Friday, August 30, 2013


MANILA -- Nora Aunor has once again scored an international award, her fourth for her role as a Badjao midwife in the Brillante Mendoza film "Thy Womb," this time from a film festival in Russia.

The 60-year-old showbiz veteran was named Best Actress at the 3rd Sakhalin International Film Festival, which was held starting August 23 in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

The news was confirmed by Mendoza in a text message to ABS-CBN News on Friday.

The Cannes award-winning director, along with "Thy Womb" scribe Henry Burgos, are in Russia to personally receive the award on behalf of Aunor.

This latest award follows a string of recognition for Aunor's portrayal of a midwife who is coping with her own infertility.

She previously won as best actress for "Thy Womb" in the Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong, and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Australia.

For the same role, Aunor was given a special award, the Bisato d'Oro for Best Actress, by an independent group of film critics participating in the Venice International Film Festival.

Locally, Aunor's most recent Best Actress award for the same portrayal was at the 11th Gawad Tanglaw held Thursday night. She will also receive a Best Performer trophy on September 3 from the Young Critics Circle.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When Guy and Pip Fall in Love Again

Let's welcome back the iconic love team of GUY and PIP through the much awaited reunion movie of NORA AUNOR and TIRSO CRUZ III entitled "WHEN I FALL IN LOVE."

"When I Fall In Love" is directed by Joel Lamangan.  Nora Aunor portrays Fely, who takes care of her husband Amado (Tirso Cruz III) who has pancreatic cancer.

Supporting Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III as their children in the movie are Nadine Samonte and Artista Academy recruit Akihiro Blanco.   "When I Fall In Love" is produced by TV 5.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Ang Kwento Ni Mabuti" in 1st CineFilipino Film Festival on Sept. 18

Fan art poster featuring the winning design by Jom Pap for the
'Ang Kwento ni Mabuti' t-shirt design contest
among members of the Nora Friends Forever (NFF).

PLDT-SMART Foundation, MediaQuest, Studio 5 and Unitel Entertainment joined together in the first ever CineFilipiono Film Festival which will start on Sept. 18 and will end on Sept. 24.  Eight Filipino films will be competing for the coveted awards.

The 8 Films competing at the CineFilipino Film Festival:

Director: Mes de Guzman
Stars: Nora Aunor, Sue Prado, Mara Lopez, Arnold Reyes, and the late Ama Quiambao

Ang Kwento Ni Mabuti tells the story of a healer named Mabuti, who despite her poverty, still looks at life positively.  Everything changes, however, when she finds a bag containing a huge stash of money. In the film, Nora Aunor is cast as a folk healer who takes care of her ailing mother and four grandchildren.

Director: Sigrid Andrea Bernardo
Stars: Angel Aquino, Teri Malvar, Marcus Madrigal, Star Orjaliza, Gigi Columna, Sarah Pagcaliwagan, Lui Manansala

Ang Huling Cha-cha Ni Anita tells the story of a 12-year old Anita who falls in love with the new woman in town; years later, a girlhood crush blossoms during the Fiesta of Santa Clara in Obando, Bulacan. In the trailer, Angel Aquino is seen having plenty of lighthearted moments with a young girl.

Director: Randolph Longjas
Stars: Tuesday Vargas, Julia Clarete, Cai Cortez, JM de Guzman, Travis Kraft

Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin is a cross-cultural comedy about a Filipino-American couple who celebrates life with karaoke music, superstitious in-laws, immigration laws, unexpected pregnancies, brown-outs, Thanksgiving turkey, with some love on the side. According to its Facebook page, Ang Turkey Man Ay Pabo Rin is an "experimental comedy explores the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of a Filipino-American couple on a universal love trip—that which do not discriminate against color, stature, or culture. It is a celebration of the Filipino experience in a foreigner’s perspective, and alternatively, the realization of the American dream in a Filipino’s eyes." Tuesday Vargas is cast as Cookie, a woman who meets her boyfriend through an Internet dating site. Travis Kraft plays Matthew, Cookie's American boyfriend who moves to the Philippines and has to deal with the cultural differences between them.

Director: Byron “Ron” Bryant
Stars: Eula Valdes, Max Eigenmann, Charee Pineda, Mercedes Cabral, Hazel Orencio, Liza Diño

Bingoleras is a comedy about six single women, whose lives intersect when a bingo marathon is launched in their church for the barangay fiesta, turning expectations and relationships upside down and inside out.

Director: Renato “Ato” Bautista
Stars: Akihiro Blanco, Mocha Uson, Mon Confiado and Issa Litton

Mga Alaala Ng Tag-Ulan is a coming-of-age love story of a young man‘s first encounter with love, romance and heartbreak, told in bits and pieces of poetic and melancholic memories that began on one rainy night. Akihiro Blanco of Artista Academy fame stars opposite sexy star Mocha Uson in this entry.

