sequence is shown in which she asks De Leon how many years they have been together, even allowing for hyperbole, that is too much of an exaggeration).

Santos’ acting is adequate and extraordinary. De Leon gives another of his solid performances, though he could have worked harder to show how inconsiderate his character is. The supporting cast do not stand out; since two of them are supposed to be mistresses themselves, and the third loses much of her credibility when she starts lecturing on man’s selfishness. - Isagani Cruz, "A Deep, Psychological Film," Parade magazine, July 21, 1982

The film has unblushingly spoken for the Filipino urban society and its increasing acceptance of adultery as a social habit. It could have been a repetitious tale of a man with two women. But the writers have interestingly conducted the story through the precarious steps of a young, single, beautiful and supposedly decent girl. Marilou (Vilma Santos) has fallen helplessly in love with Emil (Christopher de Leon), a married man. When Emil’s wife decides to leave for Mindanao because she couldn’t stand him anymore, Marilou then decides for them to live together. Overjoyed with the prospect, she presses on to keep their relationship thrilling, warmer and stronger. But her efforts over the months only depresses her as she sees Emil gradually locking himself into a door she couldn’t enter. The mutual delights she had previously imbibed had soured into irritating silence and alienation. Her mounting disillusion flares up into throwing a couple of dishes. She opts for a separation only to yearn for him again. They go back to each other. She becomes pregnant. Suddenly, Emil suffers an attack and dies in her arms. Marilou whirls in grief for a time but bounces back to being “single”, attractive but perhaps no longer “decent”.

The writers have fed significance into the conversations by filling them with popular ideas on marriage and relationships, engaging the viewers to respond with their own beliefs. There is irony though in the confessions of Emil and Marilou - in happier times - that each had been a better person upon being loved by the other. But their life together contradicted that statement. Her selfishness is revealed. “Ikaw lang ang iniintindi mo” he says and it uncovered his insensitivity. “Ako rin, may ego”, She replies. Vilma Santos confidently showed she felt the character she was portraying. Her depiction of feelings and emotions easily involve the viewers to share in her conflicts and joys. In this film, she has peeled-off apprehensions in her acting. Christopher de Leon has also been supportive in emphasizing the characterization of Marilou. He suitably complements Vilma’s acting. The director, Ishmael Bernal, displays his flair for taking scenes of Vilma putting on make-up. Unwittingly, he has suggested that whatever make-up is put on over adultery, it is still adultery. - Lawrence Delos Trinos, Star Monthly Magazine, July 1982

Isang mayamang karanasan ang panonood ng pelikula ni Ishmael Bernal. Kahit ikaw ay isang masugid na estudyante ng sining ng pelikula o isang karaniwang tagahanga lamang. Sinasabing ang pelikula ay salamin ng tunay na buhay. Ang mga pelikula ni Bernal ay malilinaw na salamin. Buhay na buhay ang mga tauhan, ang istorya ay pamilyar sa atin at ang leksiyong itinuturo ay simple lang pero hindi direktang isinisermon sa manonood. Ang mga pelikula ni Bernal ay realistikong drama ng buhay. Tulad nitong “Relasyon” na ang mga bida ay sina Vilma Santos, Christopher de Leon at Jimi Melendez. Ito’y mula sa istorya at dulang pampelikula nina Ricky Lee, Ishamel Bernal at Raquel Villavicencio. Pang araw-araw ang drama ng “Relasyon”. Marahil mas komersiyal na titulo nito ang Kerida o kaya’y No. 2. Pero sa aming palagay ay mas makabuluhan ang pamagat na Relasyon dahil higit na malalim ang sinasakop nitong kahulugan. Simple lang ang istorya nito. Dalaga si Marilou (Vilma Santos). Liberated ang orientasyon. Nagtratrabaho sa Planetarium. May-asawa si Emil (Christopher de Leon)..

