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When movie titles ‘sizzled’

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When movie titles ‘sizzled’

OUR recent article on Filipino movie titles in English has elicited request for more analytical pieces on “colonial mentality” in local entertainment. While researching the topic further, however, we came across an instructive finding: For about two to three years in the ’70s, movie productions here reverted back to using Tagalog titles!

However, it wasn’t due to a renewed burst of nationalistic fervor, but because the 1970s saw the start of the Bomba or sexy film craze in this country!

Daring unknowns

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At its height, “bomba” held sway so strongly that even established stars were forced to “sex up” their portrayals. Despite this capitulation, however, they couldn’t compete with the much more daring unknowns who stripped and made “public” love with abandon, and quickly became the hot, new stars of the then “explosive” film times.

Due to the forthright and even in-your-face nature of the new sex flicks, their titles were correspondingly in “honest” Tagalog—with a decided preference for sizzling nouns and verbs, and the language of the streets (and sometimes, even the gutter)!

So, English titles were dropped, and urgent and “pungent” Tagalog movie titles held sway—some of them so choice that they became famous or infamous, as the case may be, as emblematic totems of the turgid and tumescent times:

“Bukid Ay Basa,” “Ang Magsasaging,” “Batuta ni Drakula,” “Hayok,” “Tukso,” “Simbuyo,” “Alimpuyo,” “Daluyong,” Udyok,” “Sa Bawat Patak ng Hamog,” “Damdaming Makalupa,” “Daing,” “Hidhid,” “Luray,” “Sanga-sangang Apoy,” “Sanga-sangang Pag-ibig,” “Divina Bastarda,” “Nunal sa Balikat,” “Marupok,” “Isla de Amor,” Angkinin Mo Ako,” “Disgrasyada,” “Kamunduhan,” “Buhay na Manikin,” “Kami’y Nagkasala,” “Sexy Atsay,” “Paligayahin Mo Ako!”

Many titles were made up of only one word, usually the name of the sexy female protagonist, played by a hot new face and body—“Sabrina,” “Magdalena,” “Nympha,” “Jezebel,” “Sophia,” “Angelica,” “Yoling” (not the typhoon), “Aida” (not the opera), “Gabriela” (not the heroine)—!

New ways

Numerous titles were nothing more than similes, metaphors and new ways of defining and expressing what was hot, hot, hot—“Lagablab ng Pag-ibig,” “Hot Angels,” “Nagbabagang Landas,” “Tag-araw,” “Apoy sa Paraiso,” “Init,” “Sumambulat na Kaligayahan”—!

Most “specialized” of all were the movie titles that related sex to specific time periods or chunks of the day or night, as in—“Pigilin Mo Ang Umaga,” “Init sa Magdamag,” “Hamog sa Katanghalian,” “May Lihim Ang Gabi,” “She Walked By Night,” “Apoy sa Madaling Araw!” —How’s that for sex around the clock?!

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The bomba craze lasted for only a few years, before public outcry—and outrage—forced fly-by-night producers to scurry back into oblivion. Most of the sexy “overnight sensations” they discovered went back to the bar club or flesh trade, but a few exceptions who showed that they knew how to act became legit TV-film stars, like Rosanna Ortiz and Yvonne.

As for local film titles, they eventually resumed their pa-English bias—so, we’re back where we started—“Unofficially Yours”!

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TAGS: 1970s, Bomba, colonial mentality, Entertainment, movie, sexy film
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