Friday, June 22, 2012

MARIFE NECESITO: Portrait of an underrated Filipina actress turned international sensation

As lingers the convoluted fixation of both the Philippine entertainment industry and the Filipino audience to outdated Western standards, the collective journey of topnotch local actors’ remain stagnated to undervaluation. Despite global recognition as first-rate thespians, the obsolete yet prevailing domestic ambivalence frequently relegate them to inconsequential roles.

One such locally unappreciated performer, Filipina actress Marife Necesito laments on how her acting ability is mistreated by local show business stakeholders despite the locally unknown red-carpet treatment she receives from foreign film dignitaries in various international film festivals. What she describes as her painful journey in the local entertainment milieu is but detestable in that she usually ends up underrated vis-à-vis mediocre but fair-skinned and pretty-faced local actors.

This lamentation from an internationally-acclaimed Filipina actress is not without basis as it is noteworthy to examine what Marife Necesito is made up that she needs to endure the prejudices and prejudgment by powerbrokers in her own country’s entertainment industry.

Marife Necesito is a professional stage, film and TV actress/ commercial model in the Philippines. She is a member of Balintataw Film & Theater Arts of the UNESCO Philippine Center for International Theater Institute (ITI).

She was trained by senior thespians Cecille Guidote Alvarez and Angie Ferro. In theater, various works can be credited to her. For Dulaang Bonifacio, she did August Strindberg, “Miss Julie” as Julie, Jose Rizal’s “Elias and Salome (Excerpt)”as Salome - For Balintataw Theater Group, she was a part of “Trojan Women” under the direction of Nikos Shiafkalis, as “Perla” in the stage adaptation of the award-winning film “Maynila Sa Kuko ng Liwanag”, as “Juli” in “El Filibusterismo” and as “Lucing/Penang” in “Without Seeing the Dawn”.

Other stage plays where Marife displayed exemplary performance include Des Bautista’s “Heroes of Ilocos” as Princess Urduja, “Movie Reporters on the Loose VI” as Amanda K., and “Square Paradise” as Simplicia.  Her more recent theater involvements are “Sarong Banggi” and playing the lead role in Diosdado Sa. Anzures’ Palanca award-winning play “Digmaan”, recurrently restaged as “Awit kay Ana (Song for Ana)” by theater director Noel Estonilo Miralles around Metro Manila, nearby key cities and outlying provinces.
Marife has also done numerous TVC works. She appeared in Nescafe, Western Union, Tide detergent powder, and Cream silk Hair conditioner to name a few. She has done two station IDs for The Filipino Channel and Cinema One, both of ABS-CBN, one of the largest TV networks in the country.

Possessing an acting talent considered by critics as highly remarkable, Marife has done drama shows with the rivalling television networks. In GMA-7, she acted in “Kung Mamahalin Mo Lang   Ako”, “Mahika”, “Magpakailanman”, “Obra”, “Amaya”, and lately “Adarna”. In ABS-CBN, she appeared in drama shows such as “I Love Betty la Fea” (Filipino version), “Bituing Walang Ningning”, “Krystala”, “Maalaala Mo Kaya” and “Lastikman”. Shows she got involved with in other networks include “KKK: Crisis Against Crime”, “Pangarap Kong Jackpot”, “Count Your Blessings”, KROKO” and she was part of the television series in ABS-CBN, entitled, "Tanging Yaman".

In 2008, Marife acted in the movie TROPICAL MANILA, a Korean film, directed by Sang Woo Lee. TROPICAL MANILA has been selected for competition at the ROTTERDAM INTERNATIONAL Film Festival (2008) and VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL FILM Festival (2008). Likewise, in the year 2011, Marife was nominated as Best Supporting Actress in the film "KA ORYANG", for her truthful, convincing and powerful performance, directed by Sari Dalena. The said film won, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound in CINEMAONE ORIGINALS Competition.

In international cinema, Marife made noise as the “underrated Filipina actress turned international sensation”. Her later film is Memfis Production’s “Mammoth” directed by award-winning Swedish director Lukas Moodysson where she plays the role of “Gloria” one of the lead character, opposite Gael Garcia Bernal and Oscar Awards nominee Michelle Williams. The film is one of the official selections for the Main competition of the 59th BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL (2009). She also got nominated as Best Actress in 11th CINEMANILA film festival for international main competition category in the same film. 
Marife has done other international films as well. She played the challenging role of “Jocasta” under the direction of Singaporean filmmaker Chew Tze Chuan entitled “Carnaval”. She was a “Dong Ha” Bar Girl in Sidney Furie’s “Going Back”. This Canadian-based Production was shown in HBO. It also include "Black Market Love" an American independent film, directed by Beau Ballinge.

In the Philippines, Marife has worked with internationally-acclaimed director Lav Diaz for two films namely “Heremias Book 2” as “Neneng” and “Evolution of Filipino Family” as “Hilda”. The latter was featured in different international film festivals such as, AUSTIN ASIAN FILM Festival (2006), UNDERDOX FILM Festival (2006), 20th FRIBOURG INTERNATIONAL FILM Festival (2006), 21st MAR DE PLATA INTERNATIONAL FILM Festival (2006), 23rd TORINO FILM Festival (2005), VIENNALE VIENNA INTERNATIONAL FILM Festival (2005), 32nd FLANDERS 7th BARCELONA ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL (2005),  29th GOTEBORG FILM Festival (2005),34th INTENATIOANL FILM FESTIVAL ROTTERDAM (2005), 29th TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM Festival (2004) and 27th ASIAN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL FILM Festival (2004). “Evolution of a Filipino Family” won Best Picture in 2005 GAWAD URIAN.Marife has also played the role of “Espie” in Dennis Empalmado’s “PANDANGGO”. It was one of the official selection of LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL (2007), in   exhibition in CINEMA INDIO LOS ANGELES (2007) and finalist in CINEMAONE ORIGINALS.

In 2006, her film “RAPTURA” directed by Ron Bryant was featured in the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. Her more recent films also include Adolfo Alix’s “KARERA”,"PITIK-BULAG" (Blindluck) directed by Gil Portes, "MONDOMANILA", directed by Khavn Dela Cruz, "GRACELAND" directed by New York-based director Ron Morales. "LINABO" a short film directed by Aleksi Gumela, "DARKEST NIGHT" directed by Noel Tan, "KAPATID (BROTHERS)", a short film directed by Steven Flor, and "TAKSIKAB" and "ANG MISIS NI MEYOR" directed by Archie DEL MUNDO. Her upcoming films include “AGONISTES” directed by Lav Diaz.

Of late, in "LILET NEVER HAPPENED”, a Dutch film directed by Jacco Groen, Marife already won the Best Acting Ensemble award from the International Film Festival of Manhattan (New York City).

The golden era when local performers of her caliber are finally granted rightful recognition is yet to dawn in Philippine cinema. And while the both the powerbrokers and audiences in the local mainstream entertainment industry keep their eyes shut in the face of world-class talents like Marife Necesito, thus will it remain dead despite the emergence of alternatives that will soon bury it to extinction.

No comments:

Post a Comment