The society of respected film critics that hands out the annual Gawad Urian in cinematic excellence

1989

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Ang Pumatay ng Dahil Sayo

Action Adventure Drama with Substance

Ang Pumatay Nang Dahil Sa Iyo is the second major Tagalog movie (in memory) to take the bold and risky nationalist path of anti-Americanism, after Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara's examination of the evils of the American presence in the Philippines, in Minsa'y Isang Gamu-Gamo (1976).

Ang Pumatay... is a typical Filipino action picture in that it follows a supposedly commercial formula dominated by macho fight scenes and even bigger, endless battle sequences. In Ang Pumatay..., Director Wilfredo Milan sees local social realities from a broad nationalist perspective. He has also demonstrated some very admirable qualities of an important filmmaker. He has a keen grasp of the film medium, he is a good story-teller and he has mastery of the action drama genre, able to stage provocative, fast-paced fight stunts.

But more than all these, he has a vision, and the courage to project it in the otherwise commercialistic medium. He is a keen observer of the political scene, infusing his macho sensibility - and admittedly his still conventional approach to the action picture- with his depth and breadth of vision.Read more

Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga

A Look at Death and Affirmation of Life

Weepies are a common movie fare in the Philippines, along with extremely violent action thrillers and trite youth comedies. It is, therefore, a cause for cheer when a filmmaker tries to elevate the very common genre of the melodrama into a rich and intellectually rewarding film experience, such as director Ishmael Bernal has done with his Pahiram ng Isang Umaga.

Director Ishmael Bernal has seen in the material an opportunity to put substance to what has often been denigrated as the unthinking man's entertainment, and to a considerable degree, his attempt has been a success.

Pahiram is both effective as a tearjerker and meaningful as a depiction of people in crisis. Using a traditional element of the genre, the theme of death, Bernal and writer Jose Javier Reyes probe into the life of a woman who has been told that the end is near.Read more

Macho Dancer

Flesh Trade

The story of a poor boy (Alan Paule) from the province come to the big city to pursue his livelihood peddling his body to a gay clientele. The boy meets another young male prostitute (Daniel Fernando) who has his own story to tell. The new buddy also hails from the province, and is in search of a long-lost sister (Princess Punzalan) he knows to have been in the power of traders in white slavery.

The sleazy world of male go-go dancers and hustlers is vividly captured in this daring drama of homoerotic sex and the oppressed. Dramatic action is set in the dark alleys and seedy milieu of contemporary Philippine life, with a corrupt policeman as kingpin, to whom the underworld and the elements in the gay trade pay protection money. Expert direction by Brocka, commendable performances by Daniel Fernando, Alan Paule, William Lorenzo, Johnny Vicars, and especially Jacklyn Jose as the usual hooker with a heart of gold, and the insight it offers on the political mess the country is in enhance the merits of this memorable movie.

Joe Pring

First-Rate Cop Thriller

Using his wide experience and skills as film editor, director Augusto Salvador comes up with this well-paced, well-photo graphed and wonderfully acted cop movie loosely based on the exploits of a true-to-life Manila policeman. It is a sympathetic and realistic portrayal of a gutsy law-enforcer, stressing the dangers and joys inherent in the job, as well as the temptations, most of them amorous.

The policeman's exploits are presented episodically. It is obvious, however, that as the picture progresses, tension and violence also increase. The clash between Pring and the underworld characters he helped lock up in jail inexorably approaches.

Humilde "Meek" Roxas's script is full of surprises and drama, but the biggest difference is his (and Salvador's) refreshing sense of humor liberally used in what has traditionally been just an action-packed thriller. The special effects are noteworthy, and the producers and filmmakers spared no effort and expense to make the movie pleasing to the audience.Read more

Bilangin ang Bituin Sa Langit

The quintessential Tagalog movie and a loving tribute to the "Golden Age of Philippine Cinema." Perez paints a melodramatic and panoramic portrait of the rise and fall of a poor, hard-working and determined barrio lass and her lifetime stormy relationship with a childhood sweetheart. Legendary Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III are magnificent in dual roles, in a love-hate affair that spans generations, from their high school days in the province, to their twilight years in the big city.

The supporting cast led by Perla Bautista, Gloria Romero, and Miguel Rodriguez and is also good. The cinematography and visual effects, complemented by a thoughtful production and costume de¬sign, are outstanding.

Perez's direction and Jake Cocadiz's script accentuate the pass¬ing eras' whims and fancies, and the dramatic confrontation scenes be¬tween the two stars dote on the so-called masa or "bakya crowd." But the picture has enough sweep, drama, humor and local color to make it an epic worthy of every moviegoer's attention and praise.Read more

Orapronobis (Fight for us)

The evils of militarianism and its paramilitary arm are exposed in this harrowing tale of a community reeling—and dying—in terror sowed by the vigilante group Orapronobis. Following the EDSA revolt, political prisoners are released, including Jimmy Cordero (Phillip Salvador), an activist priest who believes in the new government. When the abuses continue and when Jimmy joins the fact-finding mission to investigate the incident, he is now torn between his wife Trixie (Dina Bonnevie), a human rights activist, and his former girlfriend Esper (Gina Alajar) and his son (R.R. Herrera), and begins to question his decision to leave the underground.
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