Saturday, September 27, 2014

Special Film: Edgar Loves Vilma (1970)

Edgar Loves Vilma (1970) Daughter of a nightclub singer, Vilma met Edgar whose father is also a single. Both parents fell in love at the same time as Vilma and Edgar became lovers. Some twist of story like the sudden breaking up of the young teen's parents due to Edgar's grandmother's disaproval of her son's relationship to a night club singer, which is a societal taboo for the upper class during those days, and the kidnapping of Vilma. But all we're ironed out and settled just in time for the final musical production number, showing the whole gang dancing and singing to Vilma's hit song, "Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Love You!"

Source: gobitz69

FAIR USE NOTICE (NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE): This site contains copyrighted materials the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to preserve the film legacies of actress, Vilma Santos, and to make her career information available to future generations. We believe this is NOT an infringement of any such copyrighted materials as in accordance to the the fair dealing clauses of both the Canadian and U.S. Copyright legislation, both of which allows users to engage in certain activities relating to research, private study, criticism, review, or news reporting. We are making an exerted effort to mention the source of the material, along with the name of the author, performer, maker, or broadcaster for the dealing to be fair, again in accordance with the allowable clauses. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Kid Uninterrupted, Celso Ad Castillo (Sep 12 1943 - November 26, 2012)

Note: With so many format errors, we decided to reprint and repost this article as a tribute to the Kid. "Fair disclosure" is in effect here, infringement is not intended and no commercial profit gained in republishing this piece. Celso Ad Castillo was born on September 12, 1943, he died November 26, 2012 on apparent heart attack. During that time, he was reportedly working on his autobiography, which was released last year and promoted by his son, Christopher Castillo.

"As a child, he had the second-run theater circuit in downtown Manila as playground; his first "playmates" were King Kong, Suzie Wong and Gene Kelly. "I could barely understand American slang, but I was mesmerized by the light and shadows, the framing, the composition, the rhythm, the editing," recalls acclaimed filmmaker Celso Ad. Castillo. Before young Celso even started school, his father Dominador had taken him to watch Hollywood movies "from MGM musicals to Elia Kazan" dramas.

"He was a film buff," recounts Direk Celso, known as The Kid of Philippine Movies. "My aunt and uncles were also crazy about movies." Dominador, who was also a lawyer, komiks novelist and producer for Larry Santiago Productions, was hesitant to allow young Celso to join show business. Teenaged Celso protested that he was merely following in his father's footsteps. Dominador had created the classic komiks heroine "Cofradia," immortalized by Gloria Romero in the Sampaguita film version in 1953 and Gina Alajar in the 1970s.

Like father... - "I started out as a komiks illustrator," Celso relates. "I'm also fond of drawing." He eventually wrote the komiks novels "Tartaro," "Vampira" and "Palalong Kuba." After all, he notes, stories about dragons, mermaids and vampires were "part of my childhood memories." He acknowledges that his komiks sojourn primed him for filmmaking: "It taught me how to visualize the frame." Yes, komiks panels were the first storyboards for this English Literature graduate. "Komiks also taught me how to choose commercially viable projects."

From there, Celso, at the tender age of 18, crossed over to the movies as scriptwriter. "I started by doing spoofs of James Bond films. For Chiquito, I wrote "James Bandong, Secret Agent 02-10." For Dolphy, "Dr. Yes." VM Cinematic Films took notice because these movies had done very well at the tills. "VM gave me my first break, "Misyong Mapanganib" in 1965. It starred Tito Galla, Ruby Regala, and Helen Gamboa in her first starring role," Celso says. "Local movies" whiz kid was also a law student at the time. "My father allowed me to direct only because I promised to continue my law studies."

Potboilers - He churned out six potboilers, one after the other, among them "Zebra Jungle Girl" with Ruby Regala and "Mansanas sa Paraiso" with Stella Suarez. He admits that, inevitably, both his legal and film endeavors suffered. "I was flunking in school and my first seven movies were half-baked. I had to make a choice." Celso's gambit yielded his first critical success, "Nympha," a black-and-white bomba film starring Rizza. "I wanted to prove that sex films could be artistic if they didn't offend the sensibilities and intelligence of moviegoers," he explains. The cache brought about by "Nympha" allowed him to make "The Virgin," again with Rizza. "[It was] my first avant-garde movie," he remembers fondly. "Eighty percent of the film had no dialogue. The story was told through ballads."

Alas, "The Virgin" wasn't as profitable as "Nympha." With candor, he says, "It was a big flop. It was ahead of its time. Moviegoers were stumped "they couldn't understand why no one was talking!" The indie maverick then surprised the industry by plunging head first into the mainstream. After megging "Ang Gangster at ang Birhen" (with Dante Rivero and Hilda Koronel) for Lea Productions, Celso caught the eye of Fernando Poe Jr.

