Kundiman ng Lahi (The Song of the Race) (1959). Directed by Lamberto V. Avellana. Produced for LVN Pictures by Manuel De Leon. Starring Charito Solis and Eddie Rodriguez. Supported by Rosa Aguirre, Joseph De Cordova, Oscar Keesee, Miguel Lopez, Tony Dantes. Guest Artists: Patria Plata, Vic Silayan, Priscilla Alvarez and Miniong Alvarez. Scenario by Johnny Legarda. Story by Donato Valentin. Story Consultants – Estrella Alfon Rivera, Daisy H. Avellana, T. D. Agcaoili. Cinematography by Mike Accion. Musical score and direction by Francisco Buencamino, Jr. Orchestrations by Restie Umali. Theme song: “Kundiman ng Luha” by Nicanor Abelardo.
Kundiman ng Lahi (The Song of the Race) (1959). Synopsis: ‘Kundiman ng Lahi’ was Avellana’s last film for LVN. It was also an Asian Film Festival entry but failed to win any awards. But the film is possibly the first Filipino film that tackles a more open depiction of eroticism. It is the story of Isang (Charito Solis), a beautiful provincial girl whose mother’s death leaves her under the care of her ill-tempered aunt, Siyanang (Rosa Aguirre) and her alcoholic husband, Teryo (Joseph De Cordova). She is treated miserably after her mother’s death and becomes the object of desire by her step-uncle. She is, however, in love with Tonio, a peasant like Isang, but her aunt disapproves of their relationship. In order to pay her mother’s debts to Siyanang, Teryo tries to make her work as a taxi dancer in a ‘salon’ but Isang refuses. But when Teryo tries to rape her one evening (this scene is missing in the only extant version of the film), Isang is left with no choice but to work in the salon. There she meets Jaime (Vic Silayan), a rich man from Manila, who also tries to seduce her. Isang escapes and goes to Tonio to plead for help. The two get married but she does not tell Tonio about her work as a taxi dancer until he inadvertently finds out about it in the cement factory where he is working. Teryo complicates the situation by telling Tonio about Jaime and insinuates that there was a relationship between Isang and Jaime. Tonio leaves Isang who is pregnant and she gives birth without Tonio at her side. Tonio finds out the truth from one of the workers in the factory while the villainous Teryo is killed in a freak accident in a cockfighting arena, but not before confessing to Siyanang all his sins against Isang.