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Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
This is an update on Nora's early years in showbiz
After her stints in TV (Channel 13’s Oras ng Ligaya) and radio (DZXL’s Operetang Putol-Putol and Fiesta Extravaganza), Nora Aunor was offered an eight-picture non-exclusive contract with Sampaguita Pictures, with the assurance that she would initially be given singing parts. She was previously been turned down by four other movie outfits. True enough, in All Over the World and Way Out in the Country, her first two movie appearances, she sang with her former Tawag ng Tanghalan opponent, Jose Yap.
See Nora Aunor's previous posts
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Hailed by fans and critics as Nora Aunor's finest movie and one of Direk Ishmael Bernal's best work. But for this film, Nora received only one Best Actress Award, from the MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival), and one nomination from the FAP (Film Academy of the Philippines). A decade later, the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino included Himala in its list of the 10 Best films of the decade (1980-89). After twenty five years, the wait is over. It's finally released on DVD. Buy your original copy now!
by Arnel Resma Ramos
Watching Ishmael Bernal's landmark film Himala on a lethargic afternoon is like revisiting an old familiar haunt. It brings back memories of a cherished time when locally manufactured movies made one ponder and contemplate, think and analyze.
We were but a boy in knee pants, starry-eyed and unsophisticated, when we first saw this meditative piece on faith and the evils that it brings forth when used for the wrong reasons. The year was 1982, exactly two decades ago, and we well remember being enthralled by the sheer force of its powerful images and quietly devastating performances. We are one of the blessed few who own a video tape copy of the film that has remained, through the years, Nora Aunor's signature film. The pint-sized superstar delivered a miracle of a performance as Elsa, the false visionary. Perhaps, the finest performance by a Filipino actor ever recorded on celluloid. If the diminutive multimedia luminary ever decides to leave the movies for good, Himala is enough reason to guarantee her of immortality.
Set in a far-flung barrio, a lowly, plain looking lass claims that the Virgin Mary appeared before her during an eclipse. She becomes a faith healer and almost overnight the sleepy town transforms into a bustling community. Pilgrims and tourists troop to Barrio Cupang out of curiosity while the sick flock to the once-cursed place with the hope that the miracle will heal them. Among the people who gravitate around Elsa are her two fanatic followers: a childhood friend named Chayong, almost saintly in countenance, and a poor woman (played with serene intensity by theater stalwart Amable Quiambao) who places her devotion to Elsa on top of her priority list. Two other important characters come within Elsa's orbit: a struggling documentary film director who treats his camera as his God and a downtrodden prostitute (performed to perfection by Gigi Duenas).
Eventually, the miracle brings out the worst in the townsfolk. The greedy use it for their selfish motives. They peddle Elsa's miracle like a commodity, to the extent of selling bottles of supposedly miraculous water. The politicians take advantage of the media mileage to further their hidden agenda. The dire poverty drives the women to prostitution and the men to committing crime to escape their miserable plight.
Then one day, Elsa loses her power to cure. The faithful Chayong takes her own life and once more Barrio Cupang goes back to being barren and seemingly God-forsaken. There is an interesting twist as to why this happens. I choose not to reveal it so as not to spoil your viewing pleasure, if and when you come across a copy of this film and like me, be held captive by its hypnotic quality. I dare say that Himala is far more spiritual than the countless movies inspired by the lives of saints.
The film concludes in a scene where Elsa, following the rain that has come to Barrio Cupang after a long drought, gathers her believers in the sand dunes and announces, to everyone's shock, that indeed the miracle is nothing but a hoax. It is in this scene where Nora delivers the iconic lines "Walang himala, ang himala ay nasa ating puso (There is no miracle, the miracle is in our hearts)." Right after the startling revelation, Elsa is gunned down and pandemonium breaks out.
The film is not the typical fare that the average Filipino moviegoer laps up with glee. There are no violent confrontation scenes. Missing too is the element of sex. But the film is unerring in its depiction of the grim consequences when people use faith to advance themselves. From the first scene to the last, Bernal never loses grip on his material, imbuing it with directorial touches that may go unnoticed by undiscerning viewers. They may find the film too passive and gloomy. Bernal executes the film according to his grand design. The cinematography and the editing are laudable.
Ricky Lee's script is deft and soulful. Some quarters complain that the main problem with the script is the underwritten part of the central character Elsa. We feel that the role was decidedly underwritten to make the part properly enigmatic and mystical, in keeping with the elusive quality of the film. After all, faith is a very personal matter. It is not something that one slaps right in the face of others.
Then until now, we believe that Nora Aunor should have swept all the best actress awards for that particular year. She was pitted against Vilma Santos' heartfelt portrayal of the mistress in Relasyon and the latter scored a grandslam. This is not to belittle
Films like Himala reaffirm our faith in Philippine movies. We hope that despite the fact that two of our most revered directors, Bernal and Lino Brocka, have long since gone to the great beyond, people in this well-loved industry will join hands and strive to come up with films that will herald a renaissance in Philippine cinema. We hope to see the day when the
Friday, December 28, 2007
Jack and Poy (1977)- Stars Nino Muhlach with his discoverer, Ariel Ureta
Ang Pagbabalik ni Harabas at Bulilit (1977)- Stars Nino Muhlach and Jun Aristorenas
Tahan Na Empoy, Tahan (1977)- Stars Nino Muhlach, Snooky, Alicia Alonzo and Armida Siguon-Reyna / Directed by Lino Brocka
Tutubing Kalabaw Tutubing Karayom (1977) - Stars Fernando Poe, Jr., Marianne De La Riva and Nino Muhlach / FPJ-Nino second team-up
Ang Tatay Kong Nanay (1978)- Stars Dolphy, Nino Muhlach, Marissa Delgado and Phillip Salvador / Directed by Lino Brocka
Bruce Liit (1978)- Stars Nino Muhlach, Ramon Zamora and Rey Malonzo
Butsoy (1978) - Stars Nino Muhlach, Dante Rivero, Marianne De La Riva, Marissa Delgado and Dindo Fernando
Kaming Patok na Patok (1978)- Stars Chiquito and Nino Muhlach
Magkaaway (1978) - Stars Joseph Estrada and Nino Muhlach
Kuwatog (1979) - Stars Nino Muhlach, Ricky Belmonte, Rez Cortez, Anna Marin and Donna Villa
Ang Tatay Kong Kalbo (1979) - Stars Bembol Roco, Beth Bautista and Nino Muhlach
Pepeng Kulisap (1979) - Stars Nino Muhlach, Beth Bautista, George Estregan, Dindo Fernando and Andy Poe
Darna at Ding (1980) - Stars Vilma Santos and Nino Muhlach
Enteng- Anting (1980) - Stars Nino Muhlach and Nida Blanca
Hepe (1980) - Stars Nino Muhlach, Rey Malonzo, Eddie Garcia, Paquito Diaz and Max Alvarado
Juan Tamad Junior (1980) - Stars Nino Muhlach and with the special participation of Manuel Conde
Nognog (1980) - Stars Nino Muhlach and Bonnie 'Mong' De Jesus
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Palos Fights Back (1969)- Stars Bernard Bonnin,
Sofia Moran and Marion Douglas
click image to enlarge