May 16, 2017

In Jerrold Tarog‘s Bliss (where Iza Calzado bagged the Best Actress award at the recent Osaka Asia Film Festival), Calzado plays popular actress Jane Ciego who encountered an unfortunate accident at the filming of her new movie. Left crippled, Ciego experiences odd events at their new home, where she is often left alone with her strange nurse Lilibeth (Adrienne Vergara).

Surprisingly, Jane Ciego is not alone.

There is something enigmatic about the actress as a character. She’s often portrayed as an erotic individual and a lonely woman, basking in both unfathomable emptiness and aspirations. And, this pretty much sums up what Calzado’s character is in Bliss. “Gusto ko lang matulog,” she says languidly.

If Bliss made you question your reality, here are other films that you might want to watch:

Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (1966)

Nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson) takes care of actress Elisabeth Vogler (Liv Ullmann), who suddenly stopped talking. To help Vogler cope with the situation, they spend time alone on an island. Alma narrates her secrets to Vogler and things get strange.

The film portrays the actress as helpless and, at the same time, capable. The film has its share of erotica without showing anything. And the film’s charm lies in those times of telling.

Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

In Clouds of Sils Maria, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) reluctantly accepts the role of Helena, the opposite of Sigrid which launched her career 20 years ago in Wilhelm Melchior’s Snake Maloja. To prepare for the role of the vulnerable old woman, Enders stays at Melchior’s home in Sils Maria with her personal assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart).

Clouds of Sils Maria and Snake Maloja both reflect on an actress’ career cycle. When a Sigrid or a new, younger actress arrives, what happens to Helena or the older actress?

With her performance as Valentine, Stewart proved that she is more than Bella Swan; she is the first American to bag a Caesar award.

David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001)

Hailed as BBC Culture’s Best Film of 21st Century, Mulholland Drive follows aspiring actress Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) and her encounter with a mysterious woman known as Rita Hayworth (Laura Harring), also an actress who lost her memory after a car crash. Elms helps Hayworth find her identity, but what follows is a series of events that questions their identities and reality.

David Lynch presents the actress as an individual who can take on various identities, rendered in a film that’s both horrifying and trippy. Many have tried to define the film, but that’s pretty impossible. Go watch the film and experience what they call Lynchian. It’s worth it.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve (1950)

From this list, All About Eve is the least terrifying. The film follows the story of Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a fan of Broadway actress Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Easily touched by Harrington’s story, Channing makes Harrington her assistant. However, Harrington slowly steals the limelight from Channing. From being her understudy, Harrington even lands on a role that was supposedly for Channing.

While it is the least mind-boggling film in this list, All About Eve presents the inconvenient cycle of stardom. At the end of the film, a seemingly unsatisfied Harrington finds her own fan who might just steal her stardom.

Roman Polanski’s Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion doesn’t really involve an actress, but it’s about manicurist Carol Ledoux (Catherine Deneuve) who repels men. After getting suspended from work, Ledoux stays at home, gets further disgusted by men, and hallucinates.

Some of the terrifying aspects of Repulsion are pretty similar to those used in Bliss.


Watch Bliss and allow the film to tell you, “Huwag kang mag-alala, pasasayahin kita.”

TAGS: all about eve bliss clouds of sils maria Film mulholland drive persona repulsion