You have to admire Master Showman German Moreno’s dedication to the local film industry. I often hear him on his radio program promoting locally made films and the actors and actresses in these projects. Sometimes he would reminisce about the golden age of Philippine cinema and the superstars that gave the industry class.
I’m no fan of Mr. Moreno but I sure can admire his undying love for the movie industry. However I do feel that, as with his signature jackets, he sometimes goes overboard with his praise. I would sometimes hear him say things like, “ipagmalaki natin ang pelikulang Pilipino,” or “suportahan natin ang Pelikulang Pilipino.”
I don’t know about you, but whenever Mr. Moreno says such things I feel a bit of pity for him. Here he is a veteran who has seen the industry when it was still producing praise-worthy samples of cinematic art now forced to praise non-existent brilliance.
It cannot be denied that for the longest time now Philippine cinema has been producing nothing but garbage, recycled garbage even. Just consider the entries of the Metro Manila Film Festival in the past 5 years or so. They’re mostly the same movies with the same plot lines and characters, with the same titles even year in year out. Talk about creativity.
I can acknowledge that perhaps local movie producers stick to tried and tested formulas because of the pressure to make some money. What I don’t understand is why these producers still bother to make movies when they know there has been a steady decline in the patronage of locally made films. Are they doing this to keep the industry alive?
I will admit that I prefer foreign films over locally produced ones. I think I have a valid reason for that. I don’t find local movies interesting, exciting or even entertaining at all.
The last Filipino movie I watched in a theater was the Rene Requiestas-Kris Aquino starrer Pido Dida. It was a complete waste of time and money. I remember it was film festival week and there were no foreign movies playing. This is actually one of my criticisms of the Metro Manila Film festival. Why limit the choices of moviegoers to several local films the quality of which ranges from bad to really bad?
Senator Bong Revilla Jr., who happens to be one of the lead stars of one of this year’s MMFF entries, once authored a bill to push for a reduction in the amusement tax imposed on movie producers. I don’t know what has become of that bill but that was his way of helping the industry.
I don’t know if you notice a pattern. It seems there a lot of interventions going on in support of the industry. It’s not difficult to see why moves such as reducing taxes (Revilla’s bill) and taking out foreign competition (local movies only policy during MMFF week) are seen by insiders as the solution to the industry’s problems.
I, of course, disagree. I think there’s a better solution, one that would benefit everyone involved including moviegoers who are willing to pay good money for an enjoyable cinematic experience. The solution I propose — Make Better Movies.
Yes, it’s as simple as that.
So how should the industry go about creating better movies. Does it simply hire better directors, writers, actors, production people, etcetera? Obviously. However, I think the first step is to stop all this showbiz nonsense.
Industry insiders should be honest enough to call out a bad movie or a bad performance regardless of who was responsible for it. So what if the “offender” is the Mega-Super-Duper-Star-For-All-Occasions? One cannot improve if all he hears are praises for even his worst output.
Speaking of outputs, here are this year’s MMFF winners:
Best Actress – Ai Ai delas Alas (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Supporting Actress – Eugene Domingo (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Picture – Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!
Best Director – Wenn V. Deramas (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Child Performer – Xyriel Manabat (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Screenplay – Mel del Rosario (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Best Musical Score – Jesse Lasatem (Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!)
Gender Sensitive Award: Ang Tanging Ina Mo, Last Na ‘To!
Best Actor – Dolphy (Father Jejemon)
Best supporting Actor – Dolphy (Rosario)
2nd Best Picture – Rosario
Best Cinematography – Carlo Mendoza (Rosario)
Best Editing – John Wong (Rosario)
Best Production Design – Joel Luna and Miki Hahn (Rosario)
Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award – Rosario
Best Float – Rosario
Best Dressed – Dennis Trillo and Jennylyn Mercado (Rosario)
3rd Best Picture – RPG Metanoia
Best Theme Song – “Kaya Ko” (RPG Metanoia)
Gender Sensitive Award: Special Citation for Animation – RPG Metanoia
Best Sound Recording – Ambient Media (RPG Metanoia) and Ditoy Aguila (Super Inday and the Golden Bibe)
Best Visual Effects – Rico Gutierrez and Co. (Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote)
Best Indie Film – Presa (Adolf Alix)
Faces of the Night – Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Sam Pinto
Let’s ignore that troubling detail about having a Best Float, Best Dressed and Faces of the Night. Let’s focus on the top awards. Notice that those went to comedians and the comedy film “Ang Tanging Ina Mo Rin: Last Na ‘To.” Admittedly, I find this odd since I’m not used to the idea of comedy films being hailed as showcases of great acting and great stories, well, at least in this part of the world. But for “Tanging Ina” director Wenn Deramas, this victory is proof of a growing respect for comedies.
Well, to me this outcome is just funny, ridiculous even. But what else can we expect? Contrary to what it is making itself out to be, the MMFF is not exactly the best way to determine artistic or creative excellence in local conema. How can that be when its criteria for judging includes box-office earnings? It’s clear to me that the MMFF is nothing more than a popularity contest.
I really feel for the Master Showman. I can tell that he sincerely wants Philippine Cinema to regain its lost glory. I suspect he even knows the industry’s future depends on the quality of its output. It’s just too bad he is considered a showbiz luminary, an icon and as such he can’t just go around criticizing his colleagues. Actually, he can but that would be too un-showbiz.