A Separated Woman

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A Separated Woman


The Philippines, 1994, 104’, Filipino
2K Restored 2018
Directed by: Chito S. Roño
Screenplay: Ricky Lee, Tessie Tomas
Photography (color): Joe Batac
Editing: Joe Solo
Production Design: Ernest Santiago
Music: Nonong Buencamino
Producers: Simon C. Ongpin, Malou Santos
Executive Producers: Lily Y. Monteverde, Charo Santos-Concio
Cast: Maricel Soriano (Melissa), Edu Manzano (Dodie), Sharmaine Arnaiz (Sandy), Patrick Garcia (Vincent), Angelica Panganiban (Jenny)

Date of First Release in Territory: October 12th, 1994


Director, writer and producer Chito S. Roño, whose quite personal film Signal Rock was shown at FEFF in 2018, is one of the pillars of Filipino cinema since the mid-1980s (his first film, Private Show, made a scandal in 1986). He successfully crossed decades of commercial cinema, sometimes with more personal films until now, including Dahas (Rage, 1995), Eskapo (Escape, 1995), Woman at the Window (1998), La Vida Rosa (2001), and one of his most ambitious films, Dekada ‘70 (2002), about the disruptions and oppositions in a  family during the Marcos time. Most of his films, directed with authority and elegance, are produced within genres of the commercial Filipino cinema, such as Boy Golden (2013, shown at the FEFF), a different kind of gangster film, or his more personal “indie film” Dynamite Fishing (Badil, also 2013, shown at the FEFF). 
In the late 1980s and the 90s, Chito Roño directed a number of commercial films for the new Star Cinema studio, with popular stars of the system. A Separated Woman (Separada, 1994) is one of them, what Filipinos call the “Querida vs legal wife” kind. Written by renowned scriptwriter Ricky Lee and Tessie Tomas, it stars popular actors of that time, like Maricel Soriano (Melissa) Edu Manzano (Dodie) Sharmaine Arnaiz (Sandy) and the very young Angelica Panganiban (Jenny). The story is a classic melodrama, set in the haute bourgeoisie of the decade. A woman’s job is so demanding that the relationship with her husband is rapidly deteriorating, and it incites him to find a mistress, leading to an inevitable confrontation between the two women, and a broken marriage…
So, once again, the basic story of adultery and frustration is not so important, while the real interest of the film is the elegance and maestria of the direction by Chito Roño and the performances of the entire cast. It also gives an insight of the upper middle class then in the Philippines, which has not changed so much until now… A good example of a popular melodrama of that period, which was a box office success. 
This is one of the several film restored by the ABS-CBN “Sagip pelikula” (“Save the films”), under the direction of Leo Katigbak. The same applies for Flowers of the City Jail, by Mario O’Hara, also shown this year.


Chito S. Roño

Born in 1958 in Manila, Chito S. Roño grew up in the province of Samar (Eastern Philippines), where he had his early education before going to Manila to study at the famous UP. He then completed his film degree at the New School for Social Research in New York. Back in Manila, he worked at the Experimental Cinema Division of the Philippines, as a film programmer. In 1984, he was offered to direct his first film (Private Show, 1985). Ever since, he never stopped directing, with some highlights in his career. He is now one of the most respected elderly directors in the Philippines. 

1985 – Private Show 
1987 – Olongapo, the Great American Dream
1988 – Itanong sa buwan 
1998 – Curacha, ang babaeng walang pahinga
2001 – La Vida Rosa 
2002 – Dekada ‘70
2008 – Caregiver
2010 – Emir
2013 – Dynamite Fishing
2018 – Signal Rock 

Max Tessier
Film Director: Chito S. ROÑO
Year: 2018
Running time: 118'
Country: The Philippines