[Cinemalaya 2016] KUSINA starring Ms. Judy Ann Santos


SOURCE: http://www.cinemalaya.org/films/full-length/kusina


“Kusina” (The Kitchen) is the silent witness to the life and love of Juanita. It is her sanctuary, the place where she creates dishes for her family, her friends, even enemies and strangers. Through cooking, she gets to know the people around her, and in return, reveal herself to them.


David Corpuz & Cenon Palomares

Judy Ann Santos, Gloria Sevilla, Joem Bascon, Luis Alandy, Elora Españo, Mike Liwag, Bong Cabrera, Karen Gaerlan, Jane Biton, Isha Salic, Trina Legaspi, Lala Padilla, Czarina Yecla, Princess Ortiz

Directors: Cenon Obispo Palomares and David R. Corpuz
Writer: Cenon Obispo Palomares
Producers: Armi Rae Cacanindin and Noel Ferrer
Line Producer: Rolly Palmes
Associate Producer/Assistant Director: She Andes
Production Manager: Robin Palmes
Director of Photography: Lee Briones-Meily
Production Designer: Ericson Navarro
Sound: Raffy Magsaysay
Editor: Thop Nazareno
Music: Toni Muñoz


CENON O. PALOMARES is a graduate of BA Film & Audio-Visual Communication from the University of the Philippines – Diliman. Cenón has held various positions in TV [creative group head, writer, headwriter, reporter / producer], film [writer, assistant director, actor], and radio [host, producer]. He is also a freelance media supplier [director, producer, copywriter]. He was a faculty at the UP Film Institute from 2007 to 2014.

His screenplay “Kusina” won the grand prize at the 56th Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature in 2006.

DAVID R. CORPUZ has a master’s degree in Film from the University of the Philippines. He currently teaches film and communication courses at Mapua Institute of Technology and Far Eastern University. Before his filmmaking and teaching stints, David worked as a writer for magazines and served as a liaison officer for a government office. He also has a BS in Information Technology from Don Bosco Technical College.

Also a media scholar, he has presented papers in different national and international conferences, including the ASEAN Inter-University Conference on Social Development (2008). His research paper “Subverting Zsazsa Zaturnnah: The Bakla, the "Real" Man and the Myth of Acceptance” was published in the Review of Women’s Studies by the UP Center for Women’s Studies in 2010.

His thesis film “The Ordinary Things We Do” won the Special Jury Prize at the 10th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival and has participated in film festivals locally and abroad. He also directed a section in the 12-part omnibus feature film Anatomy of Love. He also served as jury for the Experimental Film section of the 27th Gawad CCP (Cultural Centre of the Philippines) for Alternative Film and Video (2015).

Kusina, which he will co-direct with Cenon Palomares, is his first full-length film as a director.

Please click here for => SCREENING SCHEDULE

TWITTER => Kusina Twitter

WEBSITE => Cinemalaya Website
FACEBOOK => Cinemalaya FB
TWITTER => Cinemalaya Twitter


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    By Irish Christianne Dizon
    (The Philippine Star)
    August 6, 2016

    She is the superstar people gladly wait for — whether in film sets, press conferences, or restaurants. As Juday makes her Cinemalaya comeback, Supreme finds out why.

    MANILA, Philippines - They said the screening would start at 11 a.m. It is now nearly 12:30 p.m. but the screen remains stubbornly black. The ushers are plying those of us already here with bowls of cheese popcorn and bottled water. The host, character actress Mosang, and film producer, Noel Ferrer, are doing their best to entertain the dozen or so press people gathered here at the Director’s Club cinema of SM Megamall. This is the advanced press screening of the film Kusina, an entry to the 2016 Cinemalaya film festival, starring young superstar Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo. (More on the film later.)

    Noel is assuring us that the film will start in a bit. Veteran entertainment reporter Mario Dumawal is apparently on his way, and Noel tells us with a hint of pride, “Alam niyo naman si Tito Mario. Pag hindi QC ang press con, hindi pupunta yan. Pero para kay Juday, nag-escape siya dun sa isang press con.” Other entertainment writers did the same, apparently—and nobody here seems to mind the wait. This movie’s lead actress is beloved by famously finicky journalists, and you see it most acutely at the post-screening lunch. Nobody pulls an eat-and-run. The writers stay, the writers talk to her (talk, not interview), and the next day, those scribes published (well-deserved) glowing reviews about her Cinemalaya comeback.

