Docu a better course than biopic for Mother Lily

February 07, 2020

ANNABELLE Rama has convinced Mother Lily Monteverde to be part of the performers in her coming pre-Valentine concert, “Voices of Love”, to be held at the Marriott Hotel Grand Ballroom in Resorts World this Wednesday, February 12, topbilled by Jed Madela, Angeline Quinto and Mitoy Yonting. We were having dinner in a Greenhills resto and Annabelle kept on reminding Mother Lily to come early to Marriott on the day of the concert. Annabelle added that she can just have her makeup there while rehearsing her duet number with Mitoy.

We don’t know if Madera was taking her seriously as the Regal matriarch just kept on singing “May isang lalaki, di ko malilimot” while we’re having dinner. She seemed more interested in the coming wedding of Annabelle’s son, Richard Gutierrez, to Sarah Lahbati on March 14 and kept on asking Annabelle about the color of the evening gown she’d wear as one of the 25 ninangs.

Annabelle told her she already sent the color of the gowns she could wear to her cellphone, one of which is burgundy. “Pero wag ka nang mag-burgundy kasi para sa matataba lang 'yun,” adds Annabelle. “Hindi ka naman mataba, e.”

We ask Madera about her filmbio currently being made starring Judy Ann Santos and she said she didn’t like the first script submitted to her.

“Ayoko, kasi ginawa akong kengkoy,” she says. “I want the movie to inspire other people to go into movie production also kasi ako, never kong naisip magiging producer ako. I want the movie to include my early years, lalo na 'yung nag-evacuate kami noong World War II, then 'yung pagbalik ng mga Amerikano after the war na namimigay sila ng chocolates sa aming mga bata. Then 'yung pagiging movie fan ko na pinaalis ako ng guard sa Sampaguita Pictures when I was watching the shooting of Gloria Romero. I want the film to show na kahit sino, puwede maging producer if they’d just sincerely put their heart and mind into it.”

We tell her it’s really difficult to do biopics. It’s best to just focus on one important episode in the life of a celebrity, like what they did with “Judy” (Judy Garland), “My Week with Marilyn” (Marilyn Monroe) or “Gandhi” (which ran for more than three hours) rather than show his or her entire life. Our take is it’s much better to do a documentary first on the life and works of Mother Lily.

A docu will be more informative and illuminating as it can show first person interviews with the people who worked with her through the years. Too bad the directors who made lots of memorable movies with her are no longer around, like the late Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, Mario O’Hara, Mel Chionglo, Maryo J. de los Reyes and Joey Gosiengfiao. Those who are still around include Joey Reyes, Joel Lamangan, Chito Rono, Mike de Leon, Peque Gallaga and Elwood Perez.

Of course, the docu won’t be complete without the original Regal Babies: Dina Bonnevie, Maricel Soriano, Snooky Serna, Gabby Concepcion, Albert and William Martinez. Big stars who did movies with Regal should also be part of it, including Ate Vi (who did several award-winning films with her like “Relasyon”, “Broken Marriage”, “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga” and “Sister Stella L”) and Ate Guy (who did hits like “Till We Meet Again” and “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit”).

Also to be included are the people who worked with her through the years, from line producers to other people who did work with her behind the camera. The documentary alone is already so star-studded and it can also be released in theaters. From the documentary, then maybe they can do a narrative film biography later. Mother Lily is an icon in local showbiz and the history of Philippine Cinema will never be complete without devoting an entire chapter just on her and the movies that Regal made since it started making local films in 1976 with “Kayod sa Araw, Kayod sa Gabi” with Gina Pareno and Beth Oropesa, directed by the late Chaning Carlos.