Da King's Direk - "At 26, I was directing the King of Philippine movies," he reminisces with pride. "Asedillo," his first outing with Da King, was not just a box-office smash; it also won a Famas Best Actor trophy for FPJ in 1972. "That movie started our collaboration. In a span of two years, we made three more movies: "Santo Domingo," "Ang Alamat" and "Esteban." Working with Da King, Celso felt obliged to prove his worth because, "You had to earn his respect."

After those four action movies, Celso was itching for another change of pace. "I wanted to go freelance to do my kind of movies, innovative and experimental films that are commercial at the same time." His next gambit, "Ang Mahiwagang Daigdig ni Pedro Penduko," starring Ramon Zamora, hit the jackpot as well. "I never wanted to be boxed in one genre. So I followed up the fantasy movie "Penduko" with a kung-fu flick, "Return of the Dragon," also with Ramon. I also made a zombie film with Alona Alegre entitled "Kung Bakit Dugo ang Kulay ng Gabi."

In 1974, he crafted the horror hit "Patayin Mo sa Sindak si Barbara," for FPJ's wife, Susan Roces. They followed it up with "Maligno," for which Susan won Famas Best Actress in 1978. Celso says, "When it was first shown, people didn't know what to make of "Maligno." But I recently caught it on cable. I almost cried at the end. It was surreal and grotesque." By then, Celso had become the master of the unexpected. After casting sweet Sampaguita star Susan in gothic tales, he re-imagined Miss Universe Gloria Diaz into "Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa," in 1975.

Wet Look - Celso wistfully describes "Hayop" as "the killer" because it started the "wet look trend and single-handedly demolished the predominantly macho star system." He remembers that, before "Hayop," female stars were mere "adornment" in local movies. "Pang-display. "Hayop" [changed that]." He continued to give prominence to women in his films, most notably "Burlesk Queen," an entry in the 1977 Metro Manila Film Festival. "That movie created a furor at the film fest," he says. "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 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."

Gloria Diaz agrees: "Not too many people [would appreciate] his style [of filmmaking]. He's a no-nonsense guy kasi. I consider myself lucky that I got to work with the best." In "Burlesk" and "Pinakamagandang Hayop," as in all his films, Celso challenged his stars to improvise, "not to stick to the script [and] say the lines... from the hearts."

Love Letter - In the case of "Burlesk," that's because it was, for him, a love letter to his youth. "That was about my adolescence. I was a regular in Clover, Inday Theater, Grand Opera House. I watched Canuplin and Bayani Casimiro. I witnessed both the peak and the decline of bodabil," he remarks. If there's a common thread in his 61 movies, he points out, it's that each one seeks to capture on film "a time of transition."

He expounds: "Burlesk" was about the end of the bodabil era; "Pagputi," the Huk movement; "Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan," the Philippine revolution. Coincidentally "Julian Makabayan" signaled Celso's own personal transformation. "In 1983, I attended the Asean Film Festival in Malaysia, where "Julian" was an entry. In my brief stay there, I discovered Islam. Six years later, I returned to Malaysia, to convert."

Islam, he says, allowed him to "mellow and discover myself. Islam is a tough religion. Perfect for the hard-headed." The serenity that he thus found can be gleaned from his subsequent choice of address: Siniloan, Laguna, location for his major works. He waxes poetic here: "Siniloan was where I was born. That place has everything, ricefields, mountains, rivers." Nowadays, he spends most of his time in his chestnut farm there. At the time of this conversation (just before the recent holidays) he is ready to harvest. "I'm always busy with something," he insists.

Lifetime Achievement - Being the recipient of two Lifetime Achievement honors in 2007 (from the Famas and the Film Academy of the Philippines), Celso thought it was also apropos to pick up a long-shelved project: His biography, "Celso Kid of the Philippine Movies" by independent filmmaker Ron Bryant. "Ron was my student in the Celso Ad. Castillo Filmmaking Institute in 1999," he says. Celso played the role of Epy Quizon's paralytic father in Ron's award-winning Cinemalaya film, "Rotonda," in 2006. "He's a very professional actor," Ron says of his mentor. "He never meddled in my directing and remained focus on his acting."

Ron, however, points out that the Celso book project has evolved into a "documentary." "The scope is too wide, especially in the context of 1970s Filipino cinema," Ron explains. He hails Celso as a true vanguard of "the indie spirit." "He made inventive films on a shoestring budget." Coming full circle, Celso is now tinkering with digital technology, with two indie movies in the works "Sanib 2" and "OFW."

The technology is new, but trust Celso to rely on the same "improvisational" tricks with his actors. "OFW" actor Coco Martin says he finds The Kid's method exciting. "On the set, we keep improving the dialogue. It's a different experience. Direk Celso is so cool!" Proof that Direk Celso is hip and happening still can very well rest in the fact that his old films are continuously being remade on both the big and small screens.

