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Rosario (2010)
  • Director:
    Albert Martinez
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Manuel V. Pangilinan,Elmer L. Gatchalian
  • Cast:
    Dolphy,Phillip Salvador,Jennylyn Mercado
  • Time:
  • Year:
The film tells the saga of Rosario, a young and liberated woman in the 1920s who has just arrived from New York, and is spending her vacation in their hacienda.There, she meets and falls in love with Vicente, an older man who manages the tobacco plantation owned by Rosario's family. When Rosario's father finds out about his daughter's scandalous affair, he sends Rosario to a convent.She escapes, and elopes with Vicente to Manila where they raise a family. But Rosario's life of married bliss slowly crumbles when Vicente becomes ill with tuberculosis, and she is lured to committing adultery. Temptation and scandal still hound Rosario as she continues to defy the moral restrictions of her time.Based on a true story and set in one of the most colorful periods in Philippine history, ROSARIO is destined to be a modern masterpiece in Philippine filmmaking. It is a monumental yet intimate portrait of a woman's emancipation and the sometimes painful consequences of following one's desires.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Dolphy Dolphy - Hesus
Phillip Salvador Phillip Salvador - Don Enrique
Jennylyn Mercado Jennylyn Mercado - Rosario
Yul Servo Yul Servo - Vicente
Dennis Trillo Dennis Trillo - Alberto
Sid Lucero Sid Lucero - Carding
Isabel Oli Isabel Oli - Carmen
Eula Valdez Eula Valdez - Doña Adela
Ricky Davao Ricky Davao - Miguel
Jerould Aceron Jerould Aceron - Young Jesus
Empress Schuck Empress Schuck - Soledad
Louise Pierce Louise Pierce - Young Soledad
Elijah Alejo Elijah Alejo - Trinidad
Owie Boy Gapuz Owie Boy Gapuz - Bernardo
Kevin Limjoco Kevin Limjoco - Carding's Boss

Rosario (2010)
1. Music

Finally a Philippine movie that used a full orchestra of real musicians, not just an electronic mimicry of the real thing.

2. Acting

I think the acting was excellent and my gauge is how it makes the audience feel. Judge by the result. The acting clearly made us understand the characters and led a lot of the audience teary eyed. Kudos to Albert Martinez and he should do more films and be supported.

Yes Jennylyn didn't age in the 15 year span in the movie because she is beautiful. And it was effective in portraying that she was still hot even after having 4 kids.

3. Cinematography

I liked the cinematography and the choice of those excellent cameras was very evident.

I recommend to highly and every sensitive Filipino will be proud of this film and will be moved by it. Worth every cent.
NOTE: This too-brief Cesar Marciano review of "Rosario" one of the entries in the December 2010 Metro Manila Film Festival, appeared on Facebook and Twitter that same festival week. Actress Liezl Sumilang-Martinez, of American-German-Filipino descent, wife of the movie's director Albert Martinez, was just one among a fine ensemble of actors who made the movie the way I saw it that time: a masterpiece of the the 118-year-old Philippine movie industry, with most filmic elements directed and mounted together to form an integral whole. It was, plainly put, a memorable collaboration by all.

Liezl was a Twitter Follower of mine, and I of her. We traded a few private messages, the most touching of which was: "Thank you, Cesar Marciano, for all the kind words you've said about Rosario."

Liezl passed away 14. March 2015 after a battle with recurrent breast cancer. "Rosario" was her last movie.

So in her memory and to thank the people who helped carry the movie to completion and earn a modest profit, as well as the few critics who were in the same page as I, here is word-for- word the capsule review. In due time, Cesar Marciano will compose the full review that "Rosario" deserves, then and now.

Anna Liza "Liezl" Sumilang-Martinez -- May she rest in peace. ......

December 2010 – CAPSULE REVIEW by Cesar Marciano

>>>ALBERT MARTINEZ's "Rosario" is a rare masterpiece of Philippine cinema, a radiant portrait of a charleston-dancing, cigarette-smoking, proto-liberated woman at the start of the country's modern era. It is a beautiful tale of a woman who died unforgiven by the people she loved. The woman, a young heiress, who studied music and the arts in New York City, fell from grace, was prosecuted as an adulteress, died penniless and was buried in a rented grave.

