Adolf tackles family reconciliation in Coming Home
Adolf tackles family reconciliation in Coming Home
Jerry Donato (The Philippine Star) - January 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Adolf Alix Jr. adds Coming Home to his family drama works such as Mater Dolorosa with Gina Alajar, Padre de Familia (Coco Martin and Nora Aunor) and Pastor (Gina and Philip Salvador). His return to the genre explores a familiar narrative about “(a couple) who tries to build their own family,” said the director in an interview with The STAR prior to the media call. “While he is (working) abroad, he meets a woman. They get to know each other and have a relationship. (The wife) learns about it. (The wife and the husband) decide to call it quits. After 10 years, she is surprised one morning to see him in front of their house and he is very sick.”

His dramatis personae will be given life on the big screen by former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (as the Overseas Filipino Worker [OFW] patriarch based in Qatar, named Benedicto “Benny” Librada), Sylvia Sanchez (the matriarch Salve Librada) and Ariella Arida (the reluctant mistress Mercy Dungca). 

“How will the family accept it (the father’s coming home)? How will the kids accept it?” Adolf mentioned the questions the film will try to answer. “It’s a story of reconciliation. I think the family drama is a very powerful material to show the experience(s) of the (Filipino family). Maganda pa ring platform ang family drama kasi (it’s for) all ages, you have the first layer (which is the couple). Then, you have the younger layer, (this way,) the audience will understand the (family) spectrum.”

Also making a comeback is the former senator, whose movie Katas ng Saudi won him the FAMAS Best Actor trophy. “It’s my first time to work with her,” Jinggoy said of the project with Sylvia during the presscon. “Sabi ko nga during my past interview, the only fear I have is that I might not be at par (with her) in terms of acting because I have been inactive (in showbiz) for (many) years.... siguro tuturuan na ako ni (Sylvia) na umarte sa mga eksena namin… I’m very, very happy dahil nagbalik na ako dito sa una kong minahal, ang pag-a-artista.”

Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Sylvia Sanchez play husband and wife in the family drama, set to open in theaters this summer

As for Sylvia, she said: “It’s a new movie. Wala akong gustong ipangako kung anong pwede kong ibigay, basta gagawin, ibibigay ko yung best ko.” According to her, her character Salve is “a martyr, loving… she’s trying to rebuild the family (relationships) in the best way she can.” It’s part of her character’s bucket list.

Compared to the usual Filipino family representation of yesteryear, the one in Coming Home is contemporary which rides on the promises of globalization and revisits its social cost.

“The prototype of a Filipino family has changed,” the director said. “Before, parents (would) stay at home and work (here). Ngayon iba na. With the OFW phenomenon, naiiwan yung anak (children are left under the care of relatives and left) to grow up on their own. The parents are (working) abroad. The irony (is) nag-aalaga ka ng ibang tao, sarili mong pamilya, di mo maalagaan. When you return, the kids are all grown up. I think it is still a universal issue.” 

Adolf’s new film assignment “will re-examine family issues,” he said and if I may add, they are set against the seek-greener-pastures norm.

“I think it’s very familiar,” Adolf added, “Every Filipino has a similar story, may kapitbahay, may pinsan (tayo) who is an OFW.”

As for the genre, Adolf reflected on: “What’s good in doing family drama is that there are many aspects you can explore, especially in film. On TV, you have to feed what the audience wants (their expectations of the genre). In the movies, pwede mo siyang balansehin (you can strike a balance of things). Since marami ng platforms ngayon, marami silang napapanood, pwede ka na ring maglaro in terms of storytelling.”

What also excites Adolf in doing the movie is the cast he will be working with. “As a director, I get to work with generations of stars. I like the idea of (knowing) how (for instance) Sylvia, Sen. Jinggoy, Martin (del Rosario), Edgar Allan (Guzman work individually and as one), lahat magagaling na artista, na para(ng how) you (can) blend them together,” said he, who treats his actors “pantay, pantay naman. At the end of it, the role requirement is what I expect them to give.”

Another interesting aspect of Adolf’s work is to get into the actors’ varied orientations in acting, which sees him blend their approaches together with the hope that all this will be translated on the screen to make the ensemble acting work. 

“The idea is for them to work as a group,” he said. “That’s why it is important for them to understand their reasons and purpose as characters in the narrative.”

Asked if Coming Home is plot-driven or character-driven, Adolf said, “More than anything, I think it is character-driven.” He would also look at the characters’ gray area to showcase their humanity. 

Set to hit theaters this summer, Coming Home also stars Vin Abrenica, Janna Agoncillo, Alvin Anson, Shaira Diaz, Geneva Cruz (in a special participation), Jake Ejercito, Julian Estrada, Luis Hontiveros, Samantha Lopez, Smokey Manaloto, Chanel Morales, Almira Muhlach and Orlan Wamar.

The movie is line-produced by ALV Films and produced by Maverick Films.

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