    Beloved. Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo is so beloved we had to wait for nearly two hours for all of them to disperse; so we could approach her, and ask if, maybe, she wants to make her Supreme comeback, too. “Is it okay if we do it tomorrow, mga lunch time,” she asks, those doe eyes warm and comforting. “Kung alam ko lang, sana nakapag iwan ako ng dinner ng mga anak ko.” She calls Tippy, her Girl Friday, and asks her to make a reservation at Neil’s Kitchen, her favorite restaurant in Alabang. (“Papayag 'yun. We’re always there naman. We can shoot sa may stairs.”). With the venue taken care of, Juday tells Ralph, the “little one” who organizes her schedule, to book a makeup artist, stat. Raven, who did her hair today, doesn’t need to be asked twice. “Free ako tomorrow,” he announced, and that was that. The following day, at the shoot, stylist Maita Baello of Qurator tells us, “Isang tawag lang niya, go ako.”

    Beloved. This woman is beloved.

    Superstar Gone Indie

    Unlike other people who would dismiss that observation with false modesty and a dismissive wave of the hand, the 38-year-old A-Lister acknowledges it. “If there’s one good thing that I did in this lifetime, it’s investing in friendships. Being true to everyone. I am as transparent as transparent can be when it comes to friends — and to my friends from the press,” she says, taking a sip of warm dalandan juice. “Hindi pa uso ang pagiging prangka at mabait at the same time, ganun na ako. 'Yung prangka ako pero hindi naman masama ang ugali ko. And now, parang nag ha-harvest lang ako ng labor from two and a half decades ago.”

    We are at Neil’s Kitchen, a restaurant she describes as, “Parang bahay ko na.” Juday ordered a feast for today’s crew: there’s crab fat palabok, paella negra, dinuguan fondue, and other sinful Pinoy dishes with a twist. She’s not eating, though. She is giving this Q&A her full attention, and she goes as far as silencing her mobile and turning it over when it rang mid-interview. It’s no secret that the actress loves to eat and knows her way around the kitchen (her cookbook Judy Ann’s Kitchen was a bestseller), which is one of the reasons she was the top choice of the makers of Kusina.

    Kusina is based on a screenplay written over a decade ago by Cenon Palomares, one of the film’s directors. It won the grand prize at the 56th Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards in Literature in 2006. The story revolves around a woman named Juanita, and the most interesting part is, you get to watch her go from 0 to 70 years old within the confines of her kitchen. Script continuity be damned — this is not your usual storytelling technique. Cenon’s co-director David Corpuz admits “Continuity Nazis” might scoff at their style, but stresses they believe in the Filipino audience. Besides, this year’s Cinemalaya theme is “Breaking the Surface.” David says, “I’m confident that we really broke the cinematic surface. I’m happy that Judy Ann Santos willingly broke the surface with us.”

    Waiting For Juday

    The actress almost didn’t get to do the film, but not for lack of interest. In fact, she fell in love with the script after reading it two years ago, and begged Noel Ferrer, the producer, to please, wait for her. At the time, Juday was busy with a chain of hosting gigs, to the point where she had to turn down acting jobs. She wasn’t willing to compromise family time, either. Her husband and children will always come first. So wait, the Kusina team did. Last year, just as they were about to start filming, Juday found out she was pregnant. But like any passionate person dead set on making a dream project happen, Juday had a back-up plan. “If I give birth by January 2016, we will start filming the finale to pabata para papayat nang papayat ng papayat,” she says. “Gusto kong iregalo 'yun sa buong pelikula.”

    But you know what they say about the best-laid plans: they often go awry. Juday gave birth to her daughter Luna via Caesarean Section; her stitches required rest, and they made strenuous workouts impossible. Production was stalled. But Cenon and David and everyone in the Kusina team had a “Juday or nothing” mindset. Cenon made “a few voluntary adjustments” to buy time. From an original six-character story, casting ballooned to a dozen or so. By June, the efforts paid off. Juday gave them seven days, and she gave them something she’s never done before. “Buong buhay ko ngayon lang ako umiyak nang ganun. Be it on cam or off cam,” she says, referring to her powerful, final breakdown scene in the film. (Unconfirmed reports say she even waived her superstar talent fee.) The baby weight (one of the reasons she was hesitant to push through with the film) remained, but Juday was able to see beyond that hindrance. “Inisip ko na lang na God’s will na maging ganito ako kalaki bago ko gawin si Kusina para mas realistic, relatable 'yung character ni Juanita,” she explains. “Nasa kusina lang siya, wala siyang ibang gustong gawin kundi magluto, doesn’t take care of herself, doesn’t care kung anong sabihin ng mga tao about how she looks. That’s how I envisioned what I’m gonna look like and okay lang 'yun. Ganun eh.”

