Screen legends Amalia Fuentes and Boots Anson Roa talk about acting, movies, TV, and the importance of indie films

Sina Amalia Fuentes (left) at Boots Anson Roa (right) ang dalawa sa tatlong pangunahing aktres ng Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae, ang 1974 pelikula ni Elwood Perez na binigyang-tribute noong February 5 sa Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Si Pilar Pilapil ay hindi nakarating.


"Hindi na ako sanay sa atensyon!" nasambit ng 1960s movie queen na si Amalia Fuentes, sa gitna ng kasiyahan matapos ang special screening ng pelikulang Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae (1974) noong Sabado, February 5, sa Tanghalang Manuel Conde (Dream Theater) ng Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

"Pag nagsa-shopping ako, mag-isa lang ako, wala nang ganito," nasabi pa ng dating actress-producer, habang masaya siyang nagga-grant ng media interviews at pumu-pose sa mga dumalong tagahanga at press people for souvenir pictures.

Sina Amalia Fuentes at Boots Anson Roa (of the late '60s and '70s) ang dalawa sa tatlong pangunahing aktres ng pelikula ni Elwood Perez na binigyang-tribute nang hapong 'yon (ang isa pa'y si Pilar Pilapil, na hindi nakarating sa pagtitipon).

Matapos ang screening ay may cocktails sa lobby ng TMC/Dream Theater.

Nag-stay pa nang matagal ang kapwa bidang aktres, kasama ang iba pang dumalong artista, co-star man o hindi, tulad nina Orestes Ojeda, Marissa Delgado, Vangie Labalan, at iba pa; mga kaibigan at kamag-anak nina Direk Elwood at kanyang guests.

Earlier, sa loob ng Dream Theater, pagkatapos ng screening ng bandang alas-singko ng hapon (nagsimula ang screening at past 2:00 pm) ay magkatabing nagpa-interview sa press at TV news crews sina Boots at Amalia, with Ms. Marissa Delgado (co-star ni Boots sa second episode ng trilogy) beside them.

At one point ay napag-usapan ang tungkol sa looks ng mga artista sa ngayon. At nasabi ni Boots kay Amalia, "Iba yung itsura ng mga artista noong araw, kaysa ngayon... whatever that means."

Na sinang-ayunan ni Ms. Amalia. "Oo nga. Wala tayong retoke noon, tsaka wala tayong extension [ng buhok]. Kung ngayon 'yon," sabi pa ni Amalia, referring to her scenes in the movie's third episode, "ang dami ko sanang 'extension.' Pero ang mga buhok namin doon, natural!"

ACTING COMEBACK. Sa panayam ng media ay partikular na itinanong ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) kung interesado pa rin ba si Amalia Fuentes na magpaka-aktibo uli sa pag-arte, sa telebisyon at pelikula, ngayong natapos na rin ang tungkulin niya bilang dating member ng Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)?

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"Ah, ewan ko... I don't want to say 'no,'" sabi ni Tita Nena (palayaw ni Amalia), "kasi ang artista, hanggang hindi ka pa patay, you always have to be on your toes, so to speak... look at Jessica Tandy (of the 1989 Hollywood movie, Driving Miss Daisy). She was 86 years old when she won an Oscar, hindi ba?

"So, yun lang ang maganda sa artista. There's always a role, at any age. Hindi katulad ng athlete. At a certain age, like [Manny] Pacquiao, sila [Robert] Jaworski, may time limit. Yung mga dancers din, di ba? Kasi it's their physical attributes that they need [to harness]," paliwanag niya.

"Kaming mga artista, at any age, there will always be a role for us," dagdag pa niya.

Boots Anson Roa shared Amalia's views.

"Exactly!" sabi ni Ms. Boots, "In my case, I'm still very active..."

Hindi lang sa pag-arte sa TV at pelikula aktibo si Boots (kabilang siya sa cast ng sisimulang teleserye sa ABS-CBN, ang Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin), pinuno rin siya ng MOWELFUND (Movie Workers Welfare Foundation) as Executive Director.

At seryosong nasambit pa si Boots. "Maybe, si Amalia does not need to work. But I know she loves the industry. She loves the craft," aniya.

SATURATION POINT. "It's not a matter of need," Amalia clarified. "No, no no... it's not a need! It's just that, para bang ang feeling ko, may saturation point lahat ng bagay. And, at a certain point in your life, you want to try other things.

"Like, I was in the MTRCB for two years. You know, it's an extension of my life in the movies," she explained. "But I also want to try [acting again]... it's just that, working in the movies [and TV] is also physical.

"And at my age, hindi ka na puwedeng magpuyat nang katulad noon, na from nine ng gabi up to nine the next morning? I won't be able to do that at my age now!"

