Film Review of Broken Marriage

Broken Marriage; directed by Ishmael Bernal; written by Jose Carreon and Bing Caballero; starring Vilma Santos and Christopher De Leon; produced by Regal Films (* * * * *). Broken Marriage is Ishmael Bernal’s best film since his ill-fated Manila by Night/City After Dark (1980). In fact, Broken Marriage is-in the sense the term is used by painters-a detail from the huge canvas of City After Dark. The theme of this latest masterpiece from the Master is simple: the emotional violence in a marriage mirrors the physical, political, and social violence of the city, City After Dark gave a bird’s eye view of the city. Broken Marriage looks at the city through the eyes of a woman. The violence in the marriage of Christopher de Leon and Vilma Santos is obvious enough. He is a conscientious, compassionate, successful police reporter who is just about to be promoted. They are, in other words, alike. Like poles repel, goes the age-old adage from physical science, and these two career-conscious individuals have no time for each other. He spends his leisure hours reading or catching up on videotaped films. She spends her time on the telephone, making her home an extension of the studio. Bernal cleverly places an issue of Time magazine always within reach of de Leon. The director is saying that time is what is just beyond the reach of these two persons who are in love, not with each other, but with themselves. In fact, their very similarity (they are both sloppy in dressing, in fixing their things, in working habits) points to what must have made them fall in love in the first place; they both see themselves in each other.

To say that the two persons are “incompatible”is to miss a lot. They are, in fact, extremely compatible, because they look, think, and act the same. They both want the marriage to revolve around themselves. They both want fame and fortune. They both want to be loved by the children but not to spend time loving them. They are both stubborn, yet forgiving. They are both faithful to each other, almost to a fault, yet they cannot stand each other. Is Bernal saying that marriages can never work if the two partners are equal in every respect? Is he saying that only a male chauvinist marriage can work, where the man works all day and the woman stays home? Or is he subtly suggesting that marriage itself as an institution is an anchronism in a rapidly-changing world? There will be various interpretations of this film, depending on one’s own preception of one’s own marriage. But disagree or not, viewers cannot fail to see what Bernal’s underying thesis is-that the violence in urban, middle-class marriages is caused by violence outside the house. The home is the center that has failed to hold together. The city is the world that has become “broken.”

Bernal cleverly shows that he is interested not only in a marriage, but in the city, when he lets his background seep into the interstices of the plot. In the first sequence, for instance de Leon is watching Bonnie and Clyde on videotape, an obvious hint that Broken Marriage will also be about love in a violent setting. In Bonnie and Clyde, if you recall, the two lovers-having rediscovered each other are mercilessly mowed down by law enforcement officers. Similarly, the marriage in Broken Marriage is “mowed down”by the lawlessness of society. Again ang again, Bernal includes violent news from the otuside of the home. Rod Navarro’s voice is heard talking about the Middle East war. A bank shoot-out is headlined by de Leon’s paper. During the climactic break-up scene, The Greatest American Hero is showing; in that series, the hero needs extraterrestrial help to combat crime in the modern world. The registration scene in the university shows the lack of discipline that pervades Manila. If the city is not disciplined how can a small family be? Sprinkled throughtout the screenplay are derogatory remarks against institutions noted for their lack of discipline-Meralco (taping is hurried because of an imprending brown-out), MWSS (Santos refuses to pay a bill for water since there has been no water in her neighborhood for months), the Ministry of Publick Highways (streets are described and shown to be full of diggings), the police (who are asked by de Leon to “salvage” or murder a Chinese prostitution king pin), movie actresses (one star fails to appear for a song number), movie producers (Orestes Ojeda’s only object is to sleep with Santos), and, most appalling of all, politicians (personafied by a fictional mayor who points a revolver at de Leon). In short, this is City After Dark all over again, but with more subtle, probably more lasting, effect.

The ending has been criticized by a couple of reviewers. It is true that the beach sequence smacks of commercialism. All’s well that ends well, and all that. But City After Dark, we may recall, also ends on such a happy note. We may disagree with Bernal’s perception that there is always hope left fro man, woman, and the city, but we cannot disallow him his views. In other words, most of us cannot agree that the broken marriage can be mended, but Bernal thinks so, and his films have all ended on such an up-note. I personally would rather see a darker, more realistic ending, but Bernal would not be Bernal without his happy endings. It’s not a completely happy endings, anyway. Two sequences before the beach scene. Bernal films the wedding scene in a haze, as though he were saying that whatever follows the wedding is mere romance. It is like Bonnie and Clyde. The gansters dream of a happy life together, spinning romantic castles in the air. But as soon as it is time to go out into the real world, violence is right there at the doorstep. The ending is filmed as a romantic interlude, but the reality is waiting around the dark corners of the city, like the mayor’s goons who cannot stand the thought that someone is finally about to tell the truth. – Isagani Cruz, Parade Magazine 1983, reposted by Pelikula Atbp (READ MORE)

More Memorabilia 2/4

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#Larawan, #LolitaRodriguez, #RitaGomez, #CharitoSolis, #CeliaRodriguez, #EddieRodriguez, #FernandoPoeJr, #HildaKoronel, #IshmaelBernal, #CarmenRosales, #LuisGonzales, #SharonCuneta, #JayIlagan, #AgaMuhlach

With her success and happiness all aglow

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The line is lifted from a Christmas song with a little alteration. But the message and the spirit of the season is still there. Intact. And that is Vilma Santos these days: glowing and with high spirits radiating. Who wouldn’t be, anyway? At thirty, she has still maintained that youthful look every woman is trying to hold on to as she goes celebrating from one birthday to the next. The actress is at peak of her career, and no matter what others say about the phenomenal legend and her unmatchable niche in local cinema, Vilma is slowly creating a legend all her own. At ito ang magiging pagkakaiba niya sa lahat. Kadalasan, ang mga movie queen ng local movies ay unti-unting nawawala sa eksena the moment they get to near thirty or that. Maging si Nora Aunor ay hindi nakaligtas sa “aging syndrome” na ito sa ating pelikula. Ilang taon na ba nang magsimulang manghina ang movie career ng brown phenomenon? Ganito rin halos ang mga nangyari sa ating past movie queens like Gloria Romero, Amalia Fuentes and Susan Roces: by the time they got to be thirty, unti-unti nang nawala ang kanilang charisma sa publiko, at hindi na kagaya ng dati.

Pero hindi ito nangyari kay Vilma. It is a fact na kung kailan pa siya nagkakaedad ay saka pa siya lalong tumatatag, lumalakas. And by almost all indications, it seems like magtatagal pa ito. Take a look at her harvest this year: “Ayak Kong Maging Querida,” “Paano Ba Ang Mangarap?,” “Broken Marriage,” “Obsession (Separasyon Legal),” “Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan Ang Nakaraan” and “Sor Stella L.” Although it appears na tila dalawang pelikula ang maaaring hindi na maipalabas sa taong ito (Obsession and Sor Stella L), hindi na rin maikakaila from the list above that Vilma Santos is still the biggest star of the season and the busiest among her contemporaries. At mayroon pa siyang mga nakatakdang gagawin sa pagpasok ng bagong taon. At the time when most stars are already collecting memoirs and reminiscing fond memories of past glories, Vilma is still soaring into newer heights as she goes from one competent film director to another and manages to become the highest paid actress in the country today. From Ishmael Bernal (Broken Marriage) to Lino Brocka (Obsession) to Marilou Diaz-Abaya (Misan Pa Nating Hagkan Ang Nakaraan) to Mike de Leon (Sor Stella L), the reigning movie queen is getting most of the choicest assignment these days and with the accompanying royal treatment.

Sabi pa niya: “Wala na yata akong mahihiling pa at this stage in my life. Maligaya ako sa aking pamilya, lumalaking listo si Lucky at nalutas ko na rin ang mga problema ko. I think it would be too much kung maghahanap pa ako ng kung anu-ano pa. Kuntento na ako sa buhay ko ngayon at siguro, ang dapat ko na lang gawin ay pagbutihin ang aking ginagawa.” With husband Edu around and some of her loved ones with her, Vilma can’t help but be contended with all the things coming her way. That glow in her eyes is unmistakable kahit na madalas siyang magpuyat and at one time or some other ay nagkakasakit. Katulad na lang nang matapos ang kanyang VIP birthday celebration sa Celebrity Sports Plaza noong November 5. Nagkasakit kinabukasan ang aktress at may dalawang araw ring naratay sa higaan. Maybe because of fatigue. Pero maligaya pa rin siya dahil nasa piling niya si Edu at si Lucky. In fact, she even made some effort to set an appointment the moment she gets well. But she didn’t have to, I thought. The next time I called up, nasa set na naman siya ng Minsan Pa Nating Hagkan… at kailangan niya itong matapos bago mag-November 15 dahil sisimulan na nila ang Sor Stella L sa Regal with Mike de Leon.

