Photo Coverage: ANG LARAWAN, The Movie, Cast & Creative Team Meet the Press
Manila, Philippines--Sans the female lead Joanna Ampil (Candida), who's currently part of the UK/International tour of the musical "Cats," the rest of the cast and the creative team behind the stage-to-screen adaptation of Nick Joaquin's "A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino" ("Ang Larawan") recently met with the members of the Philippine press with one plea: urge the moviegoing public to catch the movie musical "Ang Larawan" during its first two days at the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), which traditionally opens on Christmas Day and runs through the holidays.
The film's executive producers Celeste Legaspi (Doña Loleng), Girlie Rodis, and Rachel Alejandro (Paula), via Culturtain Musicat Productions (formerly Musical Theatre Philippines), have moved heaven and earth to make it to the controversial national film festival, which is largely perceived to be favoring the mainstream commercial flicks over the non-commercial "art" films.
However, for the producing trio, who were there at the very beginning of the musical stage version of "Ang Larawan" in 1997, their film's inclusion at the MMFF is a befitting culmination of their 20 year-long burning love affair with Joaquin's magnum opus--so it's worth the trouble (at the first attempt earlier this year, the film was rejected by the MMFF).
Declared as "the festival film to beat" by Ricky Gallardo, a columnist at Business Mirror, "Ang Larawan," directed by New York Theater veteran Loy Arcenas, follows the plight of spinster sisters Candida and Paula Marasigan, daughters of the celebrated visual artist Don Lorenzo Marasigan (Leo Rialp), who lives as a recluse in Intramuros, Manila, before the Second World War.
Since Don Lorenzo has not produced a single painting for a long time, his daughters are in dire financial trouble. The artist's self-portrait, which is his gift to his daughters, catches the attention of the prying public and fetches a high sum, which could be (or maybe not) Candida and Paula's ticket out of near poverty.
Also included in its high-caliber cast are Paulo Avelino (Tony Javier)--his first singing role--Sandino Martin (Bitoy), Cris Villonco (Susan), Aicelle Santos (Violet), Nonie Buencamino (Manolo), Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (Pepang), Robert Arevalo (Don Perico), Cara Manglapus (Patsy), Zsa Zsa Padilla (Elsa Montes), Rayver Cruz (Charlie Dacanay), Ogie Alcasid (Pulis Tinio), Jojit Lorenzo (Pulis Bernal), Dulce (Doña Upeng), Nanette Inventor (Doña Irene), Jaime Fabregas (Don Aristeo), Bernardo Bernardo (Don Alvaro), and Noel Trinidad (Don Miguel).
Making cameo appearances are Mikee Cojuangco Jaworski, Ricky Davao, Toma Cayabyab, Martin Del Rosario, Emmy Cayabyab, and Ryan Cayabyab, who is also the film score's composer.
"Ang Larawan's" libretto was written by Rolando Tinio, who also directed the musical's world premiere; the film's script, on the other hand, was based on Tinio's libretto, edited by Waya Gallardo.
"Ang Larawan," which is "clearly made with the utmost love and care... beautifully decorated and top-notch in every technical detail," according to Variety, is Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB).
Photos: Oliver Oliveros
The cast, creative team