This film tells the story of a father who lives near a slope of a volcano during the 1920s. Three siblings live with him, a daughter and her two younger brothers. town. They make their living by planting and cultivating crops in their ashen volcanic soil farmland. They also breed farm animals. Father and daughter have to hike and ride a boat to sell their produce a Chinese store owner who buys their crops at a cheap price.
They live in a nipa hut and their kitchen utensils included wooden plates, clay cooking pots and coconut bowls as their drinking glasses. They are entirely dependent on the income they get from their crops and animals.
There is no mother role—presumably she abandoned them because of poverty or she died at an early sage when when the children were still young. The only daughter in effect assumes the mother’s role in the family which forced her to give up studies since she has to stay in their house for her chores. She cooks the food, tends to to the needs of her two younger brothers and helps her father in the farm.
In such a situation, there are times shoe rebels against this life of boredom. But her father violently sets her back to the right path. As if nothing has happened, she continues her tasks as an obedient daughter.
At the end, the father negatively realizes that poverty is something you cannot escape from and falls back to the thought that poverty is prevalent in all corners of the earth.
The film was shot the towns of Taal and San Nicolas, specifically Barangay Tagudpud which is adjacent to Taal volcano.
The cast includes Gerald Madird as Mang Toto, the father; Angelie Urquico as the daughter Eden; John Rhyll Dimayuga and Don Isaac Puri as the sons Andoy and Ipe while Arnold Reyes plays the Chinese store owner.
The film is like a silent movie. It has no dialogue with the cast gesturing and acting out their emotions. Thus, the cinematography was one important element to capture the scenic beauty of the environment, as well as music to dramatize the poignant and suspenseful moments in the film.
The film was funded by a grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and released thru Plausimus Film. Ariel Reyes directed this independent short film.
The cast of Ugat Sa Lupa includes Gerarld Madrid (top) as Mang Toto, Angellie Urquico as Eden and Arnold Reyes as the Chinese store owner.
The film’s production staff and crew were billeted at the Casa de Taal. Some scenes were shot in the streets of Taal, including one where Mang Toto and Eden are walking with a goat and a duck they will sell to the Chinese store owner. A scene was also shot at the seminar room of the Taal Catholic church and the church plaza.
A seashore scene showed father and daughter riding a boat with the goat and duck in tow. The scene was greatly enhanced by the presence that day of flying birds with the grand Taal Volcano in the background.
The team also shot in a nearby resort with a running stream and bamboo groves by the riverbanks. A long winding stair descends to the edge of the river. The scene shows father and daughter fetching water from the river to sprinkle their crops.
At Brgy. Tagudpud, actor Madrid was shot carrying the sprinkler and actress Urquico lugging a bamboo sprinkler. They were shot silhouetted walking downhill toward their planted crops.
The nipa hut location was situated in San Nicolas. All family scenes—praying, dining, other chores– took place here. These included the dramatic confrontation scene between father and daughter. The cast and crew shot for one whole day in this nipa hut.
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