SNEAK PREVIEW: ‘THY WOMB’

Nora’s performance will break your heart

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AUNOR. The eyes have it

Genuine talent ages like wine. This was once again proven to us when we watched Brillante Mendoza’s “Thy Womb” and the remastered version of Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala” one after the other last weekend—as well as Sari Dalena and Keith Sicat’s instructive behind-the-scenes documentary about the 1982 Filipino film classic.

Thirty years after its sweep at the eighth Metro Manila Film Festival, Bernal’s “religious” drama—about 24-year-old Elsa’s miraculous visions during a long, dry spell in barrio Cupang in the early ’80s—is as breathtakingly provocative and relevant as ever, with a Truffaut-like thematic pertinence that complements its lead actress’ iconic dramatic gifts and stature.

From the barren north to the poverty-stricken south, the Superstar continues to evolve in this year’s MMFF entry, “Thy Womb”—a true-to-life story about a childless Badjao couple, midwife Shaleha (Aunor) and fisherman Bangas-an (Bembol Roco)—who supplement their income by weaving mats out of dyed rattan leaves.

Second wife

When Bangas-an is wounded during a violent skirmish between soldiers and rebel troops, Shaleha decides that it’s time for her husband to take a second wife—who could give him the heir he’s been yearning for!

Searching for a wife is one thing, but finding someone appropriate (and whose dowry they can afford) is a different matter altogether! The task isn’t easy for Shaleha, who tirelessly roams the seaside villages of Tawi-Tawi for prospective maidens.

Then, they find lovely Mersila (Lovi Poe), who, unknown to Shaleha, agrees to marry Bangas-an—on one condition: If she gives him a child, he should leave his first wife! Does Bangas-an have the heart to leave Shaleha?

Regardless of the outcome, that same question will linger in viewers’ minds long after they leave the theater. Mendoza doesn’t just offer a peek into the lives of our marginalized brethren in the southernmost portion of Mindanao, but uses the camera to let us observe and experience what it’s like to bask in a strange but parallel world that’s steeped in tradition—and one that (very) slowly unfolds before our eyes.

Unseen events

Our quibble involves the long stretch of unseen events that follow Mersila and Bangas-an’s wedding and those that take place before the former gives birth to a son. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with a simple story or an open-ended conclusion—but, in this case, there’s simply too much information left for viewers to imagine on their own.

What about the performances of the stellar cast? Roco and Poe provide ample support for Aunor’s silent but intensely immersive portrayal. Nora will break your heart as her world-weary face lights up at the film’s final fade.

Like the movie itself, Shaleha doesn’t know the fate that awaits her after she delivers Mersila’s baby, but the evocative eyes of the legendary actress who portrays her do!

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joel-Gonzalez/100003192699698 Joel Gonzalez

    Sana panoorin ng mga Pinoy ang “Thy Womb” sa darating na MMFF. Tandaan natin, ang isang pelikula ay di lamang nagbibigay ng aliw. Ito rin ay dapat na magbigay ng aral sa mga manonood. Sana dumating ang panahong mataas na ang antas ng panlasa ng mga Pinoy pagdating sa mga pelikula. Para sa mga kabataan, panoorin ninyo ang gusto ninyong pelikula sa MMFF, pero huwag nyong kalilimutan ang “Thy Womb.”

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/VCOZDCJRKOL6AN5BONY73WU72Q Albatimansalsalman

      tanga ,,siguro bading ka,,,

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1484305572 Jonathan M. Mongcal

    Let us support quality film like THY WOMB, critically-acclaimed and awarded worldwide. Sana the Pinoys will appreciate it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YAU43R25CAHGNYPHE6HLAM3V6Y Benjamin

    kahit  bigyan mo ako ng libreng tiket hinde ko papanoorin ito..manonood ka ng sine para malibang…hinde para mabwiset….

    • onip pino

      sige mag The Healing ka na lang…para magamot ang iyong pagka bwiset…:-)

    • http://twitter.com/AlvarezWayne Wayne Alvarez

       pag binigyan ako ng tiket nito para akong tumama sa lotto. pagkaganda gandang film ang ThyWomb na pinarangalan sa ibang bansa.. ang nakakabwisit sa pinas tulad nitong mal edukado na ito..  hindi ito pilipino kundi isang kabayo siguro! tama na ang basurang movies.. nabobobo ang mga pinoy tulad ng benjamin na ito.. kawawa ang pilipinas! mabuhay ang mga taga tawi tawi.. kayo ay mga pilipino na tulad namin. Mabuhay ang isang henyo na tulad ni Nora Aunor na pinipilit ma educate ang mga pinoys.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003197760059 Misty Blues

      as if naman na bibigyan kita ng ticket? hindi na – mas sayang naman ang pera ko kung ibigay ko sa no-brain na katulad mo; wag ka na nga ring manood para mo ng awa!

