THE Chito Rono's upcoming masterpiece "The Ghost Bride" tackles something ancient and unusual about a neglected Chinese tradition.
At the Bloggers Conference of the horror film, the acclaimed director revealed his inspiration in making this project.
"I wanted to go back to something that's almost forgotten. Actually it's already neglected. It's an ancient or an old Chinese tradition na actually arranged marriage 'di ba parang common na sa mga kapatid nating mga Chinese. Hindi lang dito, kahit saan. But there's this darker side of the tradition wherein there are actually women that are arranged to be married to dead people. Meron talaga dyan," Direk Chito explained.
"Pero that is also dini-discourage not only by the government, even in Mainland. Also by the women na 'di na sumusunod kasi nga po medyo modern na ang mga tao so parang ang gusto na nila 'yung gusto nilang pakasalan. Gusto nilang magkapamilya, magkaanak.
"So this tradition of being married to a dead person, ghost bride, pawala na but in this movie, parang secretly binubuhay natin sa mga characters namin," he added.
Direk Chito is known for his blockbuster horror movies like "Feng Shui," "The Healing," and "Sukob," that left a mark to Filipinos.
With that being said, the award-winning director admitted that he feels the pressure of maintaining his string of box office horror films.
"Isa sa mga challenges ko, kasi ang lakas kasi nung mga una kong horror films so parang it's always a challenge for me to give something fresh. Ang tina-try ko naman ever since the start is something new. It is still a horror movie but what I attempted to do is to bring the audience into another world.
"Actually what I intended to do was to bring the audience first to Chinatown, then to it's tradition...
"Chinatown is getting modern. Even 'yung mga taong nakatira sa Chinatown, mostly karamihan na do'n taga-Mainland na they are not really that much of Filipino-Chinese, they are really traditional Mainland Chinese and their traditions are sometimes different, nagii-struggle na actually ang Filipino-Chinese in Chinatown.
"And then from there I'm going to bring you into an older religious [tradition] ng mga Chinese which is going up the mountains kasi ang tradition ng mga Buddhist came from the highest mountains, they all came from Malayans.
"Ang tina-try ko dito is dalhin 'yung audience into another culture, into another world," Direk Chito explained.
"I think very successful naman 'yung movie in achieving that," he proudly added. "Talagang papasok ka sa doon. In terms of horror naman, I tried to be organic. I tried to use the paper dolls. The symbols of dragon dance, lion dance. I used all of them and I think very effective 'yung idea na the ghost group getting back to the picture."
One of his past hit movies "Feng Shui" also came from a Chinese tradition. So how is "The Ghost Bride" different from it?
He explained, "Well, they're both horrors. They're stories of women, who are probably in need of something or nearly out of luck. Who are needing some convenience from the difficulties of life tapos aabot sa punto na gagawa sila ng choice.
"In a way, it's similar. Except from 'The Ghost Bride,' it's more complicated. With 'Feng Shui,' it was simply a personal decision. Dito kasi may cultural and traditional na burden si Mayen (Kim Chiu). Sa palibot pa nila. Kunwari si Matteo (Guidicelli), meron siyang issue tungkol sa arranged marriage na 'yan. Very strict, very traditional na Chinese.
"Lahat sila medyo dumadaan sa hirap. Ang pamilya na pino-portray ko ay hindi 'yung marangya or maswerte na Chinese. Sila nagsa-struggle. And hirap sila humingi ng tulong sa kapwa Chinese. Nahihiya na sila and all that. Andaming utang, malas sa buhay, etc."
"The Ghost Bride" is Kim's first-ever solo film in her 11 years in showbiz.
It is also her reunion project with Direk Chito.
It opens in cinemas November 1.