Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vilma Santos vs. Nora Aunor: Ang Kwento ni Mabuti sa Ekstra

Vilma Santos vs. Nora Aunor: <i>Ang Kwento ni Mabuti sa Ekstra</i>

Even in 2013, the age-old rivalry between Superstar Nora Aunor and Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos is very much alive and, as far as their respective fans are concerned, fiercer than ever.

With 97 acting awards between them (55 for Nora, 42 for Vilma), they are arguably two of the best living actresses in the country. With more than enough achievements and nothing left to prove, both Ate Guy and Ate Vi are setting their sights on independent films as the latest vehicle to showcase their acting chops.

Last June 6, the official trailer for Ate Vi’s upcoming Cinemalaya debut, “Ekstra/The Bit Player” was posted on YouTube. Directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, the sneak peek of the “slice-of-life, socio-realist drama comedy” about an aging TV bit player seems to have registered well with many viewers as it currently has more than 25,000 views.

Of course, there are also “violent reactions”, mostly by Noranians who have harshly criticized the trailer and already made their conclusions about a film no one has yet to see in its entirety.

What many of them are probably not aware of is that last June 5, one day before the trailer of “Ekstra” was posted, a “teaser” for Ate Guy’s own upcoming indie for the 1st CineFilipino Film Festival, “Ang Kwento Ni Mabuti” was uploaded on the film’s Facebook page.

Actually, this teaser trailer was originally previewed by director Mes De Guzman during La Aunor’s 60th birthday celebration at the Meralco Multi-Purpose Hall in Ortigas last May 21. Since its posting on Facebook, it has been “liked” 78 times and shared 56 times. It has yet to be posted on YouTube.

Filmed entirely in De Guzman’s home province of Nueva Vizcaya, the dialogue is also spoken almost entirely in Ilocano, which in itself is quite a challenge for the Superstar who was born in Albay, Bicol.

Like Jeturian, De Guzman is also formidable filmmaker who has received several Palanca awards for scriptwriting and last year was the toast of Cinemalaya after winning most of the major awards, including Best Director, in the New Breed section for “Diablo”.

Not to be mistaken with Genoveva Edroza-Matute’s literary classic of the same title, De Guzman’s entry is about a poor but optimistic healer named Mabuti, who suddenly find herself in a moral dilemma after one day finding a bag containing P5 million in cash.

In addition to Ate Guy, the trailer also shows an able supporting cast of indie veterans that include Arnold Reyes, Sue Prado, Mara Lopez and last year’s Cinemalaya New Breed Best Actress winner for “Diablo”, Ama Quiambao, who was also a co-star of Nora in “Himala”.

Along with seven other feature film entries, “Ang Kwento Ni Mabuti” will be screened at the CineFilipino Film Festival from June 26 to July 2 at the Araneta Center’s Gateway Cineplex and Ali Mall Cinemas as well as at the Newport Cinemas at Resorts World.

It may not make much sense to compare the two films of Nora and Vilma since they are entered in different film festivals and are not directly competing with each other.

But if both films earn critical acclaim and both actresses deliver sterling performances, we can expect them to garner Best Actress nominations in most of the major award giving bodies next year—heating up their rivalry anew for the nth time. - Edwin P. Sallan, InterAksyon.com


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