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Bembol Roco: Brocka actor

‘MAYNILA’ – Had a long chat with Bembol Roco at the wake of well-loved and award-winning scriptwriter Jake Tordesillas.

The talk centered on his discoverer and mentor Lino Brocka, who Bembol misses till today, especially when he recalls the movies they made.

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Top on the list is “Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag,” which they shot in the mid-‘70s, when Bembol was new in showbiz. It’s public knowledge that Bembol wasn’t the first choice. He only took over Jay Ilagan.

Nevertheless, “Maynila” gave Bembol his first best actor award and made him even known in foreign cinema circles.

“Maynila” was shown all over the world, the only Filipino film to be included on the list of great international movies.

“Maynila” is conceded to be Brocka’s best.

BROCKA ACTOR – From then on he was “branded” a Brocka actor, which he wore like a badge of honor.

Bembol said his first Brocka movie was “Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa,” the first episode of which was shot at the DARE rehab for drug addicts. At that time, Bembol had recovered and was a facilitator in the center. Right then and there, Brocka cast Bembol in the episode which starred Jay Ilagan and Perla Bautista.

He made nine movies for Brocka, including “Lunes,Martes…,” “Orapronobis,” “Babangon Ako at Dudurugin Kita,” “Gumapang Ka sa Lusak.”

FINE FILMS – Of course, Bembol Roco made fine films with other directors.

Among them:

“Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos” for Mario O’Hara, where he co-starred with Nora Aunor and Christopher de Leon.

“Pag-puti ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak,” with Vilma Santos as leading lady and Celso Ad Castillo as director.

Gil Portes’ “Sa Piling ng mga Sugapa,” which merited him an Urian best actor award. It was the filmbio of newspaperman Rod Reyes, played by Archie Ranillo. Also “Merika” with Nora Aunor.

Ishmael Bernal’s “Boy Kodyak,” based on a Palanca Award – winning play.

SONS – Two of his sons, Felix and Dominic, followed in his acting footsteps. They turned out to be good actors… not really surprising considering the calibre of their father.

How he wished Lino Brocka was still around to direct his two sons… and other young actors, as well.

“They have a lot to learn from Lino,” Bembol muses.

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