Witness the legend star in her last swan song, written and directed by Loy Arcenas
It’s been a couple of days since the 16th QCinema International Film Festival opened with its first fully on-ground premiere after one virtual and one hybrid run. One of the competing films in the Asian Next Wave Competition has gotten the attention of many, as it serves as the late Cherie Gil’s swan song. Elehiya, directed and written by Loy Arcenas, stars Gil as Celine, a haunted widow. As QCinema ends this week, Elehiya’s last screening date is the 6:40PM show on November 23, 2022, at TriNoma Cinema 1.
Elehiya is set after the death of Rafael de Miranda, a well-loved island doctor. Celine, his estranged widow, returns to their ancestral villa to scatter her late husband’s ashes into the sea led by the belief that it will bring her closure. However, the widow is proven wrong when she gets haunted by Rafael’s past disloyalties and personal guilt from being unable to give him a child. High with conflicting grief, love and rage towards her late husband, Celine finds herself in an unexplained attraction to his illegitimate son. Unfortunately, this obsession might just push her off the edge of gloom.
In a red carpet Q&A, director Loy Arcenas explains that no part of the movie is left unshot or hanging, especially after her passing this year. As for the actress’s condition, she was fine when they were shooting Elehiya. In the same answer, Arcenas praises her, saying, “I love working with Cherie [Gil]. One thing with Cherie, when she works, she really works, and when she lives, she really lives life.” While the actress gained notoriety for her villain and kontrabida roles, Arcenas explains that Gil was “never a primadonna” in the two productions they’ve worked on together. But rather than focusing on the grief surrounding the loss of a beloved icon, Loy Arcenas says that Elehiya is a “celebration of her work as an actress.”
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Cherie Gil passed away at 59 years old last August 5, 2022, in New York City. Many of her contemporaries, peers and loved ones mourned the loss of the icon and celebrated the legacy she left. Aside from providing the best kontrabida line that ever existed, the decorated actress also embodied characters in film, television and theatre. In 2019, she received her first-ever Gawad Urian Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Citizen Jake.
Want to catch more of Cherie Gil’s old works? Watch ANIMA Studios’ (formerly Globe Studios) “Ang Fraile” on YouTube.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver