Jeffrey Jeturian’s ‘Ekstra’ is a film, and a fulfillment of his dream—providing the Star-for-All-Seasons—Vilma Santos, her first time in Cinemalaya with a Best Actress trophy for the Directors Showcase category.
Putting Vilma Santos as the star and the lead character—Loida Malabanan as a bit player for a teleserye is one brilliant act to begin with. However, it didn’t stop the curiosity factor and the ‘marketability’ of the said material because the arch-rival of the only Superstar in Philippine cinema has found her own vehicle that punches back the success of ‘Thy Womb’—but it simply brought out the seasoned actress to show what she can still do even after her last film.
Vilma Santos is Vilma Santos. That is a fact and can’t be questioned. If there is Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos will always surface and give a good fight.
What qualifies this movie project as outstanding is for the reason that it successfully put together equally talented actors, the likes of Cherie Gil, Eula Valdez, Marian Rivera, Piolo Pascual, and Pilar Pilapil to do lead roles in the teleserye that Santos was set to assume the character of Loida and appear as a bit player.
There were even comments that ‘Vilma will always standout, no matter what’. Yes she did in a different degree. Yes, she was a star bit player indeed.
Deglamorizing Santos is the key to making ‘Ekstra’ a successful work-of-art. As an actor, the Batangas governor didn’t have any qualms of doing a role of a humbling and the lowest-paid performers in showbusiness—who are at times unfortunate in terms of compensation and benefits as opposed to those who take part in noontime shows’ impromptu skits.
Jetrurian’s film is a celebration for both the real ‘extras’ and for Santos as well. Watching her while munching the packed meal from her previous taping, her scene where she kept silent about her aborted speaking scene with the lead actors in the ‘teleserye’—made me admire her even more. That was such an underrated internal acting; as she just gets teary-eyed as the camera gave her a close-up shot.
Like the other films that Santos has starred in—this will surely be in the history of Philippine cinema. 2013 Toronto International Film Festival won’t have granted its premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema category if this socio-realist drama-comedy flick hasn’t gotten such great impression.