Halos mapang-abot na ang dalawang pelikula dahil the day na natapos ang dubbing niya sa Minsan…, kinabukasan, nag-umpisa na kaagad siya sa Sor Stell L. It was a good thing na hindi nagtuloy-tuloy ang shooting ng pelikula ni Mike de Leon. Ang yet, maligaya pa rin si Vilma. Iba na nga naman ang nagagawa ng pag-ibig. Sana wala ng tanong kung hanggang kailna ang lahat. Pero, dapat pa rin nating harapin ang katotohanan. As she has always said time and again, “Parang natatakot pa rin ako kung ano nga ang magiging kasunod nito. With all the good things happening to me now, there’s always that fear at the back of my mind na baka kung ano nga ang sumusonod nito. Sana wala naman.” Most people can’t really help thingking about it. And it’s good thing Vilma isa aware of that. But why worry of things that are based on unfounded fears? Right now, the world of Vilma Santos is all aglow and it is what should matter. So why spoil the good times and think otherewise? The world will not stop because one day you’ll be sad, Vilma. Keep going. Life is made of such stuff. – Julio Cinko N., Movie Flash Magazine, December 8 1983 (READ MORE)

Special Film: Manila By Night retitled City After Dark

City After Dark, originally titled Manila by Night, is a 1980 drama film directed by Ishmael Bernal. Released at the height of the Marcos regime, the film uncovers the other face of Manila by depicting the ugly aspects of life in the city – unemployment, prostitution, drug addiction, and lack of decent housing. Considered as one of Bernal’s masterpieces, it is an epic multi-narrative of people who have shady pasts and are trying to exist in an unforgiving world. The film’s events take place in the course of one night, involving various protagonists and the city itself. William Martinez plays a folk singer from a rich family who becomes addicted to heroin through the influence of lesbian pusher and pimp, Cherie Gil. Martinez’s mother in the movie, played by Charito Solis, is herself a reformed prostitute who, like Lady Macbeth, is obsessed with cleaning her hands to remove the dirt of her past. She does her best to be respectable after marrying an ex-cop played by Johnny Wilson. Meanwhile, Cherie Gil’s character is in love with a blind masseuse, played by Rio Locsin, with two illegitimate children. Locsin lives with Jojo Santiago, whose character fantasizes of earning American dollars while working in Saudi Arabia. Another character, portrayed by Alma Moreno, is a nurse who, in reality, is a call girl. Her live-in taxi-driver lover, played by Orestes Ojeda, is fooling around with a waitress played by Lorna Tolentino, who is the presumed girlfriend of a gay couterier played by Bernardo Bernardo. As dawn breaks over the city, the bizarre lives of the characters of Manila’s nightlife seem like an alter-ego of the respectable, busy daytime world. – Wikipilipinas (READ MORE)

Ishmael Bernal (1938–1996) (30 September 1938 – 2 June 1996) was an acclaimed Filipino film, stage and television director. He was also an actor and screenwriter. Noted for his melodramas particularly with feminist and moral issues, his 1982 film Himala (Miracle) is often cited as one of the greatest Filipino films of all time. He is a National Artist of the Philippines. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Source: Pelikulapinoy101

Remembering Marilou

FILMS - Relasyon (1)

31 Years has passed since Vilma Santos did Relasyon. As we all know, this film gave her first grand slam best actress, winning four best actress from URIAN, FAP, FAMAS and CMMA (the four major award giving bodies that time). It is worth noting that the film has been successfully transferred into DVD and VCD and everyone can buy a copy (see REGAL.com). Relasyon has been exhibited in many international film festival. Sub-titled, “The Affair” is scheduled to be screen New York Filipino Film Festival. With its rival film, Himala, Relasyon has been tested by times. All award giving bodies agreed. Vilma’s performance outscored the intricate and overrated performance of her rival, Nora Aunor. To commemorate this triumphant feat, here are the comments made by critics, see if these comments are still valid.

