TaDi Snap Shots

Thursday, December 30, 2010

When will we be ready for Rosario? -- Rosario Movie Review

Potato On-the-Go:

I really had no plans of posting any film reviews this 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival as I know I'll be busy with many holiday gatherings but after what the jurors did to the recently concluded awards night (the jurors snubbed in the recognition Albert Martinez for Direction, Jennylyn Mercado for Performance by a Lead Actress, Manuel V. Pangilinan for Story, Elmer Gatchalian for Screenplay and Albert Chang for Musical Score), I guess I have to post my point of view, because they don't have the monopoly of telling the public which is the good film or not.

I've always been thirsty for movies that narrate our country's history or the backdrop of our cultural heritage.  I've only seen a few and for me, they now belong to our country's treasures that defines us a people.  Some of them are Oro Plata Mata, Mumbaki, Sakay, Jose Rizal, Rizal sa Dapitan and Supremo, among others.  So when I heard that Cinemabuhay and Studio 5 are creating Rosario, I just know they are doing something right.  I wished then that the story and screenplay will be as moving as the pages of our history books (because Rosario is a story of a private woman).

Rosario, produced by CineMabuhay and Studio 5, is based on an original story by successful businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan and directed by critically acclaimed actor (and now a director) Albert Martinez.  Here's the official theatrical trailer:

The film tells the story of Rosario (Jennylyn Mercado), a young and liberated woman from a wealthy family in Isabela in the 1920s who just arrived from New York.  She was spending her vacation in their hacienda when she committed her first mistake -- meeting and falling in love with Vicente (Yul Servo), her father's right hand who manages their plantation, an older man coming from a poor family.

Jennylyn Mercado as Rosario
Yul Servo as Vicente

And since such relationship is a taboo in that era, Rosario and Vicente managed to steal time and express their love with each other, amidst the risk and danger that it may bring.

So When Rosario's father (Philip Salvador) finds out about his daughter's scandalous affair, they move out of the hacienda, sends Rosario to a convent and punishes Vicente.  But Rosario follows no one but her heart so she escapes the humbling life in the convent and marries Vicente.  They move to Manila where they have a simple yet comfortable family life.

But Rosario commits the second mistake of her life when she is lured to committing adultery while her husband Vicente becomes ill with tuberculosis.  Vicente sues Rosario and her lover Alfredo (Dennis Trillo) which was a controversial and celebrated adultery case in the 1920s.  They were both sent to exile in Hong Kong.

Isabel Oli as Carmen
Dennis Trillo as Alfredo

When they returned to Manila, Rosario's new family faces another challenges which will bring her again to an unlikely situation.  But Rosario, this time, redeems herself.

Sid Lucero as Carding

First of all, I would like to commend its director, Albert Martinez for creating a modern masterpiece.  The job is very challenging not only because Rosario's saga is non-conforming to the norms of our past and present society but bringing back to life a story made almost a century ago will demand a lot of time, huge investment, creativity and discriminating intelligence.  And I believe the director was able to do that.

I already saw Jennylyn's potential in the film  Blue Moon and I believe this movie, Rosario, gave her the seal of a legitimate actress.  She has no hysterical scenes nor slapstick moments, but her subtle and subdued acting was able to convey the right emotion of her character -- a liberated woman who somehow conforms to the rule of her family and the society.  One of her highlights is the scene when she found out that her daughter (Empress Schuck) became a famous pianist and then she witnessed how her dear child performed.  There's no dialogue, but the emotion is conveyed through her eyes, face and tears.

I also praise Dennis Trillo, Isabel Oli (as Rosario's cousin Carmen), Eula Valdes (as Rosario's mom), Yul Servo and Sid Lucero (as Carding) with their commendable performances.  Their scenes may be brief but it surely left lasting marks.  I personally like the climax scene where Sid (as Carding) is slowly building up his anger towards Ricky Davao (as a landlord of Rosario's apartment).  Again there's no dialogue from Sid, but the rage, the emotion is so powerful.  Isabel Oli's transformation from a conservative provincial lass to a modern Binondo working girl was also well acted.  And Dennis Trillo, as always, is exemplary in bad boy roles, and his role as Alfredo is no exception. 

Rosario's Cinematography is destined to be classic and its Production Design manipulated time and brought the viewers to the period when the characters actually lived.  I have so many favorite scenes but I guess the one that left every viewer in awe is the scene where Rosario and Vicente made love under the light of a lamp.  It's just so tastefully done, it's very elegant and meaningful.  I even heard old women at my back saying, "It's like an Italian film."

Its music, which I heard was performed by a live orchestra and recorded in Hollywood, is so moving that it can whisper its message, its sorrow and simple joys, to our heart and soul.

Rosario's musical scoring with live orchestra at East West Studios in Hollywood.. In photo are executive producer Bong Sta. Maria (far left), director Albert Martinez (center), and musical director Albert Chang (guy in red shirt).

