Monday, July 29, 2013

CELSO AD. CASTILLO: YOUNG MAN IN A HURRY (The Weekly Nation, November 12, 1965)

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by Armando Ruiz David

At 21, he already has several films to his credit as director and scriptwriter.

A STORY AND SCRIPTWRITER at 18 and a director at 21.  That gives the reader an idea of the record of Celso Ad. Castillo, but by no means does it sum it up.  However, it does give one a picture of a young man in a hurry to go places in this country's cinematic industry.  It also explains why Castillo has been dubbed the youngest director alive.

College stage director and actor, holder of an A.B. degree, and a law student, Celso Ad. Castillo, became a story and scriptwriter at 18 when he made the first "agent" series in local cinema; namely:  James Ban-dong (Secret Agent 0210), Dolfong Scarface (Agent 1-2-3), and Dr. Yes.

At 21, VM Cinematic Films assigned Castillo to direct the controversial film, Misyong Mapanganib (Top Secret 7-11), starring Tito Galla and Helen Gamboa.  Then Jessica Productions gave him his next directorial job, a jungle movie titled Zebra (Babaing Gubat) which launched Ruby Regala in her first starring role.

At this writing, Castillo is making two more pictures, Mansanas Sa Paraiso and Pistoleros.

Castillo hasn't had smooth sailing in his career.  His first fight was against the movie censors when his first picture, Misyong Mapanganib, had to be previewed en banc for two times.  He also has had fights with people who cannot understand him.  "They always treat me as a boy, when they themselves know that I'm older than they are in the sense of proper behavior and exploitation of things.  I sleep when I want to sleep on the set -- I sing and cry whenever I feel like doing it.  Because that's the only way I could keep myself and my talent.  I hope they understand me."

Talking about movie direction, he goes on:

"I want to exploit the unexploited things.  I want to impress the subconscious and not the conscious sense of men.  It is better to deal with the dirtiest behavior of men because in that way, you will understand life itself.  The smallest form of subject in life like poverty is the best movie theme, in my opinion.  People haven't changed; they still like tragedies and enjoy seeing the reflection of their lives on the screen.  To make a good movie, there must be public participation.

Noted for this kind of movie are directors Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Vittorio de Sica, Akira Kurosawa, and that inimitable Satyahiit Ray of India.  By reading the biographies of these men, Celso Ad. Castillo has learned many things about movie direction.  And remembering these great men, Castillo will, as he says, exploit the minutest and most sensitive parts of human beings to give them what the others can not give."

Castillo is an avid follower of Elia Kazan, the Greek-born Hollywood director who discovered Warren Beatty, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, Shirley MacLaine, and the late James Dean.  He appreciates the offbeat style of Roger Vadim, the French director who made Brigitte Bardot what she is today.  He likes both Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming who contrast sharply with each other although both have the same touch of composition in writing.  With his special taste for talent, he considers Marlon Brando the greatest actor today.

Source:  The Weekly Nation
              November 12, 1965

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