“Sinasabi ng mga drumbeater ni Vi na ang kanyang role sa pelikulang ito ay pang-award, pang-FAMAS, pang-URIAN o pang-Film Academy Award kung matutuloy ito. Hindi kami tumututol sa kanilang palagay laluna’t napanood namin ang pelikulang ito. Masuwerte si Vi at sa ganitong maselang role ay dinirek siya ng isang katulad ni Bernal. Napakadramatiko ang pagkompronta ni Vi kay Chris sa direksyon ng kanilang relasyon. Higit sa lahat, sa pamamagitan ng huling eksena, ang pagsasara ni Vi sa pinto ng kanilang bahay, ang pugad ng kanilang “Rrelasyon,” inihayag ni Bernal na ang ganitong relasyon ay may hindi maiiwasang magwakas tulad ng sa tunay na buhay…” – Mando Plaridel, Star Monthly Magazine Vol. 1 No. 10 July 1982

“Vilma Santos represents womanhood in the film…commonly thought of as a martir or long-suffering masochist. Santos portrays a mistress who is an outand-out martir. She serves De Leon hand and foot, ministering to his every need, including fetching beer for him, washing his clothes, serving as his shoulder to cry on, even baby-sitting his child. In return, all she gets from De Leon is chauvinistic love, void of tenderness, full of immature aggressiveness. Santos’ acting is adequate and extraordinary…” – Isagani Cruz, Parade magazine – 21 July 1982

“Napakahusay ni Vilma Santos sa papel ng pangunahing tauhan, isang dalagang umibig sa isang may asawa. It’s one hell of a role and a heaven of a performance. Kasama si Vilma sa lahat ng eksena sa pelikula at talagang ito na ang pinakamabigat na papel na napaatang sa mga balikat ng isang local actress mula ng gampanan ni Gina Alajar and lead role sa “Salome.” This time, sigurado nang mano-nominate si Vilma sa Urian (ito lamang ang award na hindi niya napapagwagihan) at malamang na ang maging pinakamahigpit niyang kalaban dito ay si Nora Aunor na very demanding din ang role sa ‘Himala’ (na si Bernal din ang direktor)…” – Mario Bautista, People’s Journal, July 1982 (READ MORE)

Ishmael Bernal’s Vilma Santos Films

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204 films, 70 directors, 5 decades, Vilma Santos, one of the original Philippine movie queens, rose up to become the versatile actress that has been given the fitting title of “Star for All Seasons” because of her capacity to adapt to the changing mores and values of the Filipino woman, giving a face to their plight and struggles, albeit in success both critically and box-office wise in some of Philippine cinema’s classics such as Trudis Liit (1963), Lipad, Darna, Lipad (1973), Burlesk Queen (1977), Relasyon (1982), Sister Stella L. (1984), Alyas Baby Tsina (1984), Pahiram ng Isang Umaga (1989), Dahil Mahal Kita: The Dolzura Cortez Story (1993), Anak (2000) and Dekada ’70 (2002). This are top ten directors who contributed to her success. – RV (READ MORE)

Bernal gave Vilma Santos her first grandslam best actress awards and two consecutive Gawad Urian best actress (1982 and 1983). Their first film together was Inspiration (1972) and last was Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989). – RV (READ MORE)

Inspiration (1972) – “…In a musical era of 1970s, “Inspiration” was quite an experimental film, with no musical numbers, better screenplay, well-written characters. Nestor and Bernal works well in establishing the character of Jay and Vilma. Their dialouges are not “corny” and very realistic. There is no over the top dramatic scenes inserted between musical numbers here. The parent played wonderfully by Merle Tuazon and Carlos Salazar were convincing. Although both Vilma and Jay played their roles effectively, Lilian Laing steals the film as Lola Jane. She was bubly and funny, a sex-starved, karate black belter, polo game afficianado, who loves life and considering she playing the old grandma who is also the solution to all the complication in life. Bernal was on his element here, a good story teller, pre-”Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon, Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga and Relasyon.” Although he is directing a light comedy, written by Nestor Torre Jr., he managed to established all the characters without relying on corny dialouges common in this era…” – RV (READ MORE)

