Every love story that could be told has been told countless times, with an ending that's happy, sad or open-ended. There are the staple accoutrements of the genre, popular songs for the movie's soundtrack and the perfunctory celebratory scene in the end complete with raindrops falling on the protagonists' heads. The challenge facing every storyteller and filmmaker is how to make the plot fresh and interesting, as though it is being told for the first time. In Elwood Perez's Summer Love (Regal Films, Inc.), the director with help from screenwriter Iskho Lopez, lists down romantic situations, including trite ones and weaves them together seamlessly. This one opens up rather slowly, with the exposition and introduction of characters taking up some time. But the final result is richly satisfying. It is a movie that appeals to all age groups from starstruck teens to the geriatric set. The filmic device that binds the characters together is the intelligent interaction with their environment. It is not a watertight device but it makes the viewers feel that Cupid is present and shooting his arrows in different directions. At the center of these lovestruck characters is Carol (Snooky), the pretty girl-next-door who turns out to be a huge fan of movie idol Jimi Melendez. She keeps her feelings a secret, her closet status threatened until a dashing young man is drawn close to her. Like most couples, the story of Carol and her admirer Elvis (Gabby Concepcion) is predictable but audience interest is sustained as they gradually warm up to each other and get to know each other better. They seem incompatible at first, they have a few important things in common allowing their friendship and romance to blossom. Diana (Maricel Soriano) and Apollo (William Martinez) on the other hand, literally bump into each other often enough that they eventually find a common interest. Will this pair end up together and in trouble?
Working within the confines of the romance genre, Summer Love triumphs in the characterization of the four leads. They are typical teenagers with teenage concerns and sensibilities. Perez has chosen a good cast, the acrobatics of Soriano simply amaze with the way she defies gravity aside from the fact that she has excellent comedic timing. Snooky is an absolute gem, mixing pilya with kalog. She punctuates every scene with a flashy smile that absolutely floors you. The same innocence is reflected in Elvis, played with quiet confidence and country boy naiveté by Gabby Concepcion in contrast with Martinez's highly animated verve and city boy spunk, their resultant energy mirrors the near-perfect face and phase of middle-class youth culture. Then there's the ticklish scene of the girls stealing glances at the boys in their swim trunks, vis-à-vis the stereotypical male gaze on women as sex objects. Summer Love serves up generous ingredients of sweet nothings and titillating gender-bending, ritualistic summer romp. Inasmuch as the screenplay is attentive to the details of emergence, the landscape flourishes in the course of the viewing experience. The movie is full of tiny observations about life and Perez is arguably the most astute and perceptive of Filipino directors when it comes to young love and family. He builds up his story with plenty of humor and insight. Summer Love ends with what most of us yearn in life, a happy ending. Deliberately frivolous, the film achieves a level of introspection. The young is more hardened, tough and worldly. Loyalty, moral values and philosophical outlook are all in place in this film that celebrates and satirizes the foibles of youth.
Directed By: Elwood Perez
Screenplay: Iskho Lopez
Cinematography: Johnny Araojo
Musical Director: Lutgardo Labad
Film Editor: Rogelio Salvador
Production Design: Benjie de Guzman
Produced By: Regal Films, Inc.
Release Date: September 25, 1981
SUMMER LOVE Tagalog review.