FILM REVIEW: DAMA DE NOCHE


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

The Reviews: “…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. Will the memorable Rosanna win for Vilma the most coveted award tonight? Or will Nora the Superstar make it? The die is cast and tonight is the NIGHT. New Frontier Cinema in Cubao was never before so loaded that the fire exits had to be opened to let in air. It was so badly jampacked, one swore it couldn’t be worse. But it was, a ‘stand-mate’ (there were no seats) quipped, ‘Noong first day, mas grabe.’ And so through a snail-pacing 20-yard pila and after exactly one hour, one got inside the theater, at last!…” – The Times Journal (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…” – Joel McVie (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)

Advertisements