Nora Aunor was beaming with pride talking about her latest film, Taklub, when DLIST met with her for an informal interview in her Libis residence a few months ago. One could tell the excitement she was feeling when she realized that this film would be her comeback to the Cannes Film Festival red carpet after more than three decades.
Taklub, which is produced by Loren Legarda, among others, is a film about the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan that left the southern provinces of the Philippines completely devastated. Aunor, who played the lead character, reflected how amazed she was during the 10 day-shooting in Tacloban.
“Iba talagang gumawa si Direk Brillante. Para talagang tutoong tutoo. Akala nung iba documentary ang ginagawa namin,” Aunor exclaimed.
When it was announced that Mendoza’s Taklub made it to Cannes, though not for Main Competition, both fans and cineastes were on their feet for this supposedly historic event. Aunor and Mendoza, both considered toasts of world cinema and Philippine flag-bearers in their own rights, are expected to dominate the most prestigious film festival in the world.
Unfortunately, as of this writing, Taklub staff, a few actors, and producers are now all in France for the traditional photocall without the film's star. Nora Aunor failed to grace the event due to circumstances that could have easily been avoided had it been handled better by the film's producers.
According to a very reliable source, Aunor was not informed beforehand that her request for flight upgrade had not been accomplished so she went to the airport expecting the Business Class tickets that she was accustomed to.
The entire entourage of Taklub had already flown to Cannes a day prior without her. Incensed by this seemingly lack of proper coordination, she decided not to pursue her travel schedule anymore. Confidantes of the Superstar claimed that had she known about the tickets earlier, she would have upgraded them herself. Instead, she ended up having to take a cab on her way home - something she rarely does given her public stature and security concerns.
Upon learning about the incident, fans of the Superstar voiced out their frustrations in social media; expressed disgust over what they call "an utter disrespect for someone whose persona has been revered internationally."
The Film Development Council of the Philippines gave Taklub considerable festival grant in order to accommodate the production, which would cover Nora Aunor’s travel budget. Latest social media posts show that Mendoza’s entourage includes Senator Loren Legarda, Solar Channel’s Wilson Tieng, actress Evelyn Vargas, actors Aaron Rivera, Ruby Ruiz and Raymund Gutierrez, among others. A few raised concerns why her initial request could not be done promptly, as the number of people in the entourage belies any claims of budget constraints. On the other hand, Honee Alipio, the scriptwriter of Taklub, is not part of the Cannes delegation.
DLIST reached out to Larry Castillo of Centerstage Production for comments and will be updated promptly upon receiving reply.
EXCLUSIVE: DLIST obtained the Travel Agency's record of the Economy accommodation booked for Nora Aunor. The document is proof against later claims online that Miss Aunor was in fact given Business Class tickets by the film's producers. (Click on the photo to enlarge image.)
By Miss Lutgarda Nicolas