Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The La Primera Contravida: Remembering Cherie Gil’s Most Iconic Roles


The La Primera Contravida: Remembering Cherie Gil’s Most Iconic Roles


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Whenever she was on screen, you can’t help but get captivated by her fierce delivery of lines and fiery performance. Actress Cherie Gil cemented herself as one of the legends in the Philippine show industry, even earning the title “La Primera Contravida” for bringing to life some of the most iconic villain roles.

It was indeed a sad day when our beloved on-screen Kontrabida, aged 59, bravely lost her battle with endometrial cancer. She died peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by loved ones in New York City.

The legacy Cherie Gil left in Philippine television and cinema cannot be replaced. Her acting prowess goes beyond her iconic villain roles, taking on diverse, complex, and unconventional roles that greatly showcased how much of an icon she was.

As a way to honor her, let us look back on some of her best performances:

1. Lavinia Arguelles in Bituing Walang Ningning (1985)

Of course, first on the list would be her iconic role as the bitter, fading singer Lavinia Arguelles. Cherie Gil brought to life the hostile, shady, water-throwing character, which catapulted her to more antagonist roles. The “you’re nothing but a second-rate, trying hard copycat!” line has been immortalized in the history of Philippine cinema. And did you know that the water spilling scene was improvised by the actress herself?

2. Kano in Manila by Night (1980)

It was set in stone that Cherie Gil would be one of the Philippines’ most legendary actresses when, at age 17, she took on a major role in National Artist Ishmael Bernal’s film. Her breakthrough role as “Kano”, a lesbian drug dealer, is different from her usual glamorous kontrabida roles. This just goes to show Gil’s range and versatility as an actress.

3. Patti Medina in Citizen Jake (2018)

Cherie Gil is a darling to critically-acclaimed directors. In 2018, she worked with Mike de Leon in his first film since 1999 as the former Patti Medina. Her complex portrayal of a former starlet who now runs an escort business for the rich and powerful earned her the coveted Gawad Urian Award for Best Supporting Actress.

4. Luciana Marchesa in Dolce Amore (2016)

Cherie Gil also graced the small screen. In her role as Luciana Marchese, a strict yet caring adoptive mother of Serena, played by Liza Soberano, in the hit series Dolce Amore, she gave color and grandeur to the character of Luciana, who doesn’t want to live a life that is ordinary.

5. Helena Montenegro in Onanay (2018-2019)

“Onanay” sees Cherie Gil pitted alongside another legendary actress, Nora Aunor. The famous kontrabida really tapped into her villainous on-screen persona by making the viewers hate her by constantly berating and maltreating the lead characters. The teleserye even recreated the iconic water-splashing scene in “Bituing Walang Ningning”.

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