Director Danny Zialcita dies at 71

Posted at 03/12/13 3:44 PM

Director Danny Zialcita

MANILA, Philippines – Director Danny Zialcita, whose films that dealt with the problems of upper-class Filipinos in the late-‘70s and 1980s have been credited for the rise of the so-called “glossy movies” in Philippine cinema, passed away last Sunday due to health problems. He was 71.

Zialcita, who was given a special honorary award by movie channel Cinema One during the Cinema One Originals Film Festival in 2009, has not made a movie since 1987’s “Bakit Nag-iisa ang Pag-ibig,” with Gabby Concepcion and Snooky Serna, according to the website imdb.com.

Despite his long absence, cineastes mourned his passing on Tuesday as word spread about the death of the reclusive director.

“It is with much sadness that we share with everyone the passing of Direk Danny Zialcita. Our deepest condolences to his wife Leonor, his daughter Beth, and the rest of the Zialcita family. His remains, we are told, have been cremated yesterday. We will try to post details of his wake as soon as we get the details. Prayers for his eternal repose,” a post on the Facebook fan page dedicated to the director said early on Tuesday.

Zialcita directed his first movie in 1965 “Lady Killer” with Romano Castellvi. Three years later he directed the action film “Palos Strikes Again” with Bernard Bonnin. He also dabbled in the so-called “bomba” flicks during the early ‘70s, with movies like “Hidhid” with sexy star Rosanna Ortiz.

But Zialcita is best known for his movies in the late-‘70s and early ‘80s, many starring actress Vilma Santos, including award-winning hits like “Langis at Tubig,” “Karma,” “T-bird at Ako” and “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan,” which many critics consider his best work.

He also directed Sharon Cuneta’s debut movie “Dear Heart” in 1981, as well as the Martin Nievera-Pops Fernandez starrer “Always and Forever” in 1986.

“Danny Zialcita was a real original. The world of Filipino cinema is a little dimmer without him,” film critic Phil Dy said on Twitter.

“So sad to hear of Danny Zialcita's passing. RIP Direk. You were one of a kind,” wrote film advocate Ramon Nocon on Twitter. “Nobody made films about the rich better than Danny Zialcita did.”

“RIP Danny Zialcita--from whose films I learned such musical phrases as kabatakang-kumot & kaututang-dila; movie dialogue that was his alone,” wrote theater critic Gibbs Cadiz.