Gustaf Wally vs. Wenn Deramas

Gustaf Wally

Sweden's Fred Astaire! (Maybe)

Who doesn’t love a poor little rich boy who just wants to dance? Gustaf Wally (born Gustaf Wallenberg) was a member of the prominent Swedish financier family who just didn’t want to take over the family business: he wanted to dance! According to this awkwardly Google-translated page, he was also a theatrical producer and director.

In the 1930s, he formed a dance troupe known as the Wally Brothers, and later in his career he ran a couple of different theatre and put on musical revues there. As far as I can tell, he was a superstar on the Swedish vaudeville circuit, or whatever the equivalent of that is. Also – movie star! (Sort of.) But with names like “A Brilliant Misery” and “The Flag at the Top”, Wally’s work clearly constituted a golden age of Swedish entertainment.

Theatre is an ephemeral art form, so it’s hard for a theatre artist to compete against some flash-in-the-pan film director, whose work, no matter how lame or soulless, lives on in celluloid. But Gustaf Wally was a king of the Swedish theatre in his day – all he wanted to do was entertain people and lift them out of their humdrum, wartime European lives.

(Shameless bonus: Gustaf’s uncle saved a bunch of Polish Jews by giving them fake Swedish passports. War hero!)


Wenn Deramas

Move over James Cameron!

I’m not familiar with Filipino film or television but if I were to check it out, I’d start with a Wenn Deramas joint. Described as “one of the busiest directors today” (assuming in the Philippines), Deramas has 30 productions under his belt and also “holds the record for the biggest box-office gross in the history of Pinoy filmmaking with Tanging Ina”.

Now, is Tanging Ina any good? I’m not sure but it’s not like it could be worse than a Western blockbuster equivalent like Avatar. And unlike Mr. King of the World, Deramas didn’t need a film school degree to make it happen either. He started his career as a waiter, having graduated the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. A bit of a big career leap, wouldn’t you say? A Hollywood story if there ever was one. Only this time it’s a Pinoy story. If we’re ever going to break the monotony of Western blockbuster cinema and get exposed to different perspectives then I don’t think a Swedish dance troupe will cut it. We’ll need people like Deramas to make it happen.

Published in: on February 17, 2010 at 10:42 am  Leave a Comment  

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