|Sketch by Vincent R. Pozon|
With her impressive acting talent, she managed to maintain a longstanding film career. Nora Aunor is a seasoned actress who has displayed remarkable staying power in a business where glamour and youth seem necessary for success. Also, she has a comfort about her age, Aunor doesn't try to be something she isn't. The woman is the greatest Filipino actress alive, hands down. She can take an ordinary part and imbue it with a welcome kinetic quality completely of her own design. It's as if she was capable of transcending gender to become a life force even though no one in their right mind would ever question the fact that she is all woman. Sure, she can act up a storm and perhaps the roles she accepted have contributed to her endurance in filmdom. Aunor's work is marked by an expressive energy. She consistently finds strong and varied physical movements, gestures and facial expressions in defining the characters she plays. She demonstrates the same kind of vocal energy, lines are shaped and pointed so that they have maximum effect. Crucially, this expressiveness is combined with intelligence and this is what marks Nora Aunor out for me. Energy alone isn't enough, it can produce undisciplined, over-the-top performances. But in watching her films, I have been struck by the sense that the choices she has made are the right ones. They are based on a deep understanding of the dramatic context she is working within, and the human context to which the dramas refer.
Personally, I'm impressed by the way Aunor gets to the heart of her characters, endowing them with dramatic individuality while paying close attention to the way each one interacts with other characters in the movie. More concerned about the truth of a feeling than how it's projected, Aunor excels at acting for the camera, which can pick up the tiniest flicker of emotion. She observes and listens well. Besides developing the qualities mentioned above, Aunor brings an appealing physical appearance to the big screen. Still for me, it's her eyes that expresses so much and makes me care about the characters she portrays. By looking into those incredible eyes we can see Beatrice Alcala's vulnerability and intelligence in Kung Ako'y Iiwan Mo, Angela Aguilar's poignant toughness in Bulaklak Sa City Jail, Bona's inner strength, the gut-wrenching determination of Amy Mercado in I Can't Stop Loving You and Azun's self-absorbed pride in Nakaw Na Pag-Ibig, to cite a few examples. The wisdom of her experiences touched my heart, reminding me of what I already knew. Aunor demonstrated the hard work of mastering her craft and the self trust acquired through finding its personal authority. She shared a sense of uncertainty about her voice and the process of artistry until she developed a sense of authority and trust in the relationship between herself and something that was beyond language, a common rhythm within a piece, the heart of a character's story or an intuitive sense of direction. But the connection was consistent when she learned to let go of barriers, controlling the effort and allowed the heart of the piece to emerge. The combination of interest, emotion and context formed the pattern that guided the structure and process, for the individual work of art, for the artist's life and for the film community.