Is a human life just worth 20 pesos nowadays?
This is what the film Bente will aimto uncover. This movie, which opens on July8, features the parallel stories of two men who are willing to die for theirbeliefs. Their lives will intersect as both protagonists attempt to escape the evilelements that want to silence them forever.
Arni Guerrero (Jinggoy Estrada) is a radio commentator who is unafraid of exposingthe anomalies of their mayor (played by Emilio Garcia). Also fighting for hislife in this film is Mervin (Aldred Gatchalian), a young activist who wants tobalance his love for country with his love for his girlfriend Riz (played by Glaizade Castro).
Who among them will be a martyr for their beliefs?
Directed by Mel Chionglo with a script by Ricky Lee, this action-thriller wasgraded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board.
The premiere night of Bente held atthe Podium last July 2 was graced by the stars of the film, their friends andfamily members as well as noted Filipino directors. Richard Gomez arrived atthe venue with his wife Lucy Torres while Jinggoy Estrada arrived solo. Otherstars of Bente who attended thatnight were Snooky Serna, Emilio Garcia, Aldred Gatchalian, Mikee Lee and Ryan Eigenmann. SidLucero, Bobby Andrews and Anjo Yllana also attended the premiere night in support of thefilm. Filmmakers Dante Nico Garcia, Joel Lamangan, and Gil Portes were alsothere to watch the movie co-produced by APT Entertainment and the DirectorsGuild of the Philippines.
After the initial screening of Bente,the stars proceeded to Florabel's restaurant for some quality bonding time.
This movie marks the first time that Richard Gomez has starred in anindependently produced film. "First time kong mabasa yung script, sabi ko kay DirekMel, hindi mo ko kailangang pilitin," Richard recalls.
When asked to describe his role in the film, he points out, "Ang character ko dito,medyo strong ang dating. Tahimik pero deadly. Lumbaga ‘silent waters run deep.'"
As Ramon, he is torn between fulfilling his duty as a bodyguard of the mayor (Emilio)and finding out the dark secret that his wife (played by Iza Calzado) ishiding.
It is interesting to note that Direk Mel Chionglo showed Aldred and Glaiza leadingrallies while actual footage of known activists such as Satur Ocampo and TeddyCasino are incorporated in the film.
Aldred did not find it difficult to shoot the rally scenes because Direk Melwas there to assist him all the way. He was actually more wary of the sexyscenes that he would be doing with his love team partner.
"Nang ibigay sa akin ang script, alam ko nang may eksenang kailangangipakitang naka-underwear lang ako. Kinausap ko lang si Direk Mel, kasi may mgabawal na gawin ko. Nagtiwala ako na hindi niya ako pababayaan. At saka yungmagawa lang maayos ang mga eksena, at nagawa namang maayos.
"Happy ako. In good taste talaga lumabas. At saka okay si Glaiza nakatrabaho. Simple lang siya sa mga eksena namin. Nag-uusap kami sa set atmasaya naman," says the Star Magic talent.
JINGGOY MISSES DOING ACTION FILMS. SenatorJinggoy Estrada says that his role in Benteis not that far removed from his real persona.
"First time kong gumanap na radiocommentator. Pero hindi na rin ako bago dahil meron din naman akong radioprogram [Boses ng Masa].
He also pointed out the similaritiesthat he shared with his character in the film. "Alam mo, bilang isang miyembrong oposisyon, tapos ‘yong role ko galit dun sa administrasyon so halosidentical and parallel ‘yong ating role bilang isang artista, bilang isangbrodkaster dun sa pelikula at sa tunay na buhay."
Did he have any particular broadcasterin mind when he portrayed his role?
"Pinagsama-sama ko na dahil maramidin tayong idol bilang radio commentator. Nandiyan si Mike Enriquez [of GMA-7],nandiyan sina Anthony Taberna [of ABS-CBN]. So, lahat yun pinagsama-sama ko."
What does he consider as his mostmemorable scene in the Bente?
"Well, ‘yong habulan. Namiss ko na yung action films, yung mga barilan. Kasi,perfect na sa 'kin kasi pumayat na ‘ko eh. Pwede na ‘ko uli tumakbo," declaresthe government official who has visibly lost weight.
SINE DIREK BATCH 2? Asidefrom Direk Mel Chionglo, the other directors who participated in Sine Direkwere: Joel Lamangan (Fuschia), Soxy Topacio (Ded na si Lolo),Lore Reyes (Litsonero), Peque Gallaga (Agaton & Mindy), andMaryo J. delos Reyes (Kamoteng Kahoy).
Now that the six entries of Sine Direk have already been completed, PEP(Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked Mr. Tony Tuviera of APT Entertainment forhis reaction on the films produced this year.
"Napaka-happy in a way na, kahit pasabihin na hindi masyadong [financial] success, ‘di ba, parang nagulo ‘yungindustriya. Parang, ‘bakit ginawa ito?' ‘bakit pinanood ng mga tao?' Lalo na‘yung Ded na si Lolo, hanggang ngayon tumatakbo pa sa mga probinsya."
Becauseof the success of Ded na si Lolo, Mr.Tuviera says that they are open to the possibility of making a sequel to the comedyfilm about a family dealing with the death of their patriarch.
Does APT have plans to holding another Sine Direk film series next year? "Hindi ko pa alam dahil we have to create some funds dahilmedyo mabigat. Saka mahirap na anim [na films]. We'll try."
Whenasked to name his favorite film among the six entries, Mr. Tuviera declined topick just one. "Ayokong magsabi ng personal favorite. But sa mga tao, becauseof the rich culture of Filipinos, ‘yong Ded na si Lolo [ang crowd favorite]"Bente was originally scheduled to be screened lastJune 24 but it was moved to July 8,2009. Mr. Tuviera explained why they decided to move the play date of themovie.
"As much as possible nga, ‘di ba, ‘pag may makakasabay, umiilag na kami para...Kasi, ang main aim nung series was to help the industry. E, kung parehongTagalog movie maglalaban pa, we're not really helping each other."
Among the six filmsof Sine Direk, four entries were graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board. Theseare Bente, Ded na si Lolo, Agaton andMindy as well as Kamoteng Kahoy. Themovie Litsonero starring Paolo Contisand Karylle was given a grade of B. The producers lacked the time to submit theentry Fuschia to the CinemaEvaluation Board to be given a grade. Starring Gloria Romero, Fuschia also tackled political issuesbut shown from the perspective of a female.
Bente will be screened starting July8, 2009 in selected cinemas of SM and Robinsons.