Nora Aunor's grasp of the clinical condition seems dicey. Cognition, which refers to the "quality" of knowing, perceiving, recognizing, sensing, reasoning or imagining, isn't the equivalent of "amnesia" or "Alzheimer's Disease". Nora, on the other hand, refuses to interact with her surroundings, unless they're fueled by visual or aural hallucinations. She doesn't listen to people talking to her and sees way past them even when she's directly facing them. You'd somehow suspect she was "deaf and mute" more than demented. Or just maybe she's revisiting her role in Lamangan's "Sidhi"? She would occasionally look at their faces, smile a half-second grin, then it would disappear as fast as it came. Now that was scary. I heard someone whisper, "Ay, parang baliw!" This doesn't bode well for a narrative that necessitates a glimpse of familial articulation. More than her illness, Mara is too disconnected not just from her relationship with her family or her environment, but with the whole story as well.
As I was challenged and asked by a bungling idiot: How much did "Ekstra" earn during its commercial run? Insiders place it at P67.3 million. Let's conservatively round that up to P60 million. Surely that's way, way over what "Thy Womb" earned at the MMFF where it was unceremoniously and heartbreakingly pulled out from majority of the cinemas just 3 days after it opened on Christmas Day. Director Brillante Mendoza had to "beg" the cinema owners in public, on TV news and on print to retain it in cinemas. The 7-day haul amounted to an embarrassing P13 million, a far cry from the second "kulelat" (tailender), "El Presidente" which earned P33 million. And if you aren't "demented", you'd readily remember that both "Thy Womb" and "El Presidente" had Nora Aunor in the cast! Even their cumulative earnings of P46 million could hardly compare to "Ekstra's" P67.3 million.
Those irascible, irrational and blindly loyal Noranians could ride on their cumulative P46 million vehicle, "sumakay pa silang lahat" , it's really a no-brainer. How much did "Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti" earn when it had its one week run at the Gateway last year? Drum roll, please! You bet, they were ecstatic to earn less than P50,000 - for ONE WHOLE WEEK screening! Divide that with the ticket price of P200, that's a mere 250 people occupying a 500-seater cinema hall that has 4 screenings a day for 7 days! Makes you wonder - how many die-hard Noranians are existing today - 250? How miniscule. Even if each of them would watch the film 3x in one week, they couldn't recoup expenses for the use of cinema, electricity, payment of ushers and projectionist, and airconditioning. Do they know how to count? The Philippines has a population of 100 million. And Nora can only coax 250 to watch her movie? It just makes me cry. Cinema, after all, is still business. People making films and screening movies should also earn. Otherwise, the cinema as we know it would die a natural death. That's a sad reality that people who love movies would have to cogitate on.
DEMENTIA'S PULL OUT: NORA VS DOLLS
Just mere two days after its opening, Dementia has already been pulled out from majority of its theaters, including places where you'd expect bigger Aunor patrons, like SM San Lazaro, SM Fairview and SM North Edsa. One guy wrote about his movie watching today and he shared, "There were just seven of us in the cinema," then corrected himself, "Ay, anim pala." On a busy Saturday? Maybe it was a block screening? LOL. If you say you're a Noranian, watch it now while it's still available in few cinemas in Metro Manila. Otherwise, you'd have to fly to Misamis Oriental, Pangasinan, Baguio, or worse, South Cotabato just to catch a sleep-inducing, closeup-rich movie. Ironically, even in Aunor's hometown of Albay, they choose not to screen it anymore (Bichara Silverscreens and Pacific Mall) preferring to show the comedic "Maria Leonora Teresa" (on its 3rd week), the name of the doll given by Nora's erstwhile boyfriend Pip to the then-phenomenal singer sometime in the 70's. Yes, Virginia, even three ugly dolls do better than La Aunor at the box office. Ouch.
Now, which other actress from the 70’s has the same mainstream-drawing power 5 decades later? But we’re not talking about box office clout, right? It's an exquisitely sensitive matter for some. (wink wink) On record, Santos is believable playing rich, poor, middle class, prostitute, nun, half-fish, superhero, bit player. Let's add governor to that varied resume. Aunor is believable playing pauper, abused or the down trodden and... errr, Super Gee? (Of course there's a few more colorful real-life "resume" worth adding here, but let me refrain from doing that for now. Tee hee.)