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Too hot to handle

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Some moviegoers wonder why, with so many issues and disturbing developments rearing their pointy heads this year, local films generally stick to safe and shallow entertainment. We beg to disagree, pointing to the latest Cinemalaya film fest coming soon at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and other venues, including in its lineup of new productions a number of acutely topical and relevant stories.

Trouble is, not enough people will get to see those provocative movies, most of which won’t be able to break into mainstream film circuits, so their impact won’t be as vivid and persuasive as it should be.

Why don’t mainstream producers tackle relevant topics, issues and events? Because many of them feel that people go to the movies not to be reminded of their problems, but precisely to escape what is confronting them! There are worthy exceptions, like hits like “Jose Rizal” and “Tanging Yaman,” but the other blockbusters, like “Sisterakas,” still rule the roost.

Will the time finally come when hot news events and issues like the Ampatuan massacre is the stuff of which new films are made?

Fact is, there was a time when this was so, when “The Moises Padilla Story” and “Daigdig ng mga Api” seared movie screens with their tragic truth.

In addition, major disasters like huge and deadly typhoons were also depicted in story films, ditto for the lahar dramas of less distant vintage.

So, it isn’t true that our movie  people are intrinsically unable to face up to their responsibility as makers of films that move viewers to think and act.

It’s just that this generation of film people, except for some indie artists, is loath to be so gutsily engaged and enraged.

Much easier to take

 

Now, if we can only get their movies on mainstream screens, to prove that not all filmmakers are timorous about dramatizing important events and issues because they’re—too hot to handle!

On the other hand, other developments have also been “hot” and exciting—but much easier to take. Topping the list is ABS-CBN’s bright idea of bringing back movie queens Amalia Fuentes and Susan Roces in a new teleserye, “Muling Buksan ang Puso,” with Dante Rivero as the man they share—in various ways. Amalia’s comeback is especially anticipated, because she hadn’t acted in a long time now, but other aspects of the production also make it a should-see

—so, we’ll be watching!

It’s also great to hear that something else we only wished for in these pages weeks ago will be coming to pass: The thespic reunion, as mature actors, of Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III. They’ve both become exceptional actors in the interim, so their new movie together is a must-see in our book! Let’s hope our viewers don’t fail them and give their landmark reunion film the patronage it deserves.

Finally, the acting citation that Jericho Rosales got from a film festival in the States should remind producers here of his unique intensity as a dramatic actor, which hasn’t been showcased enough of late. He’s been upstaged for far too long by lesser male leads, so it’s time for him to recover lost ground and come into his own as a top thespian once again.

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