By: NIKOS DACANAY
August 9, 2012
By making THY WOMB, Nora is, perhaps without her knowing it, making many big statements.
First, by choosing an indie film as her comeback film she legitimizes this new wave of film making in Philippine cinema. By ignoring major film productions, she is in effect challenging their immaturity and criticizing what has now become of show business, a business that values mediocrity and cheap entertainment.
Second, by making an indie film, she lives up to her reputation as a risk taker and experimental, somebody who goes out of her comfort zone to try new techniques and styles in film making. This shows her passion to develop as an artist, forever thirsty for creative challenges.
Third, by choosing the subjects of Islam, Mindanao, and the ethnic Badjaos for her film, she puts on center stage these marginalized discourses, the issues that Philippine histories and narratives have always muted. In effect, she becomes our Muslim brothers' savior, and also the savior of our culturally rich but forgotten and neglected ethnic groups/tribes.
Nora narrates their lives and their pains on the big screen, telling us how very un-Filipino we are for being too concerned with the glamour of and problems in Manila and being ignorant of the rich heritage of the south as well as the discrimination and alienation of Islamic culture.
By privileging the stories of a lost and dying Badjao tribe in the south, Nora proclaims their importance in the whole discourse on the Filipino identity and Philippine nationhood. Nora may or may not be aware of the ethno/geo-political messages her decision to make Thy Womb has produced, but I guess as an artist she is fully aware that she is challenging hegemonic discourses through the power of her craft. Her past films which she herself produced are full of criticisms of the social ills of the Philippines. In this small indie film, Nora is quietly making big statements about being Filipino. In the process, Venice should not be the only one making this film big but us as well.