Rumors float of ‘Just A Stranger’ being a bad film
STAR CIRCUIT - Ricky Calderon (The Freeman) - July 24, 2019 - 12:00am

Some quarters expected the Anne Curtis-Marco Gumabao starrer titled “Just A Stranger” to be one of the official entries to Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino happening in September. Produced by Viva Films, the Portugal-shot movie is directed by Jason Paul Laxamana.

A Laxamana film is considered a shoo-in since three of his films made it to previous PPP editions namely, “100 Tula Para Kay Stella,” “Bakwit Boys” and “The Day After Valentines.”

But is it true what I heard that only one member of the PPP screening committee liked the film? And is it true that of all the movies done by Laxamana, “Just A Stranger” is not up to par?

We don’t want to believe the rumor that “Just A Stranger” is allegedly a bad film. We want to personally prove it. We don't want to pass judgment unless we’ve seen it. Maybe the people spreading the rumor have an axe to grind against the film’s stars and director.

With Anne, who has an Urian nomination to her name, and Marco as possibly one of the sexiest men alive as lead actor, how can “Just A Stranger” be considered bad? But the proof of the pudding is in the eating so it is best to watch it first.

***

Dennis Trillo, Jerald Napoles and Matteo Guidicelli are the lead stars of the provocative and socially relevant movie titled “Mina-Anud” which is based on a true story.

The events in the film are based on real-life events that took place in 2009 in Eastern Samar, where bags of cocaine were washed up on the shores of a fishing village that turned the lives of the residents 180 degrees.

“Mina-Anud” won the Basecamp Colour Prize at Singapore’s Southeast Asia Film Financing (SAFF) Forum in 2017. Established in 2016, SAFF serves as an exciting platform in assembling the best feature-length film concepts and the top filmmakers and producers from Southeast Asia and Europe to meet with international co-producing partners, festival programmers, distributors, commissioners, and financiers.

“Mina-Anud” is about an impoverished community where the characters succumb to the temptations of money and material stuff through an illegal activity.

It tells the story of people who resorted to illegal drug selling to earn instant cash and get a taste of luxuries, such as flat screen televisions, motorcycles, cars, and jewelries.

Dennis takes on the role of a drug pusher named Ding, the leader of Borongan surfers, who is also a family man with issues with his wife Gina, the breadwinner.

Jerald portrays Carlo, one of the best surfers in the village but seems to always come as second best. A single guy caring for his aging grandmother, Carlo dreams of joining an international surfing competition and marrying a Caucasian girlfriend.

Being unsatisfied with their lives, Ding and Carlo saw a chance to improve their lot by selling illegal drugs.

No doubt that this is one Dennis’ most daring roles yet. “Gusto kong gumawa ng ganitong film – totoo, matapang, para ito sa mga taong naghahanap ng iba, 'yung mga hinahanap nila sa online (Netflix), kaya natin ibigay, sana panoorin nila sa big screen,” he said.

“Ito ang mga pelikulang masarap panoorin sa sinehan dahil sa maganda ang quality, maganda ang story, masayang panoorin kasama ng barkada. Mas ma-aapreciate mo at malaking pelikula ito.”

Jerald proved his mettle as an actor when he was chosen for the role for which a number of good-looking and highly competent actors auditioned for.

Matteo portrays Paul, an aspiring celebrity and TV show host who deals party drugs to Manila’s elite and showbiz circles. “I'm so happy to be part of the film. The Filipinos deserve to see this film,” he quipped.

The film’s director, Kerwin Go, saw with his own eyes the true events for which this film is based on.

“I was there and witnessed this first hand. The characters in the film are all based on friends and acquaintances who gave in to the temptation of easy money. Some made it out with their wallets heavier, some weren’t lucky and ended up in jail,” the Cebuano filmmaker said.

Also in the “Mina-Anud” cast are Alvin Anson, Mara Lopez, Anthony Falcon, Marc Felix, Lou Veloso, Richard Manabat, Dionne Monsanto, Elia Ilano, Lui Manansala, and Luke Landrigan.

Showing in cinemas nationwide on August 21, “Mina-Anud” was chosen as the closing film of Cinemalaya 2019 on Aug. 10, 9 p.m. at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

ANNE CURTIS MARCO GUMABAO
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