I was asked by my friend Dale Bacar to join him for a special screening of Brillante Ma Mendoza’s ‘Thy Womb’ at 1195 Don Chino Roces Avenue corner Yakal Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City on a Saturday evening, December 8, at 6pm and I gladly said ‘yes’. Unfortunately, he had an emergency at his place, so I was with my other friend Ely Valendez instead.Perhaps the one thing that convinced me to say ‘yes’ was for the fact that I did appreciate Mendoza’s international flick titled ‘Captive’ that featured European actress Isabelle Hupert and I got intrigued with how he managed the one and only Philippine superstar Nora Aunor. And of course, the film competed in festivals abroad and won at the 69th Venice International Festival (2012) that gave Ms. Aunor the Bisato d’ Oro Award for lead actress as well as in Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2012; Mendoza got the Best Director award, Brillante Ma Mendoza.
‘Thy Womb’ (Sinapupunan) is a story about a childless couple living in Tawi-Tawi, Mindanao. Apart from bringing together Nora Aunor as Shaleha and Bembol Roco as Bangas-An, Brillante also included in the cast two of Philippine entertainment’s beautiful faces—Lovi Poe as Mersila and Mercedes Cabral in a cameo role.
Why choose this film over the other entries in the upcoming 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival showing on December 25?
First, it’s a Brillante Mendoza project, which makes it more intriguing enough. Second, Nora Aunor and Bembol Roco are part of this film that empowers the Badjao community, an indigenous ethnic group commonly referred to as sea gypsies and who continue to have a seaborne lifestyle. Third, it could be more fitting to say that this entry has a more impactful message as opposed to the other entries this December festival.
Let me go back on Nora Aunor as the big star, a true artist in the real sense of the word as described by Mendoza. Aunor had no script prior to commencing the film. The details were just relayed to her and eventually made her come to Tawi-Tawi to shoot. In the filming of this movie, La Aunor even learned how to weave a mat, which was the centerpiece of its story.
Discover how the mat-making interweaves with the characters in the film. Yes, Brillante is a genius in telling a story to his audience by using metaphors. It is one film that will always make Mendoza climb up a notch-higher in his filmmaking stature. If Lino Brocka gave Nora Aunor ‘Bona’, Ishmael Bernal gave ‘Himala’, Mendoza gave ‘Thy Womb’ to the Superstar. For me, this is Nora Aunor’s another ‘Himala’.