Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Director Irene Villamor Of 'Meet Me In St. Gallen' Admits She Was Inspired By The 'Before Sunrise/Before Sunset Movies'

 
DIRECTOR IRENE VILLAMOR is one the young female Filipino directors we have today. The most senior among them is Laurice Guillen, followed by Olivia Lamasan and Rory Quintos, then Joyce Bernal, Cathy Molina, Mae Alviar, Ellen Marfil, Veronica Velasco, Antoinette Jadaone and now, Sigrid Andrea Bernardo of the currently showing “Mr. and Mrs. Cruz”.

Other indie directors who have made their first movies are Hannah Espia, Marie Jamora, Sari Dalena, Samantha Lee, Connie Macatuno, Pam Miras, Ivy Baldoza, Maribel Legarda, Ida del Mundo. Gina Alajar has directed soaps but has yet to direct a full length film.

Going back to Direk Irene Villamor, she debuted with "Relaks, Lang It's Pag-ibig", an indie film, then followed it up with a mainstream flick with Viva, “Camp Sawi”, a hit. And now, she has just finished a new movie, “Meet Me in St. Gallen”, that’s partly filmed in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Why did she choose St. Gallen to be the setting of her movie’s final act?



“They have a quaint Christmas village and it’s a charming old town in Northeastern Switzerland na bagay sa story,” she says. “We shot there on the second week of last December in the middle of winter kaya sobrang lamig. The story is told in three chapters. The first two, set here in Manila. Yung una, nagkakilala sila sa isang cafe. Next is five years later and yung last chapter, set in St. Gallen, is two years later.”

The movie shows the two main characters doing a lof of talking and it’s reminiscent of Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise/Sunset” movies. How different is “St. Gallen” from these movies that have cult following?

“Those great films are my inspiration. I love them all. Ang ikinaiba ng movie ko is this is my own take. As a filmmaker, you want to make your own interpretation and this is mine. May idea ako noon na series of conversations which I wrote down at umabot ng 15 pages. Nasa laptop ko lang siya and it wasn’t until Bela Padilla read it and pushed me to pitch it sa Spring Films, na siya namang nagdala nito sa Viva and now, movie na siya. It’s about two people, Carlo Aquino as Jesse and Bela Padilla as Celeste, who meet by chance at nagkaroon agad ng unexpected connection. First meeting nila, parehong masama ang takbo ng buhay nila. Then time passed and they’re in a better place. They’ve changed over time and when they see each other again for the third time, they ask themselves: what will we do now from here?”

Now, let’s see if “Meet Me in St. Gallen” will be as big a hit at the tills as the past offering of Spring Films, “Kita-Kita”. Our personal apprehension is that we already have a surfeit of these two-character “hugot” films lately, like “12”, “All About You”, “Mr. and Mrs. Cruz”. We just hope hindi pa nagsasawa o nauumay ang moviegoers natin with this kind of movie.

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