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Ang Larawan The Movie, The Musical

The musical-turned-movie is the latest must-watch in our radar.

We rarely get to see local musicals in our cinemas, reason why Loy Arcenas’ latest masterpiece Ang Larawan is a refreshing change in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival lineup. An adaptation based on Nick Joaquin’s three-act English play A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, this film circles around the story of high-profile painter Don Lorenzo Marasigan’s daughters, Candida and Paula Marasigan, who face financial hardship due to their father’s incapacity to produce art for some time. But their father’s last piece, a self-portrait, suddenly attracts the curiosity of many – arising conflict to the story’s narration set during the prevalent times of the elite before the World War II.


The star-studded cast, a mix of theatre veterans and mainstream actors as leads (and having cameos!) is a delightful treat to movie-goers. The Joanna Ampil-, Rachel Alejandro- and Paulo Avelino-starrer first premiered in Japan for the Tokyo International Film Festival under the title The Portrait, earning a nomination spot for the Asian Future Film award. Its rich portrayal of the high society and the presented conflict mingled with Filipino culture drama, matched with outstanding performances from its actors, great delivery from the director and staff, and added musicality by Ryan Cayabyab overall made this in the radar for the past couple of months. Even film critic for Variety Richard Kuipers appraised Ang Larawan, describing it as, "beautifully decorated and top-notch in every technical detail."

With such recognition, this film is not just a hype – it clearly won’t disappoint its viewers. If these aren’t enough reasons to catch this on Christmas Day, we list down a few more things that will convince you otherwise.


1. The list of  artists, apart from the main actors, include Sandino Martin, Cris Villonco, Aicelle Santos, Nonie Buencamino, Menchu Lauchengco, Robert Arevalo, Celeste Legaspi, Cara Manglapus, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Rayver Cruz, Ogie Alcasid, Jojit Lorenzo, Dulce, Nanette Inventor, Jaime Fabregas, Bernardo Bernardo, and Noel Trinided (phew!). Such a powerhouse!

2. It’s theatre and movie in one. This play has been staged numerous times, but goes to the big screen for the first time – giving you the first taste in the convenience of your nearest mall cinema.

3. Ang Larawan isn’t just for your entertainment. Its description tells it’s, “an ode to the passing of the world of truth and beauty and a celebration of the tenacity of the spirit amidst the rise of materialism and consumerism.” Apart from the amazing production and superb acting, the greatest takeaway are the ideas and reflection that will stick with you after the credits have rolled.