Director Jose Javier Reyes graced the opening of this year’s Cinema One Originals Film Festival last November 28 at the Robinson’s Galleria Movie World. The said event was made even more special with the screening of the restored version of the 1982 classic, Oro Plata, Mata
, a film where direk Joey was the screeenwriter.
“Ni-restore for the first time. This was first shown 30 years ago. I was 27 when I wrote this, so overwhelming [that] after so many years, ni-revive ito,” beamed the highly acclaimed director. “It was shown a number of years ago on the big screen pero old paint, so medyo pangit, pero ngayon, thanks to efforts of ABS-CBN, nai-restore ang old movies like Himala and Oro…”
Upon learning that the restoration of the film was being made, the director was ecstatic. “Because you’re giving a chance for others to see it in its original form,” he explained. He further added that people can watch it on DVD format or on television, but for the total viewing experience of this movie, one should watch it on the big screen. “[Direk] Peque [Gallaga] meant [this movie] for the big screen and it’s an epic, so you lose much of its value if you see it on the small screen. I mean this is one of the best things that ABS-CBN has done,” he repeated.
In these times when one has the resources and technology to direct and create videos, Direk Joey said he believes that promoting classic movies can teach aspiring directors important lessons about the true art of film-directing. “Lalo na ngayon sa dami ng nagkakainteres na gumawa ng pelikula, lalo na sa mga kabataan at sa mga umaasam na maging direktor at mga manunulat, kung wala kang mapaglilingunang tradisyon ng mga klasikong Pilipinong mga obra, papaano mo makikilala ang iyong sarili bilang isang Pilipinong filmmaker di ba?” the director argued. “Madaling makakuha ng impluwensya mula sa mga Amerikano mula sa Europeo o kahit sa mga kapatid nating Asyano pero importante na kilalanin mo ang pagka-Pilipino mo.”
He went on to explain that indie filmmaker Brilliante Mendoza has been widely recognized for his work as a film director both here and abroad but a huge number of Filipinos have not yet watched his work. “At ilan ang nakapanood ng kamangmangang pelikulang Amerikano o kahit na kamangmangang pelikulang Pilipino?” he argued. “So how can you take yourself seriously as a Filipino filmmaker if you do not have a sense of tradition and an opportunity such as this with Oro… and with Himala?”
He continued that quality films like these “pave the way for a true tradition recognizing that you come from a long line of Filipino filmmakers.’Yung mga bata ngayon kung makapagsalita parang kanila ang mundo. Hindi nila mararating kung ano ang kinarurukrukan nila kung walang Peque Gallaga, kung walang Ishmael Bernal, kung walang Lino Brocka na nauna sa kanila, hindi ba?” Direk Joey added that there was a time when no one could just claim that he was a film director unless he had proven his worth with a worthy piece.
He even commented that when it comes to mainstream moviemaking, “We don’t make films anymore, we just make movies.” This is why he is proud that the indie films are gradually gaining respect from the mainstream entertainment industry, that they constantly come up with movies that focus on the quality of the story over its commercial value. “There is nothing wrong with commercial movies in the same manner that it’s okay to eat as much as hamburger as you want, but boy, it’s different when you eat good steak,” he said.