Vilma Santos

The longest-reigning Queen of Philippine Cinema, also widely known as the Star for All Seasons and the QueenStar, Vilma Santos celebrates her golden anniversary in showbiz. She has starred in more than 200 films and has given the public some of the most memorable performances in Philippine motion picture history. An icon of film and popular culture, her magnetic screen presence has captured the hearts and minds of generations of Filipinos. Her enduring charisma and popularity have made her filmdom's most durable female superstar. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Direk Jeffrey Jeturian confessed in a 2008 interview he's a Vilmanian and wanted to direct Vilma


“Who are the Filipino actors you want to direct?

“Vilma (Santos).

“Why her?

“Kasi Vilmanian ako (laughs). But don’t print it, baka magalit sa akin ang Noranians (laughs). 

“So why Vilma?

“Eh kasi nga Vilmanian ako! (laughs).

“Seriously, as an actress, she’s sincere and I want to see her in a different role. I also want to direct Maricel (Soriano), Sharon (Cuneta) and Judy Ann (Santos).”
(Silvestre, Edmund. “Jeffrey Jeturian: Brocka’s heir apparent,” Saturday, March 1, 2008)


From ‘Ate Vi’ to ‘Gov Vi’: The ‘star for all seasons’ is also the public servant for all times by Lito B. Zulueta

By Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 14, 2012

Monday finds Batangas City sodden and sullen from the early-morning monsoon drench, with motorists from Manila making their way toward the provincial capital, braving through the new road extension from the Southern Luzon Expressway, which has suddenly been enveloped by a thick fog, obscuring the way and raising fears of a road mishap.

Everything appears to indicate that it’s going to be a bad week ahead, but the provincial government driver tells us not to worry. “Whenever the Gov arrives,” he says in smacking Batangueño Tagalog, “the rains will stop and the skies will clear.”

“Gov” is Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, “Ate Vi” to the general masses, the actress and “Star for all Seasons” who has become probably the most successful and most admired actor-politician today.

FEATURE: "Vilma, the Glad Girl" by Quijano de Manila (pseudonym of the late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin)

Unlike Nora la Dolorosa, the durable Vi Santos has made happiness her career.

By Quijano De Manila, Phil. Graphic Magazine, November 5, 1990

Publisher’s Note:  Our cover story is about the indestructible and unfading screen beauty, Vilma Santos, who has become even more accomplished and seductive as the years pass. Quijano de Manila (Nick Joaquin in journalistic disguise) captures the secrets and the charms of this enduring beauty, a triumph of art over time. - Juan P. Dayang 

Durable is a word that shifts nuance when applied to Vilma Santos. Yes, you can say that, for instance, Gloria Romero, Nida Blanca and Charito Solis are durable because they are still on view as performers, if no longer at center stage. But when you say that Vilma Santos is durable you mean she is still at center, in front, on top.

Now that’s phenomenal because in Philippine cinema 10 years seems to be the limit for female stardom. After 10 years you slip to character and supporting roles. But Vilma is on her 28th year in showbiz and the spotlight is hers yet as leading lady, the only one to match the record of Dolphy and Ronnie Poe.

FEATURE: Vilma Santos (Film Actress)

By: Justino M. Dormiendo, Best of the Philippines

In the fickle and uncertain world of showbusiness, there is one name that has remained consistently on top fro the past two decades: Vilma Santos. Hers is an altogether exceptional case as her movie career has brought Santos both popular and critical acclaim. Even more amazing is her star continues to shine more brightly.


The Making of the Queen...

At the age of 9, Vilma was tapped to star opposite Gloria Romero & Rita Gomez in the movie “Anak, ang Iyong Ina.” She was discovered by her uncle Mr. Amaury Agra, who was a cameraman at the Sampaguita Studios. When she, together with her mother went to the Sampaguita compound to report, an audition was going on. Seeing the more than a hundred kids auditioning, Vi went and watched. Dr. Jose Perez, producer of Sampaguita, saw the little Vi and asked her to join the audition. Vi was hesitant because she know that she’s there for a different movie, but she was prodded to join. When her turn came, she acted with veteran Bella Flores. All the people were impressed, much more Dr. Perez! Vilma got the title role for the movie “Trudis Liit.” So, that at age 9, she was making two movies at the same time!

