MANILA — “Dementia,” a Perci Intalan film, was rated “A” at the Cinema Evaluation Board.
For a first-time director, Intalan gave the viewers a beautiful insight of how a demented patient’s mind works.
The movie is top-billed by the one and only Superstar Nora Aunor. It is set to hit the big screen on September 24.
Aunor plays the character of Mara Fabre, a patient who suffers from dementia. She was brought by her family back to her hometown in Batanes with hopes of bringing back her lost memory. However, instead of recalling past memories, places, and faces, she began seeing visions that only she can see.
Jasmine Curtis-Smith, who plays her niece in the movie, wonders whether Aunor’s visions are related to the illness or if there is something in her past that taunts her.
Aunor is on her element in the movie, and she was able to portray the role of a distraught woman with grace.
Here’s a full heart-to-heart talk with the Superstar:
What made you accept the offer to do “Dementia”?
I was one of those who convinced Perci to direct. That’s why when he asked me to star in his debut film, I said yes right away. I also want to do a horror film for a change.
Based on the tag line of “Dementia” (“Hindi lahat ng alaala gusto mong magbalik”/“Not all memories are worth recalling”), what episode in your life would you rather forget?
The pain caused by my first love. Naging Lucresia (crazy) ako noon!
In the movie, you have very few lines of dialogue. How do you manage to make your eyes do the talking?
I have no special technique. I just use my heart. That’s the best way to make the audience feel what my character is feeling.
Meanwhile, here’s the one-on-one with the director Perci Intalan:
What inspired you to do “Dementia”?
“Dementia” was conceptualized for Nora Aunor. When she returned in 2011, I sort of became her “acting” manager when I was with TV5.
When she was offered by Direk Brillante Mendoza to star in “Thy Womb,” Ate Guy and I spoke about the possibility of her doing a horror film.
I was excited because she hasn’t done a horror film for so long and I could already imagine how great she would be in it. That’s when I started developing “Dementia” with (husband and filmmaker) Jun Lana.
It took two years to develop this project. But when Ate Guy finally stepped in front of the camera, I knew the long wait was worth it.
She was amazing.
Why did you choose Batanes as the location?
I’ve always dreamt of going to Batanes. But I never thought my first time there would also be my first directorial job! When we were scouting for locations near Manila, I couldn’t find one that inspired me. I wanted a place that was scary but was not the typical haunted house.
We kept looking until someone suggested that we should travel far from Manila if we wanted a different look. Then someone mentioned Batanes.
What was the toughest part about shooting in Batanes?
Shooting in Batanes is no walk in the park. But it was worth it. On a personal level, the toughest part was overcoming my own self-doubt.
With Nora Aunor and a location like that, you can imagine the pressure on me to make this movie work! And I had my own goals, too. I wanted to show a different Nora and a different Batanes. That’s why I spent months preparing. I drew floor plans, charts, maps, storyboards, you name it!
What did you learn about Ate Guy while directing her?
I’ve realized that with an artist like her, you cannot be so rigid. I prepared so much, but I was ready to throw everything out the window when I see a glimpse of a better idea coming from her.
I even changed the way I shot a scene a few times. Because of that, I learned to appreciate the artist, not just in her, but in everyone around me.
In this film, everyone had an artistic contribution. My job is to harness the team’s creativity and discern which ones should make it onscreen. That wasn’t easy.
I am used to being quite definite with what I want. But with an artist like Nora Aunor, you cannot dictate everything.
What are your dream projects?
I will just go with the flow first and let the ideas and the opportunities come naturally.
Why should we watch “Dementia”?
Because it is an experience like no other. It is a roller-coaster ride. The story is intricately crafted by Jun Robles Lana and Renei Dimla. Batanes is a sight to behold. And of course we have a great cast: Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Bing Loyzaga, Yul Servo, Chynna Ortaleza, Althea Vega and Ms. Nora Aunor.