Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.
WE are sending good wishes to our Filipino actress, Dolly de Leon, who has just flown to the United States to attend the 80th Golden Globe Awards to be held in Beverly Hills, California. She is nominated for Best Supporting Actress in the film category for her work in Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund's satirical black comedy, “Triangle of Sadness,” which won this year's Palme d'Or for Best Picture at the Cannes Film Festival.
The film is a sharp commentary about a group of white and wealthy characters, whose cruise in a luxury yacht on the Mediterranean meets a certain disaster. The lowly toilet manager Abigail, played with such panache and deadpan humor by de Leon, binds the film together in its third act. She is just one of the several cruise ship workers who are Filipino, which is an oblique commentary on how we can now be found in almost all places in the world as workers or immigrants.
Aside from the Best Actress award of Jacklyn Jose for the film “Ma Rosa” at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, this is the latest, shining example of great Filipino talents on the global stage.
Variety magazine, the bible of the American film industry, said that the Golden Globes “got it right” when it nominated Dolly de Leon. The influential magazine said de Leon's nomination “represents a bright spot for diversity in the film categories.” The Hollywood Reporter chimed in: “De Leon balances deft comedy, visceral anger and potent sensuality, and the 53-year-old actress has become one of the breakout stars of the fall movie season.”
Before she flew to Los Angeles, de Leon was given a send-off party by industry colleagues led by Tirso Cruz 3rd, chairman of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). Cruz said that the gathering might as well be considered a “victory dinner,” since de Leon had already won Best Supporting Actress from the LA Film Critics Association Awards (Lafca).
Philippine cinema has a good track record in global film competitions. National Artist Lamberto V. Avellana's “Anak Dalita” swept the awards derby at the Southeast Asian Film Festival in Hong Kong in 1956. The following year, Avellana's “Badjao” competed at the Tokyo International Film Festival, where it received rapturous reviews. The two films starred Rosa Rosal and Tony Santos Sr., and were produced by LVN Pictures.
Speaking of the Tokyo International Film Festival, Paolo Ballesteros received the Best Actor award there in 2016 for “Die Beautiful.” He played the role of a transgender and came to the awards night dressed up as “Julia Roberts.” National Artist Nora Aunor won as Best Actress at the Cairo International Film Festival for “The Flor Contemplacion Story,” which was directed by Joel Lamangan. She also delivered a stirring performance in “Himala,” directed by another National Artist, Ishmael Bernal. This film won the Hugo Bronze Award at the Chicago International Film Festival and is now being shown globally on Netflix.
Aunor also starred in “Thy Womb,” directed by Brillante Mendoza, who also won an award for best director at the Cannes Film Festival. “Thy Womb” competed at the Venice International Film Festival, where Aunor got the Bisata d'Oro for Best Actress from the Premio Della Critica Independiente, an independent film critics' group. Aunor also won the same award for this film at the Asian Film Festival.
On the other hand, Gina Parreño won several best actress awards for “Kubrador” directed by Jeffrey Jeturian in 2006. She was the best actress at the Amiens International Film Festival, the Brussels International Film Festival and the Cinefan — Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema. Jeturian won as best director at the Fipresci and Brisbane International Film Festivals.
But all of these are individual efforts by individual producers. We would like to underscore what we have written here before: that we need good scriptwriters and a more coherent government support to produce better films, all the way to marketing and distribution overseas. That is how the Korean film industry took flight, and now holds an eminent position on the global stage.