Portrait of the Filmmaker as a Filipino
Films from the Second Golden Age and the New Independence
As part of Blacktown Arts Centre’s Balik Bayan program, Robert Nery and Gabrielle Finnane will curate a weekly film program that charts excellence in Filipino cinema including iconic films. All film screenings in this program will include English subtitles.
Friday, 6 October 2017
7 pm | Himala (1982, dir. Ishmael Bernal) 18+ 2 hr 4 min
In a foreshore village suffering from a long drought, an adopted daughter, raised without a father, comes to believe that she has seen the Virgin Mary, and becomes a faith healer. When two young boys die despite her ministrations, she begins to doubt her visions.
Saturday, 7 October 2017
2 pm | Mondomanila (2012, dir. Khavn de la Cruz) 18+ 1 hr 15 min
A series of scenes of life lived in extreme conditions with a madcap hedonism, Mondomanila is an expose of Manila’s lower depths. The film is a bizarre and strangely exhilarating musical, celebrating the irrepressible individuality of its characters as they erupt into song and dance.
4 pm | Manila in the Claws of Light (1975, dir. Lino Brocka) 18+ 2 hr 4 min
Julio, in search of his small-town sweetheart Ligaya, finds a job as a construction worker in Manila, and struggles to survive in its lawless anarchy. Ligaya, lured by the promise of an education by a middlewoman, has been sold into slavery in a Chinese-owned brothel. By accident, Julio discovers where she lives and they meet.
Saturday, 14 October 2017
2 pm | Three Years Without God (1976, dir. Mario O’Hara) 18+ 1 hr 58 min
A legendary film of the Philippine cinema, Three Years Without God was made in 1976 and has recently been remastered and restored. Scripted and directed by Mario O’Hara, the troubling narrative of life during wartime is set in a provincial town during the Japanese occupation (1942-1944) in World War II.
4 pm | Batch ’81 (1982, dir. Mike de Leon) 18+ 1 hr 40 min
This film is a study of the initiation of several students and one forlorn lecturer into the university fraternity called Alpha Kappa Omega (whose initials spell out ‘ako’, the first person singular in more than one Filipino language). Batch ’81 is a blackly comic indictment of masculine group conformity in Filipino social and political life.
Saturday, 21 October 2017
2 pm | War is a Tender Thing (2013, dir. Adjani Arumpac) 15+ 1 hr 15 min
Adjani Arumpac’s lyrical documentary essay expands into a series of reflections on her ancestors. Her father is Muslim, her mother Christian. Her parents are separated. These facts underpin the filmmaker’s inquiry into the legacy of the decades-old Muslim secession movement on Mindanao; a movement that is rooted in the fact that the island’s Muslim tribes were never completely pacified by the Spanish and the Americans.
4 pm | Lukas Nino (2013, dir. John Torres) 15+ 1 hr 25 min
Lukas Nino, is about a boy without a father, and the making of an action film in a small town. The film is a narrative in which ambiguity is taken to magical lengths. Chance events and everyday scenes of ordinary life become possessed by the spirit of myth, and myth takes on the look of the most ordinary scenes and events.
Saturday, 28 October 2017
5 pm | Independencia (2009, dir. Raya Martin) 18+ 1 hr 18 min
In part a fable of life under colonial occupation, the film follows the flight of a mother and son from their village into the mountain forests in the period immediately after the American invasion of the Philippines at the turn of the century.
Saturday, 4 November 2017
2 pm | The Super-Parental Guardians (2016, dir. Joyce Bernal) 15+ 1 hr 54 min
Transgender comedian Vice Ganda stars in this subversive comedy, the highest grossing Philippine film ever. After a single mother with two children is murdered, her best friend, Arci, a transvestite, raises them. The film mashes up domestic sit-com, social satire and action-adventure, with a touch of magical fantasy.
Acknowledgements Manila in the Claws of Light was restored in 2013 by the World Cinema Foundation and the Film Development Council of the Philippines at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with LVN, Cinema Artists Philippines and Mike de Leon. Restoration funding was provided by the Doha Institute. Thanks to the ABS-CBN Restoration team – Leo Katigbak, Pia de Leon and Jane C. Tenorio – for Himala and Three Years Without God, and to Mylah Quinay at ABS-CBN Film Productions for The Super Parental Guardians. The restored version of Batch ’81 is borrowed from the Asian Film Archive Collection. We thank Chew Tee Pao, Janice Chen and Christine Mak of the Archive in Singapore.
Still from Lukas Nino (2013), featuring John Torres.