|The Red Shoes|
original movie poster
|Directed by||Raul Jorolan|
|Written by||James Ladioray|
Tirso Cruz III
|Music by||Jessie Lasaten|
|Editing by||Ike Veneracion|
|Distributed by||Unitel Productions|
|Release date(s)||March 10, 2010(Philippines)|
The Red Shoes is a 2010 Filipino film produced by Unitel, known for the box-office and critical hits Santa Santita and Crying Ladies. The movie is unusual in Philippine cinema in the way it uses history to frame a tale of lost love and redemption spanning close to three decades, starting with the tragic accident in the construction of the Manila Film Center in 1981, through the 1986 People Power Revolution and concluding in 2009.
On the last day of the People Power Revolution in the Philippines in February 1986, 10-year-old Lucas Munozca (Marvin Agustin) finds himself swept up with a euphoric crowd that has entered the grounds of the Presidential Palace. Lost in the tumult, Lucas stumbles into a room where the president's wife, Imelda Marcos, kept her infamous 3000 pairs of shoes. He plans to filch two pairs but only manages to steal one pair--for poetic justice and for love.
Lucas gives the pair of red shoes from the country's First Lady to the first ladies of his life. The right shoe he gives to his mother, Chat (Liza Lorena), who ekes out a living giving manicures and pedicures while seemingly unable to recover from the loss of her husband, Domingo (Tirso Cruz III), the father of her only son, who was among the 169 workers said to have been buried alive when the upper levels of the Manila Film Center collapsed under construction in 1981. The left shoe he gifts to the love of his life, Bettina (Nikki Gil), a little girl he gets acquainted with on one of his mother's house visits to their wealthy family compound.
Lucas and Bettina eventually become a couple years later and go steady for 13 years until a betrayal ends the relationship. At this point, the red shoes again become crucial for both mother and son in their attempt to overcome their respective loneliness: Chat, in trying to contact her husband from beyond the grave through a spiritualist, Madame Vange (Tessie Tomas); and Lucas, in trying to redeem himself for having lost his true love in a moment of weakness.
In the third edition of Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in 2007, a film entitled 2,999, which told the story of a missing pair of shoes from Imelda Marcos's collection, was one of the finalists that year. Unfortunately, the filmmakers were unable to finish the entry on time so they decided to pull out from the third edition of the film festival.
Marvin Agustin liked the story so much that he called writer James Ladioray to present to Unitel President and CEO Tony Gloria, who was instantly drawn to the story and wasted no time in greenlighting the project.
"The story unfolds through three decades as we tell Lucas’ story," Jorolan lets on. "Young, resolute and in love, there is nothing that will stop him from pursuing his goals – not even committing an act amidst the chaos and confusion of the 1986 People Power revolution – all in the name of love."
Jorolan, a TV commercial director, faced other challenages. Lead stars Agustin and Gil, contract actors from rival TV stations GMA Network and ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, had to squeeze in shooting in their competing work schedules, stretching principal photography, which took only 20 days, over 10 months. Jaroland and Ladioray, an advertising creative director, had to shuttle in between their regular work and the movie set to complete the shoot.
Ladioray adds, "I didn't want to make an outrightly political movie. That part in our history was very decisive, I wanted to make a story that can use that turning point as a point of redemption for everyone. The shoes are a metaphor — I wanted to ask the question, would you steal for love?"
Jorolan speaks of another metaphor that was crucial to the story, the bridge. "A bridge connotes relationship, whether it's been cut short, it still holds its purpose, similar to a relationship that's been broken off. (It still holds significance)."