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The Search for Weng Weng

Australia 2013
produced by
Daniel Haig, Andrew Leavold, Jessica St. Bruno for Death Rides A Red Horse
directed by Andrew Leavold
starring Celso Ad. Castillo, Tikoy Aguiluz, Tilman Baumgaertel, Don Gordon Bell, Teddie Co, Rez Cortez, Roland Dantes, Celing de la Cruz, Editha De La Cruz, Nick Deocampo, Dolphy, Jim Gaines, Peque Gallaga, Eddie Garcia, Franco Guerrero, John Kater, Marrie Lee, Ed Lejano, Maria Isabel Lopez, Anthony Maharaj, Imee Marcos, Imelda Marcos, Pia Moran, Eddie Nicart, Dante Pangilinan, Rusty Santos, Henry Strzalkowski, Bobby A. Suarez, Edgardo Vinarao, Andrew Leavold, Weng Weng (archive footage)
written by Andrew Leavold, Daniel Haig, music by Damien Devaux, The Screaming Meanies, Francis de Veyra and members of Radioactive Sago Project, The Chuds, Roy Arabejo

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Whoever's not familiar with Filipino action cinema from the early 1980's will probably think this is a mockumentary: This is a film about Filipino action star Weng Weng, whose main claim to fame it was ... that he was just under three feet tall - and yet, one of his films, For Y'ur Height Only, was the smash hit at the inaugural Manila International Film Festival in 1982, where it sold internationally ... and this is a true story.

Now For Y'ur Height Only itself is a rather childish James Bond-parody that has a few laughs (mostly of the un-PC manner from today's point of view), but also its fair share of misfires. However, none of Weng Weng's subsequent films managed to even come close to the success of For Y'ur Height Only, and eventually he was forgotten by international and local audiences alike - until Australian Filipino-B-movie-buff and -historian Andrew Leavold started to ask questions, and his "search for Weng Weng" became a 7 year journey during which he managed to collect background information on the actor not yet available anywhere, got to talk to many of his collaborators - including his main director Eddie Nicart and popular Filipino comedian Dolphy, but also controversial former first lady Imelda Marcos, who saw herself as a patron of the arts and who was happy to talk about the diminuitive star even on the day of her lavish birthday celebration.

Unfortunately, Leavold did not have the opportunity to talk to Weng Weng himself, he passed away in 1992, but his brother Celing de la Cruz and Celing's wife Edita were happy to fill in the gaps ...

 

Despite the title, The Search for Weng Weng is not just about Weng Weng himself but Filipino low budget genre filmmaking as a whole, which has given birth to some of the most wonderful oddities of movie history, including of course this diminuitive pseudo James Bond. And thanks to the many clips from Filipino madness from the 1960's to the 80's, intermingled with great interviewees giving great information, this is a movie as entertaining for the B-movie afficionado as it is informative for the film scholar with a predilection for the obscure - and for all those who are just into Weng Weng, this movie offers such a wealth of information compiled nowhere before.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD