The society of respected film critics that hands out the annual Gawad Urian in cinematic excellence

Natatanging Gawad Urian kay ROSA ROSAL

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Si Rosa Rosal ay mas kilala nagyon bilang isang social worker kaysa isang aktres, na and personal na pagtulong sa mga proyekto ng Philippine National Red Cross at iba pang charitable organizations ay sumasalamin sa kanyang kampanyang masagip ang buhay ng sinumang Pilipinong nangangangailangan ng kalinga.

Ang mga gawaing ito ay bahagi ng kanyang propesyon bilang isang bituin, at tila ba nagiging isang daluyang-ugat na lalo pang nagpapaigting sa kanyang likas na pagkasensitibo sa mga damdamin ng tao, sa sariling determinasyon at debosyon na naghatid sa kanya sa dambana bilang isa sa mga pinakamahusay na aktres ng Pelikulang Pilipino sa loob ng 35 taon.

“Dahil artista ka at maraming tagahanga na tumulong sa iyo,” ang kanyang paliwanag, “dapat lang na may maitulong ka sa kanila.”
Naniniwala rin siya ngayon na kailangan niyang maging laong mapili sa pagtanggap ng mga alok sa pelikula at telebisyon. “Gusto ko ‘yung mga roles na may kapupulutan,” ani Bb. Rosal.

Bilang isang aktres at mapagkawangggawa, si Rosa Rosal ay tumatayong bantayog na hinahangaan ng madla at nagbibigay sa kanila ng pag-asa. Sa programang “Damayan” at “Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko,” marami siyang natulungang mga Pilipinong nangangailangan ng tulong, lalo na sa serbisyong medikal. “Kailangan nila ng magbibigay-kalinga,” ang kanyang paalala. “Sana mayroong raong maakit na ipagpatuloy ang aking layunin.” Kinakailangan niyang sustentuhan ang sarili sampu ng kanyang kapatid habang siya’y nag-aaral. Tinuruan niya ang sarili ng typing hanggang sa maging isang private secretary siya ng isang chest physiacian sa PGH. Dahil sa kaniyang hangaring makaangat sa buhay, nagpunyagi siyang maragdagan pa ang kaalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng chest clinic at minsa’y nanungkulan din bilang x-ray technician bukod sa pagiging sekretarya.

Ang kanyang kapalaran ay nagkaroon ng madulang pagbabago noong 1948 nang mapansin siya ng kilalang production man na si Luis Nolasco sa pagsasapelikula ng Fort Santiago. Dahil sa nabighani si Nolasco sa kanyang pagkamestisa, pumailalim siya sa isang screen test na nakagulat sa kanyang magiging prodyuser. Nakuha niya ang kanyang unang screen role sa pelikula ni Nolasco, ang Kamagong. Hindi naglaon, lumipat siya sa Premiere at pagkatapos sa LVN, kung saan siya naging popular.

Kagulat-gulat ang kanyang pag-akyat sa rurok ng tagumpay. Noong 1950, siya'y napiling "Movie Queen” sa poll na isinagawa ng isang magasin. Umani rin siya ng mga tagumpay sa radyo kung saan siya'y nagtamo ng gawad bilang best actress para sa isa sa kanyang mga programa.

Subalit siya'y higit na kilala sa kanyang tatlong pelikula sa ilalim ngL VN: ang Anak Dalita (1 95 6) at Badjao (1957) na dinirihe ni Lamberto Avellana, at ang Biyaya ng Lupa (1959) na pinamahalaan ni Direktor Manuel Silos.

Sa tatlong nabanggit na pelikula ay nakatambal niya si Tony Santos at lahat ng ito 'y nagwagi ng mga pangunahing gantimpala sa Southeast Asian Film Festival sa mga taong ang mga ito'y inilahok.

Isa siyang mang-aaliw sa nightclub sa Anak Dalita, prinsesang Tausog sa Badjao, at isang magbubukid sa Biyaya ng Lupa. Bago ang mga papel na ito ay gumanap siya sa isang pelikula bilang kontrabida, kung saan siya mas nakilala ng publiko. Noong hingin niya ang papel sa Anak Dalita mula kay producer Manuel de Leon, ang huli'y hindi kaagad-agad na pumayag. Subalit ang lahat ng pag-aalinlangan ay napawi nang ibigay niya ang isang pagganap nang may kahangahangang intensidad.

"Naniniwala akong mayroong mga ipinanganak na artista. Kapag hinawakan ko ang isang papel, ako 'y nagiging tauhan. Hindi na ako lumalabas bilang si Rosa Rosal Ang kanyang ipinamalas sa tatlong pelikula ay mga kumikinang na halimbawa ng kahangahangang antas at uri ng realistikong pagganap. Ang masidhing damdamin at matinding hirap ng kalooban na kanyang binubulalas mula sa mga tauhang kanyang binibigyang-buhay ay nakadagdag-sigla at nagpataas sa madulang pulso ng bawat pelikula. Natatandaan ang Anak Dalita sa kanilang maapoy na tagpo ni Tony Santos sa gitna ng mga guho ng Intramuros sa dapithapon. Hindi malilimutan ang Badjao sa kanyang taimtim na pagganap sa papel ng isang prinsesang Tausog na nagpupursiging mabuhay sa kabila ng pagkakawalay sa kanyang tribo mula nang siya'y magpakasal sa isang tagalabas. A t sino ang hindi makaaalala sa Biyaya ng Lupa dahil sa kaniyang nakaaantig-damdaming pagganap sa isang ina na nagsisikap na mabigyan ng mabuting kinabukasan ang mga anak sa pa-nanim na lanzones?

