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‘Hanga’ and not ‘inggit’


THANKFUL – “If I know, inggit kayong lahat,” this columnist tells director Gil Portes in jest.

Am referring to Lav Diaz’s Venice victory, winning the top prize, Golden Lion, for “Ang Babaeng Humayo.”

Gil replies, “I’m already 71 (last Sept. 13) and at this point in my life, envy is no longer in my vocabulary. Hanga at hindi ako inggit. I’m proud of and happy for Lav.”

He adds, “At my age, I’m extremely thankful that I can still direct movies which I used to dream of doing.”

Gil is speaking of “Hermano Puli” (showing nationwide on Sept. 21) and “Moonlight Over Baler,” both written by Eric Ramos and produced by Rex A. Tiri. “Moonlight” is being submitted for consideration at the December Metro Manila Film Festival.

NATIONAL ARTIST – Direk Gil believes that Lav is certain to be National Artist in the near (or far) future.

“Malalim si Lav, kitang-kita mo sa mga pelikula niya.”

Gil recalls that the “future National Artist” was his assistant director in a movie he directed years back in New York, “Minsan May Pangarap,” which starred Dina Bonnevie and Ariel Rivera.

Then, Lav was based in New York. “He was sharing an apartment with other starving artists,” says Gil.

BUCKET LIST – Gil says that he has three more on his bucket list.

“Sana magawa ko bago ako mamatay.”

He’s already fulfilled one, “Hermano Puli,” which remained the movie on his mind for more 20 years until Rex came along.

The other two are “Bells of Balanggiga” and a personal film, his story and that of his late brother.

CHALLENGE – Back to Lav Diaz. This columnist is challenging direk Lav – if I may – to direct a masterpiece which has a running time of, at most two hours. After all, his early movies produced by Mother Lily Monteverde of Regal lasted for only one-hour and a half. And they were fine films.

But starting with “Batang Westside,” which was four hours, his succeeding movies were from six to nine hours. They won awards abroad but too bad very few watched them locally.

How about it, Lav?

By the way, “Ang Babaeng Humayo” is “only” almost four hours.