Apr 24
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Author: The Philippine Star


* Congratulations to Carlitos Siguion-Reyna whose latest movie, ReynaFilms' Azucena (based upon the Palanca-award winning screenplay by Eric Ramos), has been rated "A" by the Film Ratings Board (FRB), entitling it to a 100 percent amusement tax rebate. It's the second movie to be rated "A" this year, after Mike de Leon's Bayaning 3rd World. A sad note, though: Right now, the FRB is operating on a pakiusap system because mayors and councilors, although serious and sincere in their effort to help uplift the quality of Filipino films, have agreed to avert amusement taxes of rated films back to the producers. There's hope. A bill creating the FRB into law has already passed the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate.

* Michael de Mesa clarified a Funfare item that he was "fired" (for misbehavior) as director of the top-rated ABS-CBN thriller Okatokat! On the contrary, said Michael, he quit not only because of his dissatisfaction about certain aspects of the production but because of his other pressing commitments (he's also in the cast of the GMA 7 early-afternoon teleseries Rio del Mar) and a movie assignment for Viva Films, Ika-13 Kapitolo, which will start shooting soon. It's Michael's first full-length movie-directorial job (he directed the other half of the Star Cinema twinbill Calvento Files The Movie), starring his sister Cherie Gil, Christopher de Leon, Zsa Zsa Padilla and Albert Martinez.

* Reader Mike Herrera of Cabanatuan City is adding the following to the list of Bb. Pilipinas beauties who have joined showbiz: 1986 Bb. Pilipinas-Maja Maria Cristina Recto who became a newscaster for PTV 4, 1990 Bb. Pilipinas Miss Talent Alecx Estrada who appeared in Viva movies and 1992 Bb. Pilipinas-Maja Marina Benipayo (who also represented the country in the Miss World contest) as a vampire in a Guwapings movie. (Note: One-time Manila Councilor Star Querubin was wrongly included on the list. Star was a Mutya Ng Pilipinas-World, not a Bb. Pilipinas title-holder. )

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Funfare's international correspondent Ferdinand Lapuz (based in Toronto) has filed his latest report. Here it is:

Regal Films' Toro, directed by Joey Javier Reyes, was very popular at the recent Berlin International Film Festival. The first two screenings were sold out so an additional screening was scheduled. Toro is on its way to another international film festival.

Meanwhile, the Singapore International Film Festival will be held from March 31 to April 15 and two Filipino films are included, both by Regal: Fetch A Pail of Water (Pila-Balde) by Jeffrey Jeturian and Naked Under the Moon (Hubad sa Ilalim ng Buwan) by Lav Diaz. Fetch will be shown at the Sex in Asian Cinema section while Naked will compete for the Silver Screen Awards against these movies: Seventeen Years (China) by Zhang Yuan, So Close to Paradise (China) by Wang Xiao Shuai, Love Will Tear Us Apart (Hong Kong) by Yu Lik Wai, Split Wide Open (India) by Dev Benegal, Willow and Wind (Iran/Japan) by Mohammad Ali Talebi, Sacredikadoshi (Iran/France) by Amos Gitai, Charisma (Japan) by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Rainbow Trout (Korea) by Park Chong-Won, Eating Air (Singapore) by Kelvin Tong and Jasmin Ng, Darkness and Light (Taiwan) by Chang Tso Hi, 6ixtynin9 (Thailand) by Pen-Ek Rattanuran, Collective Flat (Vietnam) by Vieth Linh and Saroja (Sri Lanka, director's name not available).

The Singapore filmfest is the first to feature both Jeturian and Diaz together, two of the Philippines' most promising directors.

Ferdinand also enclosed in his report a brief review of Toro by Michael Magnaye who must have seen it at the recent San Francisco Asian American International Film Festival. Here it is:

A toro is a live sex show that is staged in deserted theaters and sleazy backrooms of Manila for a gaping audience. It is usually performed by men and women forced to earn a living at any cost. Out of this milieu comes director Jose Javier Reyes' brilliant depiction of moral void and emotional atrophy.

Unlike previous films on the sex industry of the Philippines, Toro presents its thesis through the filters of a sex worker, without the usual self-pity pathos. The result is a stunning narrative that provokes the audience with its candor. The graphic sex acts are stripped of their sensuality. Humans become desensitized bodies doing routine acts. Carnal lust is doused and reduced to banality. After all these years of showing off his tricks in front of faceless voyeurs, the torero is jaded and unapologetic.

The SFIAAFF is pleased to present the Director's Cut, which will never have a theatrical release in the Philippines. The film's studio has issued a sanitized version (sans controversial title) for its mainstream run, to comply with the Philippines' movie ratings board. Ultimately, the film is not about good or evil. Unlike the government censors, Reyes does not impose judgment on the sex workers or their acts. The film is not about what is wrong or right, but about how the dichotomy is really ambiguous.

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Here's an interesting letter from reader Roma Amor Cruz (no address given):

What is a third world cinema? Gerald Mast, a film historian, said that the term "third world film" does not so much describe a national tradition as provide a heading for many spiritually-related but geographically scattered national cinemas, "those films from the underdeveloped emerging nations of Africa, Asia and South America that explicitly examine the political, social and cultural issues of those nations. "

At first, I thought that a third world cinema is a term labeled on films with a bad taste. I have perceived, prior to my comprehension of the term, that it describes a film that matches the bad connotation of the name "third world country. " I am just so uneasy about the term "third-world," mainly because we only have a single world and the so-called "first world" countries may have a wide advancement in their technology or on any other aspect than the "third-worlds," still it is not appropriate for the third world countries to be called as such. We all have the capacity to excel in our fields and I believe each country should be given equal opportunities and not be hindered by the term labeled to them.

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Seiko boss Robbie Tan has a new discovery named Brigette de Joya who will be launched in the new Seiko skin flick Gigil, also starring Nini Jacinto, Jethro Ramirez, Paula Gomez and Leonardo Litton.

Only 18, 5'5" tall and well-endowed, Brigette has gone back to the Philippines two years ago after staying in Seattle, USA, where she imbibed a very American "liberated attitude" which serves her well now that she has jumped into the bold-wagon.

Said she, "Sa States, hiya-hiya is not the attitude. Bold stars ashamed of showing their body are hypocrites. They should stop doing sex films. I'm willing to show everything because that's how a bold star should be. "

So "liberated" is Brigette that even Gigil director Mauro Gia Samonte was, well, "shocked. "

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What's up?

* Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, Inc. , in cooperation with The United International Picture, is sponsoring the advance screening of Snow Falling on Cedars, topbilled by Ethan Hawke, tonight at 7 at the Greenhills Theater. Proceeds will go to the education, rehabilitation, skills training and other welfare services of PWDs. Tickets are worth P150 and P250 (call 655-0059 or 655-8038 for particulars).

* Donna Cruz's Pure Donna concert will be shown at 6 a. m. today on Viva Cinema. Kuh Ledesma and Pops Fernandez's Power of Two will be shown, also on Viva Cinema, on March 5 (same time); Rachel Alejandro's Rachel Reveals on March 11; Drawn on March 12; and øoh Zsa Zsa (Padilla) on March 18.

* The works of one of the country's top choreographers, Tony Fabella, will be performed by young and talented dancers (led by ballet teachers Vella C. Damian for Manila Ballet Repertory and Shirley Halili-Cruz for Quezon City Ballet) in tomorrow's (March 5) Concert at the Park, Rizal Park. Admission is free.

Source: The Philippine Star