Lolo beats Lola in race for the Oscars
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo () - September 23, 2009 - 12:00am

Curtain-raisers:

•  My “Chinese connection” sent me this juicy item about a young actress who was gifted with an, hold your breath, P85-M house at an exclusive Quezon City subdivision. “I swear it’s true,” he said. It turned out that my “Chinese connection’s” wealthy (very!) Chinese friend has a Chinese friend who was interested in buying the house but only if the seller would give him a little discount, only to be beaten to the draw by another wealthy businessman who bought it with cold cash...no discount. When my “Chinese connection” asked the friend of his Chinese friend to whom the buyer was giving the house (as “gift”), he mentioned the name of a veteran fortyish actress. “But isn’t she too old to deserve such a gift?” asked my “Chinese connection.” Then he realized that the veteran actress’ surname is the same as that of the young actress who was the “intended one.” Lucky girl, isn’t she?

• Being role models whether they like it or not, actors/actresses should observe good manners at all times, especially when they are in public. Case in point: A relatively new starlet who delayed by more than 30 minutes the departure of a plane twice, first was the flight to Naga (where she and her group had a show) and then on the flight back. She did say “Sorry!” to nobody in particular when she finally got on the plane (from Naga) but, according to the Funfare DPA who was on that flight, “As soon as she was seated, she and the group started laughing and laughing while we the other passengers were quietly fuming.” The plane’s door was already closed, ready for departure, but the popular actor with the group asked (politely naman) the stewardess to please open it for their tardy companion. “What irritated us,” the DPA added, “was yung nagtawanan pa sila. It was adding insult to injury.”

• A heavyweight singer must be eating her heart out now that the other alaga of her former manager are doing well, including a comedienne who stars in a surprise hit (still showing in some theaters). A few years back, the singer dropped the manager, saying, “Kung iba ang humawak sa akin, sana sikat na ako ngayon.” The manager cried a river over that. So what happened to the “impatient” singer? Well, hindi pa rin siya masyadong sikat hanggang ngayon.

* * *

It’s official: Ded Na Si Lolo (directed by Soxy Topacio) has beaten Lola (by Dante Mendoza) as the film to be officially submitted as the country’s possible bet in next year’s Best Foreign-Language Film category of the Oscars. They were the only two films considered. Lolo is a satire about how Filipinos act during a wake while Lola is an unblinking study of two grandmothers coping with the tragedy that befalls their grandchildren, one (Anita Linda) for her murdered grandson and the other (Rustica Carpio) for her own grandson suspected as the culprit. Lola was shown as a “surprise entry” at the just-concluded 66th Venice Film Festival.

Lolo was one of the six indie films financed by Tony Tuviera and shown in a mini-festival at Teatrino (Greenhills). Starring Gina Alajar, Elizabeth Oropeza, Roderick Paulate and Manilyn Reynes, it was a hilarious hit. Director Tony Cruz plays the dead lolo and BJ Forbes the grandson. It’s Soxy’s third directorial job.

“I was the real-life model of BJ Forbes’ character,” said Soxy. “When I was small, all my aunts fainted during my lolo’s wake. That was one of the hilarious scenes in the movie.”

“Ngayon pa lang nini-nerbiyos na ako,” said Soxy who was informed of the good news yesterday by Manny Morfe of the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) which chooses the country’s official entry to the Oscars. “Ang laki ng expectations. Nakakatakot baka hindi ma-nominate.”

The five Oscars finalists, revealed early in the year, are chosen from hundreds of “possibles” from around the world. It’s a tough competition.

Dante Mendoza a loser, a winner

Dante Mendoza may have lost to Soxy in the race for the Oscars but he won Best Director for Serbis (his first film that competed in last year’s Cannes Filmfest) in the recent Urian Awards. Dante was in Brazil during the awards night over the weekend. He came home only the other day.

Here’s a brief report by Funfare’s Toronto-based “international correspondent” Ferdinand Lapuz on what happened in Brazil where a Dante Mendoza Retrospective was held:

We were met at the airport by our interpreter Fortuna Dwek who is also a part-time Brazilian actress. On our way to the hotel, she told us that French actress Isabelle Huppert was also in Sao Paolo for a stage play, a film retrospective and photo exhibit. Isabelle was the Cannes jury president who gave Dante the Best Director award for Kinatay last May.

The opening of the retrospective on Dante’s films was last Sept. 17 with Kinatay. We were met at the opening night by festival committee members Francesca Azzi, Eduardo Garretto Cerqueira and Daniella Azzi of Zeta Filmes.

Journalists and photographers had a field day interviewing Dante and taking his pictures. Isabelle met with us at the Renaissance Hotel for breakfast. We had to move the other interviews in the afternoon because Isabelle was only available in the morning as she was leaving for another city in Brazil later that day. She still remembered meeting us in Cannes during the dinner party after the award ceremony.

We talked about the Cannes Film Festival and her trip to the Philippines in 1981. She recalled that she did a film in Tokyo in 1981 and after the shooting, she made trips to Southeast Asia and the Philippines was in her itinerary. She said that she first went to Banaue and later moved to an island in the south. She said that she and her friend stayed in a house owned by a military man.

We spent an hour with Isabelle and she obliged with photo-op with us again. She was very sweet and accommodating.

Before our meeting ended, I asked her if she was willing to visit the Philippines again.

“Of course,” she said and asked what places we could recommend for her to visit. We mentioned Palawan, Boracay and CamSur (where the 8th season of Survivor France was shot). She wrote the names of these places on her notes.

I asked her jokingly if she would consider making a movie in the Philippines and she gladly replied, “Yes!”

The Indie 2009 – World Film Festival Brazil will end on Sept. 24. Aside from Dante, also honored with a retrospective was Japanese director Naomi Kawase (who won the Cannes Camera D’or in 1997 for her first feature film Moe no suzaku) and French director Philippe Grandrieux.

In January, the Indie Lisboa Film Festival in Portugal will hold another retrospective on Dante’s films.

We would like to thank the Film Development Council of the Philippines through Chairperson Jacky Atienza for supporting us on our trip to Sao Paolo.

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph or at entphilstar@yahoo.com)

ANITA LINDA DANTE DANTE MENDOZA FILM LOLA SAO PAOLO SOXY
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