ANG LARAWAN, the film based on National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s three-act play, The Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, will have its world premiere at the prestigious Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) in October joining four other Filipino titles.
The film, directed by Loy Arcenas, has a libretto by National Artist for Theater and Literature Rolando Tinio, and music is by renowned Filipino composer Ryan Cayabyab. It will be shown in the “Asian Future” section of the festival which will run from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3.
“What sets Ang Larawan apart is that it not only highlights our excellence in filmmaking and acting, it puts original Filipino music in the spotlight for the first time. If there is anything I would love for the world to identify us Pinoys with, it’s our exceptional musical abilities,” said the film’s star, Rachel Alejandro, in a press release.
Ms. Alejandro and Joanna Ampil play the Marasigan sisters Candida and Paula, who try to cope with financial ruin brought about by their father, Don Lorenzo Marasigan, a high-profile yet reclusive painter. To augment the allowance they receive from their older siblings, they take in a boarder who insists on brokering the sale of Don Lorenzo’s last masterpiece.
Also in the high-powered cast are Nonie Buencamino, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Robert Arevalo, Sandino Martin, Nanette Inventor, Noel Trinidad, Jaime Fabregas, Celeste Legaspi, Dulce, Bernardo Bernardo, Aicelle Santos, and Cris Villonco, with the special participation of Ogie Alcasid, Rayver Cruz, and ZsaZsa Padilla.
“I am thrilled to have the Asian Future Film section of the Tokyo International Film Festival introduce to the world some of the very best actor-singers of the Philippines today!” Mr. Arcenas was quoted as saying in the release.
Joining Ang Larawan in the TIFF’s Asian Future section is Tu Pug Imatuy (The Right to Kill) by Arnel Arbi Barbarona, while Daniel R. Palacio’s Pailalim will be shown in the festival’s World Focus section, and HF Yambao’s Kristo will be screened in the Crosscut Asia #4 — What’s Next for Southeast Asia section along with the restored version of Mike de Leon’s 1980 film Kakabakaba ka ba?
A few months earlier, Ang Larawan was submitted to the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) but was not included in the first four official entries chosen based on film scripts.
Singer Celeste Legaspi, one of the film’s executive producers — the others are Rachel Alejandro and Girlie Rodis — noted in July that they were shocked when they were not chosen but that this would not hamper their plans of having the film gracing Philippines cinemas to “reach young Filipinos” and make them see the works of National Artists.
After the initial snub, Ang Larawan was re-submitted for consideration as a finished film in this year’s MMFF.
The movie is produced by Culturtain Musicat Productions.