The film is a scrupulous and ingenuous re-creation of the 1920s and 1930s of one of the United States' few colonies, without dwelling on the politics of that time.

Heading an excellent cast, the sensuous Jennylyn Mercado in the title role gives a flawless performance, remarkable in honesty and insight.

Director Martinez hardly makes any false move, imbuing the movie with heightened realism and humanity. He is a true heir of the country's great directors such as Lino Brocka, Lamberto Avellana and Gerardo de Leon, Martinez has an instinct for visuals that recall the opulent costume epics of the Luchino Visconti era in Italy.<<<
A. Make-up/Prosthetics


Imagine a time span of about 15 years and imagine a character that does not age. Also, imagine that for that period, her hair does not change a bit and her real hair is peeking out under her ridiculous wig.

Now, watch Rosario. Those are exactly what you will see.

Not only are the wigs and the drinking of the elixir of eternal youth ridiculous, the make-up are also downright laughable. I am not an expert in make-up but I think that they could have done better if they tried to match the color of the make-up to the skin tone of the characters. Yul Servo's white make-up does not go well with his dark skin tone as his performance does not go well with good acting.

B. Direction and Cinematography


If this is Mr. Martinez's first directorial job, I really think that it should also be his last.

First off, his choice of perspective is to capture the emotions of the characters, which resulted in a caption that was so tightly boxed, you will actually have a difficult time imagining what expressions the other parts of their bodies are doing. It was really quite frustrating to look for emotions and good acting that were not there even if the actors' faces are all over the screen. With the top of their heads chopped off for most of the time, it seems like this film has nothing to offer except eyes, nose, lips, bad facial expressions, if any at all, and some ridiculous corpse-like make-up.

Second, the dialog was awful. The script was so bad, none of the lines sounded the tiniest bit of being life-like. The lines were so poorly written that you could almost detest the taste of cheese for the rest of your life. I can forgive the ridiculous make-up, the inconvenience offered by the convenience of being ageless, the bad suits, or the chopped off heads. But the bad lines and dialogs are something that I can not forgive; for it is in the good lines and dialogs that good acting can be elicited from. And since dialogs in this film are horrible, you can not expect anything from acting. All you will ever see are expressions similar to when something is pulled out of someone's ass.

I know that it was not Mr. Martinez's fault that they could not find talented writers. But as someone trying to become someone like Clint Eastwood, he could have revised the dialogs and devised a way on how to improve the performance of his actors. The formula is really quite simple: act it out and check if it feels something life-like. If it doesn't, then change it. How come he has not learned anything from Mr. Eddie Garcia when he acted out in Abakada Ina?

Since the story was based on real-life situations, they could have opted out for dialogs that were more life-like rather than pulling dialogs out of comics magazines or radio drama shows.

C. Acting


I understand the predicament of actors having to act out bad lines. One can only imagine how hard it must be to act out a bad dialog. If you watch closely, you could really feel for Jennylyn Mercado trying desperately to fit good acting with unbelievably awkward dialogs and situations.

Talking about bad direction, in Isabel Oli's breakout moment where she was forced to reveal where Rosario had gone to, it was actually quite confusing to me why she appeared before the father all welled up together with Rita Avila (who, by the way, does not resemble any amount of Chinese features and was made to sport a ridiculous Chinese accent. She could have been cast as one of the Spanish women as her features would suggest. The casting was so bad, one would actually think that they've been picked out by a blind person). This scene could have been made more realistic had the director made the maids come to the father and had them cry as the situation called when they were left with no choice.

One of the biggest disappointments in this movie is Yul Servo. Clearly, my respect for this guy is diminishing as he is cast in more roles he is not qualified for. At first, I guessed that they were looking for someone Moreno or more Pinoy-looking. But then again, their choice for Rita Avila would suggest otherwise.

