Nora Aunor has confounded her naysayers once more with her latest victories in the international film arena, where her moving lead portrayal in Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s ethnic drama, “Thy Womb,” has again been honored with awards.
In addition, Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala” will soon be reissued, so younger viewers can thrill to lead star Nora’s acting brio at the prime of her career.
While distributors and theater chain owners are at it, they should similarly “remind” viewers of Nora’s past glory by mounting retrospectives of her best portrayals in films like “Bona,” “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos,” “T-Bird at Ako” and “Atsay.”
“Thy Womb” is already a good big screen comeback for Nora, but we believe that she has even greater portrayals left in her. So we look forward to her next cinematic challenges and triumphs.
In our mind’s eye, in fact, we see her going the same route to greatness as Lolita Rodriguez did a generation before her.
The Nora-Lolita link is both instructive and apt, because the two ace actresses are known for their deep and quiet, rather than colorfully melodramatic portrayals.
In addition, they are among the few “kayumanggi” stars who have become big names in Philippine entertainment, in significant contrast to the more numerous tisay types who have reigned over the local movie industry and its escapist products.
Being among the few exceptions that prove the desultory “colonial” rule, Nora and Lolita are all the more valuable and deserving of our admiration, because they have succeeded despite their dark complexion and lack of “racial pedigree.”
It should similarly be pointed out that Lolita and Nora have yet another feature in common—their exceptionally luminous and expressive eyes, which enable them to depict and express the deepest of emotions without saying a word!
On point of difference now, Lolita was more of a “trained” actress, while Nora is more instinctively insightful in the way she limns and understands the characters she portrays. It can even be said that, in general, Lolita acted with her mind, while Nora is all heart.
Which is not to say that Nora is ignorant of or unfamiliar with acting technique. Having directed her in the past, we know that she can vivify difficult themes and character impulses, and knows how and when to tap into different kinds of emotive resources, depending on the needs of a particular scene.
How did Nora become so “versed” in the range and depth of the acting challenge, when she came from humble origins and lacks “education”? We ascribe her feat to the fact that, she may not be schooled, but she has a sensible, practical, intelligent and also sensitive head on her shoulders.
Having worked with the best directors and actors in the course of her long career, she has been able to distill valuable inputs and insights that have clarified the acting process for her, and enable her to turn in excellent work, if and when she’s suitably challenged.