May isang anak na lalaki. Nagtratrabaho hanggang hapon, nagtuturo sa gabi..(Hindi tiniyak sa pelikula kung ano ang trabaho ni Christopher at kung ano ang kanyang itinuturo sa gabi.) Hindi maayos ang takbo ng buhay nilang mag-asawa. Kaya nga bumaling si Emil kay Marilou na pinili ang may-asawa kaysa sa biyudong si Jun-jun (Jimi Melendez) na wala namang matatag na hanapbuhay..Sa simula’y patagpu-tagpo lang sa mga hotel sina Marilou at Emil pero higit na naging kumplikado ang kanilang buhay nang ipasiya nilang kumuha ng isang permanenteng bahay. Dito nagsimula ang kanilang tunay na relasyon. Sa umpisa’y para silang mga bagong kasal pero nang tumagal na, dahil kailangang magtrabaho nag husto si Emil upang masuportahan ang dalawang pamilya, ay naging parang mag-asawa na sila. Nang maging parang “misis” na siya ay doon nagkaproblema si Marilou. Sa paningin ni Emil ay naging mapaghanap ang babae at tinatangkang baguhin siya. Hindi nakatagal si Marilou sa isang relasyong “taken for granted” na siya. Naghiwalay ang dalawa. Bumalik ang asawa ni Emil. Pero dahil tunay na minamahal ni Marilou si Emil ay ipinasya na niyang maging kerida kaysa ganap na mawala ito sa kanyang buhay. Pero hindi lumigayang habang buhay si Marilou. Namatay si Emil at ang kanyang bangkay ay inangkin ng tunay niyang misis. Ipinasiya ni Marilou na humanap ng bagong buhay sa Amerika.

Makatotohanan ang akting sa pelikulang ito. Hindi sila caricature. Sila’y mga karakter na marahil ay mga kapitbahay natin. Muli na namang ipinamalas ni Bernal ang kanyang kakayahan sa pagpapagalaw ng mga artista. Hindi lang akting ang mapapanood mo. Ang nakikita mo ay ang tunay na takbo ng buhay. Nananatili si Christopher bilang isa sa iilan nating mahuhusay na kabataang actor. Makakalimutan mo na siya si Cris at ikaw ay ganap na mabibihag ng karakter na kanyang binubuhay sa aninong gumagalaw. Marahil, higit pa nating mauunawaan sana ang karakter na ginagampanan ni Chris kung nalaman natin kung ano ang kanyang propesyon at nagkaroon pa tayo ng ilang background ng kanyang buhay. Hindi tulad ni Vi na medyo kumpleto ang background. Kaisa-isa siyang anak. Edukada at masasabing liberated o mayroong malayang kaisipan. Sa pamamagitan ng konserbatibong ama ni Vi ay masusuri natin ang kanyang pamilya at kung paano niya haharapin ang mga situwasyon sa buhay. Sinasabi ng mga drumbeater ni Vi na ang kanyang role sa pelikulang ito ay pang-award, pang-FAMAS, pang-URIAN o pang-Film Academy Award kung matutuloy ito. Hindi kami tumututol sa kanilang palagay laluna’t napanood namin ang pelikulang ito. Masuwerte si Vi at sa ganitong maselang role ay dinirek siya ng isang katulad ni Bernal.

Tulad nang binigyang diin namin sa unang bahagi, ang mga pelikula ni Bernal, ang “Pagdating sa Dulo”, “Nunal sa Tubig”, “Mister mo, Lover Boy ko” at “City after Dark” ay mga malinaw at makatotohang salamin ng buhay. Kaya sa “Relasyon” ay natural lamang na makakita tayo ng mga sitwasyong tila aktuwal na kinuha sa tunay na buhay at inilipat nang buong-buo sa puting tabing : Ang eksena sa kainan ng mga lovers na sina Vi at Cris; ang pagtratrabaho sa bahay ni Vi; ang usapan ni Vi at ng kanyang mga barkada; ang pagkabagot ni Vi samantalang gusto ng matulog ni Chris at iba pang eksena na karaniwan na sa tunay na mag-asawa. Napakadramatiko ang pagkompronta ni Vi kay Chris sa direksyon ng kanilang relasyon. Higit sa lahat, sa pamamagitan ng huling eksena, ang pagsasara ni Vi sa pinto ng kanilang bahay, ang pugad ng kanilang “relasyon”, inihayag ni Bernal na ang ganitong relasyon ay may hindi maiiwasang magwakas tulad ng sa tunay na buhay. Maaaring kamatayan o isang panibagong relasyon. Kung ang isang lalaki ay may-asawa, at mayroon na siyang relasyon o nagbabalak pa lang magkaroon ng relasyon sa ibang babae, dapat niya itong panoorin ng dalawang beses. Una, kasama ang kanyang misis at ikalawa, kasama angkanyang no. 2 o magiging ka-relasyon. Sa mga babaing katulad ni Vi sa pelikulang ito, mabuting panoorin ninyo nang nag-iisa ang pelikulang ito upang higit na maunawaan ninyo ang inyong relasyon o magiging relasyon. - Mando Plaridel, Star Monthly Magazine July 10, 1982

