Saturday, February 15, 2014

Lilet (Gerardo de Leon, 1971)


In response to the proliferation of soft porn movies, director Gerardo de Leon came out with a bold, shocking film titled Lilet in 1971. His film was rewarded with a plethora of awards from FAMAS including the Best Picture and Best Director awards.

The titular character, Lilet (Celia Rodriguez), goes home after seven years of absence. She has scarce memory at all of the sprawling mansion and its residents. Her father (Vic Silayan) rues her return. She later learns that she is not the only one who came back. Almost every night, she encounters a wandering ghost calling out her name.

Lilet, Lilet...

There are a handful of memorable hair-raising scenes in this movie. The lights and sound effects during the piano and sewing machine scenes amplify the chills meter. The appearance of the ghost is unexpected and terrifying. I admire the perfect blocking of characters in these scenes.


I also loved the breakdown of Lilet at the gate. Nobody screams as good as Celia Rodriguez in local horror films. Lilet is shown banging at the gates. Even though Lilet has been released from jail, she feels imprisoned in the house.

Slowly, Lilet remembers her childhood days. A doctor, who nearly ran her over, helps her break free from her dark past.

More than a horror/suspense film, Lilet is an elegant romantic movie. Doctor Efren Leynes (Ronaldo Valdez) admirably stands by with his lady love. The poetic doctor sees something beautiful in Lilet despite her chequered past. 

What the two lovers uncover is a scandalous secret so stinky and taboo it rarely pops up in local movies. The steamy goings-on at the mansion are so disgusting that Lilet and Efren left in a hurry.

The film Lilet is a fun, enthralling viewing experience. The visuals are exactly what you expect from a maestro. Religious statues spring to life in this film. The thrills and surprises are delightful. A major surprise is seeing a vampishly wicked Paraluman! 

Haven't figure out the family secret? Three clues: Silayan, blink, carnal.

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