` Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) `

Restored Filipino Classic Films screening in Manila’s Cinematheque this January

The Cinematheque Centre Manila opens the new year by presenting three restored Filipino film classics.



Three classic heritage Filipino films—Lino Brocka’s Maynila Sa Mga Kukong Liwanag, Lamberto Avellana’s A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, and Henry Francia’s On My Way to India Consciousness, I Reached China—screen alongside a special selection of Danish films and the works of contemporary masters at the Cinematheque Centre Manila this January to celebrate the Cinematheque’s inauguration.


For the past four years, the National Film Archives of the Philippines (NFAP) has partnered with several international institutions and film laboratories to restore the country’s exemplary classic films. Throughout the month, three restored versions premiere at the Cinematheque.


The first of these heritage classics is National Artist for Film Lino Brocka’s celebrated Maynila Sa Mga Kukong Liwanag (1975). The film follows the journey of an innocent probinsyano to Manila in search for his love. The film stars Bembol Roco as Julio in his acting debut and a young Hilda Koronel as Ligaya. As Julio travels through Manila’s underbelly to find out the fate of Ligaya, he faces a city that has been broken by the tyranny of dictatorship.  An outcast himself, he mingles with the outsiders of society, learning that survival does not come without some measure of surrender.


Maynila Sa Mga Kukong Liwanag was restored in 4K resolution in 2013, made possible by the World Cinema Foundation, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, and L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with Mike de Leon. The restored version of the film premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.  It won the Best Archive Restoration/Preservation Title award at the 11th annual FOCAL (Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries).


A Portrait of the Artist of a Filipino is a rare Filipino film classic based on National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s play, written in 1952. The play is set in Intramuros in October 1941, two months prior to World War II. It tells the struggles of two sisters, who are coping with the cultural influences of American colonization, and their reclusive father, who was a painter and hero during the revolution against Spain.  Although generational differences obscure their understanding of one another, the war forces them into a final confrontation where they must decide whether to leave their house in the Great Walled City or stand by it and their family against all odds, contra mundum—that is, against the world.


The film version of Portrait first premiered on September 10, 1965 at the State Theater on Rizal Avenue in Manila. Produced by Manuel de Leon of LVN and filmed by National Artist for Film and Theatre, director Lamberto Avellana, it stars National Artist for Theater, Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana as Candida, with Naty Crame-Rogers as Paula. The restoration was carried out by the L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratories in Italy. The restoration of the film celebrates its 50th year as a film and the Birth Centennial of Lamberto Avellana.


These classics will be joined by On My Way to India Consciousness, I Reached China, filmed by one of the country’s earliest experimental filmmakers, Henry Francia. The film paints a bohemian lifestyle portrait of Henry Francia as he lived in New York City. Its striking visuals, playful non-linear editing, and documentation of performance arts throughout the Big Apple in the 1960s makes it a rare and significant piece of cinema history.  

In cooperation with the New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation and BB Optic’s Bill Brand, with the guidance of Francia’s brother, Luis, the NFAP oversaw the restoration of the film back in 2013. The restored HD output was derived from 4K Kinetta scans of 16mm film prints. The unfinished work first premiered at the Orphans Film Symposium in Amsterdam on April 2014.


Film schedules and details are available here

Film Development Council of the Philippines