Dalawang magagandang pelikula ang sabay na itinatanghal ngayon. Ito’y ang “Relasyon” ni Ishmael Bernal at “Hubad na Gubat” ng baguhang si Lito Tiongson. Sa taong ito, tatlong pa lamang ang talagang namumukod tangi para sa amin. Ang “Ito Ba Ang Ating Mga Anak” ni Bernal, “In This Corner” ni Brocka at ngayon nga’y ang “Relasyon” ni Bernal na naman. Napakahusay ni Vilma Santos sa papel ng pangunahing tauhan, isang dalagang umibig sa isang may asawa. It’s one hell of a role and a heaven of a performance. Kasama si Vilma sa lahat ng eksena sa pelikula at talagang ito na ang pinakamabigat na papel na napaatang sa mga balikat ng isang local actress mula ng gampanan ni Gina Alajar and lead role sa “Salome”. This time, sigurado nang mano-nominate si Vilma sa Urian (ito lamang ang award na hindi niya napapagwagihan) at malamang na ang maging pinakamahigpit niyang kalaban dito ay si Nora Aunor na very demanding din ang role sa “Himala” (na si Bernal din ang direktor). Ito’y kung matatapos ang ECP project na ito sa taong ito na sa palagay nami’y hindi kahit gusto ng ECP na isali ito sa filmfest sa Disyembre. Dinalirot ng “Relasyon” ang lahat ng mga anggulong maaaring suutan ng isang babaing nagiging kerida. Maraming madamdaming tagpo sa pelikula, lalo na ang death scene ni Christopher de Leon na tuhog ang pagkakakuha. Bagay na bagay kay Jimi Melendez ang papel niya bilang torpeng talisuyo ni Vilma. Hit na hit siya sa audience.

Hanggang ngayon ay patuloy na dumarag sa dito sa amin ang mga sulat na pumupuri sa acting ni Vilma Santos sa “Relasyon”. Sabi ni Nelda Santiago ng Arellano St., Marikina : “Napakagaling ni Vilma at kahit hindi pa ako nagiging kerida, para bang na identify ako sa kanya.” Sabi naman ni Hector Cruz ng 14 Malaya Street, Q.C.: “Maraming nasasabi ang mga mata ni Vilma lalo sa mga eksenang wala siyang dialogue. Pati pilikmata niya ay umaarte. Dapat lang na magka award siya rito. Magaling din sina Jimi Melendez at Beth Mondragon.” Ayon naman kay H. Santillan III ng UP Village : Hindi kami fan ni Vilma pero kung ganito ng ganito ang performances niya, dapat siguro’y maging fan na nga niya kami. Tour de force ang acting niya at dapat ilagay sa textbook on acting. Hindi mapapantayan ang rapport nila ni Christopher de Leon.” May iba pang mga sulat pero hindi na namin masisipi sa kakulangan ng espasyo. - Mario E. Bautista, People’s Journal July 1982

"...For us, sinuman ang manalo kina Vilma Santos o Lorna Tolentino ay okey lang. Both Gina and Nora have won the Urian best actress awards twice. Gina for Brutal and Salome, Nora for Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos and Bona. Napakagaling ni Gina in portraying the role of the trying hard Kathy in Moral. Hindi biru-biro ang ganoong character na gagawin mong sympathetic dahil mas malamang na lumabas itong ridiculous lang kaysa nakakakuha ng simpatiya. But Gina succeeded in making her Kathy both ridiculous and sympathetic. As Elsa, Nora's case is that of star and role merging into one, fitting into each other perfectly dahil alam nating ang karisma ni Guy sa kanyang fans ay siya ring karisma ni Elsa sa kanyang naging followers. Pero palagay namin, kung hindi magta-tie sina Lorna at Vilma, mananalo ng solo si Vilma Santos. Vi has never won the Urian. She should have gotten it in 1977 for Burlesk Queen but the trophy went to Daria Ramirez in Sinong Kasiping. Maraming acting highlights ang paper ni Vi bilang Marilou sa Relasyon. Sa confrontation scenes nila ni Boyet, superb siya roon sa tagpong sinusumbatan niya ito dahil ginagawa na lamang siyang tau-tauhan. Ang acting niya sa death scene ni Boyet na hindi malaman ang gagawin sa katarantahan is also awesome to behold..." - Mario E. Bautista, Movie Flash Magazine, 1983 (READ MORE)