    Embodiment Of Passion

    Her directors are all praises about their muse. David says, “After the breakdown scene, napamura ako to myself. ****, she is the embodiment of passion.” Cenon, on the other hand, shares what he found pleasantly surprising about the actress: “For someone of her caliber and experience, I thought she would just raise her brows and make her lips quiver and that would be it. But no, after I explain to her a scene we would be shooting, she would keep quiet and concentrate for several minutes. You would know that she‘s really getting into the character.”

    Juday knows that filming a movie supposed to show in August only in late June is stressful; and she can’t thank the team enough for waiting for her. “I was actually letting go of the thought of me being Juanita for the whole story,” she admits. “Dun na nga lang ako sa lola eh. Sa mamamatay na lang ako. 'Yung ganun na lang. Ayokong maging rason na hindi masimulan kasi ayoko silang mangarag. There’s this super happiness in my heart na they really waited for me, up until to the last date na pwede pa akong hintayin.”

    She says this, and we think about how long we waited to put Judy Ann back on our cover (three years). We think about how long the Kusina team waited for her to be available to do the movie (two years). And we think about the fact that none of us waiting for Judy Ann Santos, a woman at once ordinary and larger than life, ever complained. Because the beloved’s arrival means the wait is not for nothing.

    * * *

    Tweet the author @IrishDDizon.

    Photographed by Patrick Diokno

    Creative direction by David Milan

    Makeup by Jeffrey Aromin

    Hair by Raven Dizon

    Styling by Maita Baello

    Special thanks to Jane Buencamino[/CROUCHING-TIGER-DISAPPEARING-SPOILER]
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    Judy Ann: 'Makakahilera kong muli si Ms. Nora Aunor sa Best Actress is more than enough for me.'
    by Rose Garcia posted on August 3, 2016

    IMAGE Noel Orsal
    Judy Ann Santos wants to work with Vilma Santos and directors Lav Diaz, Brillante Mendoza, Olivia Lamasan, and Jerrold Tarog in the future.

    Nagkaroon ng special screening para sa entertainment press ang Cinemalaya 2016 entry na Kusina na pinagbibidahan ni Judy Ann Santos kahapon, August 2, sa Director’s Club cinema ng SM Megamall.

    Nandoon din si Judy Ann, pero mas pinili nitong huwag pumasok sa loob ng sinehan at huwag panoorin ang comeback movie niya. Aminado itong kinakabahan siya at kung naitawid nga raw niya ang ginampanan niyang karakter.

    Gusto rin daw niya, kung manonood siya sa unang pagkakataon, ang kasama at katabi na niya ay ang mister na si Ryan Agoncillo.

    Bakit may pressure sa kanya sa pagbabalik niya sa Cinemalaya?

    “Well, siyempre kasi, ang daming...alam naman natin na kapag Cinemalaya, labanan ito ng mga baguhan, mahuhusay na director. Mga talagang gustong magpakita ng talento nila.

    “Para hintayin ako ng isang script na ten years ago ay nanalo sa Palanca, malaking pressure na. Pangalawa, mahuhusay na artista ang mga katunggali mo. Nandiyan si Ms. Nora Aunor, ang dami namin.

    “Pero, more than anything, it was the...yung pinakamalaking factor rito, yung nagawa ko siya na sapat sa deadline namin. Naihabol mo yung...malaki man ang waistline ko, naihabol ko naman ang tahi ko.

    “Hindi siya bumuka habang nagbi-breakdown ako, ‘di ba?”

    Dugtong pa ni Juday, “At saka, naghahanap talaga ko ng istorya na puwede kong pagtuunan ng pagod at pansin at worth it yung limang taon na nawala ako.”

    Ngayon pa lang, marami na ang nagsasabi na sila ni Nora Aunor ang posibleng maging mahigpit na magkatunggali sa pagka-Best Actress sa 11th edition ng Cinemalaya na tatakbo mula August 5-14, 2016.