After "Pedro Penduko," his "Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara" and "Maligno" have been turned into teleseryes by ABS-CBN 2. His "Pinakamagandang Hayop" has also been snapped up by GMA 7. If you ask him, reviving his old movies is the ultimate tribute. As bonus, his 1984 film "Snake Sisters" has been picked up by British firm Mondo Macabro for DVD distribution abroad.

Dream Project - Says critic Pete Tombs of Mondo Macabro: "I think he's one of the most visually gifted filmmakers to come out of the Philippines. A true original." Celso is positive, "I'm far from slowing down. I'm more aggressive now. My goal is to make an international movie soon!"

That dream project would be "Where Willows Grow," which is set in the Land Down Under and tells the story of a Filipino mail-order bride who becomes the prime suspect in the murder of her Australian husband. "My wish," he concludes, "is for my films to transcend their ethnic origin and merge with different cultures of the world." - Bayani San Diego Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer, 29 January 2008 (READ MORE)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Special Film: Iginuhit ng Tadhana: The Ferdinand E. Marcos Story (1965)

"...Iginuhit ng Tadhana: The Ferdinand E. Marcos Story (1965) (Carved by Destiny) is a movie based on the life of Ferdinand Marcos prior to his ascendancy as President of the Philippines. The movie was chronological in setting, featuring Marcos as a young boy in his hometown, as a brilliant student, and up to the time that he was unjustly imprisoned as a suspect in the murder of the political rival of his father. The movie then moves up to his acquittal, his career as a young congressman and senator, and up to the time that he married Imelda Marcos. The movie was shown in Manila as additional campaign material for Marcos’ candidacy for the Presidential race, which he eventually won. The movie portrayed Marcos as a person who is more than just a politician..." - Wikipilipinas (READ MORE)

"...As a piece of hagiography, you can’t get more melodramatic or shameless than 1965’s Iginuhit ng Tadhana (Drawn by Fate). In this biopic covering the life of kleptocrat and Martial Law architect Ferdinand Marcos (Luis Gonzalez) from his childhood to his ascent to the Philippine presidency, there is crying beside windows (courtesy of the martyr mother to end all martyr mothers, Rosa Mia), nervous wiping of brows on witness stands (because apparently, trial judges are blind to obvious body language), and kilometric monologues—including interior ones spoken in voice-over! How these characters don’t bore themselves to death is beyond me...Iginuhit ng Tadhana wastes no time getting down to its primary objective: settling scores. Conceived as propaganda for Ferdinand’s debut presidential campaign, the first 45 minutes of Iginuhit’s 136-minute running time busies itself scrubbing the Marcos name off the first of its multitude of sins: the death by sniper of Ferdinand’s political rival in Ilocos Norte, Julio Nalundasan. On the night of the murder, the film insists, our hero was busy reviewing for a law exam. He couldn’t possibly have stolen a rifle from his ROTC bunker and shot the congressman while he was brushing his teeth! And still, despite his nerd cred (and the aforementioned nervous mopping of brows by the star witness), the court had the gall to convict him! Hopefully, having gone through his own travesty of justice, our hero will have the empathy and drive to strengthen the rule of law in his own presidency, right? Right? Anyway, having demonstrated Ferdinand’s brilliance as he mounts his own defense in front of the Supreme Court, the film gets down to its next order of business: the meet-cute between our hero and his wife-to-be, Imelda Romualdez (Gloria Romero). Imelda is a far cry from his own mother, who visits her son in jail wearing a baro’t saya—no, when Ferdinand meets Imelda in the congressional cafeteria, she is wearing a man’s shirt, pants…and mismatched shoes! I can imagine the young Imelda watching this sequence and thinking, That will never happen again. After that, Iginuhit ticks off all the obligatory boxes: portraying Marcos as a family man, conscientious lawmaker, and devoted mama’s boy. (If I were Imelda and I were watching my husband call his mother “honey,” as this film says he does, I would have ran screaming from his latent Oedipus complex.) Oh, and watch out for a young Vilma Santos playing the eldest child, Imee. The role doesn’t give her much to do, but I foresee great things from this young performer…maybe even a run in politics..." Andrew Paredes, ANC, 21 September 2018 (READ MORE)

“…Marcos knew the power of the medium of film. Earlier on, Marcos produced a film biography using the most popular stars for his first presidential campaign. He ran against Macapagal who also came up with a film biography to boost his reelection bid. Marcos would also use another film Iginuhit ng Tadhana (Written by Destiny, 1965) to campaign for a second term. The two Marcos film bios would be the only successful political films—commercial and election wise—as other film biographies in the post-Marcos period by senatorial and presidential aspirants would prove dismal, unhelpful for election bids. The post-Marcos period liberalized the political and economic scene. It conventionalized and intensified the election of movie and sports stars, and even television news hosts to national politics. Television stations were sequestered by the government, the largest of which, however, was returned to its pre-martial law owners. ABS-CBN would become the leading television station until after 2000, allowing two of its news anchors to become senators…” - Rolando Tino (READ MORE)


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