Tuesday, September 08, 2009

BELOVED... A Complex Range of Romatic Human Relations

Beloved (VIVA Films, 1985) tackles a complex range of human relations premised on romance, but problematizes it quite rigorously so that love, though central in the lives of the characters, is continually reread and therefore rewritten. Ensuing from the the competing affections between Adora Bernal (Nora Aunor) and Renee Regala (Hilda Koronel) over Dindo Tuason (Christopher de Leon) and his conflict with Ver Alonzo (Dindo Fernando) is a struggle that does not at all resort to conventional melodramatic tactics. The film is filled with emotional rigor through which the affairs of the heart are dealt with, and dealt with intelligently. How Adora and Renee choose to make their lives more difficult by staking their right to love Dindo inspite of the circumscriptions of traditional heterosexist norms engenders a creative tension that enables women to appropriate the power to break the culture of silence and express sexuality in specific terms within specific situations. Adora has to inevitably give up the fight, but only after she has achieved a realization that strikes at the core of practical realities. Beloved cleverly choreographs the elements of cinema and local melodrama with restraint and without the komiks winded tediousness normally associated with the exercise.

Nora Aunor's highly textured performance suffuses the melodramatic heroine with the spirit in which it could have been strategically envisioned. Aunor's constant displacements climaxes in a cleverly orchestrated maneuver that careens from deception to sacrifice and on to the struggle of prefiguring an ending which may not necessarily be happy, and a happiness which need not be the inexorable ending. Hilda Koronel on the other hand, shows that the strength of women need not come from the repudiation of feminine traits and roles as constructed by patriarchal systems. The acting method employed here is able to twist the logic of cliche and reconstitutes the drama of yearning with passion and grace. Koronel's portrayal is one that can hold a candle to Aunor's substantial work in this film. Dindo Fernando expresses desire in all its discrepant aspects breathes a different rigor into the tradition of acting for the screen. Finally, Christopher de Leon's intelligent handling of his character resonates with the perspicacity and method of the film's dramatic goals. Beloved's achievement rests on its skillful appropriation of the conventions of a commercial feature in its earnest effort to come up with a truly artistic, purposive and serious motion picture.