If I had to place a vote for the greatest Filipino film of all-time, it would be for "Oro, Plata, Mata," directed by Peque Gallaga. I have been to several screenings of the film but have yet to find a commercial home video release of it (as of its 20th anniversary a few years ago, it had still not been released to home video -- come on, Star Cinema, remaster the movie and release it to DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray now!!!). Maybe you can find someone who taped the ABS-CBN broadcast of it? If so, please let us know!
P.S. The mansion used in the film was the Hacienda Gaston in Manapla, Negros Occidental!The penultimate scene of renowned director Peque Gallaga's masterpiece film "Oro, Plata, Mata."'Oro, Plata, Mata' Redux
Is Peque Gallaga's "Oro, Plata, Mata" the Philippines' "Apocalypse Now?" Both movies caustically, but movingly, depict the loss of national innocence and the collapse of the social order amid the thunder of conflict and the flare-up of violence.
"It's not everyday that we come together to toast a Filipino movie," said FLIP publisher and editor Jessica Zafra. "But OPM is clearly one film that deserves to be commemorated. It raised the standards for Filipino films and, 20 years later, the public and the industry still look to the movie for guidance and inspiration."
The movie followed the fortunes of two affluent sugar clans in Negros through the Second World War. Produced by the defunct Experimental Cinema of the Philippines (ECP) headed by Imee Marcos and made at the then staggering cost of 2.5 million pesos, it won the Special Jury Prize at the 1983 Manila International Film Festival and was voted as one of the 10 best films of the 1980s by the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino.
"OPM" was by no means Gallaga's first movie (it was really his second, after "Binhi" which he calls pretentious and "beautifully lost"). But it established the director as some sort of an enfant terrible-some sort of a mestizo Celso Ad Castillo whose "Burlesk Queen" is Gallaga's personal favorite. It showed his talent at creating the feel of a milieu through art direction, production design, and overall mastery of movie language and technology.
A former production designer himself, Gallaga orchestrated a crew that consisted of Salvador Escudero and Rodell Cruz as production designers (Escudero would later on become a director himself), Rody Lacap as cinematographer, Jose Gentica as music scorer, Jess Navarro as editor and Ramon Reyes as soundman. In the 1983 Gawad Urian, the movie swept the best picture and all of the technical awards against the tough competition posed by another masterpiece, Mike de Leon's "Batch '81."
But perhaps the most noted artists to have come from Gallaga's virtuoso ensemble were screenplay writer Jose Javier Reyes and actor Joel Torre. It was Reyes who shared the screenplay credit with Gallaga, whose original concept, story and script for the movie had earlier won the ECP Scriptwriting Contest.'Virtouso ensemble'
Long known as "The Jungle Story," in reference to the movie's portrayal of the protracted wanderings of its two aristocratic families in the jungles of Negros during the war, the movie was christened "Oro, Plata, Mata" by Reyes in one moment of sublime inspiration. The title is clearly one of the more memorable in Philippine cinema-along with "Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang" and "Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag," Gallaga's personal Lino Brocka favorites.
Since "OPM," Torre has gone on to become one of Philippine cinema's most powerful and resilient actors. Perhaps as a tribute to the protracted length of "OPM," he teamed up with young Turk Lav Diaz in 2000 and made the five-hour "Batang Westside." It won for him the best actor in the Gawad Urian and the Brussels International Film Festival last year.
When "OPM" was shown in the 1982 Manila International Film Festival, it was clearly seen as a milestone in Philippine cinema. The readiest answer as to why it was considered a milestone was that it was a movie of epic proportions that delved into one of the most sensitive and seminal periods of Philippine history -- the Second World War and the terrible suffering it caused a nation just barely coming together.
The subject it chose to tackle was original and even brazen. Much like the Jews and the Holocaust, Filipinos had seemed less than forthcoming about the war. The dreadful silence betrayed the war's trauma. To many who lived through it, it was "The Fall."
It was to his credit that Gallaga charted the Fall in terms that were immediate and compelling. In situating the war in the feudal splendor of Negros, he presented its impact in social and psychological terms. He showed how the war's fury exposed the canker hidden beneath the affluence of the Negros elite, hastening the collapse of an order that was merely waiting for a crisis to fall apart.
Since he was charting the Fall, Gallaga must also depict Eden. Some of the movie's more charming scenes portrayed the feudal paradise in terms that are funny and trenchant, particularly the endless mahjong sessions that the Negros elite hold as if they had been born to do just that all their lives.
Side by side with these scenes of feudal languor and sly social comedy were the gripping scenes of suspense, particularly the family's bewildering flight as the Japanese entered Negros: the patriarch played by Manny Ojeda using his cane to overturn a vase to shock the topsy-turvy household into silence and order so that he could instruct them to bring only the valuables and not to panic; the stark silhouette of the carabao-drawn caravan of the families as it flees while the torched sugar hacienda flares in the background; and the families' rabidly violent encounters with the tulisanes in the forest.Dissolution
In the end, so exhausted by war's machinations and cruelty, the families reestablish themselves but without the grace and innocence of old. Everything has been changed irreversibly. The old order has been destroyed and however hard the families try, they cannot anymore reconstitute themselves from the debris of their own physical, emotional and psychological disintegration.
