Author Topic: The Judy Ann Santos Thread  (Read 3572 times)

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Offline sandyshore

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The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« on: Oct 23, 2008 at 03:01 AM »
I thought that this commentary will merely discuss the evolution of Juday's body of work in her 22-year acting career...but the thrust of this piece goes beyond that as it examines her current stature in the industry by drawing comparisons with veteran actresses Vilma, Lorna, Maricel, and Nora...I really hope that Juday continues to dabble in experimental cinema with an eye towards global distribution not necessarily starring her in the lead role...I really do not mind the obligatory teleseryes and mainstream flicks thrown in the indie mix every now and then because the steady income from these projects helped in co-producing Ploning...Any thoughts about this particular article or Juday in general?

Judy Ann Santos: Someone Great for Cinema

Business Mirror Life Cover Story

By Tito Genova Valiente

One cannot be a superstar or a star for all seasons now when the mainstream film industry is truly dying. The amount of celebrity that one can create for the industry is an illusion. Gone are the big production units that regularly churn out films each month. Gone are the starmakers who mold unknowns into silver-screen gods and goddesses. Come to think of it, such terms went out of date together with the splendor of Technicolor and Cinemascope.

If you are part of TV, a technology and a culture that seem to be all over the media space, and you happen to make movies, then you get the mirror effect, where the reflection creates an extra space in a vapid, yawning emptiness. The Filipino film industry has tried to nurture itself in the dream world of an expanding universe of glam and grand illusion; in reality, it is caught in this mass about to collapse into a black hole of insignificance.

This is not the movie world that people used to write about. New technologies have done it in and the primal victims are the so-called movie stars. To this world, Judy Ann Santos finds herself maturing into a fine actress. It is a complex world to grow in. There are no more role models for her to emulate. Vilma Santos has become a politician and a milk endorser. Whether she likes it or not, Vilma Santos—who made shrillness and hysteria an acknowledged art form—will now be measured according to the yardstick of politics and not by the aesthetics of acting. When Vilma appears on TV, the accolade really is not about her as an actress but in the fact that she has become a politician. This is a role graduation that appeals to people who are educated in the values of bad politics. Will Judy Ann then go into politics?

Somewhere out there are actresses like Lorna Tolentino and Maricel Soriano. These two are the closest we have of actors who have tried to develop their approaches to delineating characters. If younger actresses are looking for an acting path to follow, Lorna and Maricel are ideal templates. There is a problem here, though. Look back to their films and, for all the awards between them, the two remain as fine-acting blueprints aching for construction. In another generation, the two could already look to films that in their age will push them out of the plateau where they are now. I believe nothing of the sort will happen.

The present condition of the Filipino film industry holds no promise for Lorna Tolentino or Maricel Soriano. At most, they will have to contend with television. Again, there is nothing wrong with TV, and yet, there is indeed something wrong with Philippine television. It has remained in the '60s mode of sitcoms and games. In such a situation, believe me, we cannot expect characters that will task the thinking process of actors. Nor will that mode ever give rise to stories that open wide vistas to knowing or asking questions about our existence. Films with its natural sweep and inborn capacity to expand a narrative are still different from stories that are edited to accommodate announcements about the perfect shampoo and the most effective insecticide.

In this atmosphere, Judy Ann Santos's celebrity stands out. It is marked by real gravitas. This rise is unusual for a person who, like Nora Aunor, had to suffer the perception of people—including intelligentsia that includes critics—that she is nothing but a popular actress who could act a bit, win awards every now and then, and go back to silly projects. In her early days in show business, writers taunted her fashion sense, her markedly healthy build, even her performances. She was seen as much too "common." If that spelled success at the box office because more people empathized with her, it had a duplicitous impact on her presence in the industry. To be common all throughout is not good.

Nora Aunor also had the commonness, but she parlayed it in roles which articulated that ordinary woman into a tragedienne par excellence. Nora was able to do that because she was the woman with common beginnings but an uncommon destiny. Judy Ann did not have this dramatic beginning. Except for a mother who left for abroad to work, her family was not exactly impoverished. There was no subsistence in her past that would make her present surplus awe-inspiring.

If there is something about Judy Ann Santos that cannot be disputed, however, it is her overwhelming popularity and an equally overwhelming number of fans willing to stand behind her. That status has given her the unique privilege of being addressed by those who admire her and those who write about her as "Juday." The name has the sound of a familiar address, giving way to a sense of ownership that the industry has over her and her personality.

The personality of Judy Ann Santos was not always this expansive. It all began, I believe, when she started doing roles that were unexpected for someone her age and accessibility. The first of these films was Sabel (2004) from the screenplay of Ricky Lee and the direction of Joel Lamangan. Complex and dark, her Sabel is a nun counseling inmates who ends up getting raped by an inmate. Later, her rapist discovers that the nun has another personality. A role like that can push young performers to go to town with a showy portrayal. Judy Ann did not go the way of beginners. She played for mystery and maturity and the critics liked it. Garnering nominations from practically all the award-giving bodies, Sabel would earn for Santos the Urian Best Actress.

