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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Friday, September 6, 2013


by christianjoyfreo, Aug. 9, 2013

The show business is a spectacle of gorgeous women and dashing men that competes for the limelight. More often than not, we put our attention too long on these people that we forget to recognize those people who may not be as beautiful as the others but also competes for the same spotlight. These people who have no names in the industry, fade in the background but complete every story on film and television deserve all the credits worthy of a rising star.

Ekstra (The Bit Player) is directed by Jeffrey Jeturian and is one of the full-length movie entries in this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival. Ekstra is a film that depicts the life of the people who we usually view to be of least importance in tv shows or movies; and attempts to shed some spotlight on these nobodies.

The movie revolves around Loida (Vilma Santos) a tireless mother who has been working as a bit player for several years. She is one of the few who takes that little role as a big challenge. But just like any other talents she aspires to become a celebrated actress. She remains patient and passionate with her craft although her dream seems so far-fetched. Just like any other bit player, Loida experiences ill-treatments from the heat of the sun to the heat in the set. Doing her job for her graduating daughter and for herself she pushes her way into finally getting the “moment” she has been waiting for.

Watching the film is a good escape from the misconception that indie films only showcase hardcore drama inspired by the harsh realities in life. Each dialogue was perfectly timed and matched with the characters making everyone laugh to their hearts content while still managing to make them teary-eyed. The evident contrast with the acting of those doing the teleserye from that of the characters from the film itself made it satirical.

However comical the movie is, as seen through different hilarious lines flow during similarly ludicrous sequences, the reality stays the same that bit players will always run into iniquities. As seen in the movie, these “ekstras”, unlike the big-name ones, don’t get to sleep and rest in a comfortable place and are expected to be ready at all times. The talents are also limned to be shabby people who do nothing but get in the way.

Moreover, the film did not merely focus on the bit players but to those people who also work behind the camera. As a communications student, I was able to recognize the different roles of those people from the director to the set design committee and the pressure they have to undergo just to produce an episode.

The Vilma Santos,taking into consideration that this is her very first indie, was able to convince the audience that she was nothing but a hopeful bit player as she completely embodied the character of Loida. Ate Vi owned the character from start to finish. Emotions were etched in heavy scenes that need not to have speaking lines because they were all written in Ate Vi’s face. Adding to her performance is the ensemble with cameo appearances by celebrated stars like Marian Rivera, Piolo Pascual, Pilar Pilapil, and Cherie Gil to name a few.

The story buildup was also worth commending. It enabled to build thrill as to what would really happen to Loida and her dream some scenes gave hints of predictability. The flow was also a bit didactic which is unusual for an independent film and did not work for me. During the first parts of the film, it was suggested that Loida was a loving mother but as the film runs the idea was neither sustained nor emphasized. Some scenes exhibited inconsistencies that viewed those parts as unnecessary.

As the film concluded, Vilma displays that look that holds a wide range of emotions leaving the audience speechless. Ekstra gives the center stage to those bit players whom we usually belittle and in general those people who are willing to do anything for their loved ones and for their dreams-for that they deserve the spotlight.

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