Friday , 19 April 2024

Jaclyn Jose: A Legacy

I can safely say I was part of the late Jaclyn Jose’s journey into the art and business of Philippine cinema.

Jaclyn’s first step in the long and winding road of show business was a given.

Even if she was a half-sister of then popular actress Veronica Jones in the late 70s, she had to paddle her own canoe, start charting her own destiny and create her unique identity to set apart from the image of her sibling, a gargantuan task when she had to slowly face up with the challenges of the bold trade.

I was with the late komiks writer, entertainment editor, talent manager and line producer Rino Fernan Silverio when he was entrusted by Rosalinda Sta. Ana Guck to take care of her daughter, Mary Jane Sta. Ana Guck to enter, explore and shape up a tinsel town career.

At first, Rino took the reign of Jane’s management as she introduced her to Baby Pascual, a lady film producer who established her turf, Baby Pascual Films and Associates that took and signed her in for a launching youth-oriented movie titled “Chicas,” a 1984 smorgasbord release which also featured female newbies Tanya Gomez, Rachel Avila (also known as Rachel Ann Wolfe), Karla Kalua and Lovely Rivero with male upstarts Dan Alvaro, Lito Pastrana, Merty Merino and the teen sensation at the time, Rey “PJ” Abellana.

Jane was christened Jacklyn Jose with a conspicuous k in her first name.

After “Chicas,” quo vadis, Jacklyn Jose?

At the time, the still missing famous star builder, movie columnist, TV host and creative producer Boy C. de Guia was to venture into movie production and had put up his own outfit, Special People Productions to give a film project to the now National Artist for Film Lino Brocka during that time the latter didn’t want to compromise his beliefs with the crass commercialism and exploitative tendencies of careless pop culture.

Lino was a friend to Boy, who eventually became his publicist and business manager.

At the time, nobody was touching Brocka because of his pickiness in projects as he rejected Viva Films and Regal Films’ offers to direct Sharon Cuneta and Kris Aquino, respectively.

Lino was at the quandary of his filmmaking career to continue or not doing typically mawkish potboilers.

He wanted to do, if not outright agitprop material for liberation of society in the context of and, for the còmmon good but, at least, a fully examined econo-cultura-socio-political matrix in the melodrama narrative.

Who wouldn’t want an economical director employed, paid squarely by major outfits but he wouldn’t care less?

De Guia wanted to give Lino s job on the filmmaker’s own terms so they agreed and brainstormed on an exciting project on a sex-drama-action genre “White Slavery” written by now National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Ricardo Lee, also known as Ricky Lee.

At the time, Jacklyn was still associated with Rino and since the latter was close to Boy and Lino was impressed with her looks, determination and talent, the director and de Guia approved of her.

Although sex cinema—this time the letter k was dropped from her name, making it simply Jaclyn Jose—the film catapulted her to stardom and stellar acting.

Since we were Boy de Guia’s protégés (including Rino, Lhar Santiago, Danny Vibas, Pilar Mateo, Josie Manago and Ronald Mendoza) we always ran around with Jane especially during shoots of the film in various locations.

Brocka directed Jaclyn anew in “Macho Dancer” which was line produced for Viva Films by Kuya (a term of endearment to an older man by blood or affinity) Boy and our relationship with Jane went deeper.

After its showing, other Filipino directors noticed Jaclyn’s adept and thespic chops like Chito S. Roño who directed “Private Show” (initially carried the screen name Sixto Kayko), “Itanong mo sa Buwan,” “Olongapo: The Great American Dream,” among others; William Pascual (“Takaw-Tukso” and “Chicas”); Gil M. Portes (“Mulanay Sa Pusod ng Paraiso”; Joel Lamangan (“The Flor Contemplacion Story,” “Aishite Imasu (Mahal Kita),” etc.); Ishmael Bernal (“Working Girls 2”); Brillante Ma. Mendoza (“Masahista,” “Tirador,” “Serbis,” etc.); Adolf Alix, Jr. (“Donsol,” “Pieta,” etc), among others.

In “Olongapo: The Great American Dream,” I became closer to Jane when I regularly visited her at the shoots of the film in Olongapo City for my entertainment news for “Star News” of ABS-CBN’s primetime news show, “TV Patrol.”

When Jane moved to Ed Instrella as manager, our friendship even went farther.

As she won acting honors in many of her films, I found out she had magnanimity towards awards.

She became more level-headed and down-to-earth but assertive of her labor and artistic rights.

In the millennium, if time allowed, we would always see her in the shoots of Dante Mendoza’s masterpieces and became more personal about our encounters although I would still maintain distance and professional attachment with her to avoid unnecessary human foibles although we would definitely never allow the abused and misused maxim “familiarity breeds contempt” pivoted on us.

When she won the prestigious Palme d’Or Best Actress at the 2016 Cannes International Film Festival for the Brillante Mendoza’s opus “Ma’ Rosa,” about a small time drug dealer, I jumped with joy, for at last, a Filipino actress and first Southeast Asian nominee took home the bacon beating the likes of Hollywood biggies Isabelle Huppert, Marion Cotillard, Juliet Binoche, Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart.

When the launch of my sixth book “SekSinema (Gender Images in Philippine Sex Cinema Enfolding Pandemia)” was planned in 2019 while it was being laid out, I saw Jaclyn in a showbiz function and told her I would invite her to the still undated event.

She didn’t mince words and told me I just had to inform her manager Perry Lansigan about it.

But the COVID-19 pandemic struck and my book launching was delayed until 2022 when it was finally held but sadly, Jane was in locked-in shoots she definitely couldn’t make it.

She was prominent in the book, though, and in the cover of my earlier work on media studies, “Expose Peryodismong Pampelikula sa Pilipinas (Movie Reporting in the Philippines)” (2007, UST Publishing House) where she was one of the images on the cover.

Those two research works and my other writings on Jose have immortalized her.

Jaclyn, by virtue of her invaluable contributions to the local movie industry, particularly in her so-called School of Non-Acting, had left an indelible legacy in the arts and culture section of Philippine society.

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