In 2001, Jeffrey Jeturian directed the wonderfully written film - Tuhog, a satirical take on the sexploitation of the time and the inaccuracies of movies that were supposedly based on real events. While Ektra zeroed in on the reality behind the creation of soap operas, in an odd way, the film felt like a lighter and less impressive derivative of this previous work.
While most of the film was fairly effective, Ektra was a little too obvious and too didactic; never taking a moment's pause in driving its point. That said, Ekstra managed to be more than decent mainly because of the brilliant Vilma Santos who was able to take the audience through a gamut of emotions that her character was going through. From her painstaking preparations, the mundane and idle waiting that took up most of her day to her little moments of hope and crushed aspirations, Santos held the audience at the palm of her hands, driving us to feel what her character felt.
In the end, recognizing the tremendous talent at his disposal, Jeturian closed the film with a simple look that encapsulated the entire two hours of the film. In that final scene alone, you already get your money's worth.
Cinemalaya runs until August 4, 2013 at the CCP, Trinoma, Greenbelt 3 and Alabang Town Center. Click here for the complete list of entries and screening schedule.
Update: Ekstra opens in cinemas nationwide on August 14, 2013.