BIOGRAPHY: Wikipedia

Maria Rosa Vilma Tuazon Santos-Recto (born November 3, 1953) commonly known as Vilma Santos-Recto or Ate Vi is a multi-awarded actress and politician. She is known as the Star for all Seasons for her longevity in showbiz and holds the titles of Grand Slam Queen and as the longest box office queen of Philippine cinema. Santos is also a politician, currently serving as Governor of Batangas Province  and once as mayor of Lipa City.

ARTICLE: Vilma Still a Youthful Movie Queen at 32

By Mega Mendoza, Prime Magazine, November 14, 1985

WHEN Vilma Santos marked her 32nd birthday recently (Nov. 3) she was exactly 22 years, 8 months and 12 days in the dog-eat-dog world of showbusiness. Her very first movie as a waif in Trudis Liit (the same movie that gave her a best child actress award in the FAMAS) was shown in Manila on February 21, 1963 where all in all she made five films including Anak, Ang Iyong Ina, King and Queen for a Day, Duelo sa Sapang Bato, and Aninong Bakal in that same year.

ARTICLE: Queen Vi (Or how Vilma Santos came out of the doldrums and reasserted herself at the Box Office) by Ricardo F. Lo

By Ricardo F. Lo, Expressweek Magazine, January 19, 1978

Scene: struggling with her emotion, she kneels beside the bed where her father lies dead. The crippled old man couldn’t accept the fact that his daughter was dancing for a living. Earlier, they had a quarrel and when she left the house, the old man had killed himself. “Bakit naman hindi n’yo ako hinintay?” she’s now whispering to him in remorse, “hindi naman talaga ako galit sa ‘yo, a. Di ba kayo rin kung minsan nakapagsasalita kayo ng masakit sa akin pero naintindihan kita dahil alam ko galit ka at hindi mo sinasadya. Dapat naman sana naintindihan mo rin ako,” she continues, breaking into sobs, “dadalawa na nga lang tayo sa buhay iniwanan mo pa ako. Hindi naman tama ‘yon!” And with the camera fixed on her in a semi-closeup shot, she weeps through her kilometric dialogues with startling spontaneity, the scene lasting all of ten minutes.

ARTICLE: The Superstar at 18: Vilma Blooms by Ricardo F. Lo

By Ricardo F. Lo, The Sunday Times Magazine - Dec. 5, 1971

Ay naku, musmos pa ‘yan talagang mahilig na sa drama!

And Mrs. Milagros Santos (or Mommy Santos, as she is fondly called by die-hard fans), mother of Superstar Vilma, proceeds to relate how her darling daughter religiously followed her favorite soap-operas on the radio in her off-school hours, imitating the airlane actresses later on when the family gathered at the sala.

ACADEMIC PAPER: Si Vilma Santos Bilang Madre, Ang Babae Bilang Lunan at Katauhan, at ang Talaban sa Pagitan ng Postmodernismo at Postkolonyalismo

"Matatandaan natin kung papaanong sa pelikulang “Sister Stella L” na idinirihe ni Mike De Leon at pinagbidahan ni Vilma Santos mababanaag ang sala-salabid na mga usaping madalas maisantabi tuwing lumulutang ang tunggalian ng mga liping “mayroon” at “wala.” Lumalabas din ang katanungan kung paanong magagawang mapagsama-sama sila sa iisang laban upang makamit ang kanilang parehong mga layunin. At sa pagsusumikap nating kilalanin ang pagbabanyuhay ng katauhan at papel ng babae sa kanyang lipunan, mapagkikita natin na ang karakter ni Sister Stella L ay maituturing na isang babaeng postkolonyal, kabahagi ng isang mamamayang postkolonyal, at nagsisikap magkaroon ng identidad sa isang postmodernong kalagayan ng lipunan..."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

“Sister Stella L.,” Vilma At Her Finest

One of the most important Filipino films, Sister Stella L (1984), is about a nun's political awakening amid a labor uprising. Directed by master auteur Mike De Leon, it showcases Vilma’s restrained, unadorned acting. The final scene where Stella gives a speech, without background music to heighten the emotive atmosphere, and delivers the unforgettable line “Katarungan para kay Ka Dencio!” (“Justice to Ka Dencio!”) is purely stirring. Vilma was conferred the Best Actress plum by the Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino, the country's most respected critics group. The film was selected for competition at the 1985 Venice Film Festival.

The First Filipino Actress To Be Featured in TIME Magazine

TIME Magazine writes:                                                                 “The festival’s smash hit was Burlesk Queen, starring Filipino Superstar Vilma Santos.”

Monday, April 8, 2013

“Relasyon”: First Grand-Slam Best Actress Victory in Phil. Film History!

Vilma's tour de force performance as a sympathetic mistress in the 1982 film Relasyon (The Affair), helmed by the late National Artist Ishmael Bernal, gave her a sweep of the Best Actress awards from all the major award-giving bodies at that time:  FAMAS, URIAN, Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), and the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA). Vilma bested her longtime rival, Nora Aunor, whose film entry that year was Himala. Her grand-slam win is recognized as the first ever in local film history.

The death scene towards the film's end, where Emil (Christopher de Leon) dies from an aneurysm attack in front of Marilou (Vilma), is one of Philippine cinema's most unforgettable moments. Shot in one continuous take or what's called "tuhog" in local film lingo, it showcases the breadth and depth of Vilma's acting. Without musical scoring to boost the pathos of the scene, Vilma relied on her masterful grasp of human emotions to come up with an intense portrayal that can only be described as realistic and truthful. Marilou's frantic movements and utterings of Emil's name, the panic that strikes her, her anguish all mirror the immediacy and urgency of the situation. Vilma makes great use of her body, her eyes, her voice, everything, to realistically depict a woman's helplessness in the middle of her beloved's seizures, and then her pain upon his death.

The scene triumphs as a prime example of realistic cinematic acting, not just cinematic acting. The type of acting that not just mesmerizes, but involves the audience and lets them dig deep in their emotions. The brand of acting that people, whether they have undergone a similar experience in their life or not, can relate to and say to themselves, yes, that's how real people react to a real-life emergency situation and to a loss of a significant other.

The box-office success and the awards are a testament to Vilma's triumph.

“Burlesk Queen”: Vilma Sheds “Sweet” Image To Become a Certified Dramatic Actress

 1977 was a turning point in Vilma’s career as an actress as it marked her graduation from teeny-bopper movies to more mature vehicles via Celso Ad Castillo's masterpiece, Burlesk Queen. It was the top grosser at the Metro Manila film fest and romped away with all the major awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress.

"Ekstra" T-shirt Study

Tentative/preliminary design for  Ekstra T-shirt: The design shows the different roles that Loida (Vilma) takes on as a bit player:  a sakada (sugarcane plantation worker), house help, a stand-in who receives the torments supposedly intended for the "real" teleserye actress, and a "double" attorney.

Photo Courtesy of:  EKSTRA/The Bit Player’s FB Page

Vilma, The Precocious Child Actress in Ging (1964)

Ging (1964) is Vilma’s follow-up solo starrer after her first film in 1963, Trudis Liit, where she also played the titular role. In Ging Vilma plays the role of a street urchin who takes care of her invalid mother. She gets discovered by a couple who groomed her as a child performer and exploited her earning potential for their self-gain. Ging is Vilma’s earliest solo film that is still extant. There is no surviving copy of Trudis Liit. - RRIE