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Kumuha ng mga instant na update sa mga bagay na gusto mo at saksihan ang mga kaganapan, habang nangyayari ang mga ito, mula sa bawat anggulo.There, she breaks into a silent yet tearful soliloquy until Pinggoy arrives, attempting to woo her into bed only to be rebuked.Bernal finally breaks the several minutes of quiet yet persuasive storytelling with the first of the many arguments between the eternally incongruous lovers, with Ching’s vocal frankness overpowering Pinggoy’s contained machismo, to the point of the latter attempting to wrestle Ching’s dominance with violence, only to end in conciliation and lovemaking.In that initial sequence, Bernal adequately summarizes Ching and Pinggoy’s relationship.Ching (Rita Gomez), scandalously tipsy after a day of lonesome drinking, and Pinggoy (Vic Vargas), who attempts to salvage Ching from further embarrassing herself in public, see a mob of adoring fans, separated from their fantasy world by a metal gate and obviously oblivious to the excesses of their fleeting limelight. The once self-absorbed alcohol-glazed gestures of Ching and the guarded yet clearly affectionate concern of Pinggoy suddenly breaking to give way to faces jolted by a sudden but timely awareness, of how far they have gone up and how far they have fallen.As with Dutt’s immortal masterpiece, Bernal, by mapping an actress’ deliberate and painful rise to the top, reflects on the disconnect between the realities of life and the quasi-realities of cinema that debilitates the men and women who chose to indulge in its promising allures.
The film opens with Ching, then a stripper, performing to the lustful stares of her patrons.
She arrives home, slowly climbing the stairs, with every step turning into a gargantuan struggle as she carries herself and all her life’s worries up to her room.
In Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool (Paper Flowers, 1959), a film director, played with piercing sensitivity by Dutt, sees his career flounder as the career of his muse, a beggar he discovers while shooting a scene in his adaptation of Devdas and subsequently grooms to become a very successful actress, blossoms.
The painful downfall of the director who at one time was celebrated by crowds of adoring fans after a very successful run of one of his films and at a later time is seen alone, walking the paved ways of his former studio in tattered rags, unrecognizable by his friends and peers, destroys the very core of these double lives that are forced to exist to suit the inflicted fantasies of working in cinema notwithstanding the need to endure the realities of living.
Amidst the several musical interludes, the film lyrically reflects on the gargantuan gap that separates the facile glamour of the silver screen and the material, spiritual and emotional poverty of everything else.
Ishmael Bernal’s Pagdating sa Dulo (At the Top) ends with a striking sequence that consummates the hypocrisy that was portrayed in the carnivalesque affairs of the film.