A Capsule of Interweaving Perceptions

July 18, 2008

Segurista (1995)

Filed under: Movie Review — Tags: , , , , , , — dementedguy @ 9:56 am

Director: Tikoy Aguiluz
Running time: 111 minutes

Synopsis and Evaluation

During the mid 90s to early 21st century, we saw the advent of ST films which populated the local movie scene. Film outfits such as Seiko and Viva released countless films with the intention to titillate the audience particularly the male ones. Suggestive movie titles such as Patikim ng Pinya and Sutla became household names for their playful meaning in the context of sex. I was young back then meaning I can’t view these kinds of films legally. The only consolation that I could get is that I didn’t miss a lot. Many of these films are dirty, substance-less, horrible and boring.

But I did miss one particularly significant film. For many, this is a movie that would fall under the umbrella of ST films if they didn’t give this a chance to show its worth. I remember this was marketed as a sex romp like many sex flicks back then. This was even rated by the ever-reliable MTRCB with an “X” rating. I was young so I don’t know yet how inept MTRCB was and is. And I always associate a movie with an “X” rating to a plethora of lascivious scenes which a movie can do without.

Having watched Segurista (Dead Sure) thirteen years after its theatrical release, it’s worth the wait. And like many great Filipino films, the issues tackled in the film very much apply to our current Philippine landscape.

Segurista is the story of Karen Fernandez (Michelle Aldana), an insurance agent by day and a guest relations officer (GRO) by night. She secures insurance policies from her wealthy clients in exchange for a steamy night with her. Aldana has that sultry, sophisticated and devilish vibe but still retains the “probinsyana” vibe that is perfect for the role of Karen. One of her clients, Sonny Santos (Gary Estrada), fell in love with her after several nights of steamy encounters (allow me to add that the two-minute sex scene between Aldana and Estrada is one of the hottest I have ever seen in Philippine cinema and there’s even no nudity on that particular scene). The problem is, Karen is already married and has a kid back in Pampanga. She hides her true personality and background to her clients and officemates to protect her family and her own dignity. Given the nature of her job, she still has self-respect for herself evident when she was devastated with the use of the word “puta” to describe her. She is strong and confident outside but a very fragile individual in reality.

Segurista portrays the kapit-sa-patalim way of life of many Filipinos where they are forced to do something against their wills just to survive and give their family a good life. It’s conveyed throughout the film that Karen did not want this kind of life since she repeatedly says that once she reaches her target of a million peso, she would finally settle with her family in Pampanga. This is not something she’s doing for fun unlike Ruby Dimagiba (Ruby Moreno).

This film also conveys that such way of life, while the consequences are not imminent at the onset, will slowly devour an individual away one way or another. One’s dignity, self-respect, reputation, health or even life is at risk with a life like Karen’s — a horrible journey that would only lead to its miserable and tragic ending.

While the rest of the cast is good, Aldana carries this film all by herself. Karen is a complex character who must show a great deal of sexuality, confusion, emotional baggage, deceptive qualities and fragility and Aldana carried her well. Pete Lacaba and Tikoy Aguiluz crafted a tragic tale which is powerful, compelling and relevant.

The Final Word

Segurista is one of the best films I have ever seen in my life. This is a top-notch film from start to finish. It’s still relevant especially in the current Philippine milieu. It’s greatly paced, superbly acted and a beautiful story with a very memorable ending. Segurista is a winner — and I’m dead sure of that.

13 Comments »

  1. Nice post! I love it! have a nice day!

    Comment by Chester — July 18, 2008 @ 4:42 pm

  2. Good stuff, dem. But if we’re looking at the years 1996 to 1999 (the period covered by Segurista and Sutla) had a surprising variety of worthwhile films, from Rizal sa Dapitan (also by Aguiluz) to Babae sa Bubungang Lata (Mario O’Hara) to the great Sisa (easily my favorite of all Rizal films–but hardly anyone elses’s!) to Ad Castillo’s Lihim ni Madonna to two debut features by two upcoming filmmakers: Sana Pagibig Na and Pila Balde (Jeffrey Jeturian) and Kriminal ng Baryo Concepcion (Lav Diaz).

    Comment by Noel Vera — July 18, 2008 @ 11:48 pm

  3. Even Sutla if you see it is surprisingly good–Lualhati Bautista’s script is not about some horny nymphomaniac but about a woman in mortal struggle with her jealous sister. Actually very character driven and subtle. The direction isn’t much, though.

    And I agree with Segurista, it’s one of the best Aguiluz has ever made.

    Comment by Noel Vera — July 18, 2008 @ 11:49 pm

  4. Thanks for the recommendations Noel. Will try to check them out. As you can see, I’m still a novice in the world of film. By the way, I admire your knowledge of films and talent in writing.

    Comment by dementedguy — July 19, 2008 @ 12:29 am

  5. Isa ito sa mga pelikulang napanood ko in my “minor” years (sa betamax pa) and I distinctly remember how impressed I was by the movie. I remember this was nominated in almost all categories sa URIAN but Aldana didn’t get the nod for Best Actress.

    Comment by thescud — July 20, 2008 @ 12:07 am

  6. I read about the Urian tidbit and I was disappointed to know that Aldana didn’t win the Best Actress plum. Sayang. But a commendation to Urian for recognizing this “little” film with the Best Picture award as well as the Best Director award given to Tikoy Aguiluz. I just love this film. Very contemporary and relevant.

    Comment by dementedguy — July 20, 2008 @ 12:26 am

  7. Thanks for the kind wrods–

    Comment by Noel Vera — July 20, 2008 @ 5:40 am

  8. question lang pow:available ba to sa dvd or vcd?

    Comment by ken — July 23, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

  9. It’s available on both VCD and DVD formats.

    Comment by dementedguy — July 25, 2008 @ 11:35 am

  10. Thanks. This must be a must-have. I’ll check Odyssey and Astro tomorrow. Can you recommend any other store/site where I can find it in case wala dun sa dalawa?

    Comment by ken — July 27, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

  11. I think it should be mentioned that Amado “Mads” Lacuesta was my co-writer on this script. Actually, he wrote the first draft, and I did the rewrite that resulted in the final draft–but a lot of what went into that final draft was developed from or inspired by what was in the first draft that Mads wrote. Mads is the scriptwriter of many other noteworthy films: Working Girls 1 & 2, Hinugot sa Langit, Mumbaki, to name only a few.

    Comment by Pete Lacaba — May 12, 2009 @ 1:03 am

  12. Funny when I was a minor and watched this. I HATED it because all I wanted to see saw boobs. Although I was patient enough to watch the whole movie.

    After 10 years, the story of this movie was still stuck in my head and as my mind mature, every time I think about the movie, now I say it’s a good movie.

    2 more years passed after that then I watched a re-run of the movie on TV, editing out the hot parts which does not matter now anyway because I have seen it and I will be able to fit in those puzzle peices together in my head.

    This is a great movie! Well made, and not your typical “kapit sa patalim” movie.

    And let us not all forget what was the darn hook for this movie. it was Billy Ray Cyrus(Miley’s dad) Immortal hit!

    “Don’t tell my heart, my achey breaky heart…”

    Comment by lolers — June 23, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

  13. some philippine ST movies have really good “s” scenes on it that it really adds up to the story. what i don’t get is the usual ending of the movie – that is through a tragic death of some of the main characters on it, usually the love one of the main sexy actress.

    Comment by sharpcom — October 30, 2011 @ 6:49 am


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