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Ingrata, The Superstar Nora Aunor New Digital Film!
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To all Noranians, the Superstar's new digital film entitled Ingrata will be shown in selected SM theaters starting next week. Suportahan natin to!
Ingrata, one of two digital films which Nora Aunor did in the US recently, will be shown starting on Sept. 27 (Wednesday) at all SM Digital Cinemas. Ingrata, the story of the travails of an illegal immigrant in California, is written and directed by Bernardo Bernardo, who also acts in the film. Nora fans who claim they have been missing the superstar are expected to support Ingrata despite its despicable title. Where acting talent is concerned, only a few other actresses come close to Aunor. Noras other US-made digital film is called Home Care, directed by her good friend, Suzette Ranillo.
Korek! Nood tayo nito!
Malaya - Mario E. Bautista
Nora, John awkward in romantic scenes
NORA Aunor fans will be pleased to know that the latest digital film she did in the US, "Ingrata (Ungrateful)," will be shown on September 27 exclusively at SM. Directed by L.A.-based Joey Gonzales, Ate Guy plays Bea, a Pinay who goes to California to help her family. To make her stay legal, she has a fixed marriage with an American, played by John Robert Porter (thats John Rendez for you, using his real name). In the process, she falls in love with John even if he abuses her. When she decides to leave him, people call her ingrata.
"The film explores the Pinoy concept of utang na loob," says Joey. "Hanggang saan ba yan? Nababayaran ba yan? Youll find the answer after watching Noras story. The script is written by Bernardo Bernardo, whos also in the film as Noras brother."
Why did they get Ate Guy? "I was also involved in the film she did with Suzette Ranillo, Care Home, that was never shown in Manila. We thought she hasnt had a new movie and this might be a good comeback project for her. Mas maganda nga sana if shes with us to help promote it here, but she cant leave the US yet. We shot the film while shes serving her rehab sentence after her arrest at the L.A. airport. Were releasing this in various places with the help of the Bantay Bata Foundation thats our main beneficiary."
Did she give them any problem?
"None. We heard horror stories about her but, in fairness, while shooting this, shes always on time. Kung minsan, 10 or 15 minutes earlier pa samin sa set. Tuwang-tuwa siya when I ask her to block her own scenes. At magaling naman talaga siya."
But we heard the producer for the movie "Aswang sa San Francisco" backed out because her manager, Nori Sayo, has many demands? "We dealt directly with Nora. That time, wala sila ni Nori kaya mas madali siyang kausap. But now, we heard nagkabalikan na nga sila. Her only request was for us to get John. At first ayoko, but then I decided to give him a chance. Noong una, Im telling him to act a certain way. Pero kahit paulit-ulit, hindi niya makuha, so I just allowed him to be himself. Hirap na hirap lang siya sa romantic scenes nila ni Nora. Hindi raw kasi sila ganon."
"Thats true," says Isah Red, whos close to Ate Guy. "Hindi sila nagse-sex kasi ang tingin ni John kay Guy, mother niya. Nora says shell never forsake John kasi at the time shes down and out, he never left her. Iba ang relasyon at closeness nila."
Its now time for all Noranians to join forces and support "Ingrata," so it wont end up like her last film, "Naglalayag," where she gave an unforgettable performance but was first day-last day in many theaters.
seasons of love
sa lahat ba ng SM malls ito or selected lang?
showing na to today! Nood na!
Aunor back to superlative form in lackluster digital indie
By Rito Asilo
Last updated 00:57am (Mla time) 09/30/2006
Published on page F1 of the September 30, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
Joey A. Gonzales
S: Nora Aunor, Bernardo Bernardo, John Robert Porter Jr. (aka John Rendez), Germaine de Leon
FANS OF superstar Nora Aunor have something to rejoice about with her second foray into digital indies in the US. (Her first, Suzette Ranillos Care Home, about a Filipino professor reduced to working as a caregiver in America, has yet to be released locally.) She was last seen in Maryo J. delos Reyes interesting but flawed May-September drama, Naglalayag (2004).
