EUGENE DOMINGO: FROM THE SEPTIC TANK TO THE BARBER’S CHAIR

I first heard about Barber’s Tales (Mga Kwentong Barbero) when I interviewed Director Jun Lana during the premiere night of Bwakaw a couple of years back, I had asked him what projects he was most most excited to do and it was the first one he mentioned.

Turns out Barber’s Tales was indeed something to look forward to judging from all the accolades it has received from other countries that one can clearly see from its movie poster.

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Set in a remote province at the onset of Martial law in the early 1970s, the story revolves around the free-spirited and newly widowed Marilou Eugene Domingo who inherits their town’s only barbershop from her husband – a business that has been passed down by generations of men in her husband’s family.

Having no other means to support herself, she musters the courage to run the barbershop, a traditionally male trade. However, despite the skills she gained from years of observation and being an assistant to her husband, as a female barber she fails to attract any customers.

Nevertheless, things take an unexpected turn when Marilou gains the trust of other women in her community.

The theater trained Domingo, who is more known for her comedic roles, again puts her acting skills to the test as she gives another stellar performance that has already earned her acting awards from the international movie circles.

Domingo shared she has done so much for “Barber’s Tales” teasing that it may even be one of her last films as she plans to take an indefinite sabbatical from moviemaking.

“Lie low muna ako sa paggawa ng pelikula,” Domingo told media at the presscon of “Barber’s Tales,” which will have an exclusive run in local theaters starting Wednesday, August 13.

She said she’s reached a point where she feels “there is more exciting stuff about my life outside showbiz” – one of which is finding a life partner. Jokingly referring todirector Jun Robles Lana, who got married to Perci Intalan last year)– “Hopefully, kagaya ng isang tao diyan makakahanap ako ng taong magpapakasal sa akin, kung may pag-asa pa.”

Now that filming is over Eugene is busy promoting the film not only locally but in other film festivals around the world “Sana may mauwi kami sa inyong lahat ng pandagdag sa laurels na nakikita ninyo sa posters.

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Barber’s tales already won the Best Project Award in Hong Kong and the Audience Award at the Far East International Film Festival, while Eugene brought home the Best Actress trophy in Tokyo.”

Eugene says even if this is turns out to be her last movie, she would be happy.

“Sabi ko kay Direk Jun, if this is gonna be the last film of my career, I don’t mind.”

To prepare for the role of Marilou, who is forced to run her late husband’s barber shop to support herself, Domingo had to learn how to cut men’s hair from a seasoned barber.

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“Hindi pwede daanin sa inarte. Kailangan mo siyang magupitan ng panlalaki; maahitan ng panlalaki. Nag-workshop ako plus character analysis. Binigyan pa ako ng Direk Jun ng additional reading materials.”

The role she said was even more physically challenging. Shot in the mountains of Quezon, Eugene and the entire cast and crew spent more than a month without electricity and phone signal and had to traverse rough roads and even cross rivers to get to the next setting.

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But the sacrifice was worth it “Nanampalataya ako sa pelikulang ito. It is the last faith I have sa paggawa or paghandog ng makabuluhang pelikula. Kahit anong sabihin mo, hindi nagbabago ang problema ng Pilipino nung dekada 70 (the setting of the film).”

“Sana may himala moment na naghihintay sa box office,” she crosses her fingers.

Barber’s Tales is Jun Robles Lana’s 2nd in a trilogy of films about small town Philippines that started with Bwakaw (2012). The third one, “Ama Namin (Our Father),” which is about a boy who enters the seminary to be with his father, a priest, is already in pre-production.
Barber’s Tales will have an exclusive theatrical starting August 13, 2014.

 

 

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