ONLY IN HOLLYWOOD
Only in Hollywood : Waiting in vain for Gina Pareño in Hawaii festival
Published on page J1 of the October 29, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirerhttp://showbizandstyle.inq7.net/entertainment/entertainment/view_article.php?article_id=29303
Editor's Note: Published on page J1 of the October 29, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
...and why Kirsten Dunst felt lonely playing Marie Antoinette
LOS ANGELES—“WHERE IS GINA PAREÑO?”
just got back from Honolulu, Hawaii where that question was asked by
many who attended the just concluded Hawaii International Film Festival
Poor lawyer Roger Rayala, co-executive of “Kubrador (The
Bet Collector),” had to field the question “Where’s Gina?” or “Where’s
the actress?” so many times after the well-attended screenings of the
film. “Kubrador” was one of the five films competing in the feature
It was a shame that Gina, who had won Best Actress
at the 8th Osian-Cinefan Film Festival in New Delhi, India and who had
been drawing raves from critics all over the world for her performance
as an aging “jueteng kubrador,” had a tough time renewing her US visa.
By the time it was renewed, it was too late for her to make it to the
awards show last Thursday evening.
Earlier, when we met Roger at the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel, he was still hoping that Gina would show up.
Around the globe
“Kubrador” folks had to spread themselves around the globe to be able
to grace almost all of the festivals that the film had been invited to.
Director Jeffrey Jeturian was in Mumbai, India before joining producer
Joji Alonso in Valladolid, Spain. Roger will next meet them in England,
where the film is featured in the 50th London International Film
Festival. From London, they will travel separately or together to more
festivals. These folks are certainly racking up frequent flyer miles!
HIFF tendered a reception last Monday evening for our press group, this
year’s recipient of the fest’s Vision in Film Award. We met the
festival’s executive director, Chuck Boller, who told us how excited he
was at the Filipino Focus section commemorating the 100th anniversary
of the Filipino migration to Hawaii.
Aside from featuring the
usual names—Auraeus Solito and Brillante “Dante” Mendoza—Filipino Focus
also featured the works of Mike Sandejas, Stephanie Castillo and Emmie
Tomimbang. The latter produced “Mabuhay with Aloha,” billed as the
official documentary of the centennial celebration of the Pinoy
migration to these lovely islands. Lisa Alteri directed the video,
which uses archival footage to narrate the rise of Filipinos from sugar
plantation workers to becoming the third largest ethnic group in Hawaii.
we wished we could stay longer in Honolulu—if only to watch all the
offerings in a section named “Outside the (Manila) Envelope Shorts
Program.” The festival’s program tantalizingly described the section
“The shorts in this program come mostly from the
Cinemalaya Film Festival (that’s Tagalog for ‘indie cinema’). Go
outside the (Manila) envelope, and meet a new generation of Filipino
filmmakers, shooting digitally and independent of the studio system,
telling stories of a modern Philippines.
“The documentary ‘In
Death, In Life’ (Deanne Briones, 2005) contrasts, with great
compassion, the death of a well-to-do woman against a shantytown
widower trying to bury his wife. ‘Light’s Play’ (Rianne Hill Soriano,
2005) is the fanciful story of a blind girl’s dream, adapted from a
storybook written by the director (Rianne). ‘Sa Silaw’ (Reinzi Balao,
2006) is an experimental narrative wherein a prostitute confronts her
father’s lust. ‘Parang Pelikula’ (Hubert Tibi, 2006) and ‘Putot’ (Jeck
Cogama, 2005) are both touching bildungsromans. ‘Mansyon’ (Joel Ruiz,
2005) is a charming tale of a housekeeper, a gardener...and what
happens when the owners leave on a vacation.”
the reception, we bumped into LA-based Fil-Am publicist David Magdael
(his agency publicized “Maximo” in its US theatrical run), who helped
in the festival’s programming. Other kababayan notables in the HIFF
include the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival’s Abraham Ferrer
and the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Alexis Tioseco, who served
as jurors in the short film category and NETPAC Award, respectively.
Dolls” is a documentary directed by an Israeli, Tomer Heymann, but it
is about four Filipino transvestites who take care of aged Orthodox
Jewish men. On certain nights, however, they transform themselves into
“The Paper Dolls” who perform in campy drag shows. This docu is making
the rounds of the festival circuit.
And did you know that the
cinematographer of such films as “Gothika,” “Everything is
Illuminated,” “Phone Booth” and the upcoming “The Fountain” (a visual
feast of a film) and “Iron Man,” is a Fil-Am? Matthew Libatique
received the 2006 Eastman Kodak Award for excellence in cinematography.
press group was honored for its philanthropic work. This was only the
fourth time in the festival’s 26-year history that the Vision in Film
Award was given. Variety quoted Chuck Boller as saying, “Their vision
goes beyond just the one-off grant to some filmmaker. They have broader
goals, and I think they’re very clever about who gets their money.”
recipients include the American Film Institute, the Kawakita Memorial
Film Institute and filmmakers Ang Lee and Zhang Yimou.
way, from our room’s balcony at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, we saw a
giant screen showing a movie right on the beach at sunset. It was part
of a four-night event coordinated by HIFF. Watching a documentary like
“Na Kamalei: Men of Hula” on the sand as the sun set—what could be more
distinctively Hawaiian than that?
