8 Reasons to Watch “Ang Larawan”
By Macky Macarayan
“Ang Larawan” has been on our radar ever since it was announced years ago, and now that it is already showing in cinemas, we cannot recommend it enough. Herein are 8 reasons why you should watch the movie pronto. Hey, it’s not Best Picture for nothing.
1. Joanna Ampil
After seeing “Ang Larawan,” you will remember the name Joanna Ampil. A seasoned theater actress, having played Kim in “Miss Saigon” and Éponine and Fantine in “Les Misérables,” among others, Ampil makes her major film debut in Loy Arcenas’ film as Candida Marasigan, a headstrong and resolute woman, and elder sister to Paula (Rachel Alejandro). The rightful awardee of the MMFF Best Actress trophy, indeed. Urian up next, perhaps?
2. A dream cast
Aside from Ampil, Rachel Alejandro is also gripping as the relatively prim and humble Paula, while Nonie Buencamino and Menchu Launchengo-Yulo play the sisters’ elder siblings Manolo and Pepang. Paulo Avelino is quite believable as the smooth-talking ladies’ man Tony Javier, while Sandino Martin has a boy-next-door charm as Bitoy Camacho. Then, there’s Robert Arevalo as the charismatic yet commanding Don Perico, while Celeste Legaspi is his wife, the feisty Doña Loleng. Even Zsa Zsa Padilla is here, as the conga dancer Elsa Montes.
3. The eye-popping production design
Talk about time travel! The 1940s costumes are so intricate you’d want to wear one yourself and take a stroll in historic Intramuros (Zsa Zsa Padilla’s headdress deserves a supporting acting award LOL). The interior of the Marasigan house, which was shot in Taal, Batangas is a character of its own, while the exterior shots were taken in Intramuros, where most of the old buildings still exist today. There’s even a scene where the sisters serve hot chocolate from a traditional pitsel and use a wooden whisk called batirol to create foam. The grand finale, which was the La Naval procession scene is said to feature more than 700 extras, with the carroza of the Virgin of La Naval exquisitely decorated and lit.
4. The music, of course!
National artist Rolando Tinio wrote the libretto for “Ang Larawan,” based on the play by fellow national artist Nick Joaquin, with music composed and conducted by Ryan Cayabyab. We had goosebumps watching “Ang Larawan” on the big screen, as if seeing a big scale theater production. And in case you still need your “Ang Larawan” fix, the soundtrack is available on Spotify.