The following years, Judy Ann would prove her mettle also in comedy via that breathtaking romp that was Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo. Directed by Joey Javier Reyes, the film would give her some three major awards: Famas, Luna (from her peers) and the PMPC Star award. Locally, that was an achievement in a film circle where comic roles are not seen as heavy enough to demonstrate one's acting gift.

From comedy, Judy Ann jumped to horror in Topel Lee's Ouija. Stylized and pop, the film would unite her with Jolina Magdangal, her erstwhile rival, if we are to believe tabloid gossip. The film received numerous awards and, although Judy Ann would not win any major plum for it, it signaled the development of an impressive filmography. Judy Ann seems to be making the correct moves. While her peers were caught in ordinary films that were strong on PR and controversies, this actress appeared to be in full control of her film destiny. Or what is expressed to be her way of charting her journey as an artist.

The observers were not wrong. In the early part of 2008, Judy Ann Santos ventured into coproducing a film. There was no novelty there; actresses of her stature have gone into production. But the film was getting solid buzz. The film was being shot in a far-off island: Cuyo in Palawan. That meant some daring. And a deep pocket. Then came the news that it was an indie. An expensive one.

The producers, together with Judy Ann, had to explain that it was not an indie. The film, Ploning, was being shot via the traditional mainstream 33-mm technology. There was a justification for all the buzz: Reports described how unusual the film was. Completed, the audience and the critics would agree: The film was unusual. It was also excellent.

The film Ploning was inspired by an old song, the story crafted from memory. It had an abstract structure, where characters disappear and reappear in different forms. In the story, the individuals grow old and are never the same again. The rhythm of poignancy ruled the narrative, which was about an old town and how individuals in that community tried to cope with love and its loss. The filmmakers were confident with their leading lady, Judy Ann as Ploning, that they had her acting opposite Gina Pareño and Tessie Tomas, whose roles gravitated around extreme poles. Gina had the flamboyant part of a woman seemingly wronged by fate and whose griefs she tried to make bigger than fate; Tessie had the quieter role of a woman who had time and acceptance on her side. An ordinary actor would have died in between those grand-opera voices, but Judy Ann breezed through her role. Or she was so compelling she made it like she was wind or air passing through the village. Her Ploning was wracked with pain, but no one else really knew about it. She was hurting but she went out to appease raging passions and broken dreams in others.

Placid and proper, Ploning was a terrifying role because of its simplicity, even for someone in her 30s. Fearless and peerless, that was what the industry saw in Judy Ann, as a producer and as an actress. She was someone in control. Again, the industry was reminded of Nora Aunor as a precedent. In search of good films to do, she went on to produce them—and, of course, to star in them. Strangely, when those films—Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos and Bona are just two such precious examples—were released, the press that was coming out for Nora continued to portray her as someone with a simple mind, of simplistic thinking. Like the industry that never got to grips with her genius, Nora would go on to make more movies that troubled and dazzled the industry.

Nora's record as a producer-actor or simply as an actor will be tough to better. But they are always great to emulate. The unwise and unsophisticated Nora Aunor, the woman, is the portrait of wisdom and sophistication when it comes to her arts. It is not an exaggeration to say that if there is one person who might come close to her, it is Judy Ann Santos.

The film Ploning arrived when the mainstream film industry had nothing to show that would merit at least some sympathies as it peters away. The indies were ruling the land and showing that they had earned such ascendancy. Growing audience and awards abroad were the validation. The film may not have made boffo box office, but it was reportedly well-received everywhere it went. It is the country's entry to the Oscar's Best Foreign Film race.

With Ploning and Judy Ann Santos in it, the most mainstream of actors you could think of, there was a surge of interest in big films. Like the rains that were never missed because there was Ploning (a line in the movie), this evolution of Judy Ann makes us wish that she would be more daring and go ahead and forget the boundaries of the Filipino film industry.

Offline cicconeguy

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #1 on: Oct 28, 2008 at 04:16 AM »
very good article. sabel made me a juday fan. she's such a good actress. i met her a few years ago and i found her nice. kakaaliw yung pic naming dalawa.  ;D
It's time for the good times. Forget about the bad times. :)

Offline sandyshore

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #2 on: Mar 06, 2010 at 05:19 AM »
It's good that Judai is doing another independent film - her first with Unitel Pictures and her first under Marilou Diaz-Abaya. Apparently, filming has started, and the cast had to undergo workshops. It looks like she's back to doing two movies a year in different genres - one for Viva Films (Hating Kapatid with Sarah Geronimo) and this Penafrancia project - at least for this year. Her most recent filmography included a romance drama-comedy and KKK (2006), a horror movie and SSS (2007), and a horror movie and a drama (2008). She had one release last year - another comedy. I also read on one of the blogs that she will be featured on CINEMAONE's Inside the Cinema on March 9, 2010.

