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Entertainment

Alden’s ascending artistry

Edgar O. Cruz - The Philippine Star
Aldenâs ascending artistry

As Bonifacio ‘Boni’ Ilagan in Alaala: A Martial Law Special, discolorations, dried blood and dread swap Alden Richards’ dimples.

MANILA, Philippines — Only screened works can redeliver history with sufficient interpretation.

Alden Richards finally went beyond his matinee idol image as the young Bonifacio “Boni” Ilagan, chairman of Kabataang Makabayan UP Diliman, in the GMA Public Affairs documentary drama, Alaala: A Martial Law Special, as directed by Adolf Alix Jr. and Rember Gelera to recall the 45th year of military rule.

Alden acts realism to Boni’s severe tortures by the notorious Fifth Division of the Philippine Constabulary, emphasizing its disquieting or deplorable horror every time he pulls down his pants. Not once did his well-loved dimples pop out.

Alden started early as a serious actor. Cast as the young Simeon, Bong Revilla’s character in the historical drama Indio in 2013, this did not halt there.

That same year, he acted the young lead character Gabriel Alcaraz providing convincing transition to Robin Padilla’s adult role in 10,000 Hours that gathered for action idol the Best Actor plum at the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival.

Towards the end of 2014, Alden at 22 headlined Ilustrado where he played the full-length role of patriot José Rizal essayed by veteran actors Cesar Montano, Albert Martinez and Joel Torre in film.

Alden as Boni (right) and Rocco Nacino as Pete Lacaba man the barricades in pre-Martial Law look.

Alden was solo nominee from GMA network who competed with actors from rival networks. His nuanced performance reaped a first Best Actor trophy from the 29th PMPC Star Awards for Television. 

And then the Alden-Maine Mendoza sensation surprisingly surfaced in 2015, turning Alden into a certified matinee idol and one-half of the Aldub love tandem.

By the leap of his parents’ faith, Boni and younger sister Rizalina were named after national heroes and both turned out national democracy fighters. Quite naturally, they suffered similar destiny with their namesake, torture and death, its circumstances interpreted by Alden with undeniable justice.

Script by Boni to refresh the circumstances of the deprivation of his human rights, how his mother (Gina Alajar) attempted to restore it and a clenched left fist reconnected him with Rizalina (Bianca Umali) but led to her disappearance. He was incarcerated with Pete Lacaba (Rocco Nacino) who Boni idolized.

Alden’s intense interpretation of Boni’s torture scenes exceeds the impact of Piolo Pascual’s imagined scenes in Chito Roño’s Dekada ‘70 and Nico Antonio’s water boarding punishment in Lawrence Fajardo’s Posas. Alden deserves a Best Actor award for this single performance.

Interspersing footage and recreations of actual scenes, Alaala’s main strength is being retold by Boni and Pete and substantiated by resource persons and mind-boggling statistics. As the only documentary presented on the 45th year of martial rule, Alaala deserves recognition as a masterpiece of contemporary Philippine history.

Millennials can now view Alaala: A Martial Law Special on GMA Network’s YouTube Channel.

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