Cinema Centenario to screen digitally remastered Ishamel Bernal films

Nora Aunor in a scene from Himala. (Photo: Courtesy of Experimental Cinema of the Philippines)

Film director Ishmael Bernal was hailed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as “one of the very few who can be truly called a maestro.” For his impressive body of work, he was declared a National Artist for Cinema in 2001.

On Sunday (July 29), Cinema Centenario in Quezon City gives cineastes a peek into the mind of this cinematic genius with “Call Him Ishmael: Bernal Restored,” a showing of digitally restored and remastered copies of Bernal-helmed movies Himala, Ikaw Ay Akin, and Pagdating sa Dulo.

All movies were restored by ABS-CBN Film Restoration.

Film fans can watch each movie for PHP200 (US$2.75). At the same time, copies of the book ProBernal AntiBio will be sold at Cinema Centenario for PHP1,000 (US$18.76). Called Bernal’s anti-biography, the book was written by Jorge Arago and Angela Stuart-Santiago.

Get to know more about Bernal’s works below:

Himala (Showing at 1:00pm)

Starring Nora Aunor, the film is a drama based on the alleged Marian apparitions on Cabra Island in Occidental Mindoro. It’s the story of Elsa (Aunor), who brings fame and fortune to her drought-ridden hometown of Cupang when she reports seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary. As people from all over the country converge in Cupang, Elsa is forced to speak the truth about the apparitions.

For many film fans, Himala is Aunor’s best-known peformance. As a testament of the movie’s enduring appeal, it was chosen as the Viewer’s Choice Award for the Best Film of All Time from the Asia-Pacific Region in the 2008 CNN Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

The movie also happens to be the first film that was restored and remastered by the ABS-CBN Film Restoration and Central Digital Lab.

Ikaw ay Akin (Showing at 6:30pm)

The movie brings together fierce cinema rivals Aunor and Vilma Santos as well as Aunor’s then-husband, Christopher de Leon.

Skydiving enthusiast Rex (De Leon) and horticulturist Tere (Aunor) are in a stable relationship until the arrival of Sandra (Santos), a liberal-minded artist.

Rex embarks on an affair with her, then becomes overcome with guilt when Tere discovers the relationship.

Ikaw ay Akin is best known for the “silent” confrontation scene between Aunor and Santos, where neither speak a single line and communicate by just staring at each other.

Pagdating sa Dulo (Showing at 9pm)

A scene from Pagdating sa Dulo.
A scene from Pagdating sa Dulo.

A movie within a movie, Pagdating sa Dulo starred Rita Gomez and Vic Vargas, both of whom played characters who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks but were given a shot at stardom after being discovered by a director (Eddie Garcia).

Originally billed as a comedy, one of the most memorable scenes in the movie is its closing shot, where Gomez and Vargas are seen walking down the ramp to a movie premiere, looking somber as they both realize how the movie business has changed their lives.


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