Joey Gonzales relevant but ornately convoluted melodrama follows the story of Bea (Nora Aunor) 10 years after she leaves her two-timing husband in the Philippines for a new lease on life, luck and love in the United States.
Sense of resignation
But the sheen of Beas fabled American Dream has faded: She juggles two jobs (as a gas station attendant and waitress in a videoke bar) to support her brilliant daughters college education, lives in a shabby mobile home, and has settled into a crippling sense of resignation as she awaits the release of her abusive, freeloading new hubby, Noli (an unrecognizably heavy John Rendez aka John Robert Porter Jr.), a former actor-singer in Manila and sex-chat addict -- who has been languishing in prison for the past year.
Her dreary existence is further shaken when she gets a call from her gay older brother, Hermie (Bernardo Bernardo), an advertising executive who also packed up his bags in Manila for greener pastures in the land of milk and honey, whom shes forced to take in.
But, as the day of Nolis release draws closer, shes suddenly sucked into an existential dilemma: How has she been reduced to this sad, tired woman? Has she lost sight of her dreams forever?
In recent years, the Superstars distinctly attention-calling acting mannerisms have blighted her reputation as the countrys premier actress. And, while many of her highly anticipated starrers were well-intentioned, they were nevertheless overwrought tearjerkers or middling dramas that featured self-conscious, inconsistent performances.
Result: That acting na acting schtick has made Aunor fodder for impersonation -- gay or otherwise.
Ingrata marks Noras long overdue return to superlative thespic form -- she looks natural and relaxed. Look, Ma, no grunts this time! She delivers an indelible performance that would be hard to beat in next years acting derbies. Indeed, at her peak, no one inhabits a character better than La Aunor -- and we couldnt be happier for the embattled actress! Dont miss the movie if only for Ate Guys latest dramatic triumph.
The film, however, isnt as successful. As with most digital productions shown locally, its production values leave much to be desired: A sequence shows Aunor singing Kahit na Magtiis at the videoke bar where her character works, but for most of it, we only hear instrumental accompaniment -- a waste of a golden opportunity to showcase the legendary Superstars fine voice!
Bernardo, for his part, also comes up with a sensitive performance as the protagonists brother, who has to worry about more than just his immigration status. The actor has a calming presence.
Unfortunately, Rendez turns in a one-note characterization -- you dont understand how a sensitive soul like Bea could fall for someone who doesnt show her any affection.
On point of picture quality, the movie fares better than the recent digital flicks weve seen. But, its still inferior to many mainstream features -- with a couple of distorted images here and there. Digital or not, film is still a visual medium, after all. If a movie isnt pleasing to the eyes, then something must be wrong somewhere
Though minor in thematic scope and cinematic ambition and dragged down by inconsistencies in characterization and narrative detail, Gonzales film shows viewers the darker side of the American Dream -- that the face of poverty is the same wherever you are.
As Hermie succinctly explains: Iisa ang mukha ng paghihirap -- sa Pilipinas man o sa Amerika. But, will Bea ever find her way out of her existential quagmire, if and when she is presented with the opportunity for emancipation?
Ayos ang review. I heard some not-so-pleasant comments from people who have seen the movie. Now, i have reason to watch it! At least, ate guy delivered another powerful performance.
Philippine Star - Ricky F. Lo
A word from Bernardo Bernardo
Now US-based actor-comedian Bernardo Bernardo sent Funfare the following "clarification" about Ingrata, the Nora Aunor digital starrer recently shown in Metro Manila:
For the simple purpose of clearing the air, allow me to answer numerable queries as to who actually directed Ingrata. I cannot in good conscience just allow the movie to open without saying my piece: good or bad, I directed most of the scenes in Ingrata and I would have been content to be billed as co-director, but, for reasons unknown, the producer opted to give Joey Gonzales sole credit.
