Venice red carpet debut for Nora Aunor, Lovi Poe, Mercedes Cabral
Brillante Mendoza brings women of ‘Thy Womb’ to the prestigious film fest
Singer-actress Nora Aunor is looking forward to attending the world premiere of her latest movie, “Thy Womb (Sinapupunan),” at the 69th Venice International Film Festival on Thursday.
Brillante Mendoza, who directed the film, told the Inquirer last week: “Nora earlier told me how excited she was. This is her first time to attend the red-carpet premiere of a film that’s in competition in one of the world’s top three international film festivals. Apparently, she wasn’t present at the Berlin premiere of [Ishmael Bernal’s] ‘Himala’ in 1983.”
The international festivals in Venice, Berlin and Cannes are considered the top three.
(Aunor recalls that she made it to the premiere of Lino Brocka’s “Bona,” which was exhibited in the Directors’ Fortnight section of Cannes in 1981. Scriptwriter Ricky Lee also says Aunor attended the Moscow fest where “Himala” was screened in 1983, and the Cairo fest in 1996, where she won best actress for Joel Lamangan’s “The Flor Contemplacion Story.”)
Aunor told the Inquirer that she would wear a gown by Filipino designer Nono Palmos, a longtime collaborator, on the Venice red carpet. Cast members Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral will join Mendoza and Aunor in Venice.
Cabral revealed that she had a complete wardrobe prepared—red-carpet gown by Mitch Desunia; cocktail dresses by Megan Pillos; everyday wear by Anne Garcia; awards night gown by Cebu-based designer Harvey Cenit.
Poe picked clothes from the collections of Ezra for the press con and Cary Santiago for the awards night.
They know her
“I’m thrilled that I’m going to Venice,” Poe told the Inquirer. “It will be my first time there.”
Mendoza related ongoing buzz about Aunor’s Venice trip: “The Italians know her. They know her work. Apart from ‘Thy Womb,’ Nora has another film included in this year’s lineup—the digitally restored ‘Himala.’”
Aunor is competing for best actress with another Mendoza star, Isabelle Huppert, whose entry is Marco Bellocchio’s “Bella Addormentata.” Huppert is the star of Mendoza’s Berlin entry this year—“Captive,” currently showing in local theaters.
Also vying for best actress are Hollywood stars Amy Adams and Rachel McAdams.
Mendoza attended the Philippine premiere of ‘Captive’ at SM Pampanga on Sept. 2 and the gala premiere at Greenbelt Makati on Sept. 3, so the Philippine contingent couldn’t fly to Italy until Wednesday.
The group also includes scriptwriter Henry Burgos, producer Larry Castillo and Aunor’s manager Boy Palma. They will arrive at the festival just in time for the film’s premiere.
(A third Filipino film, the restored version of Manuel Conde’s 1950 film “Genghis Khan,” will be unveiled in Venice on Thursday as well.)
“I expect it will be a tiring four days,” Mendoza said. “We’ll be back in Manila on Sept. 9.”
Among the stars, Cabral is the only one who has red-carpet experiences with Mendoza. They went to Cannes for “Serbis” in 2008 and “Kinatay” in 2009. But this is her first time in Venice.
“I plan to watch as many films as possible,” she told Inquirer. “I want to go around the city. I am proud to be going because Direk Brillante has made a beautiful film.”
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