In the Philippines, wives are always seen as the victims of separation. For filmmaker GB Sampedro, the time has come for Filipinos to understand that husbands too suffer in failed marriages.
To prove his point, Sampedro compiled a story of “six men with six failed marriages” into a single film fittingly titled Separados. The movie is an official entry to the New Breed Category of the 10th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival opening today at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City.
“Dito kasi, kapag separation, lalaki ang may kasalanan, ang babae yong kawawa. With my movie, I want to show the other side of the story,” Sampedro, who is a bona fide “separado” himself, told The Manila Times in an exclusive interview.
Asked if the story is in some ways personal, the director admitted, “Yes, it is very personal and close to me. Masasabi kong, majority ng emosyon dito galing sa akin. Most of the characters galing din sa akin.”
But why did it take him years to actually make this movie? Sampedro answered, “That time, feeling ko hindi pa siya buong-buo para sa akin. Hindi pa ako sold sa idea na ipapalabas ko yong ganitong klaseng istorya sa point of view ng lalaki. Hindi pa handa yung market para sa ganon.”
But now times are changing with more and more Filipinos dealing with marital issues.
Starring Victor Neri, Ricky Davao, Jason Abalos, Anjo Yllana, Erik Santos and Alfred Vargas, Serapados tells the story of how and why six husbands ended their marriages with their wives.
Asked to elaborate the role each actor portrays, Sampedro shared, “Victor Neri is a chef whose reason for separation was sexual incompatibility. Masyadong sensitive at taboo ang usapan, pero very important sa mag-asawa to be sexually compatible.”
He continued, “Ricky Davao naman is a closet gay while Jason Abalos is into drugs. Anjo Yllana, siya yong babaero na seaman. Pero what led sa pagigi niyang babaero? Anong pinagdaanan nya?”
Meanwhile singer Erik Santos who debuts as an actor in Separados is a battered husband. “Erik Santos is a battered husband, a call center agent na nangangarap na maging singer.”
Asked how the singer was considered for the film, Sampedro revealed that he and Santos are close friends. When they were watching 2013’s Cinemalaya 9, Santos encouraged Sampedro to join the indie film fest. The director said he would in one condition: “That Erik has to be part of the cast!”
Finally, the last of the separados—an alcoholic troubled by religious differences with his wife—is portrayed by Alfred Vargas, who also co-produced the film with Sampedro.
Ironically, fate and circumstance bring the separated men together at a church wedding, where one of them takes a second chance at marriage.
Also starring in the film are Angel Jacob, Melissa Mendez, Althea Vega, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Iwa Moto, Diana Zubiri and Sue Prado as the wives. Also featured is Ritz Azul.
Separados is Sampedro’s second outing at the Cinemalaya film festival. His first entry was in 2009 with the film Astig, which won him Best Director.
Separados will have gala screenings at Fairview Terraces on August 2 and at CCP on August 3.