By Ed Uy
Even after almost three decades since it was shown in 1984, the movie Bagets continues to be one of the most influential “teen-oriented” movies in local cinema. Many “barkada-themed” movies have since tried to follow suit, but only a few have accurately represented their specific generation, and even fewer that had the same impact as the iconic film.
So it comes as no surprise that Star Cinema’s new movie The Reunion, immediately drew comparisons to Bagets and all the other ‘barkada” themed movies that came before it.
Director Frasco Mortiz, however, was very frank to admit that his debut movie has no aspirations of becoming this generation’s “Bagets.”
“Naku ayoko ng ganun, may nakita na nga ako writeup calling it the Bagets of this generation,” Mortiz told The Manila Times shortly after the press conference of the movie. “Ayoko siya bigyan ng title kase napakalaking movie ng Bagets, and mahirap yun pantayan.
“Wala akong ginu-gun na maging Bagets ang The Reunion. During its time, Bagets was very influential sa teenage culture. Maraming nauso, hindi lang sa pananamit ng tao because of the movie. Ngayon kase iba na ang kultura natin, di mo na kailangan manood ng pelikula para lang malaman kung ano ang usong damit, now we have the internet for that. So ibang iba na yung time and culture natin today,” he explained.
Instead Direk Frasco says, he wants viewers to appreciate that Star Cinema took a risk in producing a movie that is quite different from the usual romantic comedies and horror films it has become famous for.
“Different in a sense na hindi to sobrang comedy or sobrang drama. This is a fun movie about the value of true friendship mixed in with the most popular songs of the Eraserheads.”
Direk Frasco then recounted how the movie had undergone several changes since they first conceptualized it as a musical. “Initially parang musical siya, tapos naging parang Kanto Boys eventually naging barkada movie na tribute na din sa music Eraserheads.”
The story, he said, is based on his real-life experiences while the characters were actually based on their friends. “Nabuo yung story based sa mga experiences namin nung highschool na nirelate namin sa mga twenty-somethings ngayon. We wanted to somehow show the worries and uncertainties faced by the youth today.”
The movie presents the journey of a high school barkada who reunites after several years to trace back their lives and search for the things that went wrong and the people that they’ve hurt in order to change their future.
Direk Frasco admits that even with his surname (he is the son of Director Edgar Mortiz and the nephew of ABS-CBN president Charo Santos-Concio) he had doubts about what to do with his life after college. “When I graduated from college, ayaw ko sana magwork sa ABS (ABS-CBN) dahil ayoko isipin ng mga tao na ginamit ko lang ang pangalan ko to get work. So I was at a crossroads and di ko alam kung saan ako pupunta. I feel ganun din ang nararamdaman ng maraming new graduates na parang ‘uy bakit ganito nangyari sa atin, bakit ganito lang ang trabaho natin, yung lovelife natin, samantalang maayos naman tayo nung high school pagkatapos ngayon reunion olats (talo) tayo?” he explained.
Frasco admits the shift from directing TV to movies was difficult at first, but then the real friendship of the cast made his job easier. “Parang tropa lang kami sa set. Puro kalokohan lang sa shooting and nagrereflect yung closeness namin behind the scenes kapag ginagawa na yung eksena.
He adds that being almost the same age as most of the cast members was also an advantage as they got to share their ideas. “Pagdating sa work tigil muna kalokohan, nandoon yung respeto, and ang maganda this is a collaborative effort because nagbabatuhan kami ng ideas sa bawat eksena to make it better.”
When asked about how he prepared for the movie, Direk Frasco said he avoided watching similar barkada themed movies. “Marami silang binabato na movies na dapat ko daw panoorin, pero umiwas ako dahil baka may magaya ako and sabihin nilang kinuha ko lang yung scenes from another movie.”
He, however, admits to watching The Hangover and The Avengers while shooting the movie. “The reason why I watched those movies is to find out how the director managed to balance the screen time of those big name actors. Kase may mga pangalan na din sina Kean Cipriano, Xian Lim, Enrique Gil and Enchong Dee, and even the ladies, so I wanted to give them equal treatment, and when we were doing the editing, happy naman ako because everyone had their own moments in the movie. That is also one of the reasons why we decided to incorporate a scene where they were dressed as The Avengers,” he related.
The Reunion is a coming of age comedy flick that follows the adventures and misadventures of Lloyd (Enchong), Bogs (Enrique), Pat (Kean) and Joax (Xian) after their life in high school and now as they struggle to pursue their passion for music and their respective life goals. As they relive the fun of their high school years and trace back their mistakes, will they finally make things right and positively change their future?
The movie also features Jessy Mediola, Megan Young, Bangs Garcia and Julia Montes as well as Matt Evans, Alodia Gosiengfiao, Tom Rodriguez, Joseph Marco, Ivan Dorschner, and Gina Pareno.
The Reunion opens in cinemas on tomorrow August 15, 2012.