MMFF 2017 entry “Ang Larawan” opens in theaters on Christmas Day

  • Ang Larawan is an official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival 2017.
  • The film is topbilled by Joanna Ampil as Candida, Rachel Alejandro as Paula and Paulo Avelino as Tony Javier.
  • “Ang Larawan,” is the musical based on Nick Joaquin’s play A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino.

The producers, filmmakers and supporters of “Ang Larawan,” the musical based on Nick Joaquin’s play A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, are getting their Christmas wish: for the film to be included in the Metro Manila Film Festival 2017.

In the announcement made by the MMFF organizing committee on the afternoon of November 17 at Club Filipino in Greenhills, “Ang Larawan” was given one of the four remaining slots given to finished films.

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In this story about art versus pragmatism set in 1941, two unmarried sisters, Candida and Paula, are in dire straits following the hibernation of their painter-father Don Lorenzo Marasigan. Their father gives them his last masterpiece, which could fetch a huge amount of money and yet the sisters refuse to part with it. That is until their boarder, Tony Javier, presents an irresistible proposition.

“Ang Larawan” features an all-star ensemble cast led by Joanna Ampil as Candida, Rachel Alejandro as Paula and Paulo Avelino as Tony Javier. It also stars Nonie Buencamino, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Robert Arevalo, Celeste Legaspi, Sandino Martin, Cris Villonco, Aicelle Santos, Cara Manglapus, Jojit Lorenzo, with the special participation of Ogie Alcasid, Rayver Cruz, and Zsa Zsa Padilla and Bernardo Bernardo, Jaime Fabregas, Noel Trinidad, Nanette Inventor and Dulce.

“Ang saya ng Pasko ko!” said Paulo. “Mabuhay ang musika at pelikulang Pilipino!” he added with enthusiasm.

“We’ve been hoping and praying for a positive outcome and finally we have it. We thank the MMFF for the chance to show our passion project to a wide audience,” said Girlie Rodis, one of the executive producers whose Culturtain Musicat Productions Inc. is the outfit behind the musical film. “The timing is also good because this year is the centennial of the birth of Nick Joaquin,” she added.

The inclusion in the MMFF comes at the heels of the world premiere of the film at the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) where “Ang Larawan” (international title: “The Portrait”) got SRO screenings and rave reviews. Richard Kuipers of Variety described it as “a stirring musical drama… ‘The Portrait’ proves a handsomely produced-big screen adaptation… featuring classy melodrama and terrific tunes performed by a dream cast.” Weeks after the premiere at TIFF, “Ang Larawan” opened the Cinematografo International Film Festival in San Francisco where it also got a sold-out screening and reaped acclaim.

Ang Larawan cast, seated from left to right: Sandino Martin, Joanna Ampil, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Celeste Legaspi. Standing, left to right: Jojit Lorenzo, Ogie Alcasid, Cris Villonco, Aicelle Santos, Rayver Cruz, Cara Manglapus

In a message sent from Cologne Germany where she is on tour for the European production of the musical “Cats,” lead actress Joanna Ampil applauded the decision of the MMFF saying, “We live in an era where the audience is geared towards supporting commercial movies. Ours may not be as commercial but it has an important message and we made it with a lot of heart. Getting into MMFF, it’s good to know that quality movies have a chance.”

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Written by Lion's Den

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