I was actually scared to see Ang Larawan. The trailer scared me. It looked so old-fashion and I’m not the biggest fan of Ryan Cayabyab’s musical work. He’s a great composer and his pop songs are amazing but I saw an opera of his about Juan Luna, Spolarium, I think, and I didn’t like it.
But I was so shocked with this film. I liked it a lot despite it having quite a few flaws.
You can read it in my review here: ‘Ang Larawan’ is enjoyable and relevant despite its limiting structure (InterAksyon).
Joanna Ampil was fabulous and Rachel Alejandro, as well. I was surprised with Paulo Avelino. He did very well and they used his singing voice as part of the film’s tone and milieu — he is not classically trained like the rest of the cast — by framing him as the vaudeville pianist and not of the upper class like the rest of the characters. So his lack of classical training fit his character and his singing voice.
I’ve always liked Loy Arcenas’ direction and while he had trouble making the film as visually dynamic as possible — because the whole story occurs only in one room in an old house in Intramuros — he fuses so much energy in each scene as he can.
But being based on a play, it does come off as a bit talky and the fact that most of the film is sung rather than spoken, it feels dragging. But the music is gorgeous and lush, sometimes too lush for such a small, contained dramatic situation.
But despite it all, I had big smile on my face and I was charmed. It’s charming.