    • http://www.facebook.com/renato.velasquez3 Renato S Velasquez

      baka mauna ka pa sa sinehan ah haha

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YAU43R25CAHGNYPHE6HLAM3V6Y Benjamin

    mga Noranians..manangmana kayo sa idol nyong LAOS..ADIK..LALAKERO..BABAERA…bwahahahahaha……

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003197760059 Misty Blues

      inggit ka lang…manahin mo hahahaha

    • http://www.facebook.com/renato.velasquez3 Renato S Velasquez

      ingit yan – malala na ang sakit mo…

  • Iggy Ramirez

    Nora’s performance will make you cry because it is so bad and disgusting. I would not even download it even if it’s free.

    I would rather give birth and have my dìck ripped apart by my child than watch this garbage.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003197760059 Misty Blues

      whoah, ur so pathetic- haha, if I know, bading ka and fan ka ng ibang artista. Show me ur dick and let me cut it into tiny pieces…ha, show me ur face as well- duwag!

      • Iggy Ramirez

        Misty blue mukha kang aswang na pokpok. Pacute ka pa. Wag ka maging proud na pinakita mo yang mukha mo kasi ampangit mo!

    • http://twitter.com/ernestonoel1 hopelovefaith

      you have every right to give that comment.  please be specific exactly what you dislike about her acting.  or maybe it’s the movie itself that you are displeased about?

      i like to know because i like to watch this movie, too.  and i am glad to read your reviews for me to decide if it’s worth the trip to the movie house.

      • Iggy Ramirez

        The film is overacted and the lines are cringe-worthy. Plus Nora’s old world style of over-the-top acting is very distracting that at times overwhelms the scene. Camera works are shaky and at times too near, like it’s Nora Aunor’s face all over the screen for most of the time. I wanna see acting that also involves bodily gestures and other actors not just Nora Aunor’s face pasted all over the screen.

        The director has still some learning to do and he needs to keep the script simple and realistic. By realistic we mean not over acting.

      • http://twitter.com/mig4coach coach

        I don’t think the director still needs some learning to do, I guess you need to understand how talented directors work beyond the commercialized films that you must have gotten used to seeing. 

        Art must never be compromised by what one thinks what should be…If the international award giving bodies appreciated the work of both the director and the actress, it is also appropriate to reflect whether or not your own learning is out of date or just plain common that leaves no room for more imagination. 

        We cannot always act as if we know better, especially, if we are not yet as popular and as multiawarded like the people we criticize

      • Iggy Ramirez

        Just because someone is an expert or someone is famous doesn’t mean that he has the authority to dictate over what art is.

        Something that is different does not mean it is better.

        Just because it has won international acclaim doesn’t mean we must be forced into believing that it has become the standard by which we must appreciate art.

      • Vic Sevilla

         Well Iggy, Vilma Santos’ performances are really far from artistic. She is the the one that’s overacting in all of her films… like you.

      • Iggy Ramirez

        Wait a minute. Kapeng mainit. I never said anything about Vilma Santos being a better actress than Nora. If I were to say something, I’d say Vilma Santos does not know how to act.

        I’ve heard of the myth about die hard fans of Nora and Vilma but I never expected them to be incredibly stupid.

        Now I know.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/ARPVFVVVPGZPQ3YYXPG3HKCRAM Bing

        Are you saying the Italian film critics who hailed Nora’s acting as magnificent did not know how to judge good acting?  Hmmm!  Interesting?  What qualifies you as better than these film critics?

      • Iggy Ramirez

        If these critics asked you to eat shìt because they find it satisfying? Will you eat it because they say so?

        Use your senses Bing. Just because they are critics doesn’t mean they have all the authority over everything. As the adage goes, we cannot leave the business of war to the generals alone nor can we leave the business of art to the artists alone.

        I respect these critics’ opinion because they think it is good. But for you to tell me to like this film because the critics say that it is magnificent, is something not only very disturbing but is also very oppressive and directly tramples on my right to free expression, don’t you agree?

        I do not need to be qualified in anything to know what shìt looks like when I see it on the road.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/ARPVFVVVPGZPQ3YYXPG3HKCRAM Bing

        Here’s an insightful observation that’s been proven to be true: “Shallow streams bubble and jump over rocks, making a lot of noise but transport only a small amount of water.”  Your post shows arrogance arising from ignorance. Oh well, as they say, little knowledge is dangerous!

      • Iggy Ramirez

        Nice observation but stupid nonetheless.

        People who proclaim to be righteous oftentimes do not see themselves getting bigger to the point that they are already stepping on other people. Worse, they think they have the right to do it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/renato.velasquez3 Renato S Velasquez

    bakit ganon ang ibang tao no..ang tindi ng pagka utak talangka… grabe..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FQQPZLNOMD2EBFTHSWOP6QGZWY Marshall

    sana maligo naman si nora….

    • http://www.facebook.com/sompat.saeyong Sompat Saeyong

      sana mamatay buong pamilya mo

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/FQQPZLNOMD2EBFTHSWOP6QGZWY Marshall

        talbog sa iyo dimonyong BAKLA..DAPAT MAMATAY NA LAHAT NG BAKLA SA PILIPINAS PARA TUMINO ANG PELIKULANG PILIPI8NO….

      • http://www.facebook.com/sompat.saeyong Sompat Saeyong

        shoot pero dapat kasama buong pamilya mo.

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