The Glaiza de Castro-starrer Liway holds the distinction of being the highest-grossing film in the 14-year history of Cinemalaya.
Based on real-life events, this film is set during Martial Law. It revolves around Day/Liway, a young mother who uses storytelling to protect her young son from the painful realities of prison life. It gets a mainstream run beginning October 10 as nod to its breakout indie success.
The theatrical version will include elements not seen at previous Cinemalaya 2018 screenings.
Touted as the Martial Law film of the current generation, Liway is a socio-political drama for the current generation to see and the previous one to rally with. It comes at a unique time when the factuality of those dark years is being seriously doubted probably by those still-unborn during that span from 1972 to 1981 or by people who know it all but are somehow consumed by political motives they ended up rather denying the atrocity as described through the years.
Liway is based on director Kip Oebanda’s childhood experiences.
“This movie is not making a statement of current politics. The point is, this happened. That’s enough,” stated Direk Kip in an interview with PEP.ph.
Being the son of the titular character, Dakip spent his childhood inside Camp Delgado, a makeshift prison inside a military camp for both rebels and criminals.
Dakip's mother Liway was perceived as an enemy of the state under Martial Law infamously declared by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
Child actor Kenken Nuyad portrays Inday’s son, Dakip. The screenplay is written by Kip Oebanda and Zig Dulay. Dominic Roco is cast as Ric, the father of Dakip.
The mother-and-son tale echoes that of the Oscar-acknowledged 2015 movie Room where the protagonist is trying to keep from her son the magnitude of their plight as they are locked in a small room by a tyrannical man of the house.
The metaphor is all there.
Direk Kip recalled, “Maski na lumaki ako sa bilangguan, masasabi kong ang kabataan ko ay puno pa rin ng saya at pagmamahal. Ginawa ng mga magulang ko ang lahat para magkaroon ako ng isang normal at masayang kabataan.”
Crucial to bringing that power premise on the big screen is Glaiza herself who dealt with emotions Liway must have undergone while literally in the grip of dictatorship. It helped that real-life Liway is still around to tell her about the harrowing experience.
“Nung first day ko sa Liway, I was still fresh from Contessa so pinabawasan sa akin ang portrayal ko kay Liway,” revealed Glaiza who considers both characters from her two personally ground-breaking projects “incomparable.”
By that it means she needs to veer away from big-scale TV acting style and deliver what is precisely being ordered by a director dealing with “collated memories and experiences of people rendered in film,” as described by Direk Kip.
Glaiza stressed, “Kaya di madali ang maging artista kasi we play with our emotions and as a result hindi maiwasan ang anxiety attacks. Pwede ito magdala ng psychological damage.”
Still, the GMA-7 actress has something to say that binds her role immersion in Liway and Contessa: “Their connecting factor is resilience. Ito naman ang pinakaimportanteng value ng mga characters na ginagampanan ko.”
Good reviews and SRO screenings led to Liway bagging Cinemalaya 2018’s Audience Choice Award.
The movie is produced by VY/AC Productions and Exquisite Aspect Ventures and distributed by Quantum Films. Aside from being shown in mainstream cinemas, the film can still be shown in block screenings. Interested parties may get more information by visiting the Liway Facebook page.
Glaiza is supported by cast members Nico Antonio, Sue Prado, and Soliman Cruz, among others. Khalil Ramos appears as one of the fellow rebels of Kumander Liway.
Kip, who co-wrote the script with Zig Dulay, noted, “It was the hardest thing I ever did because of the emotional connection the story has on me. I needed to present it well and pay respect to the people who actually died in line with the story and truth.”
As for Glaiza’s effort portraying his mother, the filmmaker pointed out, “The approximation is there. You can see my mother’s pain in her.”
Two songs from seminal folk act Asin are used in the movie: “Himig Ng Pag-ibig” and “Pagbabalik.”
For that Kip said gratefully, “Super thank you to Lolita Carbon who is the genius behind the songs. She let us use the songs and I believe the message that ‘Liway’ is a testament to love for country and another borne out of personal struggle is heightened by the beautiful melodies and lyrics offered by the songs.”
He implied that the lady folk rock icon’s generous discount for the use of her band’s songs makes them almost for free.
Liway is simply a perfect followup to Glaiza’s turn in Contessa.
While the transition proved difficult psychologically, the double strike is good for her acting career.
Such triumph leads to observers wondering if she intends to do some news-grabbing career moves once her contract with the Kapuso Network expires in 2019.
Glaiza admitted, “No plans of moving elsewhere and too early to tell. Masaya ako sa ginagawa ko ngayon.”
She actually plans to prove how serious she is with her equally strong passion for music as she plans to study music production through an academic course.
She noted, “Passion ko din talaga ang music and I even wanted to join one of Filscap’s songwriter’s nights kung hindi lang ako busy doing shoots. Gusto ko ma-expand ang musical knowledge ko at mag-concentrate sa music kapag wala akong TV program or movie na ginagawa.”