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Direk Joel: Not after awards but box office

Direk Joel: Not after awards but box office thumbnail

FUNFARE By Ricky Lo

To each his own direction.

While some directors keep an eye on awards when making movies, direk Joel Lamangan thinks more of the box office. After all, it’s show business, 50 percent of the former and 50 percent of the latter. If “business” is poor, there won’t be any “show.”

“I want my movies to make money,” said Joel after the presscon for his latest work, BG Productions’Siphayo (opening nationwide, postponed from yesterday, Oct. 5) which marks the “bold” baptism ofStarStruck graduate Nathalie Hart (formerly Princess Snell), co-starring Luis Alandy, Joem Bascon and Alan Paule. “I owe it to my producer(s).”

It doesn’t mean that Joel doesn’t appreciate awards.

“Kung may award, thank you,” added Joel who has had more than his share of awards, most of them for Best Picture (Death Row in Brussels, etc.) and Flor Contemplacion at the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), beating Antonia’s Line (of The Netherlands) which went on to win Best Foreign Language Film at that year’s Oscars. “There are so many award-giving bodies today, may kanya-kanyang pamantayan, so the winners in one may not be the same in the others. Noon, they judged your film on its merits.”

With Siphayo (dismay), you guess it, Joel expected a merry ring at the box office more than applause at an awards ceremony. Described by Joel as an “erotic drama,” Siphayo is about a man (Paule) and his sons (Alandy and Bascon) sharing a woman (Nathalie), a ménage a trois that ends in tragedy.

“It’s an ‘amoral’ film,” said Joel, “it shows that crime pays.”

Luckily, because it got an R-16 rating (without cuts) from the MTRCB, Siphayo is allowed to be shown in SM theaters.

“It has sexy scenes but no frontal nudity,” qualified Joel. “Nathalie was professional, very cooperative, although in one scene shot at an outhouse, she cried before the ‘take,’ saying,‘Direk, baka ito na ang huling pelikula ko!’She stripped and I assured her that I wouldn’t show sensitive parts of her body.

“The hardest to convince (about stripping) are the actors,” explained Joel (who made Bascon and Jake Cuenca do a love scene in Lihis, shot in a river). “They have to be ‘plastered.’ I didn’t have any problem with the three actors in Siphayo during the love scenes which didn’t show any frontal nudity.”

Having started as an actor (mostly in Lino Brocka films), Joel doesn’t meddle with the director when he’s hired as actor.

“I follow everything that the director wants me to do. Unless he asks for my opinion, I don’t meddle.”









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