THE fight scene to be shown this week between Yasmien Kurdi and Katrina Halili in “Sa Piling ni Nanay” became all too real for comfort when they shot it. They really hurt and injured each other. We saw Yasmien’s photo with her sporting a wound on her forehead. It turned out they were in a catfight scene and Yasmien’s head ran smack against the face of Katrina and it’s Katrina’s teeth that wounded Yasmien.
“Ang sakit talaga!” says Yasmien. “Muntik mabali 'yung ngipin ni Katrina dahil sa lakas ng impact. Ako naman, nahilo at nakakita ng estrelya dahil sa sakit. I think kinagat niya ako dahil ibinunyag kong binu-bully niya ako noong araw.”
“Grabe ka, Yasmien Kurdi, ha!” says Katrina. “Ipinagkakalat mong kinagat kita. Kung kakagatin kita, bakit sa noo pa? Ang tigas-tigas niyan halos nabunot ang ngipin ko. Ikaw na ang nambu-bully sa’kin ngayon.”
Although they are mortal enemies in “Sa Piling ni Nanay”, in real life, they have become very good friends. “We’re definitely much closer now kaysa noong nagsisimula pa lang kami sa Starstruck,” says Yasmien. “Nag-mature na kami, pareho na kaming nanay, kaya mas malapit na kami sa isa’t isa.”
This week, Yasmien as Isabel continues to try her best to get back her daughter Sofia Catabay as Maya from Katrina as Scarlet, Nova Villa as Donya Matilda and Mark Herras as Jonas who want to escape away and take the child abroad. But they didn’t succeed as there is a hold departure for them. Yasmien gets Maya back but the evil Antonio Aquitania continues to harass them and wants to use Maya to extort money from Nova and Katrina. This leads to a physical confrontation between Mark and Antonio, who’s able to escape when the cops came. Yasmien and Katrina also have a similar face off and that’s where they really get to hurt each other.
CHARO'S 'UNIVERSE' UNFOLDS AS IT SHOULD
CHARO Santos-Concio is having the time of her life now that she has retired as ABS-CBN president. She is making an acting comeback in the Lav Diaz 4-hour opus, “Ang Babaeng Humayo”, that is an official competition entry in the coming Venice Filmfest and we tell her we pray that she’d duplicate Jaclyn Jose’s win in Cannes. As her long-running “Maalaala Mo Kaya” celebrates its 25th anniversary, she now releases a special silver anniversary souvenir album, “MMK Life Songs”, with a total of 13 cuts that celebrate life and love.
“Dream ko talaga ito,” she says. “To come out with a commemorative album with inspirational, empowering songs na puwedeng pakinggan ng listeners while they’re cooking or just resting to help them reflect about their own lives. Now, the dream has come true.”
The first single is “Desiderata”, originally written by American poet Max Ehrmann in 1927. “It has always resonated with me since high school,” she says. “I like its very valid messages that offer basic lessons about life and loving. I researched it on youtube at ang dami palang versions in various languages, but walang Filipino, so I asked Enrico Santos to translate it so we can have a local version.”
“Desiderata” (which means “desired things”) is set into music and sung by a formidable ensemble of local OPM icons: Sharon Cuneta, Lea Salonga, Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Lani Misalucha, with the TBUP Choir. It was launched in July and its music video has since been seen by thousands online.
Charo offers her own insightful reflective interludes for all tracks and she herself gets to sing “Sana” with her own 6-year old granddaughter and Piolo Pascual. And we must say that she can more than just carry a tune. “Pagbigyan nyo na ang lola nyo,” she tells us.
Be sure to get a copy of the album as it’s a real collector’s item you’d treasure through the years. Our own favorites are “Iingatan Ka”, a masterful duet by mother and daughter Jenine Desiderio and Janella Salvador; “Piece by Piece” by KZ Tandingan and Charice (originally by Kelly Clarkson); “Because You Loved Me” by Kyla and Jona (originally by Celine Dion); “I’ll Be There” by Jed Madela and Darren Espanto and the very cool but stirring rendition of Florante’s “Handog” by Aiza Seguerra and Noel Cabangon. Gary Valenciano has two solos, “Gaya ng Dati” and “Maalaala Mo Kaya”, Sharon and Piolo also have a solo each: “You” for Ate Shawie and “She’s Always a Woman” for Papa P. Charo herself invited them personally and they all gladly accepted her invitation to be part of the album. And they all did it for free. How nice of them!