While I would be the first to admit that the work is flawed (given the impoverished movie-for-TV budget, aggravated by a very tight shooting schedule and hampered, sadly, by the most primitive of shooting situations), credit and accountability regarding Ingrata should be made very clear.
We shot in the classic guerrilla style "pito-pito" tradition with the leanest of staffs (two HD Video cameramen and an errant soundman; frustratingly, no video support; and a supporting cast of talented but very raw new recruits). We had no production designer, no makeup artist, nor a crew to speak of.
The rushed shoot was marked by tension-filled confrontations between the line producers and Ms. Nora Aunor which had me rewriting several scenes, several times in order to shoot around her. The role of Noli, Noras husband in the film was originally written for Miguel Vera but was eventually played by John Robert Porter at Ms. Aunors behest. In a serendipitous turn of events, I found Johns attack on the role uncannily close to the character I had written (my brother-in-law!). I even grudgingly convinced myself that Johns unintentional lapses into Visayan enunciations added topical credibility to his portrayal.
Happily, Ingrata is also peopled with my actual friends who found time to support the project and portrayed different roles as Noras friends in the film. Which, in a way, is as it should be, because the story was largely based on/inspired by similar events and people in the life of my real life sister in America. The film, after all, is my valentine to my own sisters efforts to better her life in a foreign land.
I am speaking up, finally, since no one else would, because the project is close to my heart.
Lastly, Ingrata is also my humble offering to Nora Aunors enormous talents. It was a privilege to work with her. In truth, it was far from a smooth experience (she was going through very difficult times) but no less memorable. (On a more personal note, I am happy because: How often do you get to play yourself in a movie with the legendary Nora Aunor as your sister?)
Sterling performance from Nora Aunor
By Ronald Mangubat
Last updated 10:53pm (Mla time) 10/06/2006
Published on page F2 of the October 7, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
AFTER YEARS in the States, Superstar Nora Aunor, who is sorely missed by her fans, returns to the screen via a digital film, Ingrata, and comes up with another sterling performance. The movie is directed by Joey Gonzales from a script by Bernardo Bernardo, another actor and director based in the US.
In Ingrata, Aunor portrays Bea, one of the struggling Filipinos in Los Angeles (or Lost Angeles, as she tells her gay brother, Hermie, portrayed by Bernardo). After many years of living abroad, she is still slaving to make ends meet.
She lives in a mobile house and holds two jobs -- as a convenience store crew in a gasoline station and as a waitress in a Filipino restaurant.
She has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship and lives with Noli (John Rendez), an irresponsible bum, who has just gotten out of prison after serving a sentence for threatening and assaulting a black man and carrying a deadly weapon.
Bea is smart, good-natured and highly skilled, but according to her daughter, sister and friends, its her stupid heart that makes her unable to achieve more and to progress in life.
In fact, it is poor Bea who supports her overweight, alcoholic and internet-porn-addict lover -- she even does the household chores for him, all in the name of love.
She clearly understands her martyr complex, but still finds herself stuck in a rut. It is only when her older brother Hermie visits and squats in her abode that she slowly learns to get a grip on her life and eventually empower herself.
Ingata imparts a lesson or two about self-empowerment and the importance of close family ties in a foreign land, where relationships are precarious and oftentimes fleeting.
But it fails to dramatize its situations in an engaging and involving manner because of its inferior elements.
For one, the supporting cast cant keep up with Aunor and Bernardos sharp and felt performances. And one cant completely loathe Rendezs character, because he merely mouths his lines.
The same goes for the films technical aspects. The sound is bad, the editing sloppy. In one scene, the camera even catches the shadow of the boom mikes pole!
Halfway through the film, we keep wondering who the Ingrata is, because Aunors character is definitely not an ingrate.
It is only in the final scene that Bernardo dramatically intones, sa kabila pala ng lahat, hindi siya ingrata! -- What?!
With the films small scope and thin plot, we feel that Ingrata should have been produced for television rather than for the big screen.
But if theres one thing that pleases us, its the thought that its really hard to put a great actress down. Because, even in a lackluster film, Nora Aunors acting prowess still shines -- and soars!