* * *
EARLIER in LA, we
interviewed Kirsten Dunst, who stars in “Marie Antoinette,” Sofia
Coppola’s take on the life of the French teenage queen. Using
contemporary music, Francis Ford Coppola’s talented daughter makes the
period drama appealing to modern audiences. Sophia’s cousin, Jason
Schwartzman, plays Louis XVI in the film based on Antonia Fraser’s
enjoyable biography, “Marie Antoinette: The Journey.”
Sofia, in a
separate interview, defended her use of music by the likes of New
Order, Aphex Twin, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Gang of Four and The
Strokes to score the life of France’s 18th century queen: “I always
felt like it was a really delicate balance because I wanted to make the
film contemporary in that a modern audience could relate to it. So my
starting point was, I wanted to tell the story of Marie Antoinette from
her point of view and what might it be like if you were her living in
that time and in this teenage world where you had all this decadence
offered to you, what it would feel like and the excitement of going to
a masked ball for the first time. I thought of using music that made me
feel excited as opposed to limiting myself just to the period music of
Below are excerpts from our press con with Kirsten.
pink motif, the clothes and parties and the small dogs all reminded us
a little bit of Paris Hilton. Were you reminded of her, too?
Wow. All I can say about Paris Hilton is that I’ve seen her movie so I
hope she comes and sees mine (laughter). That’s the only correlation I
What effect did playing this role have on you?
I felt extremely lonely. She was a very introspective and vulnerable
person to play. I couldn’t judge her, hate her or think she was stupid.
I had to love her because I’m playing this girl. I had to find the
reasons why she did the things she did but it was hard to mix up the
ages. One day, I’d play the older Marie and the next day, I’d play the
younger version. So I had to map out where I am. It ended up being a
very sensual movie for me because a lot of it is about like, that
tastes good or that feels nice.
Why did you feel lonely? I assume that you were surrounded by people all the time.
Even when you’re surrounded by people, you can still feel terribly
lonely. That’s what she was feeling and, in playing a role where you
don’t interact with people and they’re at a distance, you feel lonely.
The only person I really felt close to was Jason. So for me, those days
were a little bit of a burden off my shoulders because his Louis was
sharing the same feelings I think in a way with her. So when I was
working with him, I felt a little more lighthearted.
Do you think they had a freer view on the body than we have today?
Every society, every country, every person sees it differently. I grew
up pretty free because my father was from Germany. There was a sense of
freedom in my home.
In the movie, you portrayed the
growth of Marie Antoinette from a young, frivolous child. Did you
experience any growth yourself after doing the movie?
definitely experienced growth in my acting because I’ve never been as
vulnerable in a movie before as this one. To me, it is even hard to
talk about it in a way because it almost feels like it’s my own little
personal dream that shouldn’t be talked about. I felt very independent
living in Paris. I felt protected. I had my friends around me on the
film. Jason and I spent a lot of time together but it gave me a sense
of being alone. That was all right and I definitely felt a growth in
the way I approached a role. I had never done a movie with so little
dialogue. It was really left up to myself and that was scary but also,
it was good for me.
Jason told us that you are so attractive and lovely that he had a hard time keeping his eyes away from you.
Oh yeah, right. Jason is sweet (laughing).
How did you feel about trying to get his attention?
Sometimes I’d crack up. When we were doing those bed scenes and
everything, oh, I was laughing all the time because Jason is goofy. So
I asked Sofia, if I can eat chocolate or something where it’s my own
little thing? Like trying to fill myself with cakes as an expression of
a lack of sexuality. I used food in a big way because it was like
trying to get something sensual out of the food that I am not getting
in the bedroom (laughter). But yeah, it was hard not to laugh with
Jason. He always brightens up life on the set and in life. I adore him.
How did Sofia guide you? What qualities do you think she saw in you?
I think Sofia cast me in this part because she knew I could portray
this kind of woman. You will be sympathetic toward her in her partying
and frivolity. But Sofia wouldn’t really say anything to me. We have a
mutual understanding of each other’s aesthetic, perspective and
sensibility. So there’s not much that needs to be spoken. She never
imposed any guidelines. She just let it happen as we go. I like working
with that kind of freedom.
How long did it take for you to wear that wig?
I used my own hair. It took like two-and-a-half hours for me to get ready everyday. It was tiring.
Please talk about “Spider-Man 3.”
In the next “Spider-Man,” we’ve all grown up a lot so it’s much more
dramatic. And there are the relationships— more complicated. My
character is still an actress. Sam (Raimi, the director) likes to put
us through it so there’s a lot of drama and life lessons. It’s going to
be very “operatic.”
And you have competition for Peter’s heart?
Not competition. I mean, in the film, Peter’s lying to Mary Jane about
certain things and it hinders their relationship. But I was glad to
have another girl (Bryce Dallas Howard) on the set. I was happy to
share some of the burden of an all-male set with Bryce.
E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org.