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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 9, 2012

Nora Aunor And Her Film 'Thy Womb' Make Waves At 60Th Venice International Filmfest

NORA AUNOR got a special award, the Bisato d’Oro (Golden Eel), from the Premio Della Critica Indipendente, a jury of film critics in Venice where her film, “Thy Womb”, is in competition in the 69th Venice International Filmfest. In its gala night, the film helmed by Dante Mendoza was given by a 5-minute standing ovation. Nora’s co-stars, Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral, are part of the Philippine delegation.

Director Mendoza also won the La Navicella from the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo e della Rivista del Cinematografo, a foundation run by an Italian magazine for film and the performing arts. La Navicella is Italian for spacecraft or spaceship. His citation says the award is “For giving voice, with respect and compassion, the Bajau community, a people of fishermen and pearl seekers living in harmony with nature.”

The Venice programme writes about the film: “Shaleha Sarail (Nora Aunor) hails from a water-village in Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi. The province is a seaweed-producing area in the southern-most part of the Philippines down to the Malaysian and Indonesian archipelagos. A woman of mature years, experiencing a third miscarriage, Shaleha agonizes that she can’t bear a child. Though an adoptive parent to her nephew, she still feels that her husband Bangas-An desires to be a father. To fulfill her husband’s only wish, and to be blessed by Allah with a child as a tangible proof of divine grace, Shaleha decides to march to a different drummer. Her resolve is to find a new partner for her husband. Night and day, she and her husband sail to an island, a floating-village, and nearby communities in search of a fertile woman. Providentially, Shaleha finds the girl as recommended by friends. But on the eve of her husband’s second marriage to Mersila, a gnawing jealousy consumes Shaleha.”

From the webpage of the Venice filmfest: “Aunor, one of the Philippines’ biggest and most beloved stars, offers a moving portrayal of a woman determined to provide her husband with a child, while Roco (who was seen at last year’s festival in Adolfo Alix Jr.’s Fable of the Fish) is equally good as her stoic husband. Filipino diva Nora Aunor progressively conveys humiliation and pride, pain and hope, frustration and dignity. Emotions fruit of the extreme consequences of a choice of love that destroys and upsets. Emotions that Thy Womb is able to convey with great intensity and maximum modesty."

“The Hollywood Reporter” describes Nora: “Her elfin features, so powerfully expressive of both happiness and sorrow, help make Shahela an engaging, unlikely heroine here.”

Nora is competing against Isabelle Huppert (also the star of Mendoza’s “Captive” now being shown in local theatres). Isabelle is in Director Marco Bellochio’s “Bella Addormetata (Sleeping Beauty).”

However, despite the minor awards it got, “Thy Womb” didn’t win any major prize in the filmfest awards night held last Saturday night. The Golden Lion best picture award went to Korean film “Pieta” directed Kim Ki Duk. The Silver Lion best director award went to American Paul Thomas Anderson whose two actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, tied as best actors. The best actress award was won by Israeli actress Hadas Yaron for “Fill the Void”.