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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 10, 2016

JM De Guzman Might Be In Rehab But He Shines Anew In 'Tandem', A Hard-Hitting Crime Thriller Widely Praised In Film Festivals Abroad

JM DE GUZMAN is currently in a wellness clinic for rehabilitation, his second time around. Between his first and second stay at the clinic, he proves how good an actor he is by winning two best actor awards for two vastly different films. First was for the rom-com noted for its “hugot” lines, “That Thing Called Pag-ibig”, and the second is for “Tandem”.

“Tandem” is an action thriller originally shown at the Metro-Manila Filmfest New Wave section last December where it won the best actor award for JM. It got much praise at the international filmfests where it was shown, like the Montreal International Filmfest, Vancouver International Filmfest, Cairo International Filmfest. It will have its European premiere at the Fantasporto International Filmfest in Portual this month.

Written by Zig Marasigan, this is the directorial debut of King Palisoc. You now have the chance to see “Tandem” as it gets wider theatrical release on February 17. The central characters are two brothers, JM as Rex and Nico Antonio as Roman. As the title suggests, they are riding-in-tandem robbers who ply the streets of the city snatching cell phones and bags.

They are later used by corrupt policemen, Alan Paule and Paulo O’Hara, to work as hitmen and this puts their relationship into a test as they get caught deeper and deeper into a web of crime. Nico is the older brother, married to Rochelle Pangilinan as Cha. He is more cautious since he’s been in prison before and his wife is about to have their first child. In contrast, JM is the hot-headed and over-aggressive younger brother who wants to be a bad boy through and through, often cursing with delight.

Director King Palisoc started with music videos and TV commercials then did the episode “Makina” in the Eli Buendia trilogy “Bang Bang Alley”. It’s a big challenge for him to do a full length feature that runs for an hour and a half compared to the short music videos and TV ads he used to do. What are other challenges he faced in doing the movie?
“It’s not your typical indie movie as it’s an crime-action thriller and requires stunts and more planning, and we have to work within a certain budget. But it’s also a family drama since it involves two brothers and how doing the same kind of crime affect their relationship and those of other family members.”

Did he do research about riding in tandem teams? “Yes, and it’s quite common in Manila. We did research on security CCTV footage and youtube videos and riding in tandem robbers are prevalent not only in Manila but in other thickly populated countries like Vietnam and Thailand.”

The producers of “Tandem” are Quantum Films, Tuko Films and Buchi Boy Films, who also produced the acclaimed blockbuster historical film, “Heneral Luna”, and the recent Metro Filmfest bet pic, “Walang Forever”, so you can be sure that it is of good quality. It also stars theatre actress Elora Espano as JM’s leading lady, Joel Saracho, Simon Ibarra, Dennis Marasigan, BJ Forbes and Karl Medina.