Nora Aunor Goes Digital in 'Ingrata'
By: Rianne Hill Soriano | YEHEY! Contributors
11 October 2006 | 9:12 AM
Nora Aunor topbills the digital film Ingrata (Ungrateful). Shot in various locations in Southern California, the story revolves around the life of an illegal immigrant Pinay named Bea (Nora Aunor) who marries a Pinoy American citizen to be able to stay legally in America. Though overused, the plot and storyline clearly tries to explore the Pinoy concept of utang na loob. It keeps up with a generally correct cultural representation of the Filipinos in America where the said concept of utang na loob usually becomes an issue. It also exposes the Pinoys sense of obligation of saving the family from the claws of poverty by seeking greener pastures abroad.
The technical quality of this digital offer reflects a low-budget production. However, this should not be an excuse to having poor visuals and composition. The 'guerilla style shoot' and pito-pito tradition could have been utilized better. The sound elements are not that even. The style and treatment for the film yield more into a TV format. The zoom in and zoom out shots to establish and promote emotional statements could have worked better if they were tracking shots or just merely still shots. The perspective the zooming has offered doesn't give justice to the scenes. Moreover, the thematic quality is not that impressive. The story may not be completely flawed, but the exploited storyline aggravated by the use of very familiar setting and overused lines hampers its cinematic development.
Nora Aunor's performance pushes the story forward. No doubt her charisma keeps her up to her position as an artist. As Bea, a struggling survivor in the land of milk and honey, she effectively deals with the complications of her heart and her surroundings and is mainly propelled by her relationship with her husband and her family. Caught in the web of her native culture's dichotomy and tradition and her responsibilities and accountabilities in the foreign land she has chosen to live in, the complexities of the concept of 'utang na loob' seem to legitimate her martyr wife character. The conflict of the story merely questions how far she should live up with an abusive and dependent husband. Both her love and her 'utang na loob' to the man who makes her feel romantic love and the man who has saved her from illegal immigration brings into question things like: How far should it be considered like a debt to be paid for? ; and How much can you really pay 'utang na loob'?
Bernardo Bernardo plays the role of Beas gay brother Hermie. He and Nora become the main sources of good acting performances for the film to bring the needed emotional elements for the audience. John Robert Porter Jr. a. k. a. John Rendez portrays the role of Bea's husband. He lacks consistency in his acting. Most of the US-based supporting characters portray different roles as Bea's friends. The characterization seems sincere by making it inspired by similar events and people. However, the performances rendered by the supporting characters seem too conscious of the camera. And most of the time, they deliver lines either without much emotional involvement, or they speak the dialogues quite overboard.
The docu-style shots of the everyday living within LA becomes effective to the Filipino audience who gets a glimpse on how the exterior life in the US generally is.
This movie is produced by Diversified Entertainment and Media Organization (DEMO) under the direction of Joey Gonzales, from a script by Bernardo Bernardo. The films executive producer is Ely Ayao. And the recent showing of this digital offer at selected SM Cinemas shall benefit the Bantay Bata Foundation.
First day, last day ang 'Ingrata' sa mga sinehan
by : Pete G. Ampoloquio, Jr.
HAY, naku! Tulad ng vibes namin, first day, last day sa mga sinehan ang digital movie ni Nora Aunor na Ingrata. Tinalbugan pa ito ng tsipanggang Twilight Dancers na still going strong on its second week of showing.
How so depressing a piece of news for the lone superstar of Philippine cinema indeed, Manoy Butch. Anyway, talaga namang magpa-flop ang ganung klase ng pelikula kung saan walang matatag na suporta ang mahusay na aktres. Maliban sa kanya, sino pa ba naman kasi ang kasama niya kundi ang super negang si John Rendez whos already balding and tsaka-looking at the age of thirty something?
