Festival of uncensored films at UP
Leah C. Salterio (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2008 - 12:00am

Maryo J. de los Reyes’ Laman, Jeffrey Jeturian’s Tuhog, Mel Chionglo’s Twilight Dancers and Jose Javier Reyes’ Live Show are among the heavily censored works of multi-awarded directors who created a stir when their films were not given clearance by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to be shown in commercial theaters.

The said controversial titles are likewise socially relevant films that have gained critical acclaim both in the local front and in international film festivals. However, due to their sensitive themes, the films were either banned or exhibited only to a limited audience.

In recognition to the Filipino film industry’s significant contribution, the UP College of Mass Communication (CMC) and the UP-CMC Alumni Association (UP-CMCAA) organize Director’s Cut: Mga Eksenang Dapat Mong Nakita Pero..., a three-day festival of the original, uncut versions of films by the country’s first-rate megmen. The event will be held March 5 to 7 at the Cine Adarna Theater of the UP Film Institute, as part of the ongoing university-wide centennial celebration.

The festival showcases the works of the country’s top directors who are graduates of the UP-CMC – De los Reyes, Roño, Jeturian, Cris Pablo and Connie Macatuno. Also featured are three guest directors — Reyes, Joel Lamangan and Mel Chionglo.

The festival, according to Prof. Neny Pernia, UP-CMC dean, targets a wide range of audiences consisting of students, teachers, officials and alumni of the university, film industry executives, members of the film education community, film aficionados, the diplomatic sector, local government units and their employees, non-government organizations and the general public who enjoy watching films.

The organizers maintain that Philippine cinema plays a vital role in presenting various social and political realities of the country. The local film industry has been successful in awakening the consciousness of the Filipino audience by serving as a creative and powerful vehicle in delivering relevant issues and in showcasing the uniqueness and beauty of Filipino culture, tradition and beliefs.

De los Reyes’ Laman will open the festival on March 5, with a screening at 7:30 p.m., following the cocktails. Earlier that day, Lamangan’s Bakit May Kahapon Pa will also be screened at 4 p.m.

De Los Reyes’ Laman, which got an X-rating twice from the censor’s board, had to be sanitized to be shown in local theaters. The film is about a young couple’s marriage which gets threatened when a rich businesswoman lusts for the husband, while a gigolo seduces the wife. Stars Albert Martinez and Lolita de Leon as the young couple, with Elizabeth Oropesa as the businesswoman and Yul Servo as the gigolo.

Lamangan’s Bakit May Kahapon Pa? is about a child who is mysteriously spared from the massacre of the peasants in her town that include her family members. Traumatized by the incident, she continues to thirst for revenge and plots out a scheme to avenge the death of her loved ones as she grows up. She hunts down the military officer who instigated the carnage that she surived and vows to kill him.

Nora Aunor, as the lead star, was said to have displayed one of her finest performances in this film, written by Roy Iglesias and Julius Alfonso. Eddie Garcia also turned in a critically acclaimed role as the ruthless general. Notable supporting performances are by Dawn Zulueta and Daniel Fernando, with Sarah Jane Abad, Allan Sia, Melisse Santiago, Rolando Tinio, Tony Mabesa, Ernie Zarate, Jim Pebanco, Ray Ventura and Richard Quan.

Pablo’s full-length digital opus, Duda, (March 6, 3 p.m.), which also marks his directorial debut, is a tale of infidelity and deception between the affair of two men. The film was screened in the 2004 New York Asian-American Film Festival. Andoy Ranay plays Cris, a young man constantly in seasch of sexual encounters. He meets Erick and settles into what he feels a lifetime commitment. However, Erick’s fidelity becomes an issue and a cause for Cris’ jealousy. An old flame, Ben, decides to seek out Cris before marrying his girlfriend.

Macatuno’s controversial directorial debut, Rome and Juliet (March 6, 5 p.m.), tackles a taboo topic about two women caught in a web of forbidden and unconventional love. Juliet (Andrea del Rosario) is a conservative pre-school teacher who is ready to settle down with her fiancé, Marc (Rafael Rosell). She befriends her wedding planner, Rome (Mylene Dizon), a liberated business woman.

The two girls develop a deep friendship, a soulful connection and a love that is physically consummated. But conflicts arise when the groom, who is a young politician, shockingly discovers the ongoing relationship between the two women. Others in the cast are Tessie Tomas, Crispin Pineda, Glydel Mercado and Miko Palanca.

Twilight Dancers (March 6, 7 p.m.) is the last installment of director Chionglo and writer Ricky Lee’s trilogy about macho dancers. The first part was Sibak (Midnight Dancers), followed by Burlesk King. The trilogy was inspired by Brocka’s classic, Macho Dancer. Just like its predecessors, Twilight Dancers is another feast for the eyes as it shows scantily clad macho dancers in a gay bar. The film stars Allen Dizon, Tyrone Perez, Cherry Pie Picache, Ana Capri, with supporting performances from directors Jerry Lopez Sineneng, Lamangan, as well as William Martinez, Arnel Ignacio and IC Mendoza.

In Roño’s Bonnie and Clyde-inspired La Vida Rosa (March 7, 3 p.m.), Rosanna Roces is the feisty, outspoken and clever Rosa, who is out for bigger money. But partner in crime and in life Dado (Diether Ocampo) wants none of it anymore. After their latest heist, Dado chooses to transform the carnapped vehicle into a taxi and use it to earn legitimate money. But Rosa disagrees. Also starring Angel Aquino, Liza Lorena, Pen Medina, Jiro Manio, Vic Diaz and Jhong Hilario.

Jeturian’s Tuhog (March 7, 5 p.m.) is a disturbing yet entertaining story of how Perla (Irma Adlawan) and her daughter Floring (Ina Raymundo), both raped by Perla’s father, grab the headline of a tabloid and is made into a sex film. Starring in the flick titled Hayok sa Laman are Jaclyn Jose as the mother Violeta, Klaudia Koronel as the daughter Jasmin and Dante Rivero as the father Amang. Scenes from the real life rape and from the film are shown alternately for comparison and to underscore the distortion.

Reyes’ Live Show (March 7, 7 p.m.) was banned from theaters in 2001 and was labeled “pornographic.” The film exposes the shocking and depressing truth about live sexual performers or torreros and what goes on in sleazy quarters where couples play toro for pay. Stars Klaudia Koronel, Hazel Espinosa and Ana Capri, introducing Paolo Rivero, with Daria Ramirez, Marcus Madrigal, Simon Ibarra, Nikka Valencia and Harlene Bautista.

The Director’s Cut Festival infuses an interactive aspect on opening day, with a forum featuring the directors, the film’s writers and actors. The audience may ask questions about the film and interact with the film’s creators. Regular tickets sell for P200 and P100 for students.

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