Note: It may contain spoilers.
I love to watch old movies because it allows me to get a glimpse of how places and fashion look like in earlier years. This time, I chanced upon a 1983 movie “Ang Babaeng Hinugot Sa Aking Tadyang” with Vivian Velez and Eddie Rodriguez on the lead roles. If the title rings a bell to you, it’s because it was made into a teleserye in 2009 by Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes. Vivian Velez caused a stir when she commented that she was disappointed about how Marian portrayed the role of Proserphina. Who is Proserphina and why would Vivian disagree with how Marian portrayed it?
Proserphina (Vivian Velez) is not your usual dreamgirl because inside her beautiful exterior is a woman with a complex character. When an old bachelor and successful businessman named Homer (Eddie Rodriguez) wakes up and finds her sleeping beside him, he is caught off-guard and clueless about the tragedy that will befall soon. Instead of calling the cops or even his maids for help, he allows her to get more sleep and gives her food when she wakes up. He, being the master of the house, an alpha-male, and Adam of his paradise, is obviously intrigued by his unwelcomed guest. Things go a little faster when she seduces him and they end up making love. Priscilla, his loyal assistant, is puzzled why Homer is late so she calls him up and is devastated to know that he is in bed with another woman. His excitement is short-lived because Proserphina leaves him without saying good-bye.
Soon we see men dying in Proserphina’s hands; one is even Homer’s acquaintance while the other one is a random college boy that she met on the road. Homer knows that Proserphina is the culprit but keeps mum about it. One day, Proserphina asks him to hide her from the people that keep coming for her. He keeps her in a beach resort and learns a little information about her family. While he is away, the gang takes Proserphina and he assumes that she simply leaves him again.
In Proserphina’s absence, he comes to appreciate his loyal assistant and makes love with her. Later, he finds out that the extortionists that come to his office are the same gang that is holding Proserphina. He is given 3 days to give them the money or they will kill Proserphina. Before Homer can do anything to save her, she gets the chance to kill them and goes to Homer’s place. Her body is having withdrawal effects from the drugs that the gang injected on her so she begs Homer to give her drugs to stop the symptoms. Homer tells her that her mother is waiting for her to go to her father’s wake. He also offers her medical help but she runs away again.
In the streets, her mental health starts to deteriorate badly. She has flashback memories about her childhood, her parents’ excessive love for her, and how she grieves to the suicide of her first love. She spites her family by bringing home Rado, the leader of the extortion group. The final scene shows Homer asking Priscilla for a date but is torn again when Proserphina shows up. The policemen ask Homer not to meddle with the law because she is a dangerous woman. In despair and nowhere to go, Proserphina chooses to die by jumping to the building.
The movie title seems out of place with the story but you will understand it more if you listen to Anthony Castelo’s song about a man who accepts that the woman he loves is not only his equal but there are times when she is smarter than him. Homer is a highly accomplished businessman but gets illogical when it comes to Proserphina. The movie tells us that there are many kinds of love in this world and too much of it is not healthy.
Proserphina’s parents’ obsessive love for her did not allow her to grow up normally. Her father is particularly very strict on her especially when she had her first boyfriend. Rado’s love for easy money and terrorism result in innocent casualties. Priscilla’s love for Homer is unrequited. Homer’s love for Proserphina is unconditional. I guess this is the reason why Proserphina spared Homer’s life because all her other men’s love is superficial. With Homer, she finds home.
Vivian Velez was really the Ms. Body Beautiful of her time. Her strong screen presence is enough to keep the audience interested in the movie. Vivian’s Proserphina was femme fatale and antagonistic while Marian’s version was sympathetic and protagonistic. Of course, there should be no comparison because the movie version had the dark love story concept while the teleserye version was more on a drama-love story.