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Monday, November 26, 2012


MANILA, Philippines – Filipino filmmaker Celso Ad. Castillo passed away, at 2 a.m. on Monday in his home in Siniloan, Pampanga.He was 69. 
Wife Ophelia Lopez-Castillo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that her husband complained of chest pains late Monday night. “He was tired. He just came from the printing press to check on his book,” his wife recalled. Entitled “Celso Ad. Castillo: An Autobiography and His Craft,” the book was set to be released soon, according to the filmmaker’s Facebook account. “He kept revising the last few chapters,” his wife related. “He wanted it to have a beautiful ending.” 
Castillo got his wish, as tributes keep pouring in from colleagues from the entertainment industry. 
Batangas Governor and actress Vilma Santos hailed him “as brilliant.” “I had the privilege of working with him in films like ‘Burlesk Queen’ and ‘Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak,” Santos said. She recalled that her staff had been texting Castillo two days ago. “He was coordinating with us. We sent him pictures for his book.” 
Actress Maria Isabel Lopez, who starred in “Isla,” said Castillo was “a passionate artist. He was able to ‘physicalize’ the movie in his mind.” 
Fellow filmmaker Elwood Perez described him as a “true maverick”, while another filmmaker Peque Gallaga praised him as one of the “three great Filipino directors,” along with the late National Artists Gerry de Leon and Ishmael Bernal. 
Cannes-winning director Brillante Ma. Mendoza, who worked as production designer under Castillo, called him a “genius. I learned a lot from him.” 
He was dubbed the “Messiah of Philippine cinema,” for creating hit movies that broke new ground in the 1970s: from the action flick “Asedillo” (starring Fernando Poe Jr.) to the erotic drama “Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa” (Gloria Diaz), from the horror film “Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara” (Susan Roces) to the masterpiece on the dying days of bodabil “Burlesk Queen” (Vilma Santos). 
Indie filmmake Ron Bryant, who made a documentary on Castillo, said that the acclaimed director was “a vanguard of the indie spirit.” 
British critic and distributor Pete Tombs told the Inquirer that Castillo was “an original and visionary filmmaker.” Tomb’s Boum/Mondo Macabro released Castillo’s 1984 bold film “Snake Sisters” on DVD in the United States four years ago. 
Apart from his autobiography, he was also working on a film on Laguna that was to be included in the masters’ edition of the Sineng Pambansa, scheduled next year by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). 
“His demise is a great loss to Philippine cinema,” said Santos, chair of the FDCP. 
His body lies in his residence in Siniloan, Laguna. 
By Bayani San Diego
Philippine Daily Inquirer

