7.2/10
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The Bit Player (2013)

Ekstra (original title)
TV-PG | | Drama | 14 August 2013 (Philippines)
The movie follows a seemingly usual day in the life of Loida Malabanan as she embarks on yet another shooting day of a soap opera as an extra. As the shoot goes on we get a glimpse of truth... See full summary »

Director:

Jeffrey Jeturian

Writers:

Zig Madamba Dulay (story) (as Zigcarlo Dulay), Antoinette Jadaone (story) | 4 more credits »
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8 wins & 31 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nenita Deanoso Nenita Deanoso ... Ekstra 1
Karen Leslie Dematera Karen Leslie Dematera ... Ekstra 2
Boobsie ... Ekstra 3 (as Boobsie Wonderland)
Christopher Ad. Castillo Christopher Ad. Castillo ... Director 1 (as Cris Ad Castillo)
Raymund Ocampo Raymund Ocampo ... Assistant Director 1
Abi Niesta Abi Niesta ... Rosalie / Carlota (as Abby Aguilar Niesta)
Cherry Pie Picache ... Cherry Pie Picache / Ma'am Amelia
Zyrus Imperial Zyrus Imperial ... Amelia's Boylet
Richard Yap ... Richard Yap / Sir Richard
Ruby Ruiz ... Josie
Vilma Santos ... Loida
Ronaline Ronn Enriquez Ronaline Ronn Enriquez ... Joyce (as Ronaline Enriquez)
Tart Carlos ... Venus
Antonette Garcia ... Madonna
Erlinda Villalobos ... Doray (as Linda Villalobos)
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Storyline

The movie follows a seemingly usual day in the life of Loida Malabanan as she embarks on yet another shooting day of a soap opera as an extra. As the shoot goes on we get a glimpse of truth in the ruling system of the production as well as the exploitation of the marginalized laborers like Loida. Written by expendaworzt

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Philippines

Language:

Filipino | Tagalog

Release Date:

14 August 2013 (Philippines) See more »

Also Known As:

The Bit Player See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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User Reviews

 
Cynical Views
20 August 2013 | by billygoat1071See all my reviews

The title "Ekstra" seems to indicate that it's about a person who has an inspiring story of her years of being the extra role in every television show. The actual film is somehow different. While the main character do learns through her experience, the film mostly plays as a comedy for satirizing what's going on behind the scenes. It's ironically an entertaining cynical view towards filmmakers who make television episodes without any ambition except the income they would receive. With slick direction and great performances, Ekstra is an absorbing cinematic trip.

The first act introduces Loida as a humble person who looks like there's a destiny ahead of her, but following the dreams of becoming a big star is not the only story we get to see here. It also gives a look to how the shows are being filmed, and that's not all, the filmmakers are usually depicted as selfish and heartless, while the bit players are only tagging along trying to transcend their career. That side of the plot is gloriously ridiculous, showing that the job is really all about money: the producer barely does anything, the production is managed by cheapskates, we can understand the director's pressure, but what's crueler than his rants is the gross decision for product placements. They're presented to be amused and it is a witty satire.

The film seems to be aware that our local TV hits are interchangeably generic since the director's, Jeffrey Jeturian, current running one is a total contrary to those. It's amazing to see that someone's sick of the clichés; like family relation twists and endings with kidnappings and guns. Now this movie made them look stupid, which is true. But the substance of their stories isn't supposed to be the point of the film. Again, it's Loida's story, though she is more of an example. All of the bit players have the same ambitions and same luck. The film just picks Loida as the underdog because she's the most talented among the extras. But that's it, she's just taking all the bitterness of reality despite of her skills, since that's probably the point of the film.

Vilma Santos is the attraction here anyway and she definitely did what she does best, even if her role is supposed to be humble. Her amazing glow keeps the character feel down-to-earth inspiring. The direction is decent enough for whatever an independent film would ask, skillfully placing the cameras in crafty ways.

Ekstra is not a character study, but it is an absolutely enjoyable commentary about today's mainstream entertainment and its creators who lack passion in their work. It's also a fun speculation for really noticing and poking fun of the awful clichés of our modern soap operas, but I think the plot has something better to say. It just didn't got the chance because it was too busy expressing its cynical portrayal of local filmmaking. Nothing can fault its artful storytelling, besides that's actually the best way of telling stories. I think we should merit for being totally honest in its own perspective. Ekstra is already a great movie anyway, and the performance by Vilma Santos makes it even better.


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