Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Promising 'Inspirations"

Ishmael Bernal's first film with Vilma Santos was 1972's "Inspiration," an unusual teeny-bopper team-up film of Vilma and the late Jay Ilagan. The film established its main characters as both very much protective of their parents. Although its not explained why both Tony Benetez (Carlos Salazar) and Sylvia Mottola (Merle Tuazon) are still single, they ended up dating and with eventually marrying each other. Gina Benetez (Vilma Santos) and Danny Motolla's (Jay' Ilagan) parent first met in a polo tournament attended by both families. They were introduced by the socialite grandmother of Danny, Lola Jane (Lilian Laing). Later that same day both single parent met again in a club that both attended. It was clear then that both are attracted to each other but are afraid that their kid will not approved it. They then continue secretly dating until both kids discovered it when all of them accidentally met in a restaurant. The complication ended when Lola Jane with the help of Gina's household maid, Choleng concocted a plan to get them together.

Without the kid aproval, the senior eloped and forced their kid to live in one roof. Then Sylvia got pregnant while Gina and Danny developed a secret affair. Another complication and here come Lola Jane to the rescue, in the hospital after Slyvia deliver her baby, it was understood that Lola Jane has informed Sylvia and Tony about their kids having a special relationship. The next scene was Gina and Danny having a motorcycle ride and ended up in a park, under the tree having an innocent chat about their relationship. The End.

In a musical era of 1970s, "Inspiration" was quite an experimental film, with no musical numbers, better screenplay, well-written characters. Nestor and Bernal works well in establishing the character of Jay and Vilma. Their dialouges are not "corny" and very realistic. There is no over the top dramatic scenes inserted between musical numbers here. The parent played wonderfully by Merle Tuazon and Carlos Salazar were convincing. Although both Vilma and Jay played their roles effectively, Lilian Laing steals the film as Lola Jane. She was bubly and funny, a sex-starved, karate black belter, polo game afficianado, who loves life and considering she playing the old grandma who is also the solution to all the complication in life.

Bernal was on his element here, a good story teller, pre-"Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon, Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga and Relasyon." Although he is directing a light comedy, written by Nestor Torre Jr., he managed to established all the characters without relying on corny dialouges common in this era.


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