Director: Miguel “Mike” Alcazaren
Stars: Ian Veneracion, Jasmine Curtis Smith, Lauren Young

Puti follows the story of a counterfeit painter who figures in a freak car accident that rendered him color blind. While recuperating, he starts seeing strange images. The film has the tagline "The truth is color blind." Jasmine Curtis Smith, one of the lead stars of Puti, describes this movie as "an edgy and dark drama."

Co-directors: Sari Dalena and Kiri Dalena
Stars: Karl Medina, Angeli Bayani, Jao Mapa, Raymond Bagatsing, Anthony Falcon, Chanel Latorre and Willie Nepomuceno

Karl Medina, the brother of Alex and Ping Pineda and son of veteran actor Pen Medina, is cast as Jose Maria “Joma” Sison in The Guerilla Is A Poet. This biopic weaves an intricate tale of Joma Sison’s journey during the turbulent years of Martial Law, until his capture in the mountains and the dark, nine years of imprisonment that followed, leading to his birth as a poet. Joma Sison is the writer and activist who reorganized the Communist Party of the Philippines. He is now living in self-exile in the Netherlands.

Director: Janice Perez
Stars: Kitchie Nadal, Janelle Jamer

The Muses is a story of sibling rivalry in the music business where two sisters find the hidden truths about fame, family and their own selves. Kitchie Nadal and Janelle Jamer are cast as musician-sisters who have to deal with the pressure of taking part in a reality talent show set in Cebu. This project marks the acting debut of singer-songwriter Kitchie who used to be the lead vocalist for the alternative rock band, Mojofly.

Monday, August 19, 2013


By Lisa Ito
Young Critics Circle Film Desk


"Much of the film’s power, however, is drawn from Aunor’s mastery of countenance and gesture: how her character becomes a disturbingly gendered embodiment of the maternal and the sacrificial."



Brilliante Mendoza’s competing entry to the 69th Venice International Film Festival and official entry to the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival, Thy Womb, has been received in diverse ways since its first screening, ranging from institutional and critical acclaim to popular indifference to contentious critique.

Set in the island province of Tawi-Tawi, the landscape of Thy Womb slowly unravels through the aural: the sound of waves as a baby is birthed into the world, the whirr of a motorized banca cutting through the tide, the spatter of rain breaking the stillness beyond.

These waters of life are the very habitat and home of Badjao couple Shaleha (Nora Aunor) and Bangas-an (Bembol Roco). This floating world between sky and sea envelops the ironic barrenness of Shaleha, a respected  midwife in their humble village. The opening scene ends with Shaleha carefully putting aside the child’s discarded umbilical cord as a keepsake: a reminder of her own simultaneous power and failure to bring forth life.

Shaleha’s literal and figurative departures from the daily rhythm of living revolve around this perceived fall from grace: venturing to other shores with Bangas-an in search of a fecund second wife. This is a journey more transactional than personal, capped by the marriage to Mersila (Lovi Poe) and a substantial dowry that will sap not only their meager resources, but sever their remaining ties as well.

This whole conjugal narrative unfolds at a meandering pace, underscoring the tedium of waiting. The film intersperses its climactic points with cinematography representing the ecological and the social: panoramas and underwater shots abound with ethnographic portrayals of both social ritual and community life.It juxtaposes footage of wildlife, scenes and objects that are not only documentary but symbolic in function: pawikan eggs and rainbows,a desolate chapel and a busy mosque, the weaving of mats which subsistence fisherfolk turn to in the lean months.

At best, these scenes complement the symbolic silence that permeates throughout the film. There are no histrionics and thespian dialogues for most of the time. Much of the interrogations within the narrative remain unsaid and alluded to, like the currents of Thy Womb’s tranquil seas. The pristine underwater shots merely hint at the ruptures brewing beneath: a massive butanding hovering beneath the couple’s humble boat, the spurt of blood from a pirate’s gunshot wound dissolving into patterns in the water, a frantic carabao on the verge of drowning. What are made visible are merely ripples on the surface; sporadic interruptions—gunfire disrupting the pangalay dance at a marriage, a squad of soldiers passing by—merely hint at the real dissonance and turmoil unfolding beyond in this part of the archipelago.

The film presents undoubtedly poignant performances by Aunor and Roco, which have won for the former two other film citations for 2012. Their exchanges of words as husband and wife are sparse, whittled down all throughout the narrative by the screenplay (Henry Burgos); the real tragedies, jousts and departures are best left unspoken and seen. Roco’s stoic weariness betrays both a quiet desperation at the absence of progeny and sense of impending loss, suddenly sealed by Poe’s brief but pivotal presence in the end.

Much of the film’s power, however, is drawn from Aunor’s mastery of countenance and gesture: how her character becomes a disturbingly gendered embodiment of the maternal and the sacrificial.This is mirrored in the marriage ceremony she attends as a guest, where woman is transformed into bride. For my husband’s happiness, I’d do anything, Shaleha announces later, proclaiming an appalling selflessness in the face of her transactional and personal dealings. In the end, there are no words for anticipation, acceptance, and the finality of departure; indeed, Shaleha is painful to watch in her silence.