The album is now on sale at all record bars for P350 only. You can also download it from ABS-CBN Store, iTunes, Mymusicstore, Amazon, OneMusic, and Starmusic. And yes, for Charo Santos, the universe is indeed unfolding as it should. Our best wishes when you go to Venice.
MOVIE REVIEW: KUSINA
JUDY Ann Santos delivers a touching and first rate performance in the Cinemalaya entry, “Kusina”, based on the script of Cenon Palomares that won the grand prize at the Palanca Awards in 2006. Cenon himself now co-directs the film with David Corpuz. It’s their first full length feature film.
“Kusina” starts with a full shot of an old white house while Judy Ann Santos is shown walking towards it with a basket of vegetables. She enters its gate and, inside, a pregnant woman (Angeli Bayani) is about to deliver a baby. She gives birth to a baby girl and we soon realize that the baby, Juanita, is the one who’ll become Judy Ann when she grows up.
The mother dies and Juanita grows up distant from her dad who blames her for her mom’s untimely demise. Soon, we’re told that the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor and World War II has erupted. So many other things
happen. Marcos declares martial law and Juanita’s eldest daughter becomes an activist joining the rebels in the mountains, and yet, we all remain still inside Juanita’s kitchen.
Better be warned that the film is not for viewers who go only for escapist entertainment. The structure of the film is like that of a theatrical play and the whole movie is very stylized from beginning to end. All the action happens inside the titular “kusina”, an improvised set with some makeshift props built on a soundstage, so it’s apparent that it will require the viewers to be active observers sensitive to the film’s use of daring dramatic license and minimalist theatrical devices to shape the narrative. Mind you, one of the unconventional artistic liberties the film takes is that Juday’s Juanita ages here until she’s in her 60’s, but she is not shown growing old at all.
With the help of apt lighting, sound design and music, the viewers will be able to see the development of the main character and the conflicts she goes through, some of which do not have any concrete resolution to make them more palatable for viewers who crave for happier endings. Some writers who were with us in the press preview were very vocal in being alienated by the material, the sparse set, and by the seemingly abrupt changes in the story’s time frames. They just didn’t get it, so what more in the case of ordinary moviegoers who prefer mainstream romcoms that will not require them to think?
Juday brings a palpable emotional edge to her interpretation of Juanita. The breakdown scene where she’s shown writhing and caterwauling on the floor, if done poorly, can ruin the whole movie. It’s the perfect opposite of Jaclyn Jose’s Cannes award winning non-acting kind of performance in “Ma Rosa”, but Juday does it so well that we find it very moving. The ending is also a knockout. When she finally comes out smiling to serve her favorite adobo dish to everyone in the hauntingly beautiful final act, she looks so luminous and radiant you just want to hug her. It’s clear that for Juanita, she has no regrets about the life she chose and the path she took. It’s not exactly romanticized, but she represents the universality of motherhood and the precious service that moms render to their families. Juanita reminds us of Emily in Wilder’s immortal play.
The male leads, Luis Alandy and Joem Bascon, are both first rate. Sadly, not everyone in the cast is as good as them or Juday. We keep on thinking of other actresses who’d be more effective in some of the key roles. The ones we saw sometimes look like they don’t really understand their role and some seem like they’re not used to acting before the camera and their newbie directors were not able to help them become more effective on screen.
“Kusina” will have a total of 25 screenings in various venues like the CCP, Greenbelt Makati, Trinoma, UP Town Center, Solenad Nuvali, Glorietta, Fairview Terraces and Ayala Cebu. Check the Cinemalaya website for the exact screening hours.