The Philippines is experiencing a renaissance in Philippine cinema thanks to another resurgence in popularity of independent filmmakers and Filipino film festivals. This guarantees a new breed of Filipino moviegoers who develop not just a taste for indie films but also in the country's cinema heritage. With a demand for classic Filipino movies comes group ready to supply restored old films and make them available for public consumption, both in the big screen and readily accessible digital formats.
If you want to take a trip to another era in Philippine Cinema, here are some places where you can watch old Filipino films and restored classics.
Located at 48 West Avenue, Quezon City, Video 48 may be one of the last video rental shops in the country. The shop is over 29 years old and they’re open Mondays to Saturdays, from 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. With around 300 titles of classic Hollywood and Filipino films, they’re known to film buffs and even veteran directors like Lino Brocka, who used to patronize their store.
The oldest Filipino movies that you can buy or rent are the Fernando Poe Sr. legend Zamboanga (1937), Giliw Ko (1939), Tunay na Ina (1939), Pakiusap (1940), and Ibong Adarna (1940). They’re in DVD formats and the rental fee is P60/week! There’s a P500 refundable deposit fee when you rent for security purposes and you can also buy the DVD for P150. Available titles can be seen on their website or Facebook page.
Star Cinema’s Collection in iTunes
ABS-CBN maintains a film archive in climate-controlled vaults. Luckily for film connoisseurs, they are working with Central Digital Lab to restore the lost heritage of Philippine Cinema as part of their “Sagip Pelikula” advocacy.
Temperatures are kept between eight to 10 degrees Celsius to preserve the fragile negatives. They have also undertaken the task of restoring several classics and putting them up on sale via iTunes. Some of these movies include Ishmael Bernal’s Himala, Eddie Romero’s Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon? (1976), Peque Gallaga’s Oro, Plata, Mata (1982), Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Karnal (1983) and more.
Cinema One and ABS-CBN
As one of the cable channels handled by ABS-CBN, Cinema One also shows the restored classics during their Cinema One Classics timeslot. ABS-CBN followed suit to show these films on free television. These movies are collectively branded as Restored Classics and shown usually during Sunday’s Best or every Sunday afternoon.
Some fan favorites already aired include Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (1976) by Mario O’Hara, T-Bird At Ako (1982) and Nagalit Ang Buwan Sa Haba Ng Gabi (1983) by Danny Zialcita. They also broadcast restored films from the more recent past like Olivia Lamasan’s Got 2 Believe (2002), Laurice Guillen’s Tanging Yaman (2000), and Romy Suzara’s Sarah… Ang Munting Prinsesa (1995).
UP Film Center (Cine Adarna)
The University of the Philippines Film Center is known for showing independent films and controversial movies, even those which have received an X rating from the MTRCB. The showing venue, Cine Adarna, which seats over 200 people, also shows restored classics such as Manuel Conde’s Genghis Khan (1950), Lino Brocka’s Maynila Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag (1975) and Insiang (1976), Ishamel Bernal’s Pagdating Sa Dulo (1971), and more. Usually, these films are shown in September, the Birth Month of Philippine Movies or during a featured director’s birth month. The best part is, their ticket prices are usually much cheