23 July 2006

kubrador wins in new delhi



Jeturian understands the pleasures of melodrama and gives The Bet Collector just enough delicious anguish to satisfy his audience. But his observational style opens up the hothouse atmosphere common to the genre. The film ranges through the streets and homes of working-class Manila, offering an up-to-the-minute portrait of life lived in the hope of one small victory. Jeturian's greatest asset here is Pareño: like Fernanda Montenegro in Central Station, she builds a deeply affecting portrait of a woman governed equally by necessary strength and overpowering emotion. She has a forceful physical presence, but remarkable delicacy and nuance of expression. Her performance is a revelation.
- Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival

Inevitably, this film outshines all the others for its mere as well as rare simplicity. As juries we do get to see various works of craftsmanship but hardly come across such a film which touches the core of everyone's heart in spite of our own cultural limitations. But, shouldn't this be the very essence of every film worth watching? Moreover, the film sincerely shows a lack of budget but the technicalities used reveals the power of digital technology. So, the following is the suggestion for the upcoming new breed of directors: try and use digital media and blow it into 35mm, which has already ushered a revolution in filmmaking. The film wins for its sincerity and, throughout the 98 minutes of projection, it swings and overlaps the reel life with the real ones. The subaltern class, with all its nuances, reigned supreme in this heart-ravaging tale. The film correctly symbolises a universal content and that makes the jury's work easier, as all of us almost unanimously agreed upon its award.
- Rwita Dutta, FIPRESCI 2006 (New Delhi)

The FIPRESCI jury in Moscow wasted little time in voting unanimously for the Filippino film The Bet Collector (Kubrador). True, its director, Jeffrey Jeturian, is not a new talent - this is his seventh feature - nor, at 47, a young one. But The Bet Collector has urgency, freshness and hidden depths; to paraphrase the poet Walt Whitman, it may not be a large film, but it contains multitudes within its rough-edged simplicity. It's also a most welcome sign of life from the Filippino cinema, from which not much has been heard on the international scene since the death of Lino Brocka fifteen years ago. In short, despite the dearth of other strong candidates for the prize, a very deserving winner.
- Sheila Johnston, FIPRESCI 2006 (Moscow)


The desperation, the repetitive quality of this life at the bottom of the totem pole of illegal organized gambling here in our country, is what the film focuses on and it’s a searing indictment of the "quality of life" much of our countrymen have to endure and take for granted as their plight in life.
- Philip Cu-Unjieng, Philippine Star
15 July 2006

LOCAL viewers today go only for feel-good romantic films (“All About Love”, “Moments of Love”) or horror films (“White Lady”, “Sukob”). That is why Director Jeffrey Jeturian’s “Kubrador” is the most daring local film we’ve seen in years. It’s not only politically brave, but also very daring on the part of producer Atty. Joji Alonso to produce a film that has very little commercial consideration....Kubrador is (Jeturian's) most thought-provoking work so far. The truth is it’s really more scary than “Sukob” or any other horror film, simply because it is REAL and we shudder at the thought of how the likes of Amy and the rest of our other marginalized countrymen are trapped in a society where the rich and the powerful continue to exploit them.
- Mario Bautista, People's Journal and Malaya
6 August 2006 and 12 August 2006

DIRECTOR Jeffrey Jeturian has always been a skilled cinematic storyteller. Even his sex romps, such as “Bridal Shower” and “Bikini Open,” proceed smoothly and contain biting social commentary that is worked in subtly and not pummeled into the viewer....But in “Kubrador,” he has shown the maturity of his gifts. Using naturalistic camera movements and working with live sound, he gives the film a documentary feel. He brings the audience into the seamy streets and dark alleys of a slum, neither disguising nor exploiting the squalor and the poverty.
- Rina Jimenez David, Philippine Daily Inquirer
6 August 2006

Rising action is not what makes the film engaging, in fact, even riveting. It is the film’s visual and aural textures that tell all in several levels, from the micro-story of a lowly slum-dweller valiantly struggling for survival, or of a bereaved family lamenting the senseless death of their recent college graduate, their only hope to lead them in their escape from a life of wretchedness, to the macro-tale of a society steep in corruption and injustice, where superstition is the people’s only cling to sanity and salvation. The film is replete with subtle potshots at foibles every ordinary Filipino is familiar with.
- Joven Velasco, Philippine Star
8 August 2006

We already have a best picture for 2006. And the winner is – drum roll – Kubrador!
- Butch Francisco, Philippine Star
10 August 2006

“Kubrador” is the kind of movie you watch and get lost in. That is what makes it brilliant. You become unaware that you’re watching a film—you feel like you’re watching the life of Amelita. And in the end, that is what filmmakers should do. It’s easy to call attention to one’s self, it’s effing hard to let go of your ego and realize it’s not all about you.
- Pepe Diokno, Philippine Daily Inquirer
11 August 2006

