There’s not much new opening in cinemas this week, with theaters and distributors alike preparing for the juggernaut that is Rogue One. But over at the Power Plant Cinemas starting December 7, they’re going to be screening some of the films from the ABS-CBN Film Restoration Project. This is a remarkable collection of movies from different eras of our cinematic history, as indicated by the different levels of facial hair on Christopher de Leon. Here are five recommendations from yours truly:
BEST FOR RELIVING YOUR CHILDHOOD: MAGIC TEMPLE
If you grew up in the 90s at all, you’re probably already planning to see the Peque Gallaga/Lore Reyes classic. It’s probably not as good as you remember it, but you might be surprised by just how much it holds up. Just remember: there’s some rapping in it.
MOST CURRENTLY RELEVANT: DEKADA ‘70
A good chunk of the population seems to have forgotten about just how bad the Marcoses were (and still are, really). It might be a good idea to revisit Chito Roño’s adaptation of the Lualhati Bautista novel, which documents the life of one family during Martial Law.
MOST MORALLY COMPLEX: TATLONG TAONG WALANG DIYOS
Mario O’Hara’s anti-war film makes a sincere and eloquent plea for sanity and empathy in times of conflict. It pretty much begins with a character committing a heinous, unforgiveable act of violence. But this character is not the villain of this story. He’s just another life caught up in the madness that is war. The restoration work done on the film is limited, but the sheer quality of O’Hara’s masterpiece shines through.
MOST INSANE (AND FUN): NAGALIT ANG BUWAN SA HABI NG GABI
If you’ve never seen a Danny Zialcita film before, go ahead and treat yourself to his particular brand of insanity. The infidelity films of the last ten years pale in comparison to the sheer absurdity presented within this film’s crazy world of unhappy marriages and mistresses. This is a world where flirtation immediately leads into riding horses on a beach. It’s nuts!
Have you seen Insiang yet? Because you should see Insiang. Even if you’ve seen it, you should probably see it again. Lino Brocka made a lot of great films, and among them, Insiang still feels special, the perfect expression of the director as both dramatist and social realist. I believe that to this day, every Filipino filmmaker that makes films set in poverty is just trying to live up to the example that Insiang set. Go see it.