Antonio Vidal Aguilar
Lualhati Bautista (story)
December 25, 1984
December 25, 1984 (Philippines)
Nora Aunor appears in Bulaklak sa City Jail and Bona
Bulaklak sa City Jail is a 1984 drama film that depicts the situation of women in the city jail, the last item in a series of outstanding outputs by the local movie industry in 1984. Among other things, three distinctions will secure it as a last a footnote in the history of contemporary Philippine cinema: the people involved in its production marks an auspicious debut for the Cherubim outfit, it showcases Nora Aunor's best performance for her comeback year, and it signals the emergence of Mario O’Hara as a director whose command of craft has caught up with his conscience – an expectation which seemed to have been forgotten in the wake of similar successes by relatively more recent filmmakers. The story follows the searing odyssey of Angela, a victim of a miscarriage of justice, from her incarceration in the women’s section of an urban prison, through her escape and delivery of her love child in a city zoo, to her recapture and eventual legal triumph in obtaining custody of her baby.
Aunor is shown singing in front of an inattentive beer house crowd. She is giving a spirited rendition but we only see the eyes, or lips or hands of those around her, except for Crisanto Ricky Davao, to whom Nora is obviously addressing her song. In the next scene, she is entering the city jail.
Nora is Angela, an orphan who falls for a married man and is later accused of trying to kill his wife. But the film is more than just her story. It is an indictment of a prison system that instead of helping in the rehabilitation of inmates only make them worse. Angela meets several other characters. Juliet (Gina Alajar) is a young mother imprisoned for estafa and whose only dream is to escape and get her son now being maltreated by her husband’s mistress. Viring (Perla Bautista) loses her sanity when her daughter (the product of a liaison with a prison guard) is forcibly taken away from her. Luna (Celia Rodriguez) sells her body to male inmates to send the money back to her son. Yolly (Shyr Valdez) is a teenager committed by her own mother for delinquency. Patricia (Maritess Gutierrez) is a student arrested for the accidental death of a colleague in their sorority’s initiation rites. Then there’s Barbie (Maya Valdez), the bastonera, and Tonya (Zeneida Amador), the mayora.
Some quarters are bound to complain because of the film’s exposes. Prison guards take advantage of the inmates. Ex officio lawyers assigned to help them for free do not really care if they rot in jail. Inmates prey on one another, specially on newcomers whom the more hardened ones rob and mandhandle.
ReferencesBulaklak sa City Jail Wikipedia
Bulaklak sa City Jail IMDb Bulaklak sa City Jail themoviedb.org