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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.

Jul 31, 2019


atty. joji v. alonso with BELLE DOULEUR stars Mylene Dizon and Kit Thompson

JOJI VILLANUEVA ALONSO - attorney na, director pa!

atty joji with cast of BELLE DOULEUR with Marlon Rivera on the left

MYLENE DIZON and Kit Thompson star in a May-December love affair in the Cinemalaya entry, “Belle Douleur” (French for ‘Beautiful Pain’), the directorial debut of Atty. Joji Alonso. Such love stories about an older woman and a younger partner seem to be in vogue these days.

Earlier, there was “Glorious”, shown streaming on iWant with Angel Aquino and Tony Labrusca. And there’s another similarly themed Cinemalaya entry, “Malamaya”, with Sunshine Cruz and Enzo Pineda. Then there’s also “Just a Stranger” with Anne Curtis as a lonely married woman who falls for a teener played by Marco Gumabao.

We heard there’ll be more projects of this sort, one starring Sheryl Cruz and Jeric Gonzales, another one with Iza Calzado and Jameson Blake. They all remind us of Tennessee WIlliams’ “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone”, first filmed in 1961 with Vivien Leigh and Warren Beatty, and remade 42 years later in 2003 with Helen Mirren and Olivier Martinez.

“Belle Douleur” just had its presscon at Max. Mylene plays Liz, a clinical psychologist who’s 45 years old, works with special and gifted kids, and still single. After her parents passed, she sells the antiques in their house. Kit Thompson plays Josh, an orphaned young man, 26 years old, who buys some antiques from her.

They obviously speak the same language and they click. He asks her to have dinner with him. Her friends, Jenny Jamora and Marlon Rivera, urge Liz to do something reckless, stupid and irresponsible since she’s not getting any younger, she follows their advice and daringly plunge into a steamy affair with Kit.

Based on the scenes we saw, their love scenes are really sizzlingly torrid. Mylene is shown going down on Kit who throws all qualms into the wind and disrobes for a total butt exposure. Direk Joji required them to attend a sensuality workshop so they will feel more at ease and comfortable with each other.

As a result, they lost their inhibitions and are both “palaban” in their bed scenes. Some quarters are wondering if Mylene’s current real life squeeze, Jason Webb, gave his whole hearted permission for her to do such scorching scenes.

Incidentally, Mylene's ex, Paolo Paraiso, the father of her two sons, is also in the cast of the movie which is about a mature woman’s personal journey in searching for love and happiness as she breaks free from the limitations of a society that confines women.

 “Belle Douleur” will have its gala premiere at the CCP Main Theatre on August 3, Saturday night. The whole cast will be there.

Now, that she’s a full fledged director, does this mean Direk Atty. Joji will now concentrate on filmmaking?

“No, my priority will still be my law practice,” she says. “Directing a film is just part of my bucket list since I was in grade 3. I will save my transportation money so I can watch Tagalog movies on weekend. But my dad said there's no money in filmmaking so, in college, I took up a science course as a scholar in UP, then shifted to law. But at the back of mind, I'm thinking balang araw, gagaw rin ako ng movie.

"After I’ve made so many films as a producer, all my friends urged me to go into directing. So pikitmata, at first, I made a short film, 'Last Order', that won best short film in Pyongyang International Filmfest and got nominated in other festivals. Then I saw this story about a French woman who falls for a younger man and I said if I'd make a full length film, ito ang gagawin kong pelikula, a very personal story with so much love in it. 

"So I submitted it sa Cinemalaya and forgot about it until I was informed that we made it as a finalist. We shot ‘Belle Douleur’ in about ten days, with some scenes shot in Marinduque. But I will never leave lawyering kasi it puts food on our table and what I earn from being a lawyer, napupunta nga sa paggawa ng pelikula.

"Directing the movie is a humbling experience for me. I learned so much from it. I had a good team and I want to thank the stars and all the staff and crew who helped me in this journey in fulfilling my dream. I don’t plan to direct another movie as of now, but if a great material comes along and it will inspire me enough to do go through the whole experience all over again, I just might.

"But as of now, I just want to see first the public’s reaction to my very first movie, which is not just about the love scenes but about woman empowerment. It will be shown nationwide in commercial theaters on August 14, right after its run in the Cinemalaya filmfest.”