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Ano ang masasabi ni Amalia Fuentes sa pagiging aktibo pa rin ni Susan Roces? Dating magkaribal sa pagka-reyna ng pelikula, noong 1960s, ang dalawa.

Hindi direktang nagpahayag si Ms. Amalia, patungkol sa pagiging aktibo, sa ngayon, ni Susan Roces (na may regular appearance sa bagong teleseryeng Babaeng Hampaslupa, ng TV5).

In general terms, sabi niya, "Depende sa physical [capabilities] natin, e. Ako, siguro, hindi ko na kasi makakaya yung long hours of taping.

"Kasi, ang alam ko sa taping, they have to finish a one-hour show, in one night. Baka hindi ko lang makayanan, it will be unfair du'n sa mga kasama ko sa production. Pero kung kaya mo, why not?"

THEN AND NOW. Naitanong din kay Amalia Fuentes ang tungkol sa kalagayan ng local TV and movie industries at mga talentong kabahagi ng mga ito.

"I think they're good," positibong tugon ng beteranang aktres. "Because they're well-trained on TV. Pero ang hindi ko lang maintindihan... kasi, kami noon, either movie stars, celluloid (film), making movies, or TV.

"Ngayon, ano na, e, it's more like, TV first—you become a big star on TV—bago mag-movies," obserbasyon ni Amalia. "You see a big box-office film of, let's say, Sarah Geronimo. The next morning, she's singing on ASAP (Sunday musical variety show of ABS-CBN).

"Yun bang... hindi ko yun ma-accept because that was not the case for us," dagdag pa niya. "So now, there's a very thin line between TV and the cinema, di ba? Yun ang napansin kong difference. With us before, it wasn't like that.

"But, I think, TV is very good training ground and, I think, the movie stars now are also very good actors, 'no? I think they also work very hard [based on] sa mga napapanood kong mga pelikula nila," pagpuri pa ng aktres.

Kabilang si Amalia Fuentes sa angkan ng mga Muhlach na nagkaroon ng malaking kontribusyon sa larangan ng pelikulang Pilipino.

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Bilang dating movie queen, nagpatuloy ang legacy ni Amalia Fuentes sa pamamagitan ng iba pang mga nakilalang artista, tulad nina Liezl Martinez (nee Sumilang), only daughter nina Amalia at veteran actor, Romeo Vasquez.

In the '70s, sumikat na child actress si Liezl at inilunsad bilang young actress noong mid-'80s (in Mario O'Hara's Ibulong Mo Sa Puso), pero napangasawa niya ang young actor-turned-director na si Albert Martinez at agad huminto sa aktibong pagganap.

Sina Niño Muhlach, tinaguriang child wonder of the '70s, at Aga Muhlach, multi-award-winning actor na active pa rin sa pag-arte, ay mga pamangkin ni Amalia Fuentes.

'INDIE' FILM. Strictly speaking, naging bahagi sina Boots Anson Roa, Amalia Fuentes, at Pilar Pilapil ng independent cinema movement, noon pang mga unang taon ng dekada '70.

Ang pelikulang Isang Gabi, Tatlong Babae ni Direk Elwood Perez, ay prinodyus ng yumaong director-producer na si Joey Gosiengfiao, through his own movie outfit, Juan dela Cruz Productions.

"Talk about indie films, at that time, in 1974, that was an indie film," pagtukoy ni Boots.

"Di ba, ang ibig sabihin ng 'indie' is independent?" asked Amalia.

Boots agreed. "'In the sense that yung mga producers were not in the mold of the major studios."

Or, added Amalia, "They are not the major studios of the time."

Given the chance, ngayon na mas maraming indie movies ang napu-prodyus ng local film industry, payag daw si Amalia Fuentes na gumawa ng pelikulang "indie," na nagagawa na rin ni Boots Anson Roa in recent years (Love Birds, Ganap Na Babae, among others).

Sabi pa ni Amalia, "I don't mind working for free, or with a small budget, low budget, if it's a good role. Like making that movie... ano ba 'yon, Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros? Something like that."

The veteran actress singled out the multi-awarded indie film by Auraeus Solito (based on Michiko Yamamoto's screenplay) na naging finalist sa first Cinemalaya Independent Filmfest in 2005. Isang gay film ang naturang indie, tungkol sa friendship ng isang binatang pulis (JR Valentin) at adolescent gay male (Nathan Lopez).

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"Walang sex doon," pagtukoy pa ni Amalia. "Kasi, pag sinabing indie ngayon, nagkakaroon tayo ng connotation na 'all sex,' di ba? Na hindi naman."

Otherwise, opinyon din ng premyadong aktres at prodyuser, "Siguro, kaya lang nila pinapasukan ng sex scenes, kasi, akala nila, yun ang kikita.

"But, I think, any good movie will make money, as long as the movie is good," sambit pa ni Amalia.


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