Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Metro Manila Film Festival Memories: Ang Larawan (4 of 5)

Note: A repost, because I miss a really good Metro Manila Film Festival with a good and fair selection of movies.

Ang Larawan
Produced by Culturtain and Musicat
Direction by Loy Arcenas
Libretto by Rolando Tinio
Music by Ryan Cayabyab
From the original three act play of Nick Joaquin

I will try to keep this sweet and short since the movie, Ang Larawan, won Best Picture in the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Gabi ng Parangal already. What is another rave review when all that is amazing and awe inspiring things have been said about the movie? But I want to put this on record. It was the ONLY movie I intended to watch in the MMFF this season.

I have had my fill of romcoms every MMFF. Vic Sotto and Vice Ganda are on TV five days of the week and social media is littered with news and features of young stars from GMA and ABS-CBN. I decided to be good to may heart and to take extra care for my soul. It had to be Nick Joaquin, Rolando Tinio, Ryan Cayabuab and Celeste Legaspi. When can I get this once in a lifetime chance of engaging with these artists in the most accessible art form but during the MMFF?

So, here are five things I love about Ang Larawan.

1. Bagay na bagay ang mga awitin sa bawat characters ng pelikula. I don't know which came first. Selecting the cast and giving them songs that fit their range and personalities, or arranging the songs for each actor's range and style? Pinag-isipan talaga! The production team obviously love their actors and Mr. C has great respect for all of them to be given such challenging and meaningful songs to sing.

2. The cast gave polished performances! There was no upstaging of actor 1 and actor 2. Each had their shinning moment. Rayver Cruz was not OP. Keribels ni Paulo Avelino ang song and dance number! Nag-enjoy ako sa cameo ni Ogie Alcasid. He looked very serious as a policeman, but his presence was comic relief, at least to me, in that particular scene where Candida is about to have her epic breakdown. Finally, nakapanood rin ako ng Pinoy movie na may ensemble cast na nag-gel lahat ng energies, dynamics, talents and artistic skills.

3. Ang ganda ng libretto ni Rolando Tinio. My favorite part was Don Perico's where he sang about life, like art, is intricate. Ang ganda sa Tagalog!

Hindi simple ang buhay katulad ng sining. 
May puwersang humuhubog sa ating landasin. 
Hindi tayo’ng may hawak sa kinabukasan. 
Nagmimiron ka lamang sa ‘yong kapalaran.”

4. The close up shots of each character were all very intriguing. Looking at the portrait that was never fully shown but was described differently by the one viewing it suggest mystery, and for the audience, voyeurism!

Needless to say, one's interpretation of art differs from another.

5. The film stayed true to the original material and although Tinio's translation have lost some of Joaquin's meaning and poetry in the process, Ang Larawan moved me to look inward and discover new insights about myself and the world.

I read the play in college and identified more with Candida. I saw the play on stage in the early 90s (at the International School Manila, of all places!) and I was disturbed by the nostalgia, especially the melancholic narration of Bitoy Camacho. Twenty and three years after, Paula sings about making decisions. Emancipation. Detachment. I know what she means. I understand it too well. I feel it too!


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