Mario O'Hara: underrated or over-the-hill?
First thing off: grateful to Ms. Carballo for the article--haven't heard anything about the man for well over two years now, maybe more. And I appreciate the mention, too.
Where the hell did they get that pic, though? He looks like a corporate executive, which I imagine's the last thing in the world he'd ever want to be seen as. Funny stuff, is all.
For the record, Bulong ng Balakyot (Whispers of the Demon) was the original title O'Hara wanted to give Pangarap ng Puso (Demons, 2000) and is not a separate film. People fluent in both English and Tagalog may wonder at the disparity between the official Filipino title ("Pangarap ng puso" literally means "hope of the heart") to which I might reply: welcome to the world of film title and dialogue translation, more a rather vague art than an exact science. Suffice to say the late Joey Gosiengfiao, who helped produce the picture, approved the official English translation.
As for not having done any comedies, arguably Tatlong Ina, Isang Anak (Three Mothers, One Child, 1987) is a comedy. But there's humor in many an O'Hara film; just that it's an extremely dark humor--the decapitated head found in a block of ice in Bagong Hari (The New King, 1986) comes to mind; so does the rape scene in Condemned (1984) performed in shadow dumbshow, to sardonic music.
As for O'Hara flying to America to meet with Nora Aunor (?!)--well, I'd like to see that actually happen. I'd like to see O'Hara come out with a film again, period. Three years is a long time, and unfortunately I can't just go to the theater to catch his stage appearances.
Yep, when O'Hara doesn't have a film project he's usually at Tanghalang Pilipino, delivering one memorable performance after another. Or--again, once in a blue moon--writing a play or two (tickles me pink that Gibbs Cadiz's best of Philippine theater 2007 mentions O'Hara's name not once but twice).
So here's to waiting; O'Hara's preferred mode of operation is under-the-radar flying, but it's nice to know that he does surface once in a while, that he's been spotted here and there, that even if he's not behind a movie camera he's at least alive and well. And still flying under the radar.