    May expectation ba sa Young Superstar?

    “Nag-e-expect ba ko? Masaya na ko na nagawa ko siya, hopefully worth it yung paghihintay sa akin ng buong production and at the same time, being able to do this film with the best directors, best cast and best production staff is more than award for me, okey na ko.

    “Makakahilera kong muli si Ms. Nora Aunor sa pagka-Best Actress is more than enough for me.”

    Pagkatapos ng Kusina at sa pagbabalik niyang muli sa paggawa ng pelikula, may mga gusto pa ba siyang gawin?

    “Well I guess, lahat naman ng mga artista, di ba, gustong ma-experience at maka-trabaho yung mahuhusay na director. Sa generation ngayon at sa mga nangyayari ngayon, nandiyan sina Lav Diaz, Brillante Mendoza, si Direk Olive Lamasan, Jerrold Tarog, may intrigue factor sa utak mo na, paano kaya sila maka-trabaho?

    “Paano kaya mag-travel sa mga festivals?” saad niya.

    Hindi pa rin daw niya nakaka-trabaho ang Star for all Seasons na si Governor Vilma Santos.

    Ayon kay Juday, “Of course, I still dream to work with Ms. Vilma Santos. The last time I worked with Ms. Charo Santos, Esperanza pa. You want na mapagtibay pa.

    “Siguro, as you get older, naghahanap ka ng pelikula na magpapangiti sa puso mo at sa pagiging artista. Siyempre, I’m just grateful na binuhay ako ng Kusina, yung passion ko for acting, binuhay nila ko.

    “And I’m just grateful dahil hinintay nila ko. Hanggang sa kahuli-hulihang sandali, hinintay talaga nila ko.”

    FAVORITE DISHES OF RYAN. Kung may recipe naman daw siya, ang pinaka-paborito raw ni Ryan ay sinigang na baka.

    “Ay, sinigang din!” natawa niyang sabi.

    Ayon pa kay Juday, “Hindi kasi siya mahilig sa sinigang, pero kapag baka, nagagawa niyang tikman. Hindi kasi siya mahilig sa maasim. Gusto niya yung bulalo, pero ayaw niya ng taba ng baka.

    “So yung sinigang na baka was the perfect soup based recipe for Rye.”

    Sa pelikula kasi, tila nakuntento siya na isang klase ng putahe lang ang inihahain niya sa asawa niya sa pelikula na ginampanan ni Joem Bascon. Kaya parang nagkaroon ng pagsasawa.

    Naniniwala rin siya na sa totoong buhay, dapat iba-iba ang inihahain o nakikita sa kanya ni Ryan?

    “Aba’y oo,” natawang sabi ni Juday.

    “I guess, hindi lang naman sa asawa, kahit saang bagay. Kapag paulit-ulit, nakakaumay. Yung character lang ni Juanita, masyado siyang safe na tao, ayaw niyang mag-explore, ayaw niya ng iba pa, ayaw niyang lumabas sa comfort zone niya.

    “Na yung feeling niya, lahat ng tao, yun lang ang gusto.

    “Hindi naman ako ganun,” saad niya.

    May dalawang ulam sa Kusina na si Judy Ann raw mismo ang nagluto. Ang pinakbet at ang Adobo ni Juanita.

    Kuwento ni Juday, “Before the last shooting day, my director was actually requesting for the recipe, original recipe of my adobo. And of course, gabi yun ha…

    “Gabi nila hiningi yung recipe sa akin. Kaya bago ako matulog, iniisip ko, paano ko ba babaguhin yung adobo na hindi siya typical at the same time, hindi siya malaki yung pagiging culinary, hindi siya cheffy.'

    Sa huli, ano ang nakikita niyang pinaka-mensahe ng pelikulang Kusina sa mga manonood?

    “Personally, hindi sapat na mabuo ang mundo mo sa isang lugar lang. Hindi rin sapat na papaniwalain mo ang sarili mo na ang isang tao ay puwedeng mabuhay sa isang klase ng atensiyon lang.

    “Bawat isa naman sa atin, nagba-vary naman tayo ng ugali sa kung anong emosyon, kung sino ang kasama natin, ano ang situwasyon. Importante na nakikinig ka rin sa mga tao sa paligid mo, hindi puwedeng puro ikaw.

