Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ishmael Bernal's 'Himala' vies for favorite Asia Pacific movie of all time

Have you heard of this? From CNN's Screening Room:

“To celebrate the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, CNN wants you to vote for your favorite Asia Pacific film of all time. The film that receives the most votes will receive the CNN APSA Viewers Choice Award at the APSA Awards on 11 November 2008. Voting closes on 31 October 2008 at 1800 GMT.”

Ten films--“drawn up by critics, industry insiders, stars (including Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai) and CNN viewers”--are up for the award. They are:

Chungking Express, China
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, China
Gabbeh, Iran
Gallipoli, Australia
Himala, Philippines
Infernal Affairs, Hong Kong/China
Oldboy, South Korea
Pather Panchali, India
Seven Samurai, Japan
Spirited Away, Japan

I've cast my vote--for Himala, of course. If this were a contest for “best” film, meaning strictly on the basis of outstanding, consequential filmmaking, I would choose Kurosawa's Seven Samurai or, next in line, Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali. World cinema would simply be impoverished without these two essential works, and it should be a point of pride for every Asian that they are consistently ranked among the greatest cinematic masterpieces of all time. In such circumstances, I wouldn't flag Himala simply because the film and I shared the same country of origin; blind patriotism is such a ridiculous concept when it comes to art and artistry. However, as “favorites” go--referring to things that hold a more personal, emotional connection to us, that stir a deeper well of resonance, affection and introspection in our lives--Ishmael Bernal's 1983 opus gets my vote unreservedly.

Have you voted? Check out the contest here.

And if I may be allowed to brag--I have all 10 films on DVD. Gloat gloat.

[Thanks, Alerson, for the tip!]

PLUS: “Walang Himala!” The Speech here, the stampede here.


wysgal said...

Original DVDs? If so ... good job. And if all pirated ... good job anyway? Haha.

Haven't seen Himala, but do have both Chungking Express and Infernal Affairs (two of my favorite films ever).

gibbs cadiz said...

WYSGAL, all, um, from my favorite dvd tindera--except himala, which is original. hello, the foreign titles aren't available in astrovision, so who can blame us for patronizing makati square and such? the narrow alternative--staying legal in the face of all these bootleg riches--is to keep ourselves ignorant. right? :)

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