The Niko and Karylle story

27 July 2007 at 1.25 pm 2 comments

I am officially a Cinemalaya casualty.

I’m actually blaming myself for this, although funnily enough Derek, who I went with to the CCP Main Theater for yesterday night’s viewing of Ligaw Liham, was much more apologetic than I expected. Thinking we lost Sars since he stopped to get himself a quick snack, we decided to walk to the CCP Main Theater from DLSU. We decided to dash to the entrance, via the driveway, which is very rough. It’s perfect for vehicles, but not for a person who’s running uphill, trying to stop, and yet gets hit by another person who just couldn’t.

I got into the entrance with a badly scraped left elbow and right palm, which was bad since I’m right-handed and I’m doing important stuff for out shooting for FEATURE over the weekend. We realized that Sars replied to my text message. “Hay naku,” she wrote. “Sa CCP na lang tayo magkita. On the way kami.” So much for the fuss. So much for wounding myself in three places! We eventually met up at the line to the ticket booth, me still applying pressure on my bleeding wounds, and later Derek and I made our way to the clinic to have myself cleaned and bandaged.

Karylle out of the blue

Ligaw Liham star Karylle was also at the screening. I was surprised to realize that, because when I watched Doble Vista the previous Saturday, I saw her at the CCP Little Theater talking to those who watched the premiere of her film. Sure, I remember getting surprised when I saw the likes of Nyoy Volante and Richard Gutierrez before I made my way out of the building, but I never expected that she’d be here. The lobby was almost empty, save for us and her group. (Apparently I lost track of time and the film already started.) She noticed us and was asking whether we’d be watching the film. Of course, stupid me decided to talk about my bandages. And, of course, since I’m also a sucker for autographs, I decided to have the postcard invite she gave us signed. And Derek lost his ticket, so he got an extra ticket from Karylle herself.

Ligaw Liham is loosely based on real events in the 1970s. In a time when letters were as ubiquitous as email and text messages today, the post office in a town in Negros just stops operations and leaves everyone relying on it for correspondence in the dark. Karylle plays Karen, a housewife who finds joy in the letters she receives from her husband (played by Dingdong Dantes, who else?) who works in Saigon. For three months, she, along with everybody else, loses contact with whoever it is since the post office has stopped working.

Enter Nor, played by John Michael Lee (in his introductory role). He’s the simple town boy who does errands for everybody else. I think he spends his days doing this routine of walking around and throwing pebbles in the river, but not until he discovers the reason why the post office has stopped working. He somehow gets tangled in the story, and when things fall into place – he likes Karen since heavens know when – he decides to write her letters, as her husband!

The film, directed by Jay Abello and Manny Montelibano, looks very soft, to be honest. The lights are soft, and the focus is soft, and add that to the rustic charm of Negros, you’ve got some setting. And the story itself is very endearing, helped in large part by Lee himself. At the theater Sars was getting annoyed at his smile at the thought of Karen (and we even joked about keying in the images, a hark back to TELEPRO class), and definitely that establishes something. Karylle, on the other hand, may not have had much lines to speak, but it’s her gracious portrayal that snags it. I can’t help but think this film has been cast quite perfectly.

Technically, though – and this is going to be a bit geeky, which you’ll have to let up with since we’re taking these things up – screen continuity seems to hit a minor snag. You may get the story, but it won’t flow as smoothly as you expect thanks to some ill cuts and a lot of black dissolves. And the ending leaves a lot to be thought of, but I guess I won’t have to give it away.

And this time, I didn’t have to linger

The screening ended at past eight in the evening, and we were basically scurrying to talk about FEATURE, dinner and the hopeful interviews with the folks behind the film, although I’ve only seen Karylle being swarmed by female students. I think it was she who approached me eventually – I didn’t have to fake a phone call for this! – and then, right in front of me, Jay Abello himself, with a camera. Am I appearing somewhere?

I kept on telling my story. I was already bandaged and the blood marks were less prominent than earlier, when I was holding on to my elbow in front of a made-up premiere audience. I think I told it twice in front of the same camera. A safety shot, as John would have called it.

Also with me now were John Michael Lee and John Gilbert Arceo, who plays Nor’s (bad influence of a) cousin. Arceo’s portrayal was also good for one: his “may peeeyborit tyaaaa” line is still ringing in my head. I did an impression and we boht gave a hearty laugh. Thankfully my bandages didn’t rip off.

And, of course, Karylle, she who knows my story oh-so-well now. I think I mentioned something about submitting a screenplay about this for the next Cinemalaya, but maybe this would make an appearance in VIDPROD instead. I didn’t take photos with her, funnily enough – she did. I think we’re close now. I even have tickets (already, surprisingly) for the Cinemalaya awards night this Sunday, although I’d probably still be in Bulacan by then, shooting for FEATURE. There’s this funny think with the andshake, however – since I’m right-handed and half of it has a bandage, she kept on grabbing my fingers oh-so-subtly. It just was funny.

But her take on it was different. Eventually she blogged about it. “[Funny] doesn’t quite describe the experience,” she wrote. “Maybe dramatic or romantic or theatrical. Whatever it is, it makes a good story.”

Hopefully, though. A friend of hers thought my falling down and getting wounded is a sign of good things to come. And Sars thinks Derek and I have something between us now, thanks to the wound. That’s a joke, obviously.

Entry filed under: AB-CAM Majors, Film.

Maybe I wasn’t just seeing double The ill-fated rendezvous with the rain

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. karylle  |  27 July 2007 at 8.15 pm

    and that friend of mine who said that is the first filipina on mt everest. part of the three pinay group who are the first women in THE WORLD to traverse the mountain (meaning climb up from on side and go down on the other side)! so that’s another good sign! =)

    Reply
  • 2. “I love a moonlit answer.” | earthings!  |  13 April 2016 at 10.31 am

    […] blogging about me, but Multiply is no longer a thing, so it’s nowhere to be found. Ah, well. The whole story’s at one of my old blogs, if you’re […]

    Reply

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