Yet it is also precisely in its very conception of silence that Thy Womb waxes problematic, if not potentially controversial, as a form of critique. For the semiotics of its breathtaking scenery, biodiversity and ethnographic documentation still point to the implied conception of Shaleha’s world as the Other: geographically and conceptually removed from urbanity, contemporaneity, and familiarity.

While the film consciously veers away from representing overtly and unabashedly exotic spectacles reminiscent of the early 20th century colonial gaze, its representation of personal loss and pain as a largely aesthetic encounter transforms Shaleha’s story (and the geopolitical implications behind it) into an exquisite vista that one does not interrogate, but merely beholds. It is only in problematizing such silence that one can come to closer terms with Bangas-an’s real loss: there is no redemption, only rupture, in this final birth.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


 by Alvin Dela Cruz Bernardino

Not everyone can and will understand NORA AUNOR ---her ways, her artistic temperament, her notorious mood swings, her unpredictable self, her very being… For all her flaws, setbacks and misbehavior, one needs to UNDERSTAND the complexities of human nature… One needs an open, accepting mind to fully grasp the INTRICACIES of human psyche…

With Nora, it is either you love her or you hate her… To completely fathom the mysteries behind those sad-looking, soulful eyes of hers is like digging into an enchanted bottomless pit or falling into a mystical abyss…

Behind the GREATNESS that is Nora Aunor lies the challenge of knowing the GENUINE person behind the artist… And Nora, warts and all, is one incredibly genuine person --- full of kindness that is often abused and characterized by vulnerability that people mistake as a weakness… Whatever harsh things they say about Nora, one thing is quite certain --- NORA AUNOR WILL REMAIN THE GREATEST ENIGMA WE HAVE EVER KNOWN AND WE WILL NEVER KNOW… Enigmatic, isn’t it?


ni Alvin Dela Cruz Bernardino

Maikli lamang ang sanaysay na ito sa kadahilanang napakarami nang naisulat tungkol sa buhay at pagiging artista ni Nora Aunor… Mula sa pagtitinda niya ng tubig sa may riles ng tren sa Iriga, ang pananagumpay niya sa Tawag ng Tanghalan, ang pagiging isang tanyag na mang-aawit, radio talent at product endorser, ang pagpasok sa makulay na mundo ng pelikula at telebisyon, pagsubok sa mapanghamong larangan ng pagganap sa lehitimong entablado at ang pagyakap sa mas mataas na antas ng sining pampelikula at artistikong pagpupunyagi sa mas malalim at mas makabuluhan nitong kahulugan.

Sinasabing sumugal si Nora upang maabot ang kinalalagyan niya ngayon sa kasaysayan ng pelikulang Pilipino. Walang takot niyang tinahak ang daan na bihira lamang ang sumusubok baybayin… Hindi siya nagpasilaw sa kinang ng komersyalismo na siyang mababaw na basehan ng katanyagan ng mga bituin sa ngayon… Si Nora na isang risk-taker at tunay na alagad ng sining ay naghanap ng isang bukal na makatitighaw sa kanyang “artistic thirst” --- sa isang malaya, mapangahas at “experimental” na approach sa pag-gawa ng pelikula… Buong tapang niyang niyakap ang “indie spirit” o independent filmmaking at ang pag-gawa ng mga seryosong pelikula o art films tulad ng “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos” at “Bona” sa ilalim ng sarili niyang produksyon.

Sa ngayon, patuloy si Nora sa pamamayagpag sa indie world… Kasalukuyan pa ring umaarangkada ang pelikula niyang “Thy Womb” sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo na nakapagbigay na sa kanya ng tatlong prestihiyosong parangal bilang Best Actress mula Italy, Australia at Hongkong maliban pa sa mga nominasyon at citations mula sa iba’t ibang international film festivals.

At sa darating na 1st Cine Filipino Independent Film Festival, muli na namang mapapanood si Nora Aunor sa isang obra ni Mes De Guzman --- ang “Ang Kwento ni Mabuti”.

Naglaho man ang matinding kasikatan o commercial appeal ng isang Nora Aunor, binigyan niya naman tayo ng isang malaking dahilan upang ipagmalaki natin ang ating pagiging Pilipino… Isa na siya ngayong alagad ng sining para sa mundo --- isang pagkilala di lamang sa taglay niyang husay sa pag-ganap kundi maging sa kahalagahan niya sa ating kultura. ANG PAGKILALANG ITO AY HIGIT PA SA ANUMANG “COMMERCIAL SUCCESS” NA PANANDALIAN LAMANG.

Matalino si Nora Aunor… At hindi siya nagkamali sa landas na kanyang tinahak…