DIRECTOR ANTOINETTE JADAONE: ONCE UPON A CAMPUS LIFE

Film Notes
DIRECTOR ANTOINETTE JADAONE: ONCE UPON A CAMPUS LIFE
By Pablo A. Tariman

Direk Antoinette Jadaone’s latest romance film — Alone/Together – has a campus setting with the trailer showing the lead stars seated on a bench overlooking what looks like UP Diliman’s Sunken Garden.

 

Direk Antoinette Jadaone with cast of Alone/Together, Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano. From college life and beyond.

It is enough to get her to reminisce her campus days in what was once known as The Diliman Republic. Someone asked her if her film writing in latest project was influenced in anyway by her campus life? What does she think of UP students turning revolutionaries? Did she once harbor an idealistic viewpoint on the way to finishing a university course?

The director takes a long pause as she tries to recall what was left of that campus life. “Once in your student life,” she admits, “you want to change the world. You want to make it a better place to live in. But I suppose, it is better said than done. When you leave the campus, it is a totally different world altogether. It’s like falling in love for the first time only to end up facing uncomfortable reality after a breakup. That is why my latest film is about a relationship that has evolved from the campus to the outside world. It is a more mature film in the sense that the characters have outgrown their school mindset and are more in touch with the world as we see it now.”

Lovers on the bench. A new kind of romantic film

Turning to her actors Liza Soberano who plays Christine Lazaro the aspiring museum director and Enrique Gil who is Rafael Toledo the carefree med-tech student, Direk Antoinette has to go back to school literally to get the real feel of his story.

They visited the UST campus and interacted with the students while Enrique as the med-tech student has to do actual immersion from PGH to East avenue Medical Center.

Added the director: “This is a more mature role for Enrique (Gil) and Liza (Soberano) in the sense that their characters have gone through the first phase of love and years later after breaking up, they find themselves reconnecting. They have left the campus and are now living real world with real problems totally detached from the campus notion of romantic love.”

The actors admit the campus was a scary test for their young lives. “I am not the type who’d enter the best schools just to prove myself,” said Liza. “I cannot see myself as a lawyer but more like a psychologist and I hope to pursue when I am done with showbiz.”

Surely, the director herself must have evolved from the label “breakout romantic comedy director of 2014” to a more discerning one wary of marketing labels.

Will her new outlook retain its box office clout?

Director Antoinette Jadaone as cover person. She has to work hard because she considers cinema a powerful medium.

As writer-director, she insists on doing something beyond a love story that everyone knows.

She likes to write and rewrite and hone her characters to that critical phase after going through disillusionment.

Her last word: “What I learned in the last ten years is that cinema is a powerful medium. Hence, I cannot be content with the common story of romantic flings. I have to show something beyond that stage, something that I know will enable characters to come to terms with themselves.”

Alone/Together — produced by Black Sheep and also starring Sylvia Sanchez and Nonie Buencamino — opens in cinemas on February 13.

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