Now and Forever (1973) – “…By late 1969, movie producers had been tapping a Vilma Santos-Edgar Mortiz love team. Edgar was a Tawag ng Tanghalan winner. They started to be together in the movies, My Darling Eddie (1969) and The Jukebox King (1969)…In 1970, the love team of Vilma Santos and Edgar “Bobot” Mortiz was officially launched in the movie Young Love, together with the another popular love team during that time, Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III. The Vi and Bot love team went on to do 14 more movies in 1970—The Young Idols, Songs and Lovers, Sweethearts, Sixteen, Love Letters, Love is for the Two of Us, Mga Batang Bangketa, My Pledge of Love, Renee Rose, Baby Vi, Because You Are Mine, Edgar Loves Vilma, From the Bottom of My Heart, and I Love You Honey. All did well at the box-office…” – Rommel R. Llanes (READ MORE)

Dalawang pugad, isang ibon (1977) – “…Bernal, testing the tensions of triangular love (for geometry books, one of his characters wittily says) for some time now, plunges deeper into character analysis and metaphorizing… In Lumayo, Lumapit ang Umaga, the triangle was unevenly explored: the first love was sketchily drawn. Dalawang Pugad, Isang become a choice for a more stable relationship. Walang Katapusang Tag-araw was a strange reverse of characters for two women and an unusual development of love into hatred and hatred into love, where therefore the triangle was essentially illusions. Ikaw ay Akin finally sets an interlocked triangle on its bases and looks at it (from all 3 angles) squarely in the face…” – Petronila Cleto (READ MORE)

Ikaw ay akin (1978) – “…As the uptight Sandra, Vilma Santos has the script’s choicest, wittiest lines. She makes the most of them and succeeds in giving a fairly accurate portrait of an emotionally insecure young woman. And when she tells Rex: “sabi nila liberated ako, front lang. Kalog daw, front din. Alam mo namang kulang-kulang ako. Pag wala ka, magkakalat ako. Para akong manok, takbo ng takbo wala namang ulo.” She likewise handles her final breakdown exceedingly well. Nora has less lines but she nevertheless manages to conveys her emotions very effectively. In that family reunion-party which is so engrossed in gossip and banter, she remains so detached, speaking nary a word — a triumph for both Bernal and her. The hurt in her eyes continues to build up until that disrupted dinner scene where she rushes to her room and, unable to contain herself, finally cries. The most stable of the three, you could really believe her when she tells Rex: “Galit ako sa ‘king sarili, dahil sinasaktan mo na ako nang todo-todo pero lalo ka namang napapamahal sa akin…” – Mario E. Bautista (READ MORE)

Good Morning, Sunshine (1980) – “…Junior – Now 66 years old (can you believe that?), he was Vilma Santos’ leading man in Good Morning Sunshine in 1980. Born Antonio Morales Barretto, he was born in Manila, but moved to Spain with his family when he was 15. He was already a popular singer in Spain when he tried Pinoy showbiz. After doing a series of local movies (another one of his films was Disco Madhouse with Lorna Tolentino and Rio Locsin) and record albums (Yakap is still memorable to me), he went back to Spain (his wife and kids were all living there) where he continued singing. Eventually, he managed the showbiz career of his wife, Rocio Durcal, but she died of cancer in 2006…” – Butch Francisco (READ MORE)

Relasyon (The Affair) (1982) – “…Napakadramatiko ang pagkompronta ni Vi kay Chris sa direksyon ng kanilang relasyon. Higit sa lahat, sa pamamagitan ng huling eksena, ang pagsasara ni Vi sa pinto ng kanilang bahay, ang pugad ng kanilang “relasyon”, inihayag ni Bernal na ang ganitong relasyon ay may hindi maiiwasang magwakas tulad ng sa tunay na buhay. Maaaring kamatayan o isang panibagong relasyon. Kung ang isang lalaki ay may-asawa, at mayroon na siyang relasyon o nagbabalak pa lang magkaroon ng relasyon sa ibang babae, dapat niya itong panoorin ng dalawang beses. Una, kasama ang kanyang misis at ikalawa, kasama angkanyang no. 2 o magiging ka-relasyon. Sa mga babaing katulad ni Vi sa pelikulang ito, mabuting panoorin ninyo nang nag-iisa ang pelikulang ito upang higit na maunawaan ninyo ang inyong relasyon o magiging relasyon.” – Mando Plaridel (READ MORE)

