'Ang Larawan' movie musical gets rave review in Tokyo


Posted at Nov 01 2017 05:34 PM

'Ang Larawan' movie musical gets rave review in Tokyo 1
A scene from Loy Arcenas' 'Ang Larawan,' which made its premiere in Tokyo over the past weekend. 'Ang Larawan' website

Its future in Philippine cinemas is still very much up in the air. 

But from the looks it, Loy Arcenas's "Ang Larawan," the movie adaptation of the beloved Filipino musical of the same name, is well worth a screen or two in cinemas nationwide. 

As film critic Richard Kuipers of Variety puts it, "Ang Larawan" is "beautifully decorated and top-notch in every technical detail" that is "clearly made with the utmost love and care." 

The Pinoy movie made its premiere at the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival over the weekend, and is one of only 10 entries competing for the festival's Asian Future Film prize.

It stars theater veterans Joanna Ampil and Rachel Alejandro, and is based on the play "A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino" by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin.

'Ang Larawan' movie musical gets rave review in Tokyo 2
'Ang Larawan' leads Joanna Ampil and Rachel Alejandro pose with co-star Paulo Avelino for a promotional photo. 'Ang Larawan' website

In his review, Kuipers praised Ampil and Alejandro's performance as sisters Candida and Paula, respectively, who are struggling after their painter father falls ill and fails to produce art in years.

"[Their] voices and performances soar as the sisters resist the temptation of a quick fix in the belief that their father's work represents something far more valuable than money," he wrote.

Kuipers then noted the film's aesthetics and pace, describing it as a "crisply photographed tuner [that] zips along nicely toward its highly emotional and tremendously satisfying finale." 

Rolando Tinio's lyrics and Ryan Cayabyab's music also get a mention, with Kuipers explaining that the combination of both helped "create a highly effective atmosphere of doom, gloom and family turmoil before offering a ray of light."

"Ang Larawan" is produced by Culturtrain Musicat Productions. 

It also stars Paulo Avelino, Robert Arevalo, Nonie Buencamino, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, among others. Ogie Alcasid, Zsa Zsa Padilla and Rayver Cruz have special roles.