Among the celebrated veteran directors in the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ Sineng Pambansa All-Masters National Film Festival, which will run from September 11 to 17 at SM Cinemas nationwide, the name Elwood Perez is one to watch out for—especially on the material he has collaborated with Vincent M. Tañada of the multi-awarded and critically-acclaimed theater company—Philippine Stagers Foundation for the film ‘OTSO’.
With a simple plot—the movie attempts to present the journey of an ambidextrous, aging author (for an indie film) named Lex. In the process of his writing (the story he has in mind)—he encountered a woman whom he has fallen in love with, a kept woman of a politician. The statuesque woman is not just involved with one man, but with another married man, who happens to be a security guard and who has an asthmatic wife and one son.
Sabina, Lex’s apple of the eyes is also having an affair with Hans—as both is even the subject of Lex’s script. Meanwhile, Lex has developed friendship with Han’s son named Brent.
Tañada portrays Lex, Monique Azerreda as Sabina and Jordan Ladra as Hans.
If back in the 80s, Perez is known for films like ‘Shame’ (1983) with the late Claudia Zobel, ‘Ibulong Mo sa Diyos’ (1988) with Vilma Santos, ‘Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit (1989) with Nora Aunor, perhaps this film is something that the ‘thinking’ audiences would go, apart from the drama it could offer.
What is probably remarkable about the story is not just about the acting of the new actors, but of the memorable appearances of veteran actress Anita Linda as herself, as Perez pays tribute to the mother of indie films. All the actors involved in creating this film are all brilliant, but one actor that made some shining-through moments is—Gabby Bautista—the boy who acted as Brent, who eventually finished Lex’s story. He was in his essence and was very natural in breathing into the role.
‘OTSO’ is simple in its plot, but complex in its execution. It only not attempted to challenge the audience to pursue and support the arts. It is also shot mostly in black and white, which gives the movie a different character altogether.
Lex, the lead character, maybe be a ‘peeping tom’ in some ways, he provided an image of what ‘real’ writers must write—the truth. No matter how elusive his dream was—like the ponies he’s fascinated with—utilized as a symbol that represents Lex’s dream.
Due to some sexy scenes, which I think is necessary to establish Lex’s character—the film is not suitable for young audiences.
Is ‘OTSO’, Direk Elwood Perez’s right vehicle to claim back as his comeback movie with a great punch after a 10-year hiatus from doing films? His meticulousness in every aspect of the film could well put him back in making films in the coming days. Welcome back Direk Elwood.
For block screening tickets, you may reach +639273913447. Scheduled block screening is on September 11, Wednesday, 7PM at SM Mall of Asia Cinema 3.