In Kubrador, (Jeturian) outdoes himself.
- Atty. Billy Balbastro, Abante
11 August 2006

Kubrador is not a film of sudden miracles and instantaneous changes, but of grim realism.
-Oggs Cruz,
http://oggsmoggs.blogspot.com
16 August 2006

An intelligent and insightful commentary on the realities of our society, Kubrador is a brave attempt not only in experimental cinema -- having been shot entirely with a digital camera and straying away from the standards of Philippine moviemaking -- but also in conveying hard but honest messages that need to be heard.
-Jet Damaso, BusinessWorld Weekender
18-19 August 2006

Filipino wrong-side-of-the-tracks meller "The Bet Collector" (Kubrador) collected some heavy winnings Sunday at the closing ceremony of Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian Cinema here. Pic, which revolves around a housewife who sells tickets for a numbers racket in Manila's slums, won best film awards from both the Asian Competition and Fipresci juries at the fest's eighth edition.
- Russell Edwards, Variety (Hollywood)

Here was a work which took you walking through the streets of the city, introduced you to its people in flesh and blood, and showcased the evils of an omnipresent but banned betting game, with collectors to regulate it in underground channels....unabashed by raids, threats, capture and crackdown....(Jeturian's) film showed humour, fellow feeling, compassion, and an endearing cock-a-hoop spirit in the midst of squalor.
-Gowri Ramnarayan, Frontline: India's National Magazine
Volume 23 Issue 16, 12-25 August 2006


Far from being a very typical Filipino film, Kubrador may be easily overlooked by someone who is looking for pure entertainment. Bleak but humane, it shows three days in the life of aging bet collector Amelita (brilliantly played by Gina Pareno) who goes around her povertystricken neighborhood convincing people to entrust their hard-earned pesos to luck – jueteng, a popular numbers game first introduced by Chinese traders to colonial Manila. Although illegal on paper, everyone plays it, even policemen who detain Amelita in order to place bets a huis clos. Day after day, year after year, Amelita wanders around the maze of her shanty town, the maze of her life – not in search of happiness (she has long forgotten what it is), but in search of more numbers which remain her Ariadne's thread.
- Passport Magazine (Moscow)

Amelita, known as Amy, is the family breadwinner. While her disabled husband watches TV all day, Amy tramps the alleys of their slum neighbourhood, in all weathers, taking small cash bets on the local underground jueteng game, a lucky-numbers draw. Her good heart, and the fact that everyone knows her, makes her also an ideal alms collector; whenever someone dies, she cajoles people into contributing to the cost of the funeral. The nearly plotless film follows Amy across three typical days, evading the cops, picking up and passing on local gossip - and narrowly avoiding stray bullets. Played by the great Gina Pareño, Amy is an indelible creation: religious, superstitious, deeply fallible and given to reading everything she sees and hears about as a numerological tip. Watched over by her late son, a soldier who died young, she's a one-woman spot-sample of resilience in very adverse circumstances. Already a prize winner at festivals in Moscow and Delhi, Jeturian's powerful film both reflects and boosts a sudden creative resurgence in Filipino film culture.
-Tony Rayns, 50th London International Film Festival (18 October-2 November 2006)

Jeturian avoids offering probing philosophical or psychological formulations that might serve to buttress Amelita during her journey through a few days in her life. This leaves her clinging to her faith (she is a devout Catholic), her sanity and her obligations as powerful, though perhaps inadequate, weapons with which she defends herself against the cruel and unreasoning ways of fate...Jeturian's masterful direction and the subtle but profound depth of Pareno's performance have made “Kubrador” a favorite on the international film festival circuit this year.
-Joseph Badtke-Berkow, 19th Tokyo International Film Festival (21-29 October 2006)

The surprise from the Philippines...
-Thessaloniki International Film Festival, 17-26 November 2006

Thanks to an extraordinary performance from Pareno...the robust and multi-layered Amy takes on extraordinary life and keeps the viewer totally absorbed...Experienced Filipino director Jeffrey Jeturian has made a film that remarkably combines the intensity of a melodrama with a completely convincing realism.
-Dubai International Film Festival, 10-17 December 2006

A captivating film that is on a triumphant tour of international film festivals. A small film with a big heart. The film is carried – and this is no empty statement – by Gina Pareño. Pareño is a Mama Manila the way Anna Magnani was Mama Roma...This is the seventh film by Jeturian and so he is certainly not a debutant. Yet The Bet Collector has the freshness of a debut. After several more commercial and industrially produced films, Jeturian has now made a small film on digital video and that pays for itself with its great authenticity. Jeturian has already been described as the new Lino Brocka. That may be exaggerating, but it just goes to show how much people have been impressed by this warm and original film.
-Gertjan Zuilhof, Programmer, International FIlm Festival Rotterdam (24 January-4 February 2007)

no mean feat.

just received sms messages from leo abaya (in manila) and jeffrey jeturian (all the way from india):

kubrador (see my post dated 15 july 2006 down below) bagged 3 major awards minutes ago at the 8th osian's-cinefan festival of asian cinema in new delhi:
*best picture
*best actress (for actress gina pareno)
*fipresci jury award for best film in competition

it can be recalled that kubrador had won its 1st fipresci award at moscow 3 weeks ago. with an entirely different panel at new delhi, a 2nd fipresci prize was too improbable.

jeff said that this year's main jury had decided not to give away any best actor prize. a special jury prize was later awarded to two girls by turkey's kutlug ataman.

new delhi's main competition jurors were: film director ryuichi hiroki (japan), film director adoor gopalakrishnan (india), film director xie fei (china), actress jajar c. noer (indonesia) and film director stanley kwan (hong kong).

on the other hand, the fipresci jurors were film critic/historian max tessier (france), film critic rwita dutta (india) and film critic lucy virgen (mexico).

i remember reading about maggie cheung winning a silver bear best actress at berlin for kwan's centre stage in february 1991.

aside from winning a best director prize (for a mongolian tale, 1995) at montreal, xie fei also bagged a golden bear (for the women from the lake of scented souls, a.k.a. sesame oil maker's family, 1993) and a silver bear (for black snow, 1990) at berlin. in 2001, he became berlin's first-ever juror from china.

without question, new delhi had very impressive jurors this year.

jeffrey and leo are delirious as i write this piece.

i am so thrilled for jeffrey, leo, bing, joji, joel, boy y, tita gina and kubrador.

cheers to independent cinema in the philippines!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
gina pareno delivers the performance of a lifetime
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
jeffrey jeturian and gina pareno:
kubrador opens 16 august at sm north edsa, sm mall of asia, sm megamall, sm south mall, sm san lazaro, glorietta 4, gateway araneta center (cubao), market market, festival mall, robinson's place ermita and cinerama recto.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
gina pareno as darna (1969)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
gina pareno accepts her best actress trophy at new delhi
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
jeffrey jeturian receives prizes for kubrador at new delhi
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
jeffrey jeturian and gina pareno during the 2006 brussels international film festival
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
kubrador's creative team

23 comments:

varcas.neil@yahoo.com said...

Congratulations to our Filipino independent film makers... and to Ms. Gina Pareño... I am an avid fan since i saw her in one of her movies (high school pa yata ako)... but take note ha, im only 34 (hehe)... pero love ko talaga si Ms. Gina... so i hope thru your blog site, or maybe thru you, makarating ang pagbati ko sa kanya... Congratulations, Ms. Gina... thanks to you Mr. Wendell... thanks din sa picture i grabbed from your blog... sana you can give my email add to ms. gina...

wendell said...

neil, thanks so much for dropping by. gina deserves it. finally. she got a major prize. will send your email to tita gina and direk jeff. thanks for dropping by frequently.

Misispi said...

i'm just so proud of our friends jeff and leo. ang gagaling nila!

mabuhay ang pilipino!

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks talaga. I agree with you that Ms. Gina deserves it... i actually saw the docu made in Real People (ABC5) about the film Kubrador. Sayang nga at di ko napanood yun movie mismo. Please inform me naman kung magkaron ulit ng showing nun movie. I hope Ms. Gina will send me an email. Thanks again and more power.

wendell said...

am really proud of them too! perks me up in cold canberra (it's still winter over here).

now if we can only get so much commitment from our political and social leaders, things would soar even further.

wendell said...

btw kubrador will have an august screening in the philippines. do ask your friends to watch it. cheers!

Anonymous said...

i will definitely recommend it, sir wendell... thanks, will look forward to it and will set a reminder on my cel so i wont forget... i really like ms. Gina and actually watch her film lagi... thanks again... Neil

wendell said...

Neil,

I forwarded your messages to direk Jeffrey. Hopefully, he will have time topass on your message and email to Tita Gina. I heard she is rushing a MMFF entry under Direk Joey Reyes. Direk Jeff is working on other projects too.

By the way, Kubrador will be shown in Metro Manila on 16 August.

Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

Dear folks,

KUBRADOR will be shown in the following theaters starting Aug. 16: SM North EDSA, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, Glorietta 4, Gateway in Cubao, Robinson's Ermita and Cinerama Recto.

Please help spread the word. Thanks.

-Yora S.

Swamommy said...