The history of "OPM" since 1983 has similarly suffered a dissolution of sorts.
After the revolution of 1986, the ECP, like any Marcosian creation, was sequestered and its assets came under the protection and disposition of the Asset Privatization Trust (APT).
Gallaga found it hard to shake off the association with ECP and the Marcoses even if he hadn't exactly been a friend of the conjugal dictatorship or a recipient of its largesse. In a press conference last Thursday, he said he had never even seen Imee Marcos throughout the filming of "OPM." He explained Imee Marcos put the 10-million-peso assistance fund to finance the ECP-winning scripts in a bank and let her lieutenants raise the money for "OPM." Charo Santos Concio acted as producer. "Imee was never involved," Gallaga said.
Escudero explained that the 2.5-million-peso budget of "OPM" was misleading. "We got a lot of freebies that did not register in the final accounting," he said. In more ways than one, the production haggled for arrangements to deliver the film in time for the Manila festival.
After 1986, APT auctioned off "OPM" and Gallaga almost always won the bidding. But the price was too small and APT had to declare a failure of bidding several times.
It was only recently that the APT finally sold the movie to Star Cinema. In another instance of how the movie's portrayal of class divisions may have prefigured the personal estrangement of its makers in real life, Gallaga said he asked Charo Santos Concio, now the head of Star, about the sale. But she denied it.
To his consternation later, ABS-CBN showed the movie in one of its cable channels later despite his offer to remaster the movie using his own money. "GI was mad," he said. "It was just too much."
But the animosity will have to simmer down at the moment as "OPM" gets its 20th anniversary screening and its makers congratulate themselves for having made a movie that has withstood the wear and tear of time.
Gallaga himself is excited about the screening. Asked what has made the movie last this long, he said, "'Oro, Plata, Mata' is in the details... Now I wonder why I didn't pay as much attention to my other films."
Read the entire article here: http://www.inq7.net/ent/2003/jan/27/ent_1-1.htm
Maurice Claudio "Peque" Luis Ruiz de Luzuriaga Gallaga.
Peque Gallaga is regarded by many to be the Philippines' greatest living director. Most agree that his magnum opus "Oro, Plata, Mata" was the film that he was born to make, as he came from a prominent Negrense hacendero family himself. True to his Negros roots, since 1991, he has organized training workshops for theatre, film, television and advertising for aspiring students, artists and professionals at the University of St. La Salle, Bacolod City, where he is an Artist-in-Residence and Instructor.
Yciar "Yci" Castillo Ledesma
Yciar is orginally from Bacolod, Negros in the Philippines. Her mother belongs to the Gallaga family (they are cousins of the Spanish Basque Ruiz de Luzuriaga clan of Negros). She's a niece of Peque!
Yciar with her brother Iñigo Gallaga Castillo
Eusebio Ruiz de Luzuriaga
The first Ruiz de Luzuriaga in the Philippines was Eusebio Ruiz de Luzuriaga (1816 - 27 March 1865), a colonel in the Spanish army. Following the death of King Ferdinand VII of Spain in 1833, the country was in disorder. The King had willed the crown to his infant daughter Isabela, but the king’s brother Carlos also laid claim to the throne. Rather than stay in Spain after the defeat of the Carlist regime in the civil war wherein Queen Isabel II was restored to the throne (she later abdicated in favor of her son Alfonso XII), Col. Eusebio Ruiz de Luzuriaga together with other supporters of the Carlists regime (the Carlistas
) chose to go into exile. He arrived in Manila in the mid-19th century and in 1840 settled in Ilog, Negros, where he married Juliana Guiquin (sister of Fr. Mariano Guiquin, the parish priest of Ilog, and relative of Luis Guiquin, who once owned Hacienda Lupit) with whom he had three children, José, Luis and Trinidad. The Ruiz de Luzuriaga family was originally from the Basque Country in Spain.
Don Eusebio Ruiz de Luzuriaga is interred at San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod, Negros.
José Ruiz de Luzuriaga
Don Eusebio's son José Ruiz de Luzuriaga eventually assumed control of Hacienda Lupit and was one of the first to utilize modern means of cultivation, among which was the introduction of the small steam engine and iron rollers in sugar production on his hacienda and the use of iron ploughshares. He tapped the Lupit river for irrigation and when the sugar industry expanded, he was one of the first to convert his Hacienda Lupit into a sugar plantation using new tools and equipment from England and Canada, by the latter part of the 1860s.
Don José Ruiz de Luzuriaga would later serve as President of the Constituent Assembly from July 22, 1899 to November 6, 1899 during the period of the Negros Republic, which was established after the successful Negros Revolution won independence from Spain.
The hacienda house of José Ruiz de Luzuriaga is the site of the signing of the Act of Capitulation on November 6, 1898, marking the end of Spanish rule on Negros. The house later became the seat of the Negros Republic, the provincial capitol, and finally Bacolod City Hall.
In 1920, Valencia, Negros Oriental was renamed "Luzuriaga" in honor of Don Carlos Ruiz de Luzuriaga, a delegate from Negros to the Philippine Legislature (it was later renamed back to Valencia after the Second World War).