Filmography: Dama De Noche (1972)

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Basic Information: Directed, story: Emmanuel H. Borlaza; Cast: Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Fred Montilla, Lillian Laing, Matimtiman Cruz, Ruben Tizon, Jovie Barse, Priscilla Ramirez, Danilo Jurado, Cloyd Robinson; Screenplay: Nestor Torre

Plot Description: A dual role – demented lead. She plays the role of twin sisters, one of whom is a lunatic.

Film Achievement: 1972 FAMAS Best Actress; 1972 Quezon City Film Festival Nomination Best Actress – Vilma Santos

Film Review: “…This being Vilma Santos’ 50th year in show business (she started as a child star in 1963 with the dramatic tearjerker, “Trudis Liit”), her loyal fans are perfervidly recalling the highlights of her “golden” acting career…The year 1972 turned out to be a most productive season for Vilma, who started to do different and better movies that required her to go beyond teen-fave cuteness. In “Inspiration,” she was partnered with Jay Ilagan, and they came up with memorably endearing portrayals. In “Takbo, Vilma, Dali,” she was dynamic instead of soporifically sweet. In “Ang Konduktora,” she revealed her penchant for comedy. And, in “Dama de Noche,” where she played a psychologically troubled young woman, she won her first big acting award. This was a major milestone and triumph for the young actress, because heretofore most of the acting honors in film competitions went to Nora…What’s up next for everybody’s Ate Vi? Higher political office, quite logically and obviously. But, we hope against hope that, every couple of years or so, she will continue to gift us with another memorable screen portrayal, to further enhance her already exceptional filmography. She’s simply too good a thespian to surrender completely to politics…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 03 August 2012 (READ MORE)

A very young Vilma Santos plays twins—a goody-two shoes and a manic meanie. They fall for the same guy—if I’m not mistaken, a slim Edgar Mortiz. The good twin sings pretty songs, looks morose most of the time, and is often helpless; the bad twin is active, take-charge, and flashes her eyes at the camera a lot. In the end she burns the house down; unfortunately she traps herself in it. Good Vi and Bot escape, and watch the house go down in flames while holding on to each other beside a dama de noche shrub (or at least I assume it’s one). And yes, there is a theme song that goes, “Daaaama de noche… daaaaaaaaamaaaaa de nocheeeeee….” (P.S. Vilma Santos won best Actress in the 1972 Famas Awards for her role/s in the movie.) – Joel McVie, the McVie

Dama de Noche is showing in three theaters— Remar, Delta and Sampaguita. It is, Vilma was quoted as saying, her dream role fulfilled. The very professional Vilma has come out with the resolution than henceforth she will demand to see the script and also see that the script is demanding— or she’ll say nix. Well, Dama de Noche is exactly just that: demanding. In it she delineates the twin-sister roles of sweet Armida and deranged Rosanna. Vilma sobs and screams, giggles, and crazy-dances, claws and clowns, sobs again and screams some more. But she does more than all these things. She acts. In the Filipino movieworld where crying is synonymous with acting, that certainly is being ahead of one’s kind.

Vilma as Armida is drab and dry, almost a movie prop. It is in the portrayal of Rosanna that Vilma would tear one’s heart away. The many close-ups so effectively used throughout the movie show the unglamorous Vilma: her frowns, her lip-twitching, her uninhibited and stifled sobs. But Vilma is less successful with the shifty look that is the distinctive trait of the deranged. She compensates for this in the ‘betrayal’ scene when Rosanna suspects that Leo, Armida and the psychiatrist (Fred Montilla) all conspired to imprison her in the hospital. Another outstanding feat is the subdued scene where Rosanna learns that Leo has gone to the Lerma villa to meet Armida.

The vivacious Rosanna is just as winsomely pathetic. Watching her is just like seeing a bosom friend trying to pretend she’s happy when both of you know she’s not only in this case, Rosanna is truly happy. Her non-knowledge of her plight is what is particularly heart-curling. Dama de Noche is Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Production’s entry in the QC filmfest which started on Oct.15. It is a very simple story, almost run-of-the-mill, but Nestor Torre, Jr. who wrote the screenplay saved it with his meaningful and amusing lines. However, the movie is occasionally dragging with the Filipino moviemania for spoonfed sequences. – Times Jornal October 24, 1972 (READ MORE)

“…I didn’t expect to win, although marami ang nagsasabi sa akin na malaki ang pag-asa ko. Ako naman, I don’t believe anything unless talagang nangyayari. Kasi noon, I expected to win, sa film festival din sa Quezon City, but somebody else did. I was very disappointed. Noong awards night nga, I wasn’t convinced I would win hanggang hindi ko pa hawak ‘yong trophy…” – Ricardo F. Lo, Expressweek Magazine January 19, 1978 (READ MORE)