Pre-production and workshops have begun on "Ikaw ang Pag-ibig", the latest film from Marilou Diaz-Abaya (Jose Rizal, Muro-Ami, Bagong Buwan, Noon at Ngayon). With the MDAFI campus in Antipolo as its main base of production, the film will star Judy Ann Santos, Ryan Agoncillo, Marvin Agustin, Vivian Velez, Christopher de Leon and a whole lot more.

The staff and crew are mainly composed of former students of direk Marilou, working alongside seasoned professionals from the Philippine film industry. There are even students from the current batch of the Basic Course in Motion Picture Language, who will be working on the film as interns!

The film is being produced by UNITEL Pictures and is being released in celebration of the 300th year anniversary of Our Lady of Penafrancia, the patroness of the Bicol region.
« Last Edit: Mar 06, 2010 at 05:21 AM by sandyshore »

Offline indie boi

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #3 on: Mar 06, 2010 at 10:51 AM »
I want to see Judy Ann act in a Khavn dela Cruz movie.

Offline R2

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #4 on: Mar 14, 2010 at 05:42 AM »
I have yet to see Sabel, I should really grab a copy or wait for a cable/network showing. I liked Ploning and Kasal,Kasali,Kasalo. Santos has always been a good actress,anyway.
And she's expecting a baby, by the way.  ;)

Offline Battousai

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #5 on: Mar 14, 2010 at 01:50 PM »
I'd pay to see Judy Ann play a kontrabida role.

Offline sandyshore

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #6 on: Apr 02, 2010 at 02:16 AM »
GMA-7 is showing Ploning on April 3, Black Saturday.

Offline jekoy

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #7 on: Apr 02, 2010 at 03:12 AM »
I'd pay to see Judy Ann play a kontrabida role.

she already did. sa Quija, may pagka-kontrabida role niya. inaral pa nga raw niya 'yung role niya.
Absolutely no regrets!

Offline sandyshore

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It looks like Judai's participation in Marilou's next movie has been shelved. Apparently, she took herself out of the project (together with husband Ryan who would have played her husband in the film) because she learned that they were casting another actress (Iza Calzado) behind her back because she was pregnant and might not be able to finish the movie. Iza, a good friend of hers, asked Ryan's manager, Noel Ferrer, if Judai is no longer doing it, and this is how the Agoncillo couple knew.

I saw several links about the Judai-Sarah one...http://www.hatingkapatidthemovie.com says that it will be shown on July 28...Wenn Deramas' last three efforts, Ang Tanging Ina Ninyong Lahat, Best Friends Forever, and Ang Tanging Pamilya leave much to be desired as far as the critics are concerned...there was a brouhaha about Wenn deciding not to submit his movies for CEB screening anymore because they don't give him any grade anyway...it's true that ATINL earned 200million and BFF made over 100million but Ang Tanging Pamilya did not break the 100million mark...i wonder how Hating Kapatid will perform critically and commercially...press releases have been drumbeating the rare pagsasama of Judai and Sarah to entice moviegoers to pay to watch the movie...can the combination of Sarah, the two-time-in-a-row Box Office Queen for her movies with JLC, and Judai, the veteran Box Office Queen whose most recent films were graded A (except for Oh My Girl which received no grade I think), break Wenn's CEB drought?

Offline sandyshore

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2011 at 04:24 PM »
It has been reported that Judai's post-pregnancy film comeback will co-star Coco Martin for a 2011 release.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011 at 04:25 PM by sandyshore »

Offline chimpanshane

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #10 on: Jul 02, 2011 at 04:21 PM »
I want Juday and Claudine work in the film..if ever Rico Yan was still alive siya ang leading man  :D

Offline sandyshore

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Cinemalaya 2012
« Reply #11 on: Apr 07, 2012 at 01:15 AM »
Mga Mumunting Lihim, Judy Ann's first Cinemalaya entry will be directed by good friend Jose Javier Reyes, himself a Cinemalaya firstimer, co-starring Agot Isidro, Iza Calzado and Janice de Belen. I wonder how this film will fare...
« Last Edit: Apr 07, 2012 at 01:16 AM by sandyshore »

Offline sandyshore

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Re: The Judy Ann Santos Thread
« Reply #12 on: Dec 29, 2012 at 12:37 AM »
Update: MML gave Judai another Best Actress/Best Supporting Actress award (Best Ensemble with Iza, Agot and Janice). Right now, she plays AKO in the Enteng - Agimat MMFF franchise. Currently second in box office receipts, will the movie maintain its ranking with One More Try, the MMFF Best Picture closing in? Next movie is rumored to be the Chito Rono drama Undo with John Lloyd Cruz. Judai and Chito's last collaboration was the MMFF entry (1997?) Nasaan ang Puso with Maricel and Christopher. Judai worked with JLC in a teleserye before he gained his leading man status with Bea.