I do not know which is more mismatched: Yul Servo's mouse-like voice to his Pinoy features, his ridiculous recitation of a poem in Spanish to his wooden non-performance, his ridiculously sized suit to his presence in the movie, or the ridiculous powder in his face to his well-gelled hair, which surprised everyone how Gatsby made it in the 20's.

I actually stormed out of the cinema the moment I saw the same faces and hair of Rosario and her mother, which are the same faces and hair I saw at the opening of the film, some 15 years ago based on the flow of the story.

I actually regretted having to shell out P180 for a digital movie with bad soundtrack and not having to finish it. But I was also relieved that I did not have to endure this movie until it ended because I was sure it would have been pure agony.

If the acting in this film looked like the expression when something is pulled out of someone's ass, watching this film is exactly the opposite of that: It is when something rough and thorny is rammed up your ass.
Period film revolving on the life of Rosario (Jennelyn Mercado) and her plight from being a member of the rich class, to being in love with an ordinary man, to being disowned by her family, to having her own family, to being exiled to Hongkong, to returning to the Philippines, and being a single mother. So basically that's how the story went. Yes, this is one of those movies you thought you've seen it all. However, I applaud director Albert Martinez on his first directing job.

It depicts the story of a young, liberated woman named Rosario. The events took place during the time when the Philippines was still under American colony. I don't follow Mercado's works but seeing some airtime of her makes me identify her as a C-list actress. But in this case, she has impressed me and I can commend her for doing justice to the role. I can't say she's perfect for the role(she lacks the classical look and her soft voice don't fit a "Rosario", imo) but nevertheless, she was tolerable. The irony might be that the lead star I'm not really a fan of but she's surrounded by supporting actors who excel in the field of acting. Veteran actors such as Philipp Salvador, Yul Servo, Ricky Davao and Sid Lucero didn't disappoint me and adds refinement.

I love watching true-to-life movies that's why this movie kept my attention. The first 5 minutes of the film could be deleted(it just introduces the third-person point-of-view by Hesus, Rosario's son who will then tell the story). The movie has a lot to offer actually. It does not just have one conflict and a resolution..it involves several conflicts. I'm going to list them so just bear with me. 1st conflict: Breaking away from her family to be with her first husband (Vicente) and raise a family. 2nd: Vicente having some contagious disease affecting their married life leading to our 3rd conflict of her having an affair(and getting pregnant at that) with her cousin(Carmen)'s boyfriend. 4th conflict: Her being convicted with adultery, exiled to Hongkong, and giving birth to their son. 5th: Returning to the Philippines knowing Carmen married her ex-husband(talk about destiny playing) 6th: Being left by Her new partner(I forgot the name of Carmen's boyfriend) 7th: Being penniless to the point of having to sell herself to the landlord as payment for rent. 8th conflict: Her having to refuse being with someone who loves her truly in pain of having to be abandoned again. Actually, this last scene when she turned her back and decided to just raise her son alone was very momentous and beautifully shot. Whew, too much to handle?

There's some flaw in the make-up department, though. I just don't know what is up with Rosario not aging. Its been around 17 years and she still looks the same. Yes they probably wanted to maintain the beauty but some white hair wouldn't hurt right? Or some change in hairstyle perhaps? I don't know why they never bothered with that. Also, I can spot an area where Martinez could use an improvement on. There are some scenes, sensual if I may, with Rosario and Vicente. The way these scenes were shot was still a bit messy, unclassy and laughable. Also, their kissing scene was not beautifully shot. Blame it on the angle, and the touching of their lips..it didn't feel romantic at all. I also have to agree with someone who said about Yul Servo's recital of an American poem as painful. I cringed. Now the soundtrack was alright. It was noticeable..it was there to add drama. The film is obviously low-budgeted. Although if we come to think of it, the Philippines from a century ago, where horse-drawn vehicles run the place and women wore long lavish gowns and fancy hats, the movie quite portrayed that. More budget would transport you to that era completely.

If we look at the bigger picture and consider that this is the director's first, I can say that he has succeeded.