TIMELESS – Think of Hollywood great love stories. “Wuthering Heights,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Somewhere in Time,” “Sunflower,” among others. They’ve been remade and copied many times but their appeal remain timeless.
For, indeed, love stories are timeless… are forever.
There’s an original love drama this side of Hollywood, “Moonlight over Baler,” topbilled by Elizabeth Oropesa, Vin Abrenica, Ellen Adarna, and Sophie Albert. It captures two important events in the country, the Japanese Occupation in the ’40s and the EDSA revolution in the ’80s.
The haunting ballad “O Maliwanag na Buwan” is the theme song of the movie, complementing the beauty of scenic Baler.
STORY – The story opens in Baler, Aurora province, where Japanese photo-journalist Kenji, played by Vin, visits the town after covering the EDSA revolt to write about the classic film “Apocalypse Now” and surf. By strange coincidence, Kenji is the spitting image of the great love of a retired school teacher-spinster Fidela, Nestor, a soldier who was killed during the war.
Kenji brings back memories of Fidela’s tragic romance. Sophie plays the young Fidela and Vin has a dual role as Kenji and Nestor. The uncanny resemblance leads to a special bond between the spinster and the Japanese.
There’s a local beauty, Aurora, played by Ellen Adarna, with whom Kenji falls in love.
Somewhere along the way, violence erupts when another suitor of Aurora beats Kenji black and blue, prompting the Japanese to leave Baler. He surrenders his love for Aurora over the objections of Fidela, who is forced to reckon with her past. She feels she was to blame for the death of Nestor and to date carries the guilt and the loss of love.
The ending is bittersweet.
‘BALER TEAM’ – The people behind the “Baler team” are impressive. Directed by Gil Portes, written by Eric Ramos, and produced by Rex Tiri of T-Rex Entertainment.
The topnotch staff includes: Arman Reyes and Mike Silva (associate directors), Marvin Reyes (cinematography), Arthur Nicdao (production design), George Jarlego (editing), John Wong (visual fx), Francis de Veyra (music), Mark Laccay (sound), Rolly Palmes (line producer), Cyrus Khan (costume design), Ben Nollora (still pictures).
CO-STARS – Daria Ramirez, Menggie Cobarrubias, and Angie Ferro also star.
In supportive roles are Kate Alejandrino, Abel Estanislao, Alvin Fortuna, Aaron Yangga, Dennis Coronel, Benjie Felipe, Jess Evardone, Jun Nayra, Elaine Medina.