  • Celso Ad Castillo is ranked along with Directors Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, Marilou Diaz-Abaya and Mike de Leon for bringing about the Philippine cinema’s so-called Second Golden Age in the 70s.
  • Celso was only 21 when he did his first film, Misyong Mapanganib (1965), which signaled his independent filmmaking years. The movie gave Tito Galla, brother of Gloria Romero, his first starring role opposite Helen Gamboa.
  • At 27, he directed Fernando Poe Jr. in Asedillo (1971), a biographical sketch of one of the more charismatic local dissident leaders in Southern Tagalog which gave the action star a Famas best actor award. Celso went on to direct FPJ in other films: Ang Alamat (1971), Sto. Domingo (1972) and Esteban (1973).
  • Castillo was also known for such classic as Nympha, an erotic film ahead of its time; Celso Ad Castillo made his mark in local movies by creating a stir in the early '70s, with his sex flicks which were once even condemned as "pornography." His original Nympha was hailed as one of the best movies of the decade, along with his Asedillo. Nympha became the second Filipino movie that qualified for competition category in the 1971 Venice Film Festival, after Manuel Conde's Genghis Khan. Nympha was shot in black and white and starred a relative newcomer whom Celso simply christened as Rizza (Estrella Fabian in real life). The film earned for Celso his first Famas nomination as best director, up against Gerry de Leon's "Lilet," which starred Celia Rodriguez.
  • Celso further reinforced his reputation as director of sex flicks with "The Virgin" which again starred Rizza, "Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa" with Gloria Diaz in the original version and Ruffa Gutierrez in the remake, "Ang Madugong Daigdig ni Salvacion with Pilar Pilapil, "Virgin People" with Pepsi Paloma, Janet Bordon and Myrna Castillo, "Isla" with Maria Isabel Lopez, "Brown Emmanuelle" with Myrna Castillo and "Paradise Inn" with Lolita Rodriguez and Vivian Velez.
  • Celso, however, tried in hand in other film genres. He wrote and directed even horror flicks like the Susan Roces-Rosanna Ortiz classic, Patayin Mo sa Sindak si Barbara in 1974 and Susan Roces award-winning movie, Maligno in 1977.
  • Pagputi ng Uwak Pagitim ng Tagak (1976), a love story interwoven with the Hukbalahap Movement in the country, established Celso's identity as a filmmaker.
  • Burlesk Queen (1997), which starred Vilma Santos, gave Celso his first best director award, besting other film greats such as Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, Mike de Leon, Eddie Romero and Augusto Buenaventura
  • Celso also directed Christopher de Leon in Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan, Dante Rivero and Hilda Koronel in Ang Gangster at ang Birhen, Jay Ilagan in Ato Ti Bondying, Elizabeth Oropesa in Uhaw na Dagat, Lito Lapid in Pedro Tunasan (1983), Dina Bonnevie and Gary Estrada in Tag-araw, Tag-ulan, German Moreno in Payaso, Gloria Diaz in Ang Daigdig ay Isang Butil na Luha, Sunshine Cruz in Lihim ni Madonna and Ramon Zamora in Ang Mahiwagang Daigdig ni Pedro Penduko (1973) and Return of the Dragon (1974).
Excerpts from the article, "Celso Remains a 'Kid' at Heart"
by Leah Salterio
/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Misyong Mapanganib (1965) - Celso's first film / Stars Tito Galla and Helen Gamboa
Zebra (1965) - Stars Tito Galla, Stella Suarez and Ruby Regala in the title role
Mansanas sa Paraiso (1965)- Stars Stella Suarez in her first starring role
Nympha (1971) - released during the 'Bomba" era/ Stars Rizza
Asedillo (1971)- Stars Fernando Poe, Jr. and Barbara Perez
Ang Alamat (1971) - Stars Fernando Poe, Jr. and Pilar Pilapil
Sto. Domingo (1972) - Stars Fernando Poe, Jr. and Boots Anson-Roa
Esteban (1973) - Stars Fernando Poe, Jr., Alona Alegre and Boots Anson-Roa

Return of the Dragon (1974)- Stars Ramon Zamora and Lotis Key

Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa (1974)- stars Gloria Diaz, Elizabeth Oropesa and Vic Vargas in a very special role. It started the so-called 'wet look' in local cinema.
Patayin Mo sa Sindak si Barbara (1974) - Stars Susan Roces, Dante Rivero and Rosanna Ortiz
Ang Madugong Daigdig ni Salvacion (1975)- Stars Ricky Belmonte, Pilar Pilapil and Leila Hermosa
Daluyong at Habagat (1976) - Stars Vic Vargas, Ricky Belmonte, Alma Moreno and Pinky de Leon
Burlesk Queen (1977) - Stars Vilma Santos
Maligno (1977) - Stars Susan Roces, Dante Rivero, Celia Rodriguez and Eddie Garcia

Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak (1978) - Stars Vilma Santos and Bembol Roco

Aliw-iw (1979)- Stars Rio Locsin
Totoy Boogie (1980) - Stars Lloyd Samartino
Pedro Tunasan (1983_ - Stars Lito Lapid and Tina Revilla
Paradise Inn (1984) - Stars Lolita Rodriguez and Vivian Velez

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