Broken Marriage (1983) – “…Christopher de Leon endows the character of Rene with the right sense of machismo and basic weakness. When Rene is compelled to act maturely, De Leon unflinchingly turns him even more childish with useless tantrums; and when Rene finally learns his lesson, De Leon adds a boyish smile as if the lesson were amusing. We watch De Leon, elated and entertained: he is never so old as to appear too distant nor is he too young as to seem undocile. Broken Marriage is a gift to this actor. He is not propelled here to be more manly; since his character is made to contribute to a lot of oversights, De Leon’s doesn’t have to put a mask of strength: he just has to be himself and act with ease. Vilma Santos is not about to be a letdown, not this time when the most important female roles are coming her way. A new intelligence she infuses in the character Ellen. Like De Leon, she turns Ellen into a woman-child, but the stress is less on her part as she has done similar roles before. Her beautiful face is flush receptive: the quiet moments of just observing the people around her are moments of perfect acting. Her body moves with an agility that is both funny and dramatic. Her two monologues – the first with her friends in the cafe when she informs them that she is bored, and the second with Rene when she tells him that they are not children anymore – are her best scenes: the camera lingers upon her countenance and she enunciates in return with ironic ease. She should watch out for next year’s awards race – there is simply no stopping her at the moment.” – Joselito Zulueta (READ MORE)

Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (On Borrowed Time) (1989) – “…Bernal and Reyes go farther by including a scene in which the artist explains the origins of art. By the fireside at the beach, and watching the flame cast a glow on them, he notes that prehistoric men “discovered” art when they made outlines of shadows on the caves. Those artworks, though crude and primitive, still exist. Implicitly, Juliet’s death, no matter how saddening, is not going to be the end. Philosophical musings like these are not standard soap opera fare, and may alienate a lot of ordinary moviegoers (even the more cerebral ones who cannot accept the conventions of the soap opera genre). Woven unobtrusively into the plot, however, they add texture and enrich the drama. Juliet in a way will continue to live – in that portrait, in her young son who will survive her and hopefully continue her legacy whatever it may be, and in her good deeds. In the last scene, the imagery and symbolisms of life and death abound. Juliet dies at the break of dawn, the start of a new day (and life), but not without first making her last sentimental paean to life. Supported by the artist, her eyesight having failed completely and with the waves caressing their feet, the weak and dying cancer victim remarks how beautiful life is. True enough, this dying scene set on a beach, with the woman in white, dainty night gown, is one of the most exquisite, breathtaking moments in Philippine movies…” – Mario A. Hernando (READ MORE)

Ishmael Bernal (30 September 1938 – 2 June 1996) was an acclaimed Filipino film, stage and television director. He was also an actor and screenwriter… His Nunal sa Tubig (A Speck in the Water), Aliw (Pleasure) and Relasyon (The Affair) was among the 25 Filipino films shown in New York from July 31 to August 1999, organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, in partnership with the Philippine Centennial Commission, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, IFFCOM, the Philippine Information Agency, the Consulate General of the Philippines in New York and the Philippine Centennial Coordinating Council – Northeast USA. This series of Filipino films were presented at the Walter Reade Theater of the Lincoln Center, in celebration of the 100th year of Philippine Independence. – Wikipedia (READ MORE)

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Vilma, Vilma, Ang Sarap Mong I-direk

