DIRECTOR Joel Lamangan is directing another socially conscious film, “Walker”, for a tyro film company called New Sunrise Films.
“Walker” is the new name used for prostitutes who do street walking and the film is about a family of prostitutes, with the Lola, the mother and the daughters all engaged in the world’s oldest profession.
The script is by Troy Espiritu, who wrote the award-winning “Ma Rosa” and “Right to Kill” for Brillante Mendoza. There have been many films about prostitution through the years, like “Aliw, Sir” by Ishmael Bernal, “Prostie” by Erik Matti, “Mga Rosas sa Putikan” by Maning Borlaza, “Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin” by Carlos Siguion Reyna, “Playgirl” by Mel Chionglo, etc. How is this going to be any different from those?
“‘Walker’ is very contemporary,” he says. “Makabago ito kasi hindi na nga pokpok ang tawag na sa kanila kundi walker. Dahil sa kahirapan, napipilitan sila sa ganitong trabaho. It aims to show how Filipinos are trapped in a system of amorality as seen in the family of Rita Avila as Dolores, a former sex worker who becomes a bugaw. ‘Yung mother niya, played by Dorothy Gilmore, is also a former prostitute at ‘yung mga anak niya, ganun din.”
Joel says these women are actually victims of injustice. “Sa kasaysayan ng buhay natin, laging may oppressor and may oppressed, at ‘yung oppressors, yumayaman pa at nagiging makapangyarihan. Ang mga oppressed, they were driven by circumstances sa ganyang trabaho, like Elora Espano, the second daughter of Rita, na napilitang mag-walker after ‘yung husband niya, si Edgar Allan Guzman, was framed up by cops.”
The cops in the story are personifications of evil. “Yung police chief sa lugar nila, si Jim Pebanco, matagal nang may pagnanasa kay Elora.
Pinahuli siya, ginahasa, tapos pinaghalinhinan siyang gahasain ng iba pang mga pulis, then pinatay siya at itinapon ang bangkay niya. Then ‘yung asawa niya, pinatay rin later. Ipakikita rito sa ‘Walker’ ang kawalanghiyaan ng mga taong nabibigyan ng power. Inaabuso nila ang mismong mga taong actually ay siyang nagpapasuweldo sa kanya at dapat nilang paglingkuran. We are filming this on location in Bagong Pook, Cavite City.”
He’s very busy despite the pandemic, doing one movie after another for various companies when others are idle. How would he explain this?
“ Eh, wala naman akong masamang record sa producers ko. Kapag sinabi kong tatapusin ko ang isang movie in such number of days, I deliver it to them at hindi ako nago-overbudget. Never ko silang binibigyan ng sakit ng ulo.”
How does he feel that movie houses are said to be opening again come November? “Siempre, as a filmmaker, I’m very happy. Because movies should really be seen on the big screen in actual theaters. E, ngayon, sa streaming, limited ang kita at ang bilis-bilis pang makopya ng mga pirata. ‘Yung bago kong movie, binebenta na raw sa Quiapo. Kawawa naman ang mga taga-industriya. Puwede naman sigurong magbukas ang mga sinehan basta we’ll practice the necessary health protocols to insure everyone’s safety.”