Director: Carlos Vander Tolosa
Language: Filipino; English subtitles
Runtime: 90 min
So new to the movie industry was Mike De Leon’s grandmother Doña Sisang, the founder of LVN Pictures, that she used her own mansion on Broadway in New Manila, Quezon City, as the main set for My Sweetheart, the studio’s first prewar commercial release. That mansion, which would subsequently appear in many other LVN movies, becomes the place where Guia (Mila Del Sol), a girl from the countryside, is “discovered” to have a beautiful singing voice and is pulled out of the peasantry to become a radio star. “Through years of repeat viewings, I’ve grown fond of this film,” Mike De Leon recalls in Last Look Back. “Its storytelling is brisk, enhanced by beautiful Tagalog songs, one of which I used to hear played over and over again in my grandmother’s house, ‘Tunay na Tunay’ (Really True) by Juan Silos. Another theme the film tackles is the conflict between popular American and traditional Filipino songs. Though depicted with a light touch, the dark streak of our colonial mentality is integral to the plot and the rigid feudal class structure that defined the characters’ situation. The story’s lessons are clear—sing in English to be popular and stick to your social class.”
Please note: little survives of the film library of LVN studios, and what does survive is generally in poor condition. We nonetheless present these rare films so that Singaporean audiences can experience them for the first time.
This screening is part of Retrospective: Mike De Leon. For the full programme, please click here.
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