Walang sinumang magdadalawang-isip sa kanyang kredibilidad at katapatan sa kanyang propesyon. Subalit sa kabila ng mga pinong grado ng kanyang pagganap, hindi matatagpuan dito ang katiting mang hiwatig ng pagpupunyagi — likas na palatandaan ng isang tunay na artista. Hindi lamang siya isang bituin kundi maituturing din siyang tunay na aktres. At higit dito, kabilang siya sa mangilan-ngilang mga aktor at aktres na may panlipunang kamalayan, kamalayang nakikita sa kanyang pagganap at lalong ikinagiging-makatotohanan nito.

Kay a sa taong ito, labis na ikinararangal ng Manunuri ng Pelikulang Filipino ang pagkakaloob ng Natatanging Gawad Urian kay Rosa Rosal bilang pagkilala sa kanyang mga tagumpay at kontribusyon bilang natatanging aktres ng Pelikulang Filipino.

The Rosa Rosal we know today is a humanitarian whose active involvement with the Philippine National Red Cross and other charitable organizations reflects her personal crusade of ensuring that no Filipino should die for want of blood. But rather than a break from her illustrious acting career, her present efforts are a culmination of her characteristic sensitivity to the feelings of human characters, her determination and devotion to her profession that catapulted her as one of the finest actresses in Philippine Cinema in the last 35 years. She says: "Because you are an artist admired by legions of fans and admirers, you should in turn be able to do something to help them."
She also believes that she should be more choosy about movie and television offers today: "I prefer to do roles that have something to impart to people."

As an actress and a humanitarian, Rosa Rosal stands as a figure of admiration and hope. In her TV programs "Damayan" and "Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko," she certainly gave help to countless Filipinos in need of assistance, especially medical services. "Somebody has to care," she reminds us. "I hope that someday, someone would be inspired to take up my cause."

She had to support herself through school while looking after her brothers and sisters. She taught herself typing and eventually landed a job as a private secretary to a chest physician at PGH. Her eagerness to do better prompted her to learn more about the operations of the chest clinic and, at one point, she doubled as an X-ray technician.

Her fortunes dramatically changed in 1948 when top production man Luis Nolasco spotted her during the filming of a movie entitled Fort Santiago. Intrigued by her mestiza looks, he gave her a screen test. It impressed her prospective producer. She got her first screen role in a Nolasco movie called Kamagong. She later moved to Premiere and then to LVN, where she reached the peak of popularity.

Ms. Rosal’s rise to fame is impressive. In 1950, her fans voted her "Movie Queen" in a popular magazine poll. She would even make her mark in radio by winning the best actress prize for one of her regular programs.

She is, however, best remembered for three films that she did for LVN: Anak Dalita (1956) and Badjao (1957) which were directed by Lamberto Avellana, and Biyaya Ng Lupa, which she did for director Manuel Silos.

She played opposite Tony Santos in all three pictures and all three were major prize winners at the Southeast Asian Film Festival in the years they were entered.

She was cast as a nightclub hostess in Anak Dalita, a Tausug princess in Badjao, and a farmer's wife in Biyaya ng Lupa. She had earlier played a number of contravida roles and was well-known to the public for such portrayals. When she asked for the role in Anak Dalita from producer Manuel de Leon, the latter was naturally hesitant. But she quickly allayed his fears by delivering a tour de force performance of astonishing intensity.

"I believe that some people are born actors. When I get into a role, I become the character. I do not come out as Rosa Rosal."

Her performance in all three films are shining examples of great realist acting. The passion and the pain that she brings out in her characters add vigor to the dramatic pulse of each film. One remembers Anak Dalita for her passionate scene with Tony Santos amidst the ruins of Intramuros at twilight. One remembers Badjao for her convincing portrayal of a Taosug princess trying to cope with isolation after marrying someone outside of her tribe. And one remembers Biyaya ng Lupa for her moving performance as a widow trying to build a future for her children by raising fragile lanzones trees. One never doubts the credibility and sincerity of her work. Yet for all the fine nuances of her performance, the effort in her work doesn't show — truly the hallmark of a great performer. She is not simply a star but an actress in the highest sense of the word.

But more than that, she belongs to that rare breed of actresses with the social consciousness that reflects in her craft and makes her acting even more realistic.

It is with pride and distinction that the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino confers on Rosa Rosal the Natatanging Gawad Urian for her achievements and contributions as an outstanding actress in the Filipino Film.