The first teaser of musical film Ang Larawan, The Movie has just been unveiled by Culturtain. It will open this year’s Cinemalaya: Philippine Independent Film Festival and is set to open wide in September.
Going along with the tagline “the greatest Filipino play, now on film,” Ang Larawan is the movie adaption of Larawan, The Musical which is based on National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s three-act English play A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino. It is helmed by multi-awarded Broadway theatrical set designer and director, Loy Arcenas, with the help of supervising producer Alemberg Ang.
The play was transformed into a musical with a libretto written by National Artist for Theater Rolando Tinio. The film’s original music is composed by Ryan Cayabyab and performed by the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ang Larawan is set before World War II in Intramuros and tells of the plight of sisters Candida (Joanna Ampil) and Paula Marasigan (Rachel Alejandro), daughters of high-profile painter Don Lorenzo Marasigan.
Since Don Lorenzo has not produced a single painting for a long time, the family is in financial trouble. The unmarried sisters have had to rely on their seemingly more successful brother Manolo (Nonie Buencamino) and sister Pepang (Menchu Launchengco). Their siblings urge Candida and Paula to sell the house.
To have a source of income, the sisters take in a boarder, Tony Javier (Paulo Avelino). Meanwhile, Don Lorenzo becomes a recluse. The painter’s self-portrait fetches a high sum as it attracts the curiosity of many individuals which include pretentious art critics, bonafide journalist and family friend Bitoy Camacho (Sandino Martin), Senator Perico (Robert Arevalo) who asks the sisters to donate the portrait to the government and Tony who tries to convince Candida and Paula to sell it to an American.
Larawan is an ode to the passing of the world of truth and beauty and a celebration of the tenacity of the spirit amidst the rise of materialism and consumerism.
Completing the cast are Cris Villonco, Aicelle Santos, Celeste Legaspi, Cara Manglapus, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Rayver Cruz, Ogie Alcasid, Jojit Lorenzo, Dulce, Nanette Inventor, Jaime Fabregas, Bernardo Bernardo, and Noel Trinidad.
“Music is deeply ingrained in the Filipino consciousness, but that has seldom been fully explored in the realm of film,” Direk Loy tells Cinema Bravo. “And as a nation, we, Filipinos have the tendency to deny and forget our own history in pursuit of the now and the here, which has brought us to messy crossroads that the nation faces right now. I took on Ang Larawan because I felt it touched on these two seemingly opposing facets. Hopefully, the film will help open up a clearer understanding of why we, Filipinos, are what we are at the moment, both to ourselves and to the rest of the world…”
Here’s the first teaser of Ang Larawan, The Movie: