In 1980, Ishmael Bernal made a film that starred some of Philippines' best thespians—Bernardo Bernardo, Gina Alajar, Lorna Tolentino, AlmaMoreno, Rio Locsin, Orestes Ojeda, William Martinez, Charito Solis, and CherieGil. The film tackled the struggles of different characters immersed in drugsand prostitution, and trapped in an impoverished city.
The film, written by Ricky Lee, was originally titled ManilaBy Night. Former First Lady Imelda Marcos ordered for the title to bechanged, so as not dissociate Manila's image from what the Marcos regime hasprojected it to be. Some scenes were also asked to be cut and lines referringto "Manila" were edited.
The film was known as City After Dark. It went on to winfour Urian awards, including best picture, and several international recognitions.
Seventeen years later, there are talks of a remake of thecritically-acclaimed Bernal masterpiece.
In an interview yesterday, September 12, at the press con ofLastikman, one of its stars, Cherie Gil shares her thoughts about rumors of the remake.
"Okay lang, kung ako rin ang magpo-portray ng role na 'yon!This is the only time I'll probably ask and request na sana maaprubahan kokung sino man ang magpo-portray ng role ko."
The 44-year-old actress laughs, "Kung sino man, sana ako nahabang puwede pa! That's one of my favorite roles, e. Kaiba-iba. I don't mindplaying it again. I played Kano. I was a drug addict, pusher/lesbian."
Cherie believes that the film is one of Philippine cinema'sbest films.
"Ang ganda-ganda! I think it's still being credited in manyfilm festivals internationally. If I speak to people from Israel Film Festivalor people in that circle, if I mention Oro Plata Mata and Manila ByNight, they remember. They remember Manila By Night as City AfterDark. So they know these movies. Kahit nga daw si Quentin Tarantino, alamniya ‘yong City After Dark," she says with gusto.
She reveals that she would want to do the movie againbecause she feels that she could do more with her role now.
"Kasi nabitin ako doon, e. I have a lot of angst about that role because it was a very strongchance for me to get into the Urian league, and I was first nominated with thatmovie. Kabataan ko pa, [I was just] 17. Everybody clamors for this award-givingbody, especially as respectable as Urian. ‘Yon [Urian] ang isang award na hindiko pa nalalagay sa aking mantel.
"At that time, I was doing movies. Uso noon ang lagare.Konti lang kaming mga artista noon. We were doing four, five, six films at thesame time. Ang daming pelikula rin noon, 100 films a year. I was doing lagare,so to the point na hindi pa ako nakapag-dubbing. Si Louella [Albornos, fomer charactress actress], she dubbed for me.To give her credit, she really did a great job kasi nga tomboy, e, so bumagay‘yong boses niya na mababa. Pero ano na 'yon, parang point against me na 'yon nahindi ko nabuo ang trabaho."
Cherie has played several notable roles in films that havebeen rehashed as television series, like Palimos ng Pag-ibig, BituingWalang Ningning, Darna, and Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas (Pangarapna Bituin).
What does she think of remakes?"Siyempre, the original is still the best,"Cherie smiles.