Pera-perahang Lata promotes a local approach to certain global issues represented by the Manila setting while it caters to the widest range of people and cultures. This film uses ordinary people in particular circumstances to explore the idea that personal responsibility does matter, that our daily choices contribute to where we are on a larger scope.
Watch: Film Trailer
Watch: On-camera Experience Featurette
View: Photo slideshow – Film Stills
View: Photo slideshow – Behind-the-scene
The people live and breathe in a real, honest, and very Filipino environment. Each of the characters in the story represents a certain nature seen in the society: the characters of Nilo (the main character), Gary (Nilo’s best friend and co-factory worker), the beggar boy and his mother (the sufferers who try to seek Nilo’s help), Juda (the ruthless substitute supervisor), the compassionate boss, the boss’ wife, the office and factory workers, the caroling kids, the churchgoers, the people during the wake, the parasites of the society seen in streets and public transportation, and the many kinds of people found in various places.
The introspective Nilo’s Journey: The Worker, Breadwinner, Friend
The story delves into the devoured worth and guilt of the lead character Nilo (Von Arroyo). He represents the people who are starting to realize the real, serious complications of the world after the stage of idealism during his youthful days. With such things, no matter how deep or shallow the implications are in his thoughts and feelings, there is a strike in his persona. And as what happens to him in the story, it is a kind of phantom cultivated into his very identity – until he gets to accept it and overcome it so he can move on with his life.
People can usually identify with Nilo’s everyday experiences. He is ultimately a young breadwinner trying to do his job well to keep up with the economic needs of his family in the province. In his everyday journey, his young and introspective demeanor continuously tries to deal with the various issues he meets along the way – situations people all find themselves in when seeing certain things and events while riding a jeepney, FX, or taxi, or driving a car. It’s through this character’s everyday life that viewers are able to enter a world that, at first blush seems to be a mere cinematic offer, but is incredibly relevant and relative, and perhaps, also touching to what happens in their own lives. It can affect their psyche as the vulnerabilities and the complicated feelings depicting such a character study unfold more like a journey of connection towards the film’s characters.
Pera-perahang Lata captures and retains the subtlety of ordinary happenings and the grander scale of its effects in a man’s experiences. He is caught up in his palpable journey and the rich emotions of laughter, sadness, and grief while he is at home, at work, or out in the streets. With things around him, Nilo finds himself feeling hopelessly without accomplishment or any sense of larger meaning with the disillusionment slowly conquering him as time passes by. Amidst the fact that he knows what he wants and what he can do within the given parameters, he is unfortunately placed in situations beyond his control. And when does realization and hope come? Perhaps, through another unlikely and unexpected situation he may witness on the streets.
The Confidante: The Gregarious Friend Gary
Gary (Arnold Reyes) provides the natural and organic flow of incredibly moving emotions that blend effectively with the stoic stares of the quietly thinking Nilo.
Amidst the fact that Gary is considerably opposite in terms of character and attitude to that of Nilo, he appears to be his kindred spirit and loyal friend. It is through his liberating character, living and breathing in his own right, that pushes Nilo’s own character to become an effective passive kind of lead character in the story.
With Nilo’s family away from him, his friendship with Gary becomes the closest he can get to a family. Their life together is more than a companionship as they try to grow together while struggling in their lower-middle class status as factory workers. They are similar in the sense that both are considerably educated and street-smart in their own rights, but are suppressed by their economic status and they have the hardest time to climb up the economic ladder. And at the same time, they are opposites as Gary is in every sense an extrovert who speaks out for what he believes in and fights for whatever he thinks is right; while Nilo is the quiet, introspective type who would rather rationalize things on his own and keep things to himself.
Gary is vital in making the heavy aspect of the story lighter through his blisteringly funny attitude. He provides humor, texture, and dimension until his tragic plight that wreaks much havoc to the hearts of the characters and the viewers as well.
While journeying around everyday, come to think of it… if you tend to become more observant and critical about the things you see, hear, and experience, you’ll get certain realizations, or even more questions about life and the society. And that’s how this film came to be.