Maliban kay Rendez, isa rin sa lead actors sa movie ay si Bernardo Bernardo. Now, in-as-much as hes such a fine actor, his acting career has long seen better days, hindi talaga siya nakatulong para kumita ang pelikula ng superstar. Kung ang tandem nga nina Sharon Cuneta at Aga Muhlach ay hindi na bankable in as far as Star Cinema is concerned, what could you expect from Nora Aunor movie with no bankable stars as support? Kaya doomed right from the very start ang nasabing project.
Poor Nora Aunor. I believe that her movies would still be doing some magic at the box-office if shed be given the right material, along with the right supporting actors.
Nora Aunor shines again in cautionary drama
By Rito Asilo
Last updated 00:00am (Mla time) 11/18/2006
Published on page H1 of the November 18, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
LAST SEPTEMBER, Ingrata, Nora Aunors second foray into digital indies during her protracted stay in the US, was shown at SMs digital theaters. Although the well-intentioned movie was marred by mediocre production values, technical glitches and a convoluted script, it was nevertheless buoyed up by the Superstars relaxed and delicately nuanced performance.
Aunor is similarly impressive in Suzette Ranillos Care Home, which came out in the US before Ingrata and was shown at Cinemanila this week. In the film, she plays Claudia Perez, a respected school principal with a Ph.D in History, who abandoned the academic life in Manila for blue-collar existence in the States.
Ironically, Noras roles in both films have striking similarities: In Ingrata, she plays Bea, a Filipino immigrant who juggles two jobs to support her only daughter and her good-for-nothing, cybersex-junkie Fil-Am husband (played by John Rendez).
In Care Home, Claudia is a Filipino immigrant who works as a caregiver and part-time domestic helper to support her only son, Justin (Justin dela Cruz) and her aging mother, Corazon (Gloria Sevilla), who doesnt get along with her jobless, TV-junkie Caucasian husband, Steve (Joe Buono).
After a particularly stressful incident involving Steve and Corazon, Claudia hauls off the latter to the nursing home where she works. In the hospice, she meets all types of people, each besieged with issues of their own:
A Pinoy doctor (Juni Ranillo) who works illegally as a caregiver; a feisty nursing home resident (Divina Valencia); an Alzheimers disease-stricken expat (Rebecca Quintana) and her loving grandson, Gilbert (Germaine De Leon Padilla).
The resentful Corazon vows never to forgive her daughter who, we later learn, is suffering from stomach cancer.
Happily, Ranillos production, while busier in narrative detail, is a more technically polished and cohesive effort than Ingrata. The former Urian-nominated actress ("Aliw) knows how to tell a story.
Unfortunately, Valencia and Sevilla are featured in showy roles that only manage to display their limitations as actresses. They deliver impassioned performances that are big in effort, but lacking in finesse and depth.
Aunor is, of course, the heart of the production. She delivers a knockout performance that smolders with wisdom and instinctive beauty -- although its discomfiting to listen to her character deliver an American-accented valedictory (to a roomful of Filipino expats) before her character rides into the sunset.
Even die-hard Noranians at the screening could only gasp, O, may accent!
Aside from Aunor, Fil-Am Germaine de Leon Padilla also impresses with his brooding good looks, strong screen presence, and dramatic sensitivity (think James Franco). (He played a small role in Ingrata, and has appeared in TV shows like C.S.I. and E.R. He is currently finishing a big-screen remake of the horror flick, Buried Alive.)
The film also scores with its theme song, Habang May Pintig ang Puso, sung by Dandin Ranillo.
We also like the productions cautionary tone: Due to an improving health care system and advances in medicine and technology in the US, its geriatric population has been steadily increasing in recent years.
In San Francisco County alone, where the story takes place, there are more than 2,000 hospices and care homes, each with a long list of applicants. For every 20 caregivers in these institutions, 14 are Filipinos -- and theyre preferred over their Caucasian counterparts.
And, since many US-based Filipinos juggle two or three jobs to make ends meet, quite a number of them are slowly warming up to the idea of giving up their elderly to nursing homes. Shudder.
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