“Bawat pusong nagmamahal ay dumarating sa sangandaan”
(Every heart that beats for love reaches a crossroad. )
-Sangandaan (Sister Stella L. theme song)
Twenty five years ago, Stella Legaspi reached a crossroad as she is confronted by an old and emerging love. In the film 'Sister Stella L
' (1984), the title role played by Vilma Santos is pursued by her ex-boyfriend while her heart spontaneously goes out to the labor movement. She is luckily not torn between the two. But social circumstances make the three parties intricately intertwined and Stella would be remembered for the dignified and inspiring manner she tackled the situation.
Awakening and decision making lie deep in the heart of “Sister Stella L.” as it tells the story of how a nun decides to chart a new path in her chosen vocation. In the film, Stella L. is seen to gradually discard her old life of comfort and conformity. It was the height of social dissent and Stella is tucked in the confines of a convent.
In the strike area, Stella learns more than what she probably hoped for as revolutionary praxis is debated amongst the workers themselves. At the center of the debate is labor leader Ka Dencio whose proletarian countenance is played ever so convincingly by Tony Santos. Back in the convent, Stella’s appeal to be officially transferred to the community was denied.
The tragic deaths and the circumstances surrounding it are among the turning points and crossroads which the film is rife with. In the Venice Film Festival, the film was shown under its original title “Sangandaan (Crossroads).“ Until now, the movie theme song of the same title is sung by activists, mostly from petty-bourgeoisie origins like Stella.
The Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino bestowed it with all major awards except production design. Other awards were given by the Film Academy of the Philippines, Star Awards, and FAMAS. It will also be named one of the most important Filipino films and Mike De Leon one of the most important Filipino filmmakers. The creative team which include scriptwriter Pete Lacaba, Cesar Hernando, Rody Lacap, Ding Achacoso continues to chart illustrious careers in the creative industry to this day.
As a modest tribute to Sister Stella L., the UP Film Institute is holding a special anniversary screening of the film on March 20, 2009 at the Cine Adarna at 5:00pm. Dubbed “Sister Stella L. @ 25: Tuloy ang Pakikibaka,” the activity is organized by the Film 280 class in cooperation with the Vilma Santos Solid International, Inc. (VSSI). Film scholars, members of entertainment press and cast and crew of the film will serve as panelists in the forum to be held before the screening.
The activity is a deliberate attempt to show the striking and continuing relevance of the film 25 years after it was shown. After two people uprisings which saw the likes of Sister Stella stopping tanks on the street and toppling despotic regimes, the social landscape fictionalized in the film remains a concrete reality. Workers go on strike for the same reasons the generations before them did so. Labor leaders and militants like Ka Dencio continue to march towards tragic deaths as they fight for their rights. In light of these facts, the film continues to inspire love among people and thrusts them into crossroads where important life decisions are inevitably made.
Tickets are sold at 50 pesos each. For inquiries you can text or call Ramil at 09178071978.