Four Seasons Film International
Release Date March 20, 1981
Story and Screenplay Tony Perez
Cinematography Conrado Baltazar
Film Editor Augusto Salvador
Music Max Jocson
Direction Lino Brocka
Cast Phillip Salvador, Charo Santos and Gina Alajar/ Also Starring Eddie Garcia, Rez Cortez, Joe Fabregas, Ariosto Reyes, Jr., Soxy Topacio and Dennis Roldan (in a special role)
Synopsis: Producer-director Merce Merced (Charo Santos) is fuming mad. Her latest discovery, Carla Rivera (Amy Austria), is leaving her to become a domestic housewife. She needs to find her replacement soon. As she views the rushes of her movie, she spots a potential bold actress next to Carla. She is Maria Theresa Eigenmann (Gina Alajar), a starlet living in a slum area, Barrio Mandaragat, Tondo. She signs her up and baptizes her as Karina Da Luz.
Karina’s family is happy over her unexpected good fortune. They move into a decent apartment and the schooling of her brothers and sisters are taken care of. However, Karina has to live in the palatial residence of Merce, as she wants to watch over her investment. Merce orders a buildup for Karina. Her publicity agents think of gimmicks to promote her. They invent love angles where there are none. They appear regularly in Inday Badiday’s Sea-True television program neither to confirm nor to deny rumors. She is initially linked to Mauro Dizon (Eddie Garcia), her aging co-star in order to promote her first movie,“Darling”. But the gimmick becomes real. Mauro falls in love with her.
After the success of her launching picture, he proposes to Merce that they star in a sequel. Merce turns down the proposal, saying that sequels don’t make money. Mauro becomes insistent. Merce’s gigolo, Alain (Phillip Salvador), has to punch him out of the house. Life for Karina becomes a mixture of excitement and fatigue. She starts taking valium. But she is willing to undergo the ordeal of shooting as she likes her new lifestyle. She decides to break up with her longtime boyfriend, Sonny (Ariosto Reyes).
For her second picture, she is paired with Dick Conrado (Dennis Roldan). It is a movie about teenage delinquency and drugs. Again, the publicists float a romance between her and her co-star — which becomes real at some point in the production. She is fed pills by Dick who makes love to her in-between takes. Karina now feels the weight of exhaustion and this is reflected in her acting. There is a budding romance between Dick and her. Merce wants it nipped in the bud. She orders Alain to rape her. Karina cries after the sex act. Her acting, especially in the rape scenes, now resonates with authenticity.
One day, Karina tells Merce that she hasn’t menstruated for two months. Merce sends her to a remote area to have an abortion. Alain accompanies her. He starts feeling pangs of conscience. After the abortion, Alain apologizes for his deeds. He begins to fall in love with her. Alain is cold in his lovemaking to Merce. One night, he leaves her bed for Karina’s. Merce is indignant and plans to teach her a lesson. She has Karina drugged and raped by Eddie and his two friends. She videotapes the sex act and has the rumor mills grinding with news about the incriminating video.
The trade papers talk of the scandal. Karina takes an overdose of valium and is brought to the hospital. When she regains consciousness, she orders her servant to put makeup on her face. She is aware that reporters are waiting outside to interview her. She is trying to squeeze as much publicity out of the incident. She gives showbiz responses that the media would like to print.
Alain is shocked at the change in her personality. She is an exploiter now, not an innocent
victim anymore. When Merce comes in to congratulate her for the media splash, she spits at her. She agrees to appear in her next movie on her conditions. From now on, she will be giving the orders. Alain is puzzled at the turn of events. As he leaves the hospital, he sees the faces of crying mothers and the sick and wounded on stretchers. The reel is disturbingly contrasted with the real. Merce is shooting her next movie with Karina abroad. Alain is at the airport among the well wishers to bid the cast and crew goodbye. He hears Karina give the pat responses to media. She is now a confirmed show biz personality.
(Source: Lino Brocka: The Artist and his Times)
The movie was released in original DVD