In 1980, Ishmael Bernal made a film that starred some of Philippines' best thespians—Bernardo Bernardo, Gina Alajar, Lorna Tolentino, Alma Moreno, Rio Locsin, Orestes Ojeda, William Martinez, Charito Solis, and Cherie Gil. The film tackled the struggles of different characters immersed in drugs and prostitution, and trapped in an impoverished city.
The film, written by Ricky Lee, was originally titled Manila By Night. Former First Lady Imelda Marcos ordered for the title to be changed, so as not dissociate Manila's image from what the Marcos regime has projected it to be. Some scenes were also asked to be cut and lines referring to "Manila" were edited.
The film was known as City After Dark. It went on to win four Urian awards, including best picture, and several international recognitions.
Seventeen years later, there are talks of a remake of the critically-acclaimed Bernal masterpiece.
In an interview yesterday, September 12, at the press con of Lastikman, 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 ko kung sino man ang magpo-portray ng role ko."
The 44-year-old actress laughs, "Kung sino man, sana ako na habang puwede pa! That's one of my favorite roles, e. Kaiba-iba. I don't mind playing it again. I played Kano. I was a drug addict, pusher/lesbian."
Cherie believes that the film is one of Philippine cinema's best films.
"Ang ganda-ganda! I think it's still being credited in many film festivals internationally. If I speak to people from Israel Film Festival or people in that circle, if I mention Oro Plata Mata and Manila By Night, they remember. They remember Manila By Night as City After Dark. So they know these movies. Kahit nga daw si Quentin Tarantino, alam niya ‘yong City After Dark," she says with gusto.
She reveals that she would want to do the movie again because 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 strong chance for me to get into the Urian league, and I was first nominated with that movie. Kabataan ko pa, [I was just] 17. Everybody clamors for this award-giving body, especially as respectable as Urian. ‘Yon [Urian] ang isang award na hindi ko 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 the same 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 na hindi ko nabuo ang trabaho."
Cherie has played several notable roles in films that have been rehashed as television series, like Palimos ng Pag-ibig, Bituing Walang Ningning, Darna, and Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas (Pangarap na Bituin).
What does she think of remakes?"Siyempre, the original is still the best," Cherie smiles.