Cesar Montano revisits drama-thriller genre in 'Biktima'

Monday, September 17, 2012

What happens when two of Philippine cinema's most reliable performers Cesar Montano and Angel Aquino combine forces with a young and passionate director, RD Alba? Expect sparks to fly.

That is exactly what happens in the dramatic thriller Biktima which hits theaters on September 19. Shot entirely in picturesque yet perilous Bohol - which also happens to be the male lead's hometown, Biktima zeroes in on the travails of a female TV reporter (Angel Aquino) who wants to make something else outside of her being a wife and mother. As a news journalist for a local TV channel, Alice de la Cruz (Angel's character) sets off on a dangerous trek to the island of Kamandao in Bohol against her husband Mark's (Cesar Montano) warning.

In the midst of an attack by insurgents, Alice is believed to have died in the ambush with her fellow reporters. Devastated and left to care for their son, Alice's husband Mark turns to the former's best friend Sandra (Mercedes Cabral) for solace and love.

Things seem to have gone back to normal for Mark and Sandra until Alice is found alive after six months, her memory almost totally erased. Husband and wife get back together but then the missing pieces of what happened in the months that she disappeared fall into place and this triggers psychological scars to unravel and gradually erupt into an explosive crescendo.

Cesar, who has worked earlier wtihBiktima's director RD Alba in the much-awarded Panaghoy sa Suba (2004) which the actor himself headlined and helmed (RD was credited as associate producer of Panaghoy), welcomes the chance to work with his old friend. "He knows what he is doing. He is sure about his vision for the movie andmasarap siyang katrabaho," says Cesar of Direk RD who with Biktima gets to direct his first full-length feature film. And it was distributed by Star Cinema, Production.

Direk RD is just as honored to be working with such an intense and committed performer as Cesar who waived his talent fee for Biktima. "Cesar has always been a generous actor, a creative worker, a true-blue artist," says Direk RD who is just as awed by his lead actress Angel (Aquino). "She is amazing in this movie," adds Direk RD. "She has a difficult part and she really gave it her all."

In an age when psychological thrillers come few and far in between, Biktima is one film event that should not be missed. Also lending gravitas to the story of love and marriage at a time of rebellion are Cesar's real-life wife Sunshine Cruz, actor-director Ricky Davao and British-born actor Philip Anthony.

RC Alba and Cesar's "mission"

More than just movies logether. RD Alba and Cesar Montano have one mission in life that's to receive the long-dormant Visayan Movies. It's not at all an impossible dream considering that they have the manpower, they both being writer-director-producers (aside from Cesar being an actor), they also have the right connections.

Actually, RD and Cesar, who are also both Boholano, have already taken steps in that direction. Separately, they have done projects with the "Visayan flavor" with RD at the helm of the TV drama series "Kapalaran" which was shown in the Visayas and Mindanao areas in 2002-2004 with all-Cebuano-speaking casts, and Cesar for his part has done films short in his native Bohol and casting some Visayan actors, especially the critically-acclaimed "panaghoy Sa Suba" which Cesar himself starred in and which he co-produced with RD's Alba Productions.

Their business; partnership is therefore nothing new, now cemented with their new collaboration "Bikini" under Cesar's CM Films and RD's Alba Productions. A mystery-thriller, "Biktima" is Cesar's first indie although RD would rather call it a "maindie" (a combination of "mainstream," and indie," which is being released by Star Cinema start doing Wednesday, Sept. 19 nationwide), revolving about the mysterious disappearance of a journalist (played by Angel Aquino) during a risky coverage in a terrorist' liar."

1 am intrigued by thriller, "said the US-educated RD. I' am big fan of Alfred Hitchcock and Wes Craven. My dearly films were also thrillers."

RD came home from California where he is based purposely to shoot "Biktima." For sure, he has more "thrilling" ideas in mind and he hopes to bring them to the screen presumably with Cesar as collaborator.

"I enjoy working with Cesar," said RD who cast Cesar in two episodes of his "Kapalaran" series, I continue to learn from him. He's a director himself but he never imposes himself in my work (on "Biktima"). He respects me in the same way that I respect him. We respect each other's space."

Meanwhile, FD and Cesar are focus on their joint "mission."

"The Visayan industry has to be revived at all costs," RD said.#

watch the trailer here:

BIKTIMA premieres on September 19. Opens nationwide :-)

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