• Short film festival highlights Bulacan history



    Whether short or full-length, film has become de rigueur to highlight all sorts of celebration of life and humanity in a community that puts premium on locating for posterity through visual means vis-a-vis giving due acknowledgment to living persons of significance both in the context of local and national history.

    The latter concern for this year at the recently concluded series of cultural activities in connection with the fiesta celebration of the City of Malolos, Bulacan that ended in the last week of February was bestowed on National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera. Last year it was awarded to Robin Padilla who was paraded in the streets of Malolos prior to the official awards rites in the evening.

    Moreover, in the same direction the cultural administrators of the provincial capital saw it fit to push their annual short film festival billed Cine Republica 2018.

    Now on its fourth year, the festival was open to both young and professional filmmakers with about eight competing entries ranging from 15 minutes to a little more than 30 minutes in length.

    Despite the miserable paltry sum of P10,000 given to each filmmaker as seed money, a few directors at hand were able to come up with story materials rich in historical content, legacy, and production value. The entries were comprised of the life of the National Artist Amado Hernandez in “Amado,” “Selang Bagsik,” “Yano,” “Matang Lawin,” “Andap,” “Mulat,” “Loreto Lucero,” and “Santos (Dr. Luis Santos Story).”

    Some of the entries had potential and palpable storylines, but were hemorrhaging on the content and production department apparently due to the shoestring budget aid granted by the city council.

    In any case, Santos by Geraldine “Gee” Herrera stood out as a historically relevant 30-minute docu-drama that retold objectively in arresting visual terms the fate of Malolos before and during World War 2 seen from the point of view of the local and beloved opthalmologist Dr. Luis Santos.

    This was realistically and creditably portrayed by singer Darius Razon both as a devoted husband and as doctor with commitment to serve those who are less in life caught in the conflict of war.

    True to his calling, in the film Dr. Santos ministered to all wounded victims of war, including the Hukbalahaps, and the enemies at the risk of being perceived as Japanese collaborator which he was not.

    A revelation in the story was about a Japanese resident named Genosa who early on before the war had befriended and had become Dr. Santos’ patient. She turned out to be a Japanese spy with the rank of a colonel. Allegedly, the friendship between Dr. Santos and the colonel had spared Malolos from possible destruction imaginable and with no report of one single local being made as a comfort woman.

    Director Herrera took Caveat to some of the historical places she used in her shoot after the screening – like Casa Real Museum and the Uitangcoy-Santos ancestral house which now bears the historial marker in relation to the first Malolos Congress in 1898.

    Alberta Uitangcoy, wife of Dr. Santos, was one of the women referred to in the famous letter of Dr. Jose Rizal to the “Women of Malolos.”

    Gee had her early training in and exposures to both the visual and performing arts at Balintataw Film & Theater Arts of the UNESCO-Philippine Center for International Theater Institute (ITI) under the auspices of Cecile Guidote-Alvarez and National Artist for Literature Alejandro Roces.

    In all these, Herrera is a woman director to watch. She has become a competent mentor and pedagogue as well in rewriting local history for theater and films for post-colonial discourse and modern viewing.

    * * *

    GUESS WHO? Incoming sexy star (SS) was paired off with a much married competent actor (CA) in a recently concluded teleserye which had a so-so rating it did not go well beyond its intended season of airing.

    In terms of critical acclaim, the two played their respective roles as highly effective empathetic lovers on the small screen you think they are living their characters to the hilt specifically in their kissing scenes as opposed to creating characters for believability.

    Suddenly SS was being given ample exposures one after another in teleseryes and other guestings even in films where before she was relatively placed in the back burners and close to waiting eternally in the wings for the big break to come.

    Did SS get the break owing to her fresh looks oozing with sexy appeal? Did she avail herself of an efficient manager? Or did she resort to so-called “kapit sa patalim” by hinging herself on the seamy side of an LGBT stakeholder-influencer?

    The last option could well be the reason because it turned out she is after all loaded with talents including somersaulting in bed perhaps with an LGBT influencer.

    But the fiery episode of SS and CA that started on the small screen is not over and done with. The latest is that CA is getting SS as lead actress in a special project that has him on top of its creative team. One thinks the dangerous liaison between the two continues to sizzle off-screen.

    Clue: SS is an absolute head-turner gifted with a mestiza appeal, and CA is a damn good hunky actor reputed to have risen from the margins of the street smarts.


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