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Monday, June 24, 2024

Up close and personal with Brillante Mendoza

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Before the arrival of the third wave of the enhanced community quarantine, a personal message on my favorite social media arrived and it was an invitation from “the” Brillante Mendoza.

We are all of course aware of his pop-culture history contribution. He is the first Filipino Cannes Palme D’or victor, which is why many want to call him the “pambansang director.”

Of course, nobody declines such an invitation since it is indeed a privilege to be with an esteemed modern-day film master. The love, acceptance, and support for Mendoza’s films go beyond the Philippine cinematic landscape. His motion pictures are not only festival and art house staples in first world film capitals, people queue and brave the elements to view his cinematic oeuvres.

His films—the gritty depiction and realistic presentation of the tribulations and triumphs of the Filipinos who are part and parcel of the laylayan sector of the society—are praised for its slap to your face truthfulness and subliminal messages that actually scream with its veracity.

Coco Martin and Julia Montes (inset) are set to reunite onscreen for an upcoming film project with the award-winning director Brillante Mendoza.

The first part of the tete-a-tete happened inside his trophy room that led to the dining area for lunch. Some of the information he shared is off the record. He gave the assurance, however, that a go signal from him will be made known.

What he greenlighted for sharing, the still-untitled reunion movie project he finished with Coco Martin. His reunited-and-it-feels-so-good collaboration with Martin, pairs the actor with Julia Montes.

“He has improved a lot as an actor,” Mendoza declared. “Even if f Rodel (Coco’s real name) is playing the role of a cop in our new movie, you won’t see any trace of his popular TV character Cardo Dalisay.”

“It was a good thing he has a short break when I offered him this movie that’s why he was able to fix his schedule and find time. He told me that he is just an actor in our film and I can ask him to do anything because I am the director,” he carried on.

For Montes, Mendoza had the kindest words underscoring the actress being so wonderful to work with.

“This is not our first time to collaborate. We did a not-so-popular film for a government agency. She is a very good actress, that can I assure you. She also knows my artistic and creative processes. As you all know, my movies don’t have scripts. Parang improvisation lang pero hindi naman talaga. I just explain the situation to my actors and it’s up to them to do their own lines. That’s why the dialogues in my films come real and natural. It comes from the heart and not scripted. And ganun rin sa pag-arte nila, in my films, they must know the hearts of their characters and what drives them to do their actions.”

Another coming soon attraction from the award-winning director is GenSan Punch, which is probably the most audience-friendly Mendoza film.

Coco Martin and Julia Montes

There is nothing alienating and polarizing to this film about an Okinawan boxer with a disability. Playing the lead is a Japanese actor named Shogen who, according to director Mendoza, trained for a year in boxing before doing the movie. In GenSan Punch, he got to fight with real boxers and boy, the excellent camera work of Mendoza captured the power of the Gen San boxing athletes.

Also part of the cast are Pinoy actors namely Beauty Gonzales, Ruby Ruiz, Jomari Angeles, Jun Nayra, Vince Rillon, and Ronnie Lazaro.

What are the nearest future plans of the “pambansang director”? He replied in conclusion: “I still hope to do a movie with Vilma Santos. I already had a project for her before but the actress-turned-politician couldn’t accommodate it owing to her busy schedule so another actress took her place. I hope I get to work with Joshua Garcia. This young man, I believe is a very good actor. And if there is no legal impediment, I have a beautiful horror script that I’d like Nadine Lustre to star in. Nagagalingan ako sa kanya and I like na ang beauty niya, Pilipinang-Pilipina.”

Brillante Mendoza is always candid and laughs at loud during interviews. He knows his film language by heart and dares to show it to the world with his honest-to-goodness films. And now you know, why he is loved. 

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