The book “The Cinema of Manuel Conde” by Nicanor G. Tiongson will be launched today, July 16, 3:30 p.m., at the Little Theater of Cultural Center of the Philippines as a special feature of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.
Along with the launch of the book, the great filmmaker’s “Genghis Khan,” which created a sensation in the 1952 Venice Film Festival, will be screened at 6:15 p.m. at CCP's Little Theater.
The launching is part of “Juan Tamad Goes Indie,” a tribute to the great filmmaker and artist Manuel Conde, which includes an exhibit and the screening of six of his surviving films.
Tiongson's hardbound coffee-table book shows why Conde is one of Philippine cinema’s great directors, whose significance has been overlooked. Popular both here and abroad, most of his films were full of social insight and commentary that are still relevant today.
The book measures 8½” x 11” and has 280 pages of over 300 rare photographs and images in duotone and color. Book-launching price is P800.
The project is the first of the 12-part Filipino Film Directors Series supported in part by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in cooperation with Tribung Pilipino Cultural Foundation, and published by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House.
The book traces the artist’s life and work as a film director, writer, actor and producer through the 40 films he created in 1940-1974. It depicts his humble beginnings in Daet, Camarines Norte, his apprenticeship in Philippine films, and his first directorial stint in LVN Pictures (1940-1942). It chronicles the first Golden Age in Conde’s career (1946-1952), when he established his own MC Productions and came out with “Si Juan Tamad,” “Si Juan Daldal (Anak ni Juan Tamad),” “Prinsipe Paris,” “Siete Infantes de Lara,” “Sigfredo” and, most of all, “Genghis Khan,” the first Filipino film to compete in an international film festival, in this case the Venice Film Festival in 1952.
It discusses the popular films Conde did for LVN after his return from Europe (1953-1958), such as the Nida Blanca-Nestor de Villa starrers “Ang Ibong Adarna,” “Ikaw Kasi!,” “Bahala Na,” and “Tingnan Natin,” as well as MC Productions’ “Krus na Kawayan.”
It highlights Conde’s second Golden Age (1959-1963), when he produced, directed and starred in his most significant productions, such as “Molave” and the three Juan Tamad classics: “Juan Tamad Goes to Congress,” “Juan Tamad Goes to Society,” and “Si Juan Tamad at si Juan Masipag sa Pulitikang Walang Hanggan.”
It describes the last years (1964-1985), when Conde did the first episode of the unreleased “Tadhana” and the “Juan Tamad” productions on television, and later ventured into politics and treasure-hunting.
The book assesses Conde’s contributions to Filipino national cinema through films that embodied Filipino cultural history, depicted and critiqued local customs and traditions, foregrounded and examined contemporary political and social issues, employed but innovated on the commercial genres of his time, and opened Filipino cinema to the world.
The public is invited to this tribute to a great and pioneering Filipino filmmaker.