For the most part, being ideal for each other does not guarantee a perfect relationship. No. Definitely not in this realm where flawed, ruined, and damaged relationships are what comprise a world run by temptation, possession, obsession and love.
Such is the discourse that Star Cinema and Viva Films’ upcoming offering, No Other Woman.
The subject of deceit, cheating, and illicit love affairs are some themes tackled in literature and cinema. Love and sex are clichés that make the world go round. They thrive as timeless plots because mortals can very well see themselves as the flawed characters in such gripping dramas.
Catharsis might be the apt Aristotelian term but director Ruel S. Bayani would rather put it in more comprehensible terms: "Siguro, kaya gusto nating nai-in love [at] lagi [tayong] excited pumunta sa lugar na yun kung saan mararamdaman natin yung emosyon na yun, kasi kasama na dun yung mystery ng iba’t ibang pagdadaanan natin, yung iba’t ibang emosyon na mararamdaman natin.
"Sometimes, dahil nga pumupunta ka pa sa lugar na hindi ka pamilyar o hindi ka sigurado madidiskubre mo na ’Ay, kaya ko pala gawin ito, kaya ko pala maging ganitong ka-violent, kaya ko palang ganitong ka-martir,’ makikita mo nga yung range na kaya mong gawin."
In its compelling take on infidelity, No Other Woman--which stars Anne Curtis, Derek Ramsay, and Cristine Reyes--examines the angles of a love triangle complicated by an extramarital affair between Derek’s and Anne’s characters.
Initially, the carefree socialite Kara, played by Anne, had no intention of falling in love with the charming salesman, Ram, Derek’s character. It is unfortunate that the mad, passionate and casual sex that they engage in turns into a relationship in which they both invest emotions in. That pretty much brings in the complication and the eventual tension, confrontation and battle between the perfect, meek wife-turned-fierce Charmaine, played by Cristine, and the bodacious, headstrong mistress Kara.
"Personally kasi, I question the concept of monogamy. And when you’re put in that situation, you’ll realize that love is really possession," explains one of the film’s scriptwriters, Jay Fernando.
"You don’t want to share that kind of love that you share with the person [you’re in a relationship with]."
The film has intentions of exploring the reality that even a dedicated debonair of a husband can yield to the temptations of the flesh in the form of an alluring, seductive woman.
Derek Ramsey, who gets to play his first solo lead in this film, remarks, "That’s one of the things that you’ll learn in this movie. It could just ... hit you from the blind side.
"I think we’re all created to love but, yun nga... In the movie, I found who I thought was my perfect partner and then suddenly, someone comes into my life and I find myself having more love to give. And sana, hindi mangyari sa akin ito."
RUIN IS THE ROAD TO MATURITY
The film likewise measures the gravity of ruin that a single act of unfaithfulness can do. The other half of the screenplay duo, Kriz Gazmen, elaborates, "Sometimes, iniisip natin okay lang magloko. Okay lang kahit isang simpleng temptation papasukin mo sa relationship tutal it might be just a one night stand... madali lang naman ayusin yan!
"Pero ang gusto ko talaga sabihin sa pelikulang ito, there’s no such thing as a small or a big temptation. Kahit gaano kaliit yung temptation na yan, pag pinapasok mo yan sa relationship ninyo, it will destroy everything and all those years na nag-invest kayong dalawa as a couple."
This perhaps is when No Other Woman becomes a kind of cautionary tale for those who are trying to survive a marriage or even for people who are about to enter relationships.
While the lead actors of this film have yet to enter a marriage, Anne, Derek, and Cristine have been involved in real life, imperfect relationships—an aspect of their lives that the limelight and media have magnified and made a ballyhoo out of. It is fascinating, however, that the three have survived in their share of failed relationships, scandals, and break ups.
At present, it is undeniable that the three actors are at their most mature and solid relationships. Perhaps ruin is the road to transformation. Anne, Derek, and Cristine are now mature, wiser individuals.
"Pag nangyari sa ’kin na nalaman ko na may iba siya," says the flawless Cristine when asked about how she will confront a partner upon finding out that he cheated on her, "Siguro papapiliin ko siya kung sino sa ’min dalawa.
"Kung pipiliin niya yung isa, okay lang. It means hindi siya para sakin. Kung ako pipiliin niya, kailangan niya hiwalayan yung isa."
The Reputasyon lead actress is now in a year-old relationship with her Kapamilya Network co-star, Rayver Cruz. Asked if she will ever desperately run after someone she loves, Cristine answers, "Tingin ko sa akin, ayokong gawin yung maghabol ako kasi ayokong ipilit yung sarili ko sa taong ayaw na sa akin.
