Friday, September 23, 2005

A Filipino Film Retrospective

If you are interested in the classic Filipino films the Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc (DGPI) is holding a film retrospective at the Gateway Cinemas this week. I saw the announcement on my way home the other day. The films to be shown includes the work Gerry De Leon, Ishmael Bernal, Lino Brocka, and Eddie Romero.

A quick check on the website of Gateway showed that the screenings are at 1:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon at Cinema 1. Its not the biggest cinema at Gateway but it is adequate and the tickets are reasonably priced, by present standards anyway.

It is a pity not much information was available. The set of films to be shown today is interesting Gerry De Leon's movie ,anadaptation of Jose Rizal's novel, Noli Me Tangere (1967) and Lino Brocka's Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974). Both films were restored with the help foreign grants and aid.

I saw the restored version of De Leon's film at the UP film center. It remained true to the spirit of novel. Although it is not as voluminous as Eddie Romero's mini-series it was faithful in spirit. And I think no one can outdo Johnny Monteiro and Oscar Keesee playing Padre Salvi and Padre Damaso respectively. Or even Leopoldo Salcedo as Elias and even Eddie Del Mar as Ibarra, although I thought it would bave been better if a mestizo played the role.

There have been attempts to restore also the movie El Filibusterisimo but it has been said that the present owner of the only intact movie reel does not want to part with it. In this movie Pancho Magallona, father of Francis Magallona, essayed the role of Simoun. I saw this film a few times, they used to show it during independence day, unfortunately the film was not in good condition.

De Leon did another Rizal-related movie entitled Sisa with Anita Linda playing the ill-fated Rizal character. This film I saw only once, they had a program on channel 5 that showcased a couple of the classic Tagalog films.

Do not get me wrong I enjoy the occassional FPJ or Ramon Revilla movie but I wished we still had a lot of the classic Tagalog movies.

Tomorrow, they will be showing Eddie Romero's Ganito Kami Noon Paano Kayo Ngayon 1976. I will make it a point to watch this film. The first time I watched this film was when our school took us to watch it at the old Magallanes theatre. I think its one of Eddie Romeros that he should be proud of...I think its his best work. Hopefully it is in good condition. The one they show on tv has many cuts and this destroys the story.

Ganito Kami Noon is a non-preachy and entertaining movie about life during the close of Spanish rule and the advent of the American colonial period. The viewer experiences all this through the eyes of Kulas (Christopher De Leon) a Tagolog engulfed in changing tide of fortune during that period. It helps that Kulas is a simpleton with a hear of gold. Unforgetable performance by all actors, which include Gloria Diaz, Eddie Garcia, Dranreb Belleza, Jaime Fabregas and the guy who played the Spanish priest father of Dranreb was unforgetable.

Its a pity Romero never had this film transferred to DVD.


Blogger anton joaquin said...

It is so encouraging to read reports of classic Filipino films from people like you who do have th background, interest and technical know how of movies in general.
I wonder if you could focus on improving the quality of DVD's exported to the U.S. and other countries of films made by Avellana, Brocka and others. Lately, I saw a few including Avelana's ANAK DALITA and similar black and white productions transferred to DVD.
Anyone, not necessarily a film buff, could readily realize that little if any technical expertise was used in the DVD transfer. And to think that these Filipino classics are loaned in U.S. libraries like San Francisco side by side with excellently mastered DVD's of movies from India, Vietnam and other third world countries - replete with Language selection [preferances] and commentarires by the directors.
Some agency in the Philippines must be responsible in quality control checks of DVD's before they are exported outside the country. I felt so ashamed watching the pathetic amateurish and terrible DVD copies I watched!

6:02 AM  

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