    “Kasi, hindi naman nabuo ang mundo na ikaw lang, so importante na buksan mo ang puso mo sa mga tao sa paligid mo para maintindihan ka rin nila, gaya ng pag-intindi mo sa kanila.”

    Read more at http://www.pep.ph/guide/movies/24217/judy-ann-santos-makakahilera-kong-muli-si-ms-nora-aunor-sa-pagka-best-actress-is-more-than-enough-fo#DFa0ZudAWefcEVLm.99
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    CINEMALAYA 2016 REVIEW: Judy Ann Santos reveals even more depth in Kusina
    by Mari-an Santos posted on August 4, 2016

    In the Cinemalaya 2016 entry Kusina, Judy Ann Santos' character is married to Joem Bascon.

    Life, death, and food intermingle in the first sequence of the Cinemalaya 2016 entry Kusina. This can even summarize the entire movie.

    Now, before you get any ideas that this is a Filipino version of Alfonso Arau-helmed Like Water for Chocolate or Ang Lee-directed Eat Drink Man Woman—it is not. Screenwriter Cenon Palomares won the grand prize at the 56th Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for this script in 2006. A decade later, Palomares co-directed with David Corpuz.

    The setting is in a family kitchen, all the storytelling happens within its four walls. Though many factors and situations and words outside of the most active room in the Filipino home, the film only covers those that happen in the kitchen. It is an ingenious concept, more akin to the stage. It is also shot in an improvised set, a studio made to look like a house, that recalls a device most recently used by director Jun Lana in Anino sa Likod ng Buwan.

    Though the film is Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo’s, the entire production is exemplary in all its many details that work together well—thanks to the tandem directors.

    The story starts with the passing of Emilia (Angeli Bayani), as she is giving birth to her unica hija, Juanita. From then, Juanita must learn to contend with a distant father, Puten (Bong Cabrera), and learn from her grandmother Inang (Gloria Sevilla). Juanita eventually marries Joem Bascon's character named Peles.

    EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCES. Princess Ortiz, as the young Juanita, is impressive. She is convincing as a little girl who is trying to win her father’s love but she does not revert to the annoying sing-songy portrayal that has become, sadly, what has been passed off as cute child-acting today. She holds her own in scenes with Gloria Sevilla and Bong Cabrera. Though the story stalls and sputters here, there are many thoughtful moments between Juanita and Inang, their sincerity as grandmother and grandchild shine through.

    Cooking becomes a way for Inang to teach Juanita other lessons, and in so doing, Juanita learns to impart a portion of herself to her loved ones who partake of her dishes.

    Juanita grows up during the Japanese Occupation in the 1940s. The relatively idyllic life of the family is shattered by World War II. The story traces her maturity until Judy Ann plays the lead character. She is in her fighting form. Though she has grown as an actress before our very eyes, Judy Ann surprises with a performance beyond her nuanced expressions and tear-filled eyes.

    During the most gut-wrenching scene in Kusina, Judy Ann writhes and wails in the way that the pain she feels inside manifests and tries to escape from her body. This is not soap opera television acting, it is convincing method acting, it seems.

    But the rest of the ensemble essay their roles very well. There are no small actors here, all of them play off each other.

    One especially poignant and very dramatic scene involves Juanita and her son Adrian (Mike Liwag) with girlfriend Marian (Isha Salic). It is filled with suspense and sadness and anguish—all in a few minutes and in a very limited space. But it bursts at the seams with emotions.
    ARTISTIC ELEMENTS. The production design by Ericson Navarro is exceptional. The details come together to make a visually appealing backdrop that at once contributes but does not take away from every scene. He is able to update the elements to indicate passage of time, going from palayok to metal cookware, from an ice box to a refrigerator, and tapayan (terracotta water vessels) to modern containers.

    The design on the apron that Inang wears also changes over time, some echo the motifs of the scene.

    The cinematography by Lee Meily is appropriate for scenes: casting shadows and trailing only a spotlight on Judy Ann in a very important quiet scene, letting in sunlight, or keeping the inside dark. Even in its starkness between darkness (in the beginning) and bathed in light (in the last scene), the cinematography communicates and echoes emotions.

    An important motif is the old folks’ practice of throwing rock salt in the area after someone dies. Though it may be unfamiliar to many, it can be seen as a cleansing as well as a symbol for tears shed for the loved ones.

