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Philippine Cinema

Friday, October 26, 1984
7:30 p.m.
9:10 p.m.
Bona
Lino Brocka (Philippines,1981)

Lino Brocka has been called the Filipino Fassbinder, both for his prolific output (40 filmssince 1970, in addition to directing a popular theater troupe), and forhis method of harnessing popular cinema--in particular, themelodrama--as a forum for exploring the politics of human relations in acorrupt society. In Bona, against an authentic backdrop oflower-middle-class life in Manila, he develops a fascinating tale ofobsessive love. 18-year-old Bona is infatuated with a two-bit moviestar, Gardo, and habitually skips school and housework to catch hisshooting schedule. One day, she follows him home and becomes theaccidental witness to his beating by a gang of thugs. She dressesGardo's wounds, stays the night, and eventually moves in with the actor,who receives her attentions while he continues to bring home women everynight. Rejected by her family, rejecting in turn a young man who is inlove with her, Bona stays with her loutish idol until, one day, her lovesuddenly swerves. For the role of Bona, Brocka chose the actress NoraAunor, who is herself one of the most adored of Filipino movie stars;with her dark features, she is the idol of the lower classes and thescourge of the upper crust (although she has won several critics'awards, including one for Bona). Brocka comments on the fanaticism ofNora Aunor's fans, called "the Noranians." "I tie it up with thereligious fanaticism of the people. There is not much difference betweena movie star and a saint.... A lot of her fans are rejected by theirfamilies...some have given up husbands, others a good job. You have topass through a certain crisis to become a Noranian."

• Directed by Lino Brocka. Written by Cenen Ramones. Photographed by Conrado Balthazar. With Nora Aunor, PhillipSalvador, Rustica Carpio, Venchito Galvez. (1981,83 mins, In Tagalogwith English titles, 35mm, Color, Print courtesy of Pierre Rissient)