"...On a final note, it’s rather unfair that when it comes to actors, Brocka always gets the authority to be called the actor’s director. Not to discredit Brocka of course but Bernal always exceeds Brocka in terms of directing comedies. And humor is only as hard as drama can get; and oftentimes even harder. Ilagan, Andolong, Ranillo, and Locsin may not be the best to portray their roles but their characters don’t need the best—they need believability more, and their youth exudes that, more than their acting chops. They grip on their dialogues so much that watching them is such a delight. There’s this anecdote told by Vilma Santos when she won her grandslam for Relasyon that she walked into Bernal’s shoot a little unmotivated and still high after her big win. She couldn’t get her acting right. And then Bernal said to her, “O, bakit parang lutang ka diyan? Porke’t naka-grand slam ka, feeling mo, magaling ka na?” That’s one-big-“OH”. And to think that Ate Vi was already a big star that time, and getting bigger and bigger thanks to her roles, it does not only give an impression of “katarayan” on Bernal’s part, but more of brilliance. Salawahan is one of the many proofs..." - Richard Bolisay, Lilok Pelikula (READ MORE)

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

"...Patrocinio and Bernal's own mother, Elena, could very well have been Ishmael's inspiration for several classics of Philippine movies. In Relasyon, Vilma Santos played the querida who lived up to her name as the beloved, a lady of intellect and fine sensibility; the virtually separated Emil truly loved and preferred her to his legal wife. In Dalawang Pugad, Isang Ibon (Two Nest, One Bird), Bernal explored the male's polygamous nature, and pitted him against gritty female characters. In these films, Bernal recast the querida different from the stereotype of a family wrecker toward a clear-headed case-by-case realist delineation of the common-law wife. In Relasyon, Bernal can arguably be shown as a champion of the querida as a Filipino director, in depicting Marilou as a principled martyr in a society that wrongfully extols man's false claim to moral ascendancy. As would be evident in the film, Ishmael saw the injustice done to women in male-dominated society, as he also saw and questioned the morality and rationality of institutionalized but falsely monogamist families..." - Bayani Santos Jr., Manuel L. Quezon University, Bernal as Auteur: Primary Biographical Notes, 2012 (READ MORE)

New Screen Persona - "...After years of this unfair competition, Vilma decided to stop playing the also-ran, and opted to essay the roles that Nora preferred not to do, -the other woman, rape victim, burlesque dancer, etc. Vilma's sexy movies were more suggestive than anything else, but they gave her a new screen persona that made her a distinct movie entity from Nora. Fact is, Nora could also have played sensual characters, but she felt awkward doing so, and Vilma benefited from her reticence. In time, Vilma was also winning acting awards and starring in big hits, so the competition between her and Nora peaked..." - Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2002 (READ MORE)

Fan Mentality - "...In my Tuesday column, I listed the names of some of the past Best Actor winners in the Gawad Urian. Below are the Manunuri’s Best Actress winners in the last 25 years:...Nora Aunor is clearly a Manunuri favorite. Most industry members (including Vilma Santos) are aware a lot of Manunuri members are "Noranians." The Manunuri members, of course, do not necessarily operate on fan mentality. In the acting categories, they choose the ones who really deliver the outstanding performances of the year. In this sense, we can also call Gina Alajar a Manunuri favorite...Vilma Santos, unlike Nora, Gina, Jaclyn and even Chanda Romero (during the Manunuri’s early years), was never known to be a Manunuri favorite. Ironically, she is the one with the most number of Urian acting trophies, seven in all (as of 2013, she has 8). In the ’70s, Vilma a perennial Urian nominee; but also a perennial loser. In 1982, however, she won her first Urian (for Relasyon) and there was no stopping her after that. On record, she is the only actress who has won three Urian acting trophies in a row. After Relasyon she won successively for Broken Marriage and Sister Stella L. Later, she won four more for the following films: Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989), Ipagpatawad Mo (1991), Dahil Mahal Kita, The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993) and Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa? (1998). Like rival, Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos was also declared Best Actress of the decade in the ’80s and ’90s..." - Butch Francisco, May 09, 2002 (READ MORE)

"...Wenn Deramas (Director; Ang Tanging Ina, Praybeyt Benjamin): “Si Vilma Santos ang buong pelikula, maaaring istorya or a day in the life lamang ito ng isang kabit, pero sa sobrang husay ng ibinigay ni Vilma, lumaki ang buong pelikula...” - SCL, "Greatest Pinoy Films Poll," 07 May 2013, Pinoy films through Pinoy lenses, (READ MORE)

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

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

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


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