Filipino Indie films are nonchalantly popping out of the silver screens with or without our notice, but some of it are rather ignored and not praised unless the rights has been bought and distributed by Star Cinema and/or Viva Films.
There are a few Pinoy indie films that I’ve watched and still discovering for some more, especially with dramatic themed films, which really are hard to find due to the demand of sexually themed movies, which to be fair some have really good stories and most of it are, how can I say, lack of financial support and technical movie making skills? Most of it is shown in local cinemas that are honestly filthy and it’s one of the sources of quick pleasure and AIDS as well.
Anyhow, I’ve watched a trailer in ABS-CBN about Vilma Santos going back on the silver screen, only going indie, and it somehow got my attention because, Vilma Santos IS Vilma Santos, watching her movies could never go wrong.
But seeing her as an indie artist is quite bizarre and exciting at the same time, that is why, when it came out I did definitely watched it, and it did not fail me.
Ekstra is a movie of a mother and a dreamer as well, working in the film industry as an extra or bit player (Ekstra in Filipino Language) trying very hard for her to get a role that the camera will see. She needs to endure the exhausting and unstable job of being part of a film or T.V. series: from waking up early in the morning, trying her best just to get even a background role, doing her own make up and as well as mastering some lines when she did land one of the extra roles with definite lines to say in front of the camera, until it all gets bad in the end.
WHY I LOVED EKSTRA
This film is not about happy endings, and that’s first and foremost a sadistic reason why I loved this film. It deals with a reality that when shit happens, shit really happens, and makes you question your own luck as well.
It dwelt the emotions of fun, tiring, unsure and regret as being part of the process in creating a movie or TV show as per this movie.
I definitely loved the humor on this film based on chances out from reality, like in the scene where a main character in the film is absent due to some attitude issues and Santos’ character was chosen to portray as that main character but of course the production needed to take her face away so what they did was to put a sack on her head to cover her up, and the editing will take care of the rest of it.
That part was really hilarious.
And although I never worked in the film industry, I feel that the movie really portrays on what is actually happening behind the scenes in Philippine film industry. The scourging heat that the extras experience, the prima-donna stars acting like royalties, the uncertain job which surely they won’t be part on the next episode, the low pay, the willingness of these people to do whatever it takes just to have a script to say and hopeful to become one of the stars.
The ending, as I’ve said, is not happy. It’s really bitter-sweet. I loved the way it really pulled my heart-strings. The ending is so simple yet so sad because it deals with an ill-fated circumstance that you will regret especially when seeing it yourself over and over again, and what’s more heartbreaking about the ending was that Santos’ character already announced to her family that she’s landed a ‘big’ role only to find out that it’s not the case.
Vilma Santos again never failed me with this. I remember the final shot where the camera focuses on her face as she regrets while watching the episode she’s in that’s on their TV, and she was just so effective portraying that sad emotion that transported beyond the silver screen and to me.
Ekstra is a film about misfortunes in life whether it’s by lack of talent or worse, by chance and dwelling on emotions of loss, despair and hopelessness for a dream that’s been built brick by brick on marshland, and dreaming a big break while chasing the lime light that’s pointed in a different direction.