ARTICLES - Directors

Sa langit-langitan ng pagganap sa pelikula ay walang aktres ang makakatapat kay Vilma Santos sa husay at versatility nito. Maging si Nora Aunor na mahigpit niyang karibal sa larangang ito ay nagsimulang nagpakita ng gilas at halos pinaluhod ang QueenStar noong ginawa niya ang Minsa’y Isang Gamu-gamo, Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos, Bona at Ina Ka ng Anak Mo. Sa katunayan, unang narecognize si Nora sa Urian at sa international film community sa Cairo Film Festival kung saan hinangaan siya sa Flor Contemplacion Story at nakopo niya ang best actress award, mula YCC hanggang sa Cairo nga. Ito lang ang tanging grand slam niya. Hindi nagpatalbog ang former Scream/Gripo Queen kay forever Ice/Eye/Diin Queen by reinventing herself magmula noong mapangahas niyang pagganap sa Burlesk Queen at nang talunin siya ni Nora sa 1978 MMFF kung saan nilampaso siya ng Atsay at umuwi siyang luhaan like Rubia Servios. As fate would have it, at dahil na rin sa kanyang competitive spirit at nerve of steel, she re-grouped and vowed never to be second banana sa kapuwa bulilit niyang karibal. “Anything she can do, I can do better, I can do anything better than her.” Yes, I can, oh yes I can!” ang bulalas ng most awarded actress and mayor ng bansa sa sarili. And she did it. By George, she got it! And she could dance all night, along with her millions of fans. Nag-aral siya, nagmasid, nagtanong, nagtiyaga, ibinuhos ang kaalaman niya sa sining, at inalagaan ito ng husto. At mula noong naka-grand slam siya sa Relasyon in 1982 ay para bang nabuksan ang langit at ang mga paghihirap at tiyaga niya ay tinumbasan ng walang katapusang ulan ng mga tropeo, honors and citations bilang pinakamahusay na aktres ng kanyang henerasyon, at possible sa buong kasaysayan ng pelikulang Pilipino. Na-validate pa nga ito ng pagkawagi niya as exemplary media practitioner for film via the prestigious U.P. Gawad Plaridel Award recently. Nominations pa nga lang ay eliminated na kaagad ang supposedly strong contender na si Nora Aunor.

Napasama ang Reyna sa last three finalists at mantakin mong sina Mike De Leon at Eddie Romero ba naman ang kahelera mo at talunin mo ay daig pa ang manalo ka sa lotto. Talagang hindi basta-basta aktres ang the longest reigning movie and box-office queen of Philippine Cinema: Isa na talaga siyang icon or national treasure ng bansa. Kasunod na kaya ang National Artist Awsrd? Abangan! Nakagawa na siya ng mahigit 200 na pelikula, kasama na ang mga special guesting niya, at nagtamo nga ng pinakamaraming acting awards, mula sa Trudis Liit hanggang sa Mano Po 3 – My Love. Kamanghamangha talaga! Atin ngayong suriin kung sinu-sinong director ang pumiga sa Meryl Streep of the Philippines at sa the Filipino Cinematic Diva (ayon sa U.S. Variety magazine) at tuloy ay nagkamit ng mga di matatawarang karangalan sa kahusayan sa pagganap. Sa mga batikang director natin, tanging sina Lino Brocka (SLN) at Marilou-Diaz Abaya ang di pinalad na panalunin si La Vilma sa mga klasikong Rubia Servios, Adultery and Hahamakin Lahat for Brocka, at Alyas Baby Tsina naman kay Abaya. At ang mga ilan sa matitinik nating direk na di nakatrabaho ng Reyna ay sina Lupita Kashihawara at Mario O’Hara na pawing identified kay Nora Aunor. Malay natin, baling araw ay may mga pelikula na silang gagawin. Narito ang talaan ng mga director na nagpanalo sa Greatest Actress of Philippine Cinema…

