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‘Mang Kepweng’ a film for children


JUST A THOUGHT: “The world is not a wish-granting factory.” – John Green

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Had “Mang Kepweng” been shown at the recently held MMFF, it would have clicked well with children and other young audiences.

The film, a combination comedy-fantasy, would have met the requirement for a film catering to children at the fest.
“Mang Kepweng” could have filled in the void left by the absence of film comedies by Vic Sotto and Vice Ganda. And it isn’t lacking in quality either.

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THROWBACK TO EARLY COMEDY FILMS: We caught a special preview of “Mang Kepweng” at Trinoma last Thursday, a day after the film’s opening. We found it quite entertaining in a familiar, rather traditional way of doing comedy films in the Philippines.

Headlined by Vhong Navarro in the titular role, the new incarnation of Mang Kepweng is a throwback to the type of comedies starred in by the likes of Dolphy, Panchito, Chiquito, and company in eras past.

Not that the film is old-fashioned. Director GB San Pedro has infused it with colorful comics illustrations in the opening scenes as a tribute to the story’s beginnings as a komiks novel. Unfortunately, we missed the name of its creator.

The dialog and comic situations presented in the film are also very contemporaneous, no matter if the film tackles a decidedly dated material. In fact, it is supposed to be set in a rural setting where people still go to herbolarios to heal themselves of certain ailments.

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REMEMBERING CHIQUITO: Mang Kepweng was a fictional character of a man who had mysterious healing powers popularized sometime in the 70s by the late comedian Chiquito Pangan.

Mang Kepweng was so successful at the box office that four installments of his screen adventures were made (1976, 1977, 1979, and 1981).

The series told the story of a famous folk healer (“albularyo”), his funny adventures and misadventures. He wore a hanky around his head as he flashed a toothy smile.

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THE NEW MANG KEPWENG: Produced by new film outfit Cineko Productions, the film is written by Volta de los Santos and directed by GB Sampedro.

Giving strong support to Vhong in this comedy-fantasy are Jaclyn Jose, Pen Medina, Sunshine Cruz, James Blanco, Louise de los Reyes, Jackie Rice, Valeen Montenegro, Jhong Hilario, Juancho Triviño, and Kim Domingo.

Making guest appearances are Lotlot de Leon, Matet de Leon, Shalala, Ryan Bang, Ahron Villena, Helga Krapf, Odette Khan, and Luz Fernandez. (NESTOR CUARTERO)