It’s almost three decades ago when Aga Muhlach’s films Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal (1992) and May Minamahal (1993) became part of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival.
The first film saw his team up with Lea Salonga, and the latter with Aiko Melendez. Both films gave him the rare opportunity to bag the Best Actor plum.
In this year’s MMFF, Aga’s back in a very fashionable way with Miracle in Cell No. 7, a local adaptation of the South Korean drama starring Ryu Seung-ryong, Kal So-won, and Park Shin-hye.
On Nov. 12, the teaser was released in various social media pages of Viva Films and garnered three million views in just five hours. The views more than doubled to seven million in 16 hours, then reached 9.6 million in just 24 hours of its release.
Two weeks later, as of Nov. 25, record shows an impressive 18.4 million views across all media platforms.
“This social media thing is very new to me. I’m a very traditional actor. And this makes me feel extremely excited to be part of the MMFF again after 28 years since I last joined,” the actor told the press during the movie’s grand media launch.
Miracle in Cell No. 7 is set to unfold on the big screen this Christmas, and this early, the publics reaction to this movie top-billed by Aga is nothing short of phenomenal. Is it a miracle to have that kind of enthusiasm from the audience? Maybe not, especially when many are already familiar with the original version, the heart-wrenching, highest-grossing film in South Korea in 2013 and currently ranks No. 7 in the list of Korea’s highest-grossing domestic films of all time.
Directed by Nuel C. Naval (A Secret Affair, This Time), this official entry to the 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival stays faithful to the original plot.
Aga plays a mentally-ill man who is wrongfully charged with sexually assaulting and murdering a little girl who happens to be the daughter of a high-ranking official (Tirso Cruz II). Joselito, the character played by Aga, has a loving daughter named Yesha (Xia Vigor) who is left with nobody now that he is now incarcerated.
In all his innocence, Joselito wishes to be with Yesha even in prison. With his fellow inmates already softening up on him, they device a plan to smuggle his young daughter inside the cell. Their success in pulling it off, the bond that is formed between Joselito and the men, the affection they have for the little girl, and how she brings out the best in them—all these put together may be the miracle in cell no. 7.
Their strong connection lives on even years later when Yesha, already a lawyer (Bela Padilla), is determined to clear his father’s name.
The appeal of Miracle in Cell No. 7 to Pinoy audiences is not just in the storyline, but in the humor and in the all-star cast as well.
Playing Aga’s inmates are critically acclaimed character actors Joel Torre as Boss Sol, Jojit Lorenzo as Bong, Mon Confiado as Choi, JC Santos as Mambo, and Soliman Cruz as Tatang Celso. Award-winning actor John Arcilaassumes the role of the prison chief, Johnny.
Aga expressed his gratitude for the experience in a super fun set, giving special mention to the film’s director.
The most crucial part of the movie is set at Christmastime, and it will surely tug at everyone’s heartstrings.
One dramatic scene revealed in the teaser is that of Yesha feeling sorry for not having a Christmas gift for her father. Joselito then points out that Yesha is already a gift just as she is because he feels very much loved by her.
“It’s a very touching, heart-melting movie. I suggest you watch this beautiful movie,” Tirso Cruz III wrote on Instagram when he posted a photo with Aga.
That father-daughter scene alone already proves his statement to be true.
Aga’s brilliance is not lost on Bela Padilla, who calls this opportunity of working with him a “dream come true.” In an interview conducted by ABS-CBN News, Bela said, “There’s really a magic around Kuya Aga. Kahit look test lang he sparks something onscreen. I was watching his videos and I was so amazed. Wala pang lines humanga na ako.
Viva Films’ Miracle in Cell No. 7 is an official entry to this year’s MMFF and will start screening on Christmas Day.
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