"Kasi parang tatapakan ko na yung sarili ko, parang hindi ko na mahal [ang sarili ko].
"Marami namang iba diyan, di ba? Ganda ko naman!"
On the one hand, Anne who deviates from her typical sweetheart roles in this film, says that leaving behind someone who cheated on her will definitely put her in a dilemma.
"Kasi I think everyone, sinasabi talaga nila, ’Hiwalayan!,’ di ba? Babu na!
"The thing is, I think when you’re in that position, hindi mo kaya, e. Kailangan mong malaman na ikaw yung pipiliin niya, so ipaglalaban mo."
Anne honestly says that being in love can lead one to resort to foolish actions.
"I think kasi mababaliw ka talaga na wala ka nang pakialam kung anong sasabihin ng mga tao.
"O-all out ka talaga para sa taong mahal mo. Hindi mo iisipin yung mga consequences."
Anne confesses that she has in fact been cheated on. From such experience nonetheless do we understand where she draws forth the kind of strength and spirit that she exudes.
"Masakit... you get to the point na hindi mo na kilala yung sarili mo. Oo, napagdaanan [ko na].
"I think it’s all part of growing up as well. From these experiences, you’ll learn how to be mature and how to handle relationships even more.
"Matututo kang hindi maghabol, dumedma na."
Anne’s happiness does radiate and perhaps this is due to the low-key relationship she keeps with French-Filipino Erwan Heussaff, brother of model/actress Solenn Heussaff.
Meanwhile, Derek’s five-year relationship with actress Angelica Panganiban has seen through the toughest controversies. Despite being hampered by scandals, rumored break-ups, and just recently, Derek’s alleged married status, the couple has been unwavering.
Derek describes his five-year relationship with Angel as "up and down [but] always moving forward." But as an equally gorgeous couple, for sure Derek and Angel have their fair share of respective admirers, ones who more than flirt with them perhaps? How exactly does he deal with this?
"How do I resist? Eto, nagpapakamatay magtrabaho, ’di natutulog," Derek says with a chuckle.
"I won’t lie to you and say na kung nakakakita ako ng magandang babae, I don’t appreciate, you know.
"But I know that hanggang tingin lang yun. No touch. [My] hands keep to myself. Kung may babaeng lumalandi sa akin, you just smile it off. Hindi mo naman puwedeng bastusin kasi babae. You just smile it off.
"It’s the same way with Angel if may naglalanding lalaki sa kanya, hindi ko aawayin yung mga lalaki, hindi ko siya pipigilan. Gusto ko, she can handle it. Makes me feel better, actually. More loved."
LESSONS IN NO OTHER WOMAN
Direk Ruel says that the making of the project came in a timely manner when his cast and his production team were ready to work on "a more adult, more serious movie." The passion, dedication, and the discipline that each of them contributed has resulted in the best that the film has to offer.
Moreover, what No Other Woman tackles has taught both the actors and those who worked behind the cameras, a thing or two about the imperfection of relationships.
Scriptwriter Jay says that keeping one’s respect and love for one’s self is most important. "You love your partner but more importantly you should also know how to respect and love yourself and not lose yourself in that situation when someone’s cheating.
"If the relationship matters to you, you should matter to you."
Anne’s character meanwhile teaches the value of knowing one’s limits. "You should know when you reach your saturation point, when you should say it’s enough.
"You have to know that when it’s wrong to push through with something from the very beginning, and you know that it’s wrong, then don’t do it.
"Kasi kung tama, from the bottom of your heart, you’ll know kung tama. Pero pag meron kang gut feeling na maybe you shouldn’t, ’wag mo nang gawin because baka ikahirap pa ng buhay mo."
From his character’s experience, Derek realizes the need to own up to one’s mistakes.
"Whatever decision you make in whatever situation in your life, whether right or wrong, the most important thing is how you deal with the consequences of your actions.
"If you decide to go off on an adventure with another person and fall in love, and you hurt somebody, make sure that you have the decency to open up and repair [your relationship with] that person you’ve hurt."
Cristine Reyes believes that the relationship she is in right now is perfect. She has nothing more to ask from Rayver.
Anne points out that no relationship is perfect. "But I’d like to think that my relationship [with Erwan] is the closest you can get to perfect."
Derek says about his five-year girlfriend Angelica, "I think I do have the perfect relationship because I’m very happy. Do we have problems? Yes. Do we fight? Do we argue? But am I happy? Yes I am."