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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 1, 2019


director jay altarejos with angela cortez and directors perry escano and brillante mendoza

DIRECTOR JAY ALTAREJOS is well known for his hit pink films like “Ang Lalaki sa Parola” in 2007 and “Lihim ni Antonio” in 2008 which won best film in an international filmfest. Other similar films he did are “Kasal”, which won best picture in the 10th Cinemalaya, and “Tale of the Lost Boys” which won best film and best screenplay in last year's Sinag Maynila Filmfest. Now, he comes up with a new daring film, “Jino to Mari”, that has been shown and won acclaim in the Geneva and Cambodia International Filmfests.

“In Geneva, the Europeans saw it as a humanist film that emphasizes the value of human beings after they saw the plight of the characters,” he says. “In Cambodia, they say it’s the most provocative film they’ve ever programmed in the festival because of the sex scenes. So makikita nyo agad ang pagkakaiba ng views ng east and west and how they react to nudity on screen.”

"Jino to Mari" stars Oliver Aquino and Angela Cortez in the title roles. They play sex workers who are hired by a Japanese filmmaker to star in a porno flick. At first, they were treated nicely but as the shooting goes on, they were forced to do things that they have not agreed upon, that are against their better judgment. This is produced by acclaimed filmmaker Brillante Mendoza and Solar Films and is an entry in the coming Sinag Maynila Film Festival.

“The film required Oliver and Angela to do scenes that they’ve never done before,” says Jay. “It’s good they’re both very professional and had a full grasp of the story and what their characters require. They know what’s expected ot them as I explained it all to them even before shooting started, and they all deliver superbly in their respective roles. The film is set on All Saints Day and we had to shoot with the crowd in actual cemeteries, which was very challenging.

"We had to be very careful in taking care of Oliver and Angela while shooting in public and also when they’re required to do intimate, sensitive scenes. The film posits the question: when you take away a person’s self respect and dignity, what is then left of that person?”

Oliver is the former Mhyco Aquino of the boy group Anime. He has also starred in Jay’s other movies, like “Kasal” and “Tale of the Lost Boys”. Angela has appeared in bit roles and “Jino and Mari” is her biggest break as she plays the female lead role no less.

The film is also shot in various locations. “Aside from the cemeteries, we also shot it in Lucena, Mauban and Tagbalete, Quezon. Yung pagsakay nila ng bus at bangka, kinunan namin habang aktuwal na sumasakay sila sa public bus and boat. Kung titingnan mo nga, parang magastos yung movie kasi ang dami ng locations, ang dami pang ibang taong nasa paligid nila. Kung kukuha ka ng extras to do such scenes, mas matrabaho. E, ito, we just made use of actual pedestrians and passengers, basta we just requested them na huwag silang titingin sa kamera.”

Aside from “Jino to Mari”, Jay has also finished another movie, “Siklo”, which also stars Oliver Aquino with Elora Espano. “It’s a love story that touches on domestic violence. I’m editing it now. I also have plans to do a movie in Amsterdam, where so many things na illegal in other countries, legal and allowed sa kanila.”

Jay continues to battle his manic-depressive condition. “Since I came out in the open about being bipolar, so many people with the same condition got in touch with me and we feel we really have to talk about this so that other people can fully understand what we’re going through.

"In my case, I embrace it and make it work for me. I take maintenance medicines regularly to avoid the mood swings, but the condition helps me also to be more creative. It’s while I’m undergoing it that my mind works very fast at diyan ko na-conceive ang story idea for ‘Jino and Mari’.”

"Jino to Mari" will be shown from April 4 to 17 at Gateway Cinema, SM Manila, Megamall and North Edsa plus micro cinemas Black Maria, Cinema Centenario, Cinematheque Manila, Cinema 76 Anonas and San Juan. You can check the screening schedules on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @sinagmaynila.