Forum Kritika: Guy on the Edge
To describe Nora Aunor as a fixture in Philippine cinema is like saying that Shakespeare knew how to wield a pen. Of course a national cinema will be larger than the sum of its stars, just as literature is much more than what its canonical authors might suggest. But just as there will be writers and then there’s Bill (and Leo and Virginia and a few Johns), contemporary Pinoy movies can already be understood as featuring any number of stars, starting with that name, first and foremost, and everyone else’s afterward.
As a Philippine multimedia star, Nora Aunor (“Guy” to her fans) was sui generis, with Filipino cultural observers, starting with Nick Joaquin, taking careful note of her emergence, then barely as an adult. Her growth as a prominent performing artist can be tracked in milestones that a large group of loyal devotees, now dispersed in several countries, are able to recount from memory. A simplistic way of explaining her success is that she had been extraordinarily gifted and cannily aware of her strengths and limitations, so that she could identify exactly which challenges she could excel in; a significant number of her detractors would add that she had also been lucky as well as shrewd in exploiting the right kind of people.
Nevertheless even Aunor’s worst critics would be unable to deny her multifarious accomplishments in film, theater, television, and musical recording, as well as her iconic significance as a genuine one-of-the-masses type of phenomenon: rural poor, dark-skinned, unruly and deeply ambivalent in her attitude toward the trappings of success. In line with discussions of film auteurs and star texts initiated by such publications as the Cahiers du Cinéma as well as scholars like Richard Dyer and Christine Gledhill, Kritika Kultura will be covering the persona and output of Nora Aunor as the topic of a forthcoming forum.
The forum invites scholars of Philippine star-text studies, spectatorship, and the performing arts to provide assessments of the person (and her persona) originally hailed as the country’s first “superstar.” Paper proposals should be submitted electronically to the forum editor, Joel David, at firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than November 30, 2013. Any contribution will be acknowledged within 48 hours of receipt. Authors whose proposals are accepted should finalize their articles (5,000 to 7,000 words, observing the sixth edition of the Modern Language Association handbook) on or before January 31, 2014. These articles will then undergo the standard process of double-blind peer review for academic journals.
Proposals should consist of no longer than a one-page submission, comprising the following: title of the submission; name(s), affiliation(s), and short description(s) of the author(s) [up to a maximum of two per article]; topic area of the submission; three or four keywords that describe the submission; contact information comprising mailing address(es), e-mail address(es), and/or phone number(s); and a single-paragraph paper proposal. Kindly note that fan studies may be considered, but fan testimonials and hagiographic appreciations, no matter how vital to the subject, will not in themselves be appropriate material for the journal. For further inquiries, please contact the forum editor (email email@example.com) or Kritika Kultura (email firstname.lastname@example.org, cc email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com).