    CHARACTERISTICALLY FILIPINO. The dishes in the movie represent different people and situations in the life of Juanita and her family. From rice—the first dish that she is taught to make by her grandmother—to dessert—leche flan, for its sweetness and fine ingredients—each dish plays an integral part.

    The film is culturally and historically grounded, spanning until the period after Martial Law in the Philippines. Many lessons may still resonate and be applied to the present day setting. In this way, the story transcends the personal and familial and crosses over to the national.

    To the directors’ credit, their debut film is able to combine all the film elements to make a satisfying symphony or, in a manner of speaking, sumptuous meal. The acting from each actor and actress is convincing, relatable, heart-rending, and evocative. But never does it get hysterical or predictable.

    In fact, some moments of quiet where things are left unsaid or small gestures take the place of dialogue are the most piercing. There are even camera angles that are so well orchestrated that the elements onscreen all draw focus to the person or lack of it.

    Sometimes, the musical score can be unpredictable, but when there is music in a scene, it is unobtrusive and serves to enhance the emotions onscreen. The transitions from one scene or period of time to the next are seamless, sometimes jarring, but very ingenious as well. Sometimes, only a tiny detail changes but this connotes a passage of time.

    The directors use closeups and cutaways and wide shots effectively, but there are times when the camera stays too long on capturing the angle as a tableau, it makes one wonder if they did not have time to shoot more closeups.

    Kusina combines the gentle storytelling approach associated with theater and the visual and auditory elements of film to tell an emotional story.
    This Cinemalaya entry is the perfect comeback for Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo and directorial debut for Cenon Palomares and David Corpuz.

    Kusina is one of nine full-length entries competing in the 12th edition of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival that will run from August 5-14, 2016.

    Ed's Note: The 'PEP Review' section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.

    Read more at http://www.pep.ph/guide/movies/24224/strongcinemalaya-2016-reviewstrong-judy-ann-santos-reveals-even-more-depth-in-emkusinaem#trrQQyDdP4fv4vdR.99
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    Kusina Movie Review: Judy Ann Santos Delivers An Amazing, Great Performance
    by Mario Bautista
    Showbiz Portal
    Aug 3, 2016

    JUDY ANN SANTOS delivers a touching and first rate performance in the Cinemalaya entry, “Kusina”, based on the script of Cenon Palomares that won the grand prize at the Palanca Awards in 2006. Cenon himself now co-directs the film with David Corpuz. It’s their first full length feature film.

    “Kusina” starts with a full shot of an old white house while Judy Ann Santos is shown walking towards it with a basket of vegetables. She enters its gate and, inside, a pregnant woman (Angeli Bayani) is about to deliver a baby. She gives birth to a baby girl and we soon realize that the baby, Juanita, is the one who’ll become Judy Ann when she grows up.

    The mother dies and Juanita grows up distant from her dad who blames her for her mom’s untimely demise. Soon, we’re told that the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor and World War II has erupted. So many other things happen. Marcos declares martial law and Juanita’s eldest daughter becomes an activist joining the rebels in the mountains, and yet, we all remain still inside Juanita’s kitchen.
    Better be warned that the film is not for viewers who go only for escapist entertainment. The structure of the film is like that of a theatrical play and the whole movie is very stylized from beginning to end. All the action happens inside the titular “kusina”, an improvised set with some makeshift props built on a soundstage, so it’s apparent that it will require the viewers to be active observers sensitive to the film’s use of daring dramatic license and minimalist theatrical devices to shape the narrative. Mind you, one of the unconventional artistic liberties the film takes is that Juday’s Juanita ages here until she’s in her 60’s, but she is not shown growing old at all.

    With the help of apt lighting, sound design and music, the viewers will be able to see the development of the main character and the conflicts she goes through, some of which do not have any concrete resolution to make them more palatable for viewers who crave for happier endings. Some writers who were with us in the press preview were very vocal in being alienated by the material, the sparse set, and by the seemingly abrupt changes in the story’s time frames. They just didn’t get it, so what more in the case of ordinary moviegoers who prefer mainstream romcoms that will not require them to think?

