Variety critic on Ekstra: A crowd-pleaser
FUNFARE UPDATE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2013 - 12:00am

The Cinemalaya entry that won for Vilma Santos another Best Actress award is getting raves abroad, according to its director Jeffrey Jeturian and producer Ferdy Lapuz who are in Toronto where Ekstra (retitled The Bit Player for the international market) is one of the Filipino films in exhibition.

In a report to Funfare Update, Ferdy said that Richard Kuipers, a film critic for Variety, described the movie as a “crowd-pleaser…an appealing dramedy that pokes plenty of good-natured fun at TV soap operas…anchored by the glowing performance by Filipino screen queen Vilma Santos as the single mother who smiles her way through work-related indignities in order to pay for her daughter’s education…”

Kuipers noted that “the wise and witty screenplay by Jeturian, Zigcarlo Dulay and Antoinette Jadaone hits the right mix of humor and compassion from the outset. In a funny pre-credits sequence showing an exasperated production crew hiring and firing a succession of extras for the tiny speaking role of a housemaid, eager-to-please hopeful Loida Malabanan (Santos) is pipped for the job at the last moment.

“Very much a modern incarnation of heroines from classic Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s, Loida only strengthens her resolve in the face of such setbacks. Fiercely determined to not ask her (unseen) ex-husband for financial assistance, Loida is driven to survive and succeed because of her adult daughter, Joyce (Ronaline Enriquez), also a divorcee and a college student whose tuition fees are due…

“…Jeturian gets great value from guest appearances by a host of big-name local stars including hunky matinee idol Piolo Pascual as troubled groom-in-waiting Brando, Pilar Pilapil as severe matriarch Doña Esmerelda and a wonderfully over-the-top Cherie Gil as gun-toting super-bitch Doña Beatriz…”

Ferdy also enclosed a clipping of Toronto programmer Steve Gravestock’s glowing review:

Vilma Santos, the enduring Grand Dame of the Philippine film industry, delivers a performance of grace, courage, and peerless comic timing as a single mother toiling as a lowly TV extra in the latest film from veteran director Jeffrey Jeturian.

Skilfully directed by Jeturian, and driven by Santos’ courageous performance and peerless comic timing, The Bit Player is also a kind of tribute to Loida. Even at her lowest point, she never gives up.

Ferdy added that when Ekstra was screened at the non-competition filmfest, there was a long line of eager viewers that extended for more than one block.

Megan among top 11 at Miss World beach-fashion tilt

Close on the heels of Mutya Johanna Datul’s win as 2013 Miss Supranational (the first Asian to bag the title), the country’s hope to finally clinch its first Miss World honor is upbeat as Miss World-Philippines Megan Young continues to shine among more than 100 contestants.

Funfare’s “other beauty expert” Celso de Guzman Caparas reported that Megan finished one of the Top 11 in the pageant’s “beach-fashion competition” and one of the eight tapped by pageant head Julia Morley for a Q&A with the press in Indonesia where the pageant is being held. The grand finals on Sept. 28 will be held in Bali, moved from the original venue after some quarters protested against the pageant which they said runs against Muslim tradition (that women shouldn’t display their bodies in public).

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com.)

BEST ACTRESS BIT PLAYER FERDY JEFFREY JETURIAN JETURIAN LOIDA MISS WORLD VILMA SANTOS
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