While Jaclyn Jose won the Urian Best Actress award last year for "Sarong Banggi," I firmly believe Ms. Adlawan should have won the prize for her work in this film (and I'm an eternal Jaclyn Jose fan). I argued so back in September 2005:
"The one indisputably great performance of the year so far belongs to a theater stalwart, Irma Adlawan, who is a veritable force of nature in Dennis Marasigan's 'Sa North Diversion Road,' an entry to the Cinema One Digital Film Festival.
"Based on Tony Perez's play of the same title, 'Sa North' has Adlawan and John Arcilla playing 10 different couples sorting out issues of fidelity, conflict, the limits of love. The film's static structure, its reliance on verbal interplay rather than visual cues for character progression, would pose a challenge even to accomplished actors. Arcilla is competent, even wrenching in some scenes. But Adlawan is astounding.
"What's more amazing is realizing that, on top of this devastating performance, Adlawan offers exceptional turns in two other indie movies--Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil's 'Mga Pusang Gala' and Rica Arevalo's 'ICU Bed #7,' an entry to the first Cinemalaya Film Festival.
"Three strikes in one year is an achievement not many big-name stars can equal. Nicole Kidman notched only two in 2001 (Baz Luhrmann's 'Moulin Rouge' and Alejandro Amenabar's 'The Others') and Entertainment Weekly had posthaste proclaimed her 'Entertainer of the Year.' Adlawan may not be an 'entertainer,' but she is truly, inarguably Best Actress material."
I'm watching this movie again. Kitakits sa Gale!
PLUS: Alexis Tioseco reviews "Sa North Diversion Road" as "a searing indictment of the Filipino male" over at his excellent film studies site, CritiCine.com.