    Juday brings a palpable emotional edge to her interpretation of Juanita. The breakdown scene where she’s shown writhing and caterwauling on the floor, if done poorly, can ruin the whole movie. It’s the perfect opposite of Jaclyn Jose’s Cannes award winning non-acting kind of performance in “Ma Rosa”, but Juday does it so well that we find it very moving. The ending is also a knockout. When she finally comes out smiling to serve her favorite adobo dish to everyone in the hauntingly beautiful final act, she looks so luminous and radiant you just want to hug her. It’s clear that for Juanita, she has no regrets about the life she chose and the path she took. It’s not exactly romanticized, but she represents the universality of motherhood and the precious service that moms render to their families. Juanita reminds us of Emily in Wilder’s immortal play.

    The male leads, Luis Alandy and Joem Bascon, are both first rate. Sadly, not everyone in the cast is as good them or Juday. We keep on thinking of other actresses who’d be more effective in some of the key roles. The ones we saw sometimes look like they don’t really understand their roles and some seem like they’re not used to acting before the camera and their newbie directors were not able to help them become more effective on screen.
    “Kusina” will have a total of 25 screenings in various venues like the CCP, Greenbelt Makati, Trinoma, UP Town Center, Solenad Nuvali, Glorietta, Fairview Terraces and Ayala Cebu. Check the Cinemalaya website for the exact screening hours.
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    SOLD OUT! Cinemalaya gala screenings of Nora Aunor's Tuos and Judy Ann's Kusina at CCP
    by Jocelyn Dimaculangan posted on August 5, 2016

    The CCP gala screenings of Tuos (starring Nora Aunor, left frame), Kusina (starring Judy Ann Santos, right frame) and Hiblang Abo are already sold out, according to Cinemalaya 2016 organizers.

    The gala screenings of three Cinemalaya 2016 entries have been declared as officially sold out, according to organizers of the annual film festival.

    These are the entries of Nora Aunor (the drama film Tuos), Judy Ann Santos (the family drama Kusina) and Hiblang Abo, which is topbilled by four veteran actors Lou Veloso, Leo Rialp, Nanding Josef, and Jun Urbano.

    In the magic-realist drama Tuos, Nora Aunor is cast as Pinailog, the village's 'Binukot' or a 'kept maiden' chosen in her youth as the fairest amongst the women in her village. She is training her 15-year-old granddaughter named Duwokan (played by Barbie Forteza). However, Duwokan wants to live her own life and be with her beloved (played by Ronwaldo Martin). As Duwokan falls in love with a young man, the sanctity of the 'tuos' (the pact between the supernatural deities and their village) is threatened, putting Duwokan's life in danger. Realizing that she cannot just let things be, Pinailog fights for Duwokan's right to live her own life and finds herself coming face to face, literally, with the ghosts of a tradition which shackled her into a life of solitary confinement.

    Kusina revolves around Juanita (Judy Ann Santos). She is married to Peles (Joem Bascon) but she later on has an intriguing connection to another man (played by Luis Alandy). Through this film, viewers get to see Juanita in her sanctuary: the kitchen where she creates dishes for her family, her friends, even enemies and strangers. Through cooking, she gets to know the people around her, and in return, reveal herself to them.

    Hiblang Abo is the story of four old men in a hospice care facility located in the outskirts of the busy city of Manila. It tells about their debilitating state of oblivion, their remaining aspirations and dreams in the twilight moments of their lives.

    Lou Veloso is cast as Huse, Leo Rialp plays Blas, Jun Urbano plays a grieving father named Sotero while Nanding Josef plays a writer named Pedro.

    Directed by Ralston Jover, this chamber drama is based on an iconic play written by Rene Villanueva. It also stars Matt Daclan (who brings life to the younger versions of the four main characters), Flor Salanga, Angela Cortez, Anna Luna (who is cast as daughter of Jun Urbano) and Lui Manansala.

    Here is the official announcement from Cinemalaya:

    As per the CCP Marketing and Sales Department Head Ms. Gemma Marco, as of today, August 5, the following CCP screenings have been officially declared SOLD OUT!

    1. TUOS -- gala screening on August 8 (Mon), 6:15 PM, CCP Main Theater (even the Balcony 1 and 2 seats have been taken)

    2. KUSINA -- gala screening on August 9 (Tue), 6:15 PM, CCP Main Theater (even the Balcony 1 and 2 seats have been taken)

    3. HIBLANG ABO -- screening on August 7 (Sun), 12:45 PM, CCP Little Theater

    This is in addition to our previous post about the other SOLD OUT screenings in CCP, as early as July 31, Sunday:

    1. KUSINA -- August 6 (Sat), 10:00 AM, CCP Little Theater
    2. DAGSIN (Gravity) -- August 6 (Sat), 12:45 PM, CCP Little Theater
    3. TUOS -- August 6 (Sat), 3:30 PM, CCP Studio Theater
    4. 4 DAYS -- August 12 (Friday), 9:00 PM, CCP Little Theater

    You can check out the other opportunities to watch the above-mentioned Cinemalaya competing films (except 4 Days which has just one screening) with their other screening dates!

