Anita Linda will star in Brillante Mendoza's next film


Anita Linda (right) and Rustica Carpio are slated to topbill Brillante Mendoza's upcoming film titled Lola, which was shot in Malabon.


Muling nakausap ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ang premyadong direktor na si Brillante Mendoza, sa ikatlong screening ng Kinatay sa bansa. Ginanap ito last August 25, at Greenbelt 3, Makati City.

Ang preview ay in-organize ng Optima Advertising group, publisher ng Adobo Magazine, kung saan na-feature (cover story) si Brillante Mendoza, ang unang Pilipino na nagwagi bilang Best Director ng 62nd Cannes International Film Festival 2009.

Tulad sa dalawang naunang screenings (sa UPFI-Cine Adarna at NCCA-Tanghalang Leandro V. Locsin), maganda ang naging pagtanggap sa pelikula ng karamihang nakapanood, base sa isinagawang open forum after the screenings. Bukod kay Direk Brillante, dumalo sa August 25 preview ang director of photography (Odyssey Flores) at musical scorer (Theresa Barrozo).

Expected na tanungin si Odie Flores tungkol sa predominantly dark exposures ng malaking bahagdan ng pelikula, na aniya'y sinadya niya dahil "Sa umpisa pa lang, nang mabasa ko ang script, naisip ko na it's going to be a dark film, at 'yun ang kailangang palitawin..."

Ayon pa sa direktor at kanyang cinematographer, hindi lang available light ang ginamit nila; mayroon talagang silang mga ilaw. Halimbawa nito'y 'yung sinet-up sa tuktok o bubong ng van, habang sakay nito ang torturers ng character ni Ma. Isabel Lopez, bilang abducted prostitute, na sa bandang huli'y kinatay-katay at itinapon ang mga pira-pirasong bahagi ng katawan.

Dahil sa gripping terror na bumabalot sa pelikula, sa kabuuan, gumamit naman ng musikang angkop si Theresa Barrozo, sa kanyang paglalapat ng musika.

"Music to evoke atmosphere," aniya. "Hindi 'yung karaniwang music, o melody na ginagamit..."

Mas nakatulong ang musika ni Barrozo sa pagpapa-igting ng suspense na taglay ng pelikula, habang pinapanood ng viewers ang nakakapanindig-balahibong ordeal ng babaeng ginawang "chop-chop lady."

* * * * *

After the screening and open-forum, Direk Brillante was presented by Optima Advertising and Adobo Magazine representatives blow-up framed photos of the magazine's cover at ang larawan ng direktor na ginamit sa feature article.

Pagkatapos ay binati si Brillante ng ilan pang guests, including foreigners, na naka-appreciate ng pelikula. Kabilang dito ang isang babae, a middle aged lady film buff who observed that "some parts of the film (Kinatay) looked like a travelogue; there was Quiapo, Divisoria, the bridge... and I thought you also showed the Philippines to a global audience."

Direk Brillante replied, "Yes, why not? I want my film to be appreciated here and also abroad. Because, if I think only of the Filipino audience... iba na ang gusto nila. Then if I think only of foreign audience, of course, they want to see something else. So I don't really think of specific audiences for my films. And I think, my film will find its audience. Probably not now, but in the future..."

A second foreign guest later asked Brillante Mendoza: "Do you feel you have any responsibility in terms of developing the audience here [in the Philippines]?"

Brillante answered: "The reason why I'm doing this is because, if I'm not responsible to my audience, then I'll just show it anywhere..."

Truth is, direk Brillante has the freedom to show Kinatay anywhere in the Philippines, after the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) approved the film--without cuts.

He's not yet convinced, though, of having a commercial theatrical run for Kinatay. He'd rather that the film be shown in colleges and universities nationwide.

"I don't have an audience yet for my films [in commercial theater circuits]," sabi ni Direk Brillante. "But the reason why I want to show the film to this kind of audience [attended by people from the advertising industry] is because I can talk to the audience, unlike in the theaters [during a commercial run], wherein the audience will just leave, you know, when they don't like it because it is dark..."

The guest added that the young people need to understand the kind of work Brillante Mendoza is doing. He believed the director is doing a service to Philippine cinema; and to the Philippines, by reviving its reputation, through films, worldwide.

To which, the Pinoy director said gratefully: "Thank you very much."

* * * * *
Speaking of communicating well to the audience, through his film, one way to fulfill this, or so we thought, was to do a more "commercial" film.

At naisip namin ang tungkol dito, ugnay sa nabalitang posibilidad na gumawa si Brillante Mendoza ng pelikula sa isang malaking produksiyon, a major movie outfit.

Natawa si direk Brillante nang mausisa tungkol dito. "Ang gusto nila, i-sikreto ko, e," aniya.

Walang problema, as we didn't quote him as saying so. Pero gusto naming ibalita, at inamin niya sa PEP, na may offer si Direk Brillante mula sa Star Cinema-ABS-CBN Film Productions, Inc.

"Hahaha! Meron, pero pinag-uusapan pa," masayang banggit ni direk Brillante.

Ano ang pinag-uusapan nila ng taga-Star Cinema [thru Ms. Malou Santos]?

"Ang usapan naman namin... my terms. Ang sabi nila, h'wag lang naman daw taga-GMA [Films] ang may offer. Kumbaga, I'll choose the material..." pagri-reveal ni direk Brillante.

"Ang sabi ko... (when) I was talking to them, meron kasi akong timetable. I'm very strict with my timetable. So, kung hindi ma-meet 'yon, I'm not doing the film."

Ano ba ang "terms" na napag-usapan nina Direk Brillante at ng Star Cinema?

"They're gonna give me a budget...we're gonna talk of a certain budget, and I'll do the film, like what I'm doing with other production outfits."

Kasama sa "terms" ni direk Brillante ang tungkol sa casting; depende sa mapipiling istorya o materyal, at kung sino ang artistang babagay sa mga tauhan (characters).

* * * * *
Meanwhile, tapos na ang pagsu-shooting ni Brillante Mendoza ng ikawalo niyang full-length indie movie: ang Lola.

Brillante Mendoza worked on a screenplay written by Linda Casimiro. Ang kuwento nito ay naka-sentro sa dalawang female senior citizen characters, played by veteran actresses Anita Linda and Rustica Carpio.

Naipakita sa CNN kamakailan ang ilang bahagi ng pelikula, kinunan sa depressed area, sa Malabon City, kunsan lubog sa baha ang maliit na komunidad.

Sa naturang eksena, a funeral scene, ay sakay ng bangkang walang katig si Anita Linda, upang dumalo sa libing ng kanyang batambatang apo.

Ayon sa isang production insider, maghapong babad sa init ng araw ang buong cast at crew, led by the director, tapos ay kailangan ng rain effect at mababasa ng tubig ang lahat. Mabuti na lang at sa tanda ni Anita Linda ay hindi ito na-pulmonya, o kaya'y aksidenteng tumaob ang sinasakyang bangka.

Inusisa pa namin si direk Brillante tungkol sa Lola.

"Kuwento ito ng dalawang lola," aniya. "Kuwento nila, pero actually, problema ng ibang tao. 'Yun siguro ang kaibahan nito sa ibang mga kuwento tungkol sa mga lola."

Interesante ang materyal; o ang kabuuan ng pelikula, base sa naipakitang film clips. "Masakit siya sa dibdib," sabi pa ni Direk Brillante.

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