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Romeo at Juliet


First time producer and writer Jean Altavas (seated) with the cast from left to right: Lemuel Pelayo, Alessandra de Rossi, Victor Basa and introducing Max Eigenmann.

Nah. This is not what you think it is.

The title of a new independent film, “Romeo At Juliet,” immediately recalls to mind William Shakespeare’s well-read work. The irony is that, the makers of this local movie actually based their project directly on an unpublished Filipino book written in 2002.

The book entitled “Kakaibang Romeo At Juliet” tells a tragic love story that essentially presents a new take on the famous characters, hence it was called that way. It is written by first-time film producer Jean Altavas but for some reason didn’t see publication.

The author, with support from some people in the biz, felt the story deserves to be released. Thus, it ended into a movie starring Victor Basa and Alessandra De Rossi in lead roles who are not named Romeo and Juliet, but as Joseph and Angel, respectively. Independent filmmaker Adolfo Alix Jr. directed it under Kisapmata Productions.

In a presscon held at Max’s Roces, Q.C. to promote her first film venture, Altavas told the Manila Bulletin that her story touches on the critical issue of parenting and abuse of women and children. Though the movie is the same as most indies which tackle the dark side of life, she insisted that this one is different because the characters are not poor and underprivileged, as one might expect in most non-mainstream films.

“Most of the characters here are well-off. We want to imply that troubles happen to people regardless of status,” said the one-time showbiz act who many years ago worked with big screen biggies Dolphy and Joseph Estrada.

Altavas also acted for “Romeo at Juliet,” playing the role of Malueca, the wicked grandmother of Joseph whose mom Lourdes (Bing Pimentel) is in turn overprotective. Joseph’s girlfriend Angel has her own traumatic childhood inflicted by her father Kap played by Jay Manalo.

With its Freudian thought of ‘Show me your parents and I’ll tell why you’re a mess’ put into play, the plot-driven “Romeo At Juliet” gathers an interesting mix of supporting stars headed by Rosanna Roces and Daria Ramirez. It also introduces Max Eigenmann and Lemuel Pelayo.

This is the writer/producer Jean Altavas’ prologue in the unpublished book.

ON BEING PARENTS

It is not an easy task to be a parent. Below are listed some of the reasons that motivate couples to have children.

“So there’s someone to care for you in your old age.” is the most common reason.

“To get it over and done with.”

“The more the merrier.”

“So there is someone to love me.”

“To continue the lineage.”

“God’s gift.”

Funny. But the truth of the matter is, none of the reasons make up for responsible parenthood. It must be understood that one has to be PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, FINANCIALLY and SPIRITUALLY ready to be a parent.

When we hear violent incidents or abusive treatments done to children by their parents or other adults, the most asked question is “What kind of parents are they?” or “What kind of parents did they have?” What was Hitler’s mother like? Mother Theresa’s? What drove them to be like that?

It is so easy to put the blame on strict parenthood. Especially my generation. But that was then. For lack of better way of doing it, that was how we were brought up.

We are more aware today. We have a better understanding of how to be responsible parents.

Now we know that our actions and our words leave a mark in the hearts and minds of our children.

ROMEO AT JULIET opens in selected theaters nationwide next Wednesday, March 24, 2010.

Well if it’s from Alix, then it must be good! By the way, here are our photos during the Bangkok International Film Festival ’08…

Talaga daw bang intrigahin si Direk Adolf sa unang pagkikita...hehehe!

Group photo after watching Adolf's entry, "Tambolista" (Drumbeat). From left to right: 2 Pinoy expats in Thailand, Me, 2-time Palanca Awardee and good friend Dominic Manrique, "Jay" director Francis Xavier Pasion and Adolf Alix Jr.

Blood of Youth


At a vineyard at Silverlake in Sattahip, Pattaya.

Wrinkles? Just inject via Botox and your maturity process will be delayed! Flat nose? You can always have a nose-lift job! Mosquito bites on the two sides of your chest? Silicone is there to the rescue! Dark complexion due to too much melanin in your skin? Drink gluthathione! Excess fats in your body? Liposuction will vanish it!

In a world where everyone is so damn afraid to face the harsh truth of ageing, it’s no wonder people are relying on the immediate solutions to their physical “challenges” no matter how PAINFUL it is…FINANCIALLY and LITERALLY.  As the saying goes, that’s the price of beauty.

Forever young…have we really become the modern Cullens? Or are just really that Dorian Gray who’s willing to sold it soul to the devil just to stay young for life?

In a society where they set a certain “standard” for the word “beauty”, how do we really define “beauty”? Merely by its look? Its appeal? Its charm? In Thailand, beauty is vanity. And correct me if I’m wrong to say that this kind of thinking applies EVERYWHERE! If you are ugly, you are being cast out. If you are fat, you are being mocked. If you are old, you have to retire.

When you’re young, you can’t wait to get older to get all the things that you want. Buy the things that you really like. Do the things that you can’t do as a minor. But when you reach that certain adult life, all of sudden, a mid-life crisis comes and it often involves how you wish you were young again…or if only you could turn back time.

When you’re young, you don’t care about the world that surrounds you. No caution required. All you have is fun. But when you get older, you start becoming cautious & conscious about life. You become serious with life’s daily struggles and needs, usually leading us to Alzheimer’s and eventually erasing all those wonderful child-like characteristics in our hearts.

So what do we do? I suggest find an outlet that you think is the best solution to age gracefully. Here are some tips which I hope, pray and keep my fingers crossed that these would somewhat be useful for you:

EXERCISE! Keep a healthy body and eventually your mind will follow. Once your mind is set, then the outlook changes with a certain glow that need not require much fortune. But don’t overdo it too! Risks of too much of anything is dangerous. Besides, once you acquire a good body or become fit, don’t let it turn you into Narcissus. Be humble of what you have achieved then spread the good news on how to become one. Now that’s what a definition of a “real model” to me is!

DRESSPRESS YOURSELF! Dressed up and express yourself! Whenever you feel lonely or insecure and since most of us are already shopaholics, reinvent yourself by choosing the right clothes, attire or style that will fit your personality.

DANCE & SING! Remember the main toxic ingredients of ageing before your time includes: ANGER, FRUSTRATION, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, JEALOUSY, ENVY & BITTERNESS! So sing or dance to the beat of your heart for a quick release of these toxic ingredients. Shout if you must! Tap if you can! You’ll feel better. If you feel better then you will not age too quickly before your time which will save you up for that painful, expensive cosmetic surgeries.

At Centralworld last December 2009.

“F” THEM! Last but not the least, if next time someone comes up and tell how ugly or oldie are you, give them the most classic way of defending yourself…the “F” word with letter K in the end: “FREAK YOU!” with  your ring finger! In this way, you “ring” the alarm out of them that they too are a freak for being a meanie!

(In the photos {except the first & the last ones ;-P }are the members of B.O.Y (Blood of Youth) Band, a very famous boy band here in Thailand.)