The Philippines, 2020, 100’, Tagalog with English
Directed by: Antoinette Jadaone
Script: Antoinette Jadaone
Photography: (Color): Neil Daza
Editing: Benjamin Tolentino
Art Direction: Ferdi Abuel
Music: Teresa Barrozo
Producers: Bianca Balbuena (Epicmedia, PH), Dan Villegas (Project 8 Projects, PH)
Cast: Charlie Dizon (Jane), Paulo Avelino (Paulo Avelino), Sheenly Gener (Andeng), Mina Cruz (Nimfa), Joshua Cabadiles (Benjo)
Date of First Release in Territory: December 25th, 2020 (Metro Manila Film Festival)
High school student Jane (Charlie Dizon) has an obsession with (real) celebrity heart-throb Paulo Avelino (himself) – half of the country’s most popular love team – that leads her to hide at the back of his pick-up truck after a show and follow him home. She ends up in an unfamiliar house, in an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar Paulo Avelino, the idol she thought she knew from head to foot, heart and soul. Trying to explore the strange house, and to get to know more of her “divine” idol, she tiptoes up and ends up filming him sleeping. When he wakes up, he offers her first beer, and they start having a conversation about their fears, uncertainties and dreams. But when she wakes up next time, she hears noises downstairs, indicating that Paulo has unexpected company.Things turn out to be quite different from Jane’s idealized image of her idol. An unwanted reality comes back, tarnishing that image… They say, “Never meet your heroes”, and Jane finds out exactly why.
Fan Girl: How a “pure dream” turns out to be a nightmare…
Ever since A Star Is Born to The Fan or Misery, we know that the pure, idealized image of an “idol”, whatever his/ her background, doesn’t fit the reality, which can be really sordid when it’s unveiled in unusual circumstances… Antoinette Jadaone’s latest film, Fan Girl, is no exception to that rule, but is one of the few Filipino films that dare to show the deep ditch between a girl’s dream and the stark reality (another recent one being JP Laxamana’s He Who Is Without Sin, on a similar topic but quite different treatment).
Her previous films, such as That Thing Called Tadhana, Love You to the Stars and Back, or Never Not Love You, were more on the regular fare of the rom-com, with a huge local success in the Philippines (especially Tadhana). But, with Fan Girl, Antoinette opens a secret door on the dark sides of the local super-idols, such as Paulo Avelino, who accepted to play the game, which was not obvious. The house of dreams turns out to be home to notorious sins of the rich and famous, like alcohol, drugs and of course wild sex. Jane quickly finds out that Paulo is far from the “Saint” she imagined, that he has a not so easy private life, and fall into his traps, including a wild sex scene which caused a shock in the local censorship of the super-catholic country, as one can imagine.
Anyway, Fan Girl was the most successful and talked about film at last year’s MMFF, which was all on line for the first time ever, because of the pandemic.
Even though one feels the film is uneven and subjectively over long (101 minutes), we are caught by the revealing story, and the impressive performance by newcomer Charlie Dizon, and by more famous albeit vulnerable Paulo Avelino.And it’s beautifully cinematographed by the great Neil Daza.
Certainly a turning point in Antoinette Jadaone’s “sweet” filmography, with the exception of Six degrees of separation from Lilia Cuntapay, a personal portrait of a familiar figure of the Filipino horror movies (2011, shown at the FEFF 2012). What’s next?
Antoinette Jadaone is an award-winning Filipina filmmaker who is a household name in both the art-house and mainstream film industry. Her debut feature, Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay (2011) has traveled to several international film festivals. She directed one of the highest-grossing independent films in Philippine cinema history, That Thing Called Tadhana (2014), and then romantic comedies and romantic dramas and has been supported by the biggest studios in the Philippines. Her recent film Fan Girl (2020) premiered in Tokyo International Film Festival and Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Main Competition.
2011 – Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay
2014 – Beauty in a Bottle
2014 – That Thing Called Tadhana
2015 – All You Need Is Pag-Ibig
2016 – The Achy Breaky Hearts
2017 – Love You to the Stars and Back
2018 – Never Not Love You
2019 – Alone/Together
2020 – Fan Girl