By Caesar Vallejos
Eagle News Correspondent
“The narrative of the story is very clear, very engaging, and the characters are all charming.”
“The film is relatable, naiyak kami, tapos natawa kami. To be able to put up mixed reactions and strong emotions in a film are important tools in storytelling. When they pulled it off, sabi ko, ang galing.”
“There are no ‘name’ talents in the movie, pero nai-deliver ng mga artista ang roles nila.”
“Makabuluhan. It deserves to be in a filmfest!”
“This year, there is a rich harvest of really good Filipino games. ‘Guerrero’ by Carlo Ortega Cuevas is one of those gems.”
Members of the press and some independent filmmakers present at the red carpet premiere of EBC Films’ “Guerrero,” an inspirational story about the ups and downs of a boxer and his young brother, shared positive reviews on the movie that will be showing in 57 theaters nationwide starting November 12, 2017.
Eduardo Roy, Jr., an independent film producer said that the “Guerrero” story, which tackled a very simple relationship between brothers, has a very universal theme.
However, “Guerrero” came out to be different.
“Kakaiba yung experience na ibinigay ng pelikula. The highlight of the film is not the narrative but the dynamics between Miguel (played by Julio Cesar Sabinorio) and his brother Ramon Guerrero (title role acted by Genesis Gomez). That was carried out all throughout the movie,” Roy said.
While Gomez provided the dramatic narrative, Roy said that it was the young Julio who stood out as the source of humor, innocence, fun, and wit.
“Kaya, mas nakaka-relate and audience sa kanya,” the filmmaker said. “Pinakamahusay,” he described the newcomer child actor.
Another independent filmmaker, JE Tiglao said that “Guerrero” is a very charming movie.
There’s a lot of subtle humor, he said. “Ang hirap-hirap i-pull–off — kasi pag nagkamali ka ng konti, magiging corny or pag nagkamali ka, hindi mage–gets ng audience,” Tiglao explained.
He said he was amazed that the whole movie was replete with subtle humor.
“It’s all throughout the movie. That’s the charm of ‘Guerrero’ and by nailing it, could be its valuable tool for its commercial base,” Tiglao said.
“The last sequence was the highlight for me!” he exclaimed.
Another potential filmfest winner
Romel Gonzaga of PEP said, “maganda ang pelikula” while Glen Sembonga of Tempo noticed the boxing sequences.
He asked if Gomez, the main protagonist in the movie, was indeed a real boxer.
“Guerrero” producers said they expected avid fans of boxing in the Philippines to watch the movie.
Tony Curaza, another movie scribe said that while there are no big stars in the movie, “naideliver naman ng mga artista ang mga roles nila.”
By tapping new actors, what is seemingly the weakness of the movie is the film’s major strength.
Carlo Ortega Cuevas, in his award-winning works, is known for his creation of real, sincere and innocent characters that people can easily relate to, like Hapi in EBC’s sitcom Hapi ang Buhay.
Most of the EBC Films’ talents in the movie were pooled from INCinema, the film arm behind the award-winning “Walang Take Two” which saw Cuevas win as Best Director in a Foreign Language movie award at the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema and as the Best New Comer Filmmaker of the Year at the World Film Awards in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The same movie saw Giancarlo Escamillas win as Best Cinematographer in a Foreign Language Film at the Madrid International Film Festival.
“Guerrero deserves to be in a filmfest,” Curaza stressed.
For Nonie Nicasio, the movie is relevant.
“As a storyteller, I have a purpose, I want to say something that is not only said but something that is felt,” Director Cuevas replied when asked how he feels directing a film that is meaningful.
Writer, actor and teacher Rener Concepcion posts on this Facebook page: “‘Guerrero’ is at the outset a funny happy boxing game between two siblings and you hear the audience’s constant roar. But hey, that ‘constant’ thing is laughter. Next, is silence as a number of viewers either pull out a hanky or conceal their wet faces in the dark. There is a need in the end as the audience’s applause seemingly prod our protagonist to make haste, really run. It is peak, touching moment.”
In a separate post, he asked, “paano ba isasalin sa mga salita ang damdaming nag-uumapaw? Malayo na ako sa Megamall (venue of the movie premiere) e humahaginit pa rin sa mata ng aking isip ang ilang eksena sa pelikula. Kaya sa MRT, panay ang pag-agap ng palad ko sa napakaraming bantang pag-agos ng luha. Ganun ako kaapektado ng isang magandang pelikula. Kung baga sa lindol, may aftershocks,” he ended.
Interestingly, Cuevas said that the production team experienced several earthquakes in Batangas while shooting some scenes of the movie.
Why watch Guerrero
“Lahat tayo, puwede tayong maging ‘Guerrero,’ kasi sa kaniya-kaniyang buhay tayo ang bida. Hindi maiwasan na darating ang panahon babagsak tayo, pero bilang bida dapat alam natin kung paano tayo babangon,” Gomez said.
“Minsan, darating sa atin ang digmaan ng puso at isipan, pinakamahirap na digmaan ang labanan ng puso at isip. Sa ‘Guerrero,’ matututunan nating lumaban sa takbo ng buhay sa araw araw, at bumangon sa bawat pagbagsak,” Joyselle Cabangon who played Abby, the love interest of Ramon in the movie.
Boxing coach played by Sam Cepeda said, “Napakalaki ng maitutulong Niya sa atin kapag sa Kanya tayo nagtiwala. Ang mga bagay na negatibo kaya niyang pihitin para maging positibo.”
Playing the mother of Ramon Guerrero in the movie, Dahlia Talavera had this to say: “Pahalagahan natin ang bawat oras na kasama natin ang ating mga mahal sa buhay at kinakailangan ding maging supportive ang mga magulang sa mga anak. Maging maging matapang na harapin ang mga suliranin natin.”
Intrigued and reacting to the film’s ending, the members of the press asked if Part 2 of “Guerrero” was in the works.
“Three years kong pinag-isipan ang ending, tingnan natin kung successful ang pelikula at kung ano ang decision ng EBC Films,” the writer and director of the film said.
He shared lessons in life from his “Guerrero” storytelling: “Puwede tayong maging masaya kahit hindi pa nangyayari or hindi na mangyayari yung gusto natin.”
“Puwede tayong maging masaya kahit hindi pa natutupad yung hinihiling natin.”
What is important, director Cuevas said, is that we appreciate the journey of our search.”