In the story, the filmmaker wants to show the two sides of things with this question in play: “With you delivering the best you can be and you can do, how fair or unfair can the world ever be?”
Since most people are always asking questions and finding answers, you should just keep moving on with life – while you are still breathing. Whoever you are, wherever you are, your journey is a struggle all along.
How far can you go in contributing to the betterment of the society? How about working for your own betterment? Should it be like merely doing full time work then getting a salary every month? Should it be all work and no play in order to attain your biggest dreams and aspirations? However, the idea of doing “all work” draws an irony to the fact that sometimes, a person works, puts so much effort into it, but s/he still doesn’t get what s/he deserves. Sometimes, some people may just be lucky, effortlessly. However, most tend to suffer from the unjust system of losing most of the opportunities to the opportunists. Is life fair?
Von Arroyo (Nilo)
Pera-perahang Lata is the debut film of singer, TV host, Pinoy Dream Academy (Seasons 1 and 2) Diction Master, John Robert Powers instructor, and V-Factor Events and Promotions project manager Von Arroyo.
Amidst the extensive auditions, Vonis Rianne’s only choice to play the role of Nilo. Professional and good-natured as he is, he had that look that she found solely on him among the roster of talented actors vying for the role.
Von is best known for his musical talents with his very early and yet successful singing career. He was a Ryan Cayabyab music scholar and member of Cayabyab’s 14K. He had a number of music hits under his belt: his first self-titled album Mr.Lonely under Viva Records; Maisip Mo Lang Ako and Reborn under Prime Music and distributed by Viva Records; and the 14K Music album from 1989 to 1993. His hit singles include If You Leave Me, Single Rain, and Through the Fire.
He appeared in TV commercials for Coke, RCBC, Toyota, and PLDT. He also had his share of theatrical performances including the musicals Princess of the Moon at the Aliw Theater from 2002 to 2004 and Belen at the Star Theater, Star City from 2002 to 2004. He hosted PAGCOR’s Spin2win Magic 5 and also starred on Fidel, his second independent short film.
Von also attended ABS-CBN acting workshops and the 11th batch of Ricky Lee’s scriptwriting workshop.
He is an instructor for Conversational English, Voice and Communications, Believability, Acting, VTR and Eye Contact for John Robert Powers International.
Arnold Reyes (Gary)
A familiar face on television, Arnold Reyes did numerous ad campaigns. He was a featured model for Smart, PLDT, McDonalds, San Miguel Beer, Downy Fabric Conditioner, Wrigley’s Orbit Chewing Gum, Lucky Me, Sarsa ni Mang Tomas, Talk N’ Text, Benadryl, Kawasaki, Bacchus, Knorr, among others.
For theater, he acted for: Hamlet Redux, Atlantis Productions’ Rent Manila, Actor’s Repertory Theater’s Romeo and Juliet and Florante at Laura, CCP’s entry to the International Theater Festival 2006 Zsazsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal for which he was voted Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as Dodong (Best of Theater 2006, Philippine Daily Inquirer), and Orosman at Zafira, an entry to the 1st International Komedya Fiesta of the University of the Philippines Centennial Celebration.
Arnold is also into song writing. His song Paano Na? interpreted by Bituin Escalante garnered Second Prize Honors at the Metro Pop 2000 Song Writing Festival. In 2003, his composition Kung Ako Ba Siya? interpreted by Piolo Pascual made it to the Finals at the Himig Handog Love Song – winning him the coveted Texters’ Choice Award.
He proved his versatility as an actor playing various roles for renowned independent films including Big Time, Pisay, Ang Huling Araw Ng Linggo, Imoral, Manila, Adela, and UPCAT. In 2009, he won the Best Supporting Actor at the Cinemalaya Filipino Independent Film Festival.
He is also part of the ensemble in Camera Café, the 25-minute French comedy show which was adapted by some of the country’s leading playwrights to suit Pinoy sensibilities. Arnold also starred in the ABS-CBN “teleserye” Dragona, Betty La Fea and French producer Henri de Lorme’s and Filipino director Mark Meily’s You Women.