    Gala Screenings of SOME competing films have only few tickets left at the Balcony section. Orchestra seats are / may be all taken. Just check them out at CCP box office and Ticket World outlets. BUY your tickets now!

    NOTE: Even if these screenings have been declared as sold out, One Day Pass (and the other premium festival passes) holders need not worry since there are enough seat allocation (allowance) for them.

    Read more at http://www.pep.ph/guide/movies/24242/strongsold-outstrong-cinemalaya-gala-screenings-of-nora-aunor-judy-ann-santos-entries-and-hiblang-ab#ePFk2Por9xjX9QqW.99
  • crystalblastcrystalblast Member PExer
  • crystalblastcrystalblast Member PExer
    Movie reviews: All 9 Cinemalaya 2016 full-length films
    In the return of the full-length film section of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival this 2016, how did these movies fare?

    Oggs Cruz
    Published 8:34 PM, August 07, 2016
    Updated 10:11 AM, August 11, 2016

    Rappler movie critic Oggs Cruz has watched all 9 Cinemalaya feature-length films. Watch the films and tell us what you think! Happy viewing!


    Kusina Review: Role playing

    David Corpuz and Cenon Palomares’ Kusina is intriguing in theory. The film explores the life of Juanita (Judy Ann Santos) – as a child who learns much about life from her grandmother (Gloria Sevilla) who becomes her foster parent after her mom dies from giving birth and her father is largely absent and disinterested in her affairs; as a teenager who personally witnessed the cruelties of war; as the wife of a man (Joem Bascon) who through years of both discontent and infidelity has decided to leave her; and as the mother of children who grow up during turbulent years.

    The film’s obvious conceit, which sets all of the events within a kitchen that has been recreated in a sound stage, is of course a metaphor of a woman’s place in society, which can also be described as a suffocating box that prevents her from exploring her whole humanity. The design and technique are both minimalist yet opulent. The poetry is too overt, and the crafting, too clumsy to really work.

    Yet, Corpuz and Palomares’ audacity in attempting to pull off the stunt is laudable. The ambition is evident and clear. It is just that the filmmaking could not match the prescribed sophistication. The film’s visuals remain outdated, with a lot of the scenes shot through angles that betray the design. Despite the opulent artificiality, the film still looks ordinary, more like a melodrama that is set within a studio out of budgetary constraints than an experiment.

    What is more interesting is that despite its failure in form and method, Kusina is still emotionally jolting at the very end. Santos, despite being limited within a specific space and an obviously manufactured set, works wonders out of a character that requires both restraint and scope. It’s an affecting performance, one that speaks volumes about the topic of women being encaged in traditional roles and expectations.


    Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.
  • crystalblastcrystalblast Member PExer
    Festival Report - The 12th Cinemalaya Part 2
    by Philbert Ortiz Dyposted on Tue, 9 Aug 2016 9:22 AM

    This is even more like a play than Hiblang Abo, and the film just kind of embraces it. It makes no real attempt to place this story in a realistic context, the set clearly not a real kitchen in a real house. Outside the windows, there is only black. Interestingly, this provides the film with more interesting cinematic possibilities. The way the film jumps ahead in time is bracing. Years will pass in between cuts in this film, right in the middle of sequences where the characters are doing nothing more than cooking a dish. The film smartly conveys idea of the kitchen as a place that doesn’t really change, a strange anchor for this one woman who struggles with a tumultuous life outside.

    It’s pretty charming, though it does also get pretty silly at points. The ending in particularly feels over-the-top, the film going too far in building up its overall metaphor. Still, this is one of the more exciting films of this year’s Cinemalaya. The presentation doesn’t always work, but it is at least pretty interesting. And then there’s Judy Ann Santos, who will never be any less than magnificent.
  • crystalblastcrystalblast Member PExer

  • crystalblastcrystalblast Member PExer


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