“…We wrote quite a number of scripts for Vilma, including the screenplay for “Dama de Noche,” which turned out to be the first film that gave her an acting award. “This was a big deal for Vi because she was very frustrated at the time due to the fact that she was always losing to Nora in acting derbies in the ’70s. Thus, when she won her Famas trophy, she felt vindicated. It was when “Dama de Noche” was being shot that we had an instructive experience with Vilma. She played a mentally disturbed girl in the story, and there was one scene in which she was supposed to dance her way through a forest. Somebody had interpreted this to mean that the dance would be choreographed number, so a ballet-like dance costume had been made for Vilma! When we got to the movie set that day, Vilma showed us her dance costume, and we were shocked. We explained that the “dance” was supposed to be spontaneous, thus unchoreographed and uncostumed! After our explanation, Vilma returned the costume to the production people, and simply “danced” the scene at her mentally challenged character would, spontaneously. This experience told us that, despite her young age then, Vilma was determined to do her job well, and once she understood how a scene should be done she would insist on doing it the right way, no matter if she ruffled the feelings of some people in the production…” – Nestor U. Torre, Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 6, 2003 (READ MORE)

“…And God Smiled at Me vs. Dama De Noche, 1972 – a German Moreno- directed escapist fare vs. a dual-role directed flick by Emmanuel Borlaza at the QC FF. Nora’s first best actress award, Vilma’s first of many defeats vs. La Aunor in the acting field. Nora’s role was simple, she was playing herself. Vilma’s dual role had degree of difficulty. She had a breakdown scene, with the camera showing a close up of Vilma crying and laughing all at once – the “luka-luka role.” Many fans and critics disagreed with the verdict. Come 1973 FAMAS awards, Vilma had her vengeance. She won over Nora, but she shared the award with Boots Anson-Roa. It’s not a complete victory…” – Anonymous (READ MORE)

“…Sa Amerika at iba pang bansa, palasak ang mga organized schools of acting na doon ay p’wedeng mag-enrol ang isang nag-aambisyong mag-artista at nang ma-refine niya o lalong mapagbuti ng anumang likas niyang kakayahan sa pag-arte. Isa sa mga pinakatanyag nilang acting techniques ay iyong tinatawag na Method Acting. Ang taguriang The Method ay pinaiklu mula orihinal na Stanislovsky Method, sinulan noong 1909 bg Rusong aktor-direktor na si Konstantin Stanislavsky. Si Stanislavsky ay mula sa Moscow Art Theatre at ang kanyang pamosong pamamaraan sa pag-arte ay pinakilala naman sa Estados Unidos ng kanyang mga disipulo. Ang Method Acting ay isang well-rounded system of training na binibigyang-pansin hindi lamang ang pag-arte kundi pati na ang wastong pagtindig, paglakad, at paggamit ng boses. Ang pinakabantog na paaralan ng Method Acting ay ang Actor’s Studio ni Lee Strasberg sa Nuweba York…Ang pinakatanyag niyang estudyante ay sina Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Patricia Neal at ang yumaong James Dean…Sa pelikulang Pilipinoay maaaring hatiin ang mga uri ng pag-arte sa dalawang pangkat. Ang una’y kinabibilangan nina Lolita Rodriguez at Nora Aunor. Ang pangalawa’y binubuo nina Charito Solis at Vilma Santos. Ang istilo ng acting nina Lolita ay banayad, mahinahon, pigil. Ang nadarama’y mababasa sa mga mata at sa bahagyang kiling ng ulo o sa kilos ng katawan. Kung ihahambing dito ang klase ng arte nina Charito, ay iyon namang matatawag na obvious, halos natatawag ng pansin. Kung nagagalit ay talagang hysterical na, nangininig ang mga labi, nandidilat ang mga mataat nagtutumili sa pagsasalita (ang buong katawa’y nangangatal). Natatandaan marahil ninyo si Charito doon sa eksena sa “Araw-Araw, Gabi-Gabi” (nanalo siya rito ng best actress sa Manila Filmfest) na muli silang nagkasama-sama ng kanyang mga napahiwalay na kapatid. Napaluhod pa siya at napahagulgol sa matinding tuwa. (Pero tila nagbago na si Ms. Solis sa ganitong estilo mula nang mahawakan siya ni Brocka “Larawan”). …Natatandaan din siguro ninyo si Vilma Santos sa “Dama De Noche” (nanalo siya rito ng best actress sa Famas), doon sa eksenang dinala siya sa pagamutan ng mga baliw at nang matuklasan niya ito’y nagsisigaw siya, nanlalaki pati mga butas ng ilong at halos lumuwa ang mata sa galit. Sa malas naman ay ito ang higit na naiibigang istilo sa pagarte ng ating publiko. Kung bigay-tudo at eksaherado ay mas maganda para sa kanila. Di ba’t maging sa buntalan ay mas nagugustuhan nila yung matatagal na eksena ng bakbakang walang patlang ang palitan ng mga suntok at sipa?…” – Mario E. Bautista, Jingle Extra Hot Magazine, 11 February 1980 (READ MORE)

“…Matunog ang bulungan na maaaring maglaban daw sina Vi at Guy sa Best Dramatic Actress category sa Q.C. Filmfest. Si Guy sa kanyang “And God Smiled At Me” at si Vi sa “Dama de Noche.” Sabagay, tops si Vi basta’t drama. Pero isa na ako sa nagsasabing si Guy ay hindi patatalbog sa kanya sa linyang ito. Nakita ko na itong gumagawa ng drama scene (And God) at tutoo pa namang susmaryosep! Ang galing! But then, talagang heavy ang role ni Vi sa drama. Dual pa which makes it doubly mahirap. Magkapatid na ang isaý luka-luka…” – Cleo Cruz, Superstar Magazine, 16 October 1972

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