  • Jose de Villa – in 1963 for Trudis Liit. Vilma’s first acting trophy (FAMAS best child actress).
  • Luis Enriquez (aka Eddie Rodriguez, SLN) – 1968 best supporting actress for Kasalanan Kaya? mula sa San Beda College Awards; 1975 best actress for Nakakahiya?, Bacolod City Film Festival. The most successful May December acting team in Philippine Cinema, ever.
  • Emmanuel Borlaza – 1972 FAMAS best actress (her first as an adult actress and her one of five from the FAMAS), for Dama De Noche.
    Celso Ad. Castillo – 1977 best actress, MMFF, for Burlesk Queen. Her change of image changed everything. The best career move she ever did. There was no looking back.
  • Danny Zialcita – 1981 MMFF and Cebu City Film Festival for Karma.
    Elwood Perez – 1981 FAMAS best actress (Pakawalan Mo Ako) and 1988 FAMAS best actress (Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos).
  • Ishmael Bernal (SLN) – hold your breath! 1982 Grand slam for Relasyon (her first of four grand slams, a record!); 1983 Urian best actress, Broken Marriage; 1989 Urian best actress, Pahiram ng Isang Umaga. Sayang at pumanaw na si ‘Ishma” – ang dami pa sana nilang pelikulang pagsasamahan. The most successful actress/director collaboration in Pinoy Cinema. Pinasabog na ang takilya, inulan pa ng awards.
  • Maryo J. De Los Reyes – 1987 FAMAS best actress, Tagos ng Dugo; 1992 New Fame Mag Readers’ Choice Award for best actress, Sinungalinng Mong Puso. Sana matuloy iyong Vilma-Christopher project sa Violet Films’ Huwag Hatulan ang Puso. Sana. It’s time for a Maryo J. and a Vilma reunion – perfect for each other – they’ll make a splash at the local and foreign markets. Abangan!
  • Mike de Leon – 1984 Urian best actress, Sister Stella L. In the recent U.P. Gawad Plaridel award for exemplary film practitioner, La Santos bested De Leon. Whew! Will Mike lure Vilma or vice-versa to make a movie together? Heaven, must be missing an angel: Mr. Mike De Leon, that is. It’s time for a reunion. Isa pa nga, oh! Hold your breath. I can see it coming. Mover over, Madam Auring!
  • Laurice Guillen – ah, the woman’s director – who better understands women but the outstanding actress cum director herself, Laurice? Her presence at Vilma’s coronation at the U. P. last July 4 is proof that Ms. Guillen is a true-blue Vilmanian. She gave the Queen two best actress awards: 1993 Grand slam (her second) for Dolzura Cortez; and in 1991 at the Urian for Ipagpatawad Mo, halting Nora’s almost second grand slam win for Pacita M. Laurice’s presence at the U.P. Cine Adarna is, probably, an open invitation for Ms. Versatile Vilma to say – OK – to Guillen’s script about a woman who spent most of her life taking care of family business, only to be abandoned or dumped like a hot potato by the ones she loved to death – with nowhere to go – no career/office skills – nothing. Do I hear a fifth grand slam? Aw, c’mon, Vilma, grab the script before it lands in another’s lap. Si Guillen yata iyan! Atat na ata na, umoo ka na, oh!
  • Chito Rono – is he Bernal II? His approach, his dark comedy, his overall style is vintage Bernal, yet very original, with Chito’s stamp of excellence all over it. Two grand slams for Vilma, for a total of four grand slams, plus 2 international acting trophies from the Brussels and CineManila, (1998’s Bata-bata and 2002’s Dekada ’70), is not bad. Is there a reunion in the offing? Direk Rono: “Vi, gawin na natin iyong script, bago ni Lualhati, bagay sa iyo iyon?” Vilma: “Naku, Chito, litung-lito na ako sa dami ng offers. Di ko alam ang uunahin. Ang hirap i-pass by. Nakapanghihinayang. Kung puede ko lang i-clone ang sarili ko, gagawin ko lahat ng offers sa akin. Kaso mo, so many good movies, so little time.” Chito: “Ako hintay sa iyo. Ayaw ko sagot mo Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng tagak. Basta ako hintay sa iyo.”
  • Rory Quintos – Anak shattered box-office records in 2000 and was the highest-grossing Pinoy film ever until Ang Tanging Ina (Solid Vilmanian Ai-Ai) zoomed to the top of the box-office. The 2000 best actress awards from the PMPC Star and PASADO are puede pasar, but millions of ‘luhaang’ viewers swear she should have brought home the bacon. All they were saying, please give Glo a chance! Sige na nga, senior citizen kasi eh. Doon nga sa Urian when Ms. Gloria Romero gave her speech: “I-share this award with Vilma who was so good in Anak.” BOW! Respect begets respect. Biglang sing si Aretha Franklin ng R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
  • Joel Lamangan – the newest Vilma convert after he made Vilma grab best actress awards in the 2004 MMFF (Mano Po III), at the PMPC Star (her sixth), Tanglaw (her second) and Gawad Suri. He was so impressed by the QueenStar that he offered her a script she couldn’t resist, about the slums, a role to die for. Vi: “Joel, ang hirap naman, awa ako time. Gulong-gulo nga ang isip ko kung ano ang tatanuan ko eh. Puede bang next year na lang iyan?” – Mario O. Garces (READ MORE)