WENDELL!!!

so good to find you here in blogger. kumusta na? drop me a line sometime. would love to hear from you. :)

god bless and good luck with your phd.

Loyva

wendell said...

my god, loyva, how have you been? great to hear from you. keep in touch from time to time. take care!!! w.

Swamommy said...

Ok naman...di ko pa matapos-tapos ang MA ko sa USTE. I took up creative writing at the CCWS but I haven't enrolled since two sems ago. Medyo tinamad ako. I know, it's a lame excuse but I plan to go back this October. So, you're sick pala. Naku. Sana it goes away soon. I'll be praying for you. God bless, wendell. I'm really glad to be in touch with you again. :)

Loyva

wendell said...

thanks loyva!! you certainly made my day. take care.

varcas.neil@yahoo.com said...

sir wendell, i grabbed another pic of ms. gina from your blog.. THANKS!.. does she have a solo? just kidding... am really looking forward to the film's showing... cheers!!!

wendell said...

neil, tita gina may have some solo pics but she looked entirely unglamourous because they were stills from the film. she had to look the part. i think it's best to watch the film to appreciate her more. she lost a lot of weight after the film was completed. still, she hasn't lost her charm. i would be happy if people will take some time out to watch kubrador on 14 august. please spread the word around. thanks.

wendell said...

there's nothing to be ashamed of re: tita gina. she is a very good actress. her career highs include working girls, bridal shower and kubrador. she was severely underrated for many years. hopefully, kubrador will pave the way for more quality roles. thanks again for dorpping by!

Alfred Nicdao said...

Congratulations to all involved in the making of Kubrador. How can we bring that film here in Melbourne? Maybe in next year's Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)? Congrats Jeffrey! and to Ms Gina Pareno - A well deserved recognition. Let's celebrate Pinoy's film culture re-birth.

Alfred Nicdao said...

Congratulations to all involved in the making of Kubrador. How can we bring that film here in Melbourne? Maybe in next year's Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF)? Congrats Jeffrey! and to Ms Gina Pareno - A well deserved recognition. Let's celebrate Pinoy's film culture re-birth.

wendell said...

alfred, just sent SMS message to the director jeffrey jeturian and production designer leo abaya. they are close friends of mine. they will attempt to send it to sydney and melbourne. hopefully, the film will get accepted. tita gina p. delivers her greatest performance in this film.

NeiLDC said...

Did they send it to Cannes or Venice or some other festivals here in europe?

wendell said...

They couldn't. Moscow required a European premiere. Consequently, they are ineligible for Cannes, Berlin and Venice. It was a difficult decision. There's always a possibility of being rejected by the other festivals should you give up Moscow. But it's worth it. Moscow is also an A-festival (where world premieres are usually required of entries in competition). The film got noticed and it's now moving all over the world. So it is just as good as making it there.

Tuhog (Jeffrey's 3rd film) had its world premiere in Venice.

And yet, Kubrador has eclipsed Tuhog's achievements in so short a time. And that's saying a lot since Tuhog is also a great film.

varcas.neil@yahoo.com said...

Finally, after so many attempts to work unsertime (Im from los banos pa kasi kaya i need to snatch some time from my regular working hours... hehe), i was able to watch Kubrador... i felt sorry for my self not catching it on its premier but nonetheless, im so happy to finally see the film... it's a touchy film... lalo na sa part na nagdadasal sya... sabi ko nga sa kasama ko, nakakarelate ako kasi i have titas who were kubradors before... hehe (pero hindi na ngayon)... Ms. Gina is really good, very good kahit noon pa... i first caught her on tv sa movie nya with Dolphy with very young Sheryl Cruz (Meron Akong Nakita)... since then, i fell in love na yata with ms. Gina... kahit pa nakasakay sya sa bilao o kahit nakabakya sya na may magic... hehe... i even have clippings of her kaso nagalit lola ko, itinapon yata... hehe... and now (kasi puro comedy na sya halos, di ba?), i saw that kind of acting from her again and im glad she was recognized for her performance... she really deserves it... i hope she will do more film of the same caliber... and im also praying na sana marecognize naman ng Philippines ang galing nya sa pag-arte... im not sure if she ever won any awards from any of our award giving bodies... again Congratulations Ms. Gina... Congratulation to our indie film makers... more to come please... sorry, sir wendell, napahaba yata... hehe

wendell said...

neil

we have every reason to defend our home-grown talents.

tita gina won a best actress award in 1974 or 1975 for jun raquiza's krimen: kayo ang humatol. she got many nominations. i guess with kubrador, she is bound to win more prizes.

it's about time that filipinos get to appreciate the best of what we've got. kawawa naman yung magagaling before na hindi man lamang nagkaroon ng opportunities to be recognized.

thanks again for dropping by.

w.