The story is expected to be unconventional, maybe even deviant to some, but so as the screenplay.  It is reality told in a poetic way.  And its ending will depend on how each one of us wants to conclude Rosario's story, either we condemn her or forgive her.  As for the story, lessons are not always told in a fairy tale way.  Most often, lessons from great stories are told the way lives are actually lived.  Because humans are not perfect.  We learn the lessons of our mistakes, and that is when wisdom is cultivated.

As for points for improvement, I just wished for more consistency in terms of accent of the characters in the 1920s and the use of fade out in editing for transition points. The port scene is magnanimous but the use of graphics when the ship left Manila, and when Rosario and her family were in Hong Kong, was quite unpolished.  I know this is based on a true story but perhaps a parting letter from Rosario addressed and read to the people she hurt in her life will somehow help the non discriminating audience understand the character's ordeals.  But of course, that would be a debate between reality and creative execution.  Well, I would like to believe that the target audience were able to get what Rosario and her son (played by Dolphy) were trying to tell us.

Nevertheless, I still consider Rosario as one of the best Filipino films produced in recent years.   And yes, Rosario is ambitious... because it's not mediocre.  And for me, it is a lot better than the traditional slapstick comedy flicks screened and recognized in the recent Metro Manila Film Festival. And from a rating scale of 1 to 10 claps, I'm giving Rosario a strong and proud 8 1/2.

Rosario, the woman, together with her love affair with a man who is not from her circle, was forbidden by the society during her time.  And pursuing her love caused her very dearly.  Now, Rosario, the movie, with its non-conforming plot and interpretation, is experiencing the same fate from our present day society.  But we, the viewers, have the power to let not history repeat itself.

Our forefathers were not ready for Rosario during her time.  But what about us in our own time?  When will we be ready for Rosario?  Will Rosario suffer the same fate the second time around?  I hope not.  She has learned her lessons and I hope we will as well.

Photos courtesy of Rosario's official page.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Taste of Singapore's Cultural Mixes


Explore Singapore - Day 6 and 7

Okay, I know this post, the last of my Explore Singapore series, is long overdue, but please bear with me, and let me conclude it the right way.  =)

Anyway, this post will narrate my last exploits (Days 6 and 7) in the Lion City: Orchard Road, Lucky Plaza, Sri Mariamman temple, Chinatown and Laupasat.

My cousin Rose and I met at the MRT station in Clementi and headed for the first location in our itinerary - Orchard Road. Well, I heard this is just like our very own Ayala Center or Makati Central Business District but I guess it's still worth seeing.  I'm a fan of cosmopolitan cityscapes anyway! =)

Jandy I initially planned to go to Lucky Plaza  (the mall in Orchard Road where Filipinos go to during their day-off) on a Sunday but we ran out of time.  But I will not let my week pass without seeing it so my cousin Rosey again became my tour guide here.  And of course, you have to forgive me, I can't not have my photo taken at the facade of this mall! =D (feeling OFW!)  And when we went inside, although it's not Sunday, the mall is still very Filipino - the people, the food, the stores, the remittance centers etc.  I guess this is a haven for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who miss home. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mga Hirit na Makulit

Some few weeks back, I started posting on my Facebook wall metaphoric lines or statements that reflect how I feel towards a certain situation.

And surprisingly, I got rave comments on how funny they were!  Hence, I decided to compile and share the initial lines I already posted (and will post soon depending on the mood) as a Christmas gift to you, my loyal readers! =D  I guess, we can use this to express our disappointment or disgust in a much lighter way, so that our points are heard sans the ill feelings of the people concerned!  =)  So here it is, my initial 10:

But wait, these lines should be read aloud and with feelings! =D

1. Para kang magazine, ang dami mong issue.

2. Para kang scientific name, hindi kita ma-spelling!

3. Mag-digicam ka kaya, para di ka puro negative.

4. Hindi tayo calculator, kaya wag tayo mag-bilangan!

5. Huwag mo ko hintayin maging MRT, at malapit na kong mapuno!

6. Wala ka namang sasakyan pero anghilig mo magpa-andar.

7. Para kang tax... hindi kita maintindihan!

8. Para kang loan, interes mo lang iniisip mo!

9. Dapat para kang pregnancy test, laging positive!

10. Wala ka pang anak pero magulang ka na.

Bonus: Hindi ako kulangot, kaya wag mo ko bilugin!

I hope this list helps!  =)  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

RENT The Musical... Our Generation, Our Music, Our Story -- Catch it in Power Plant Cinema from December 8 to 12

Potato On-the-Go:

♪♫ In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. ♪♫ In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. ♪♫ In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, how do you measure, a year in the life?  ♪♫ 

After the press screening of RENT The Musical at the Power Plant Cinema last night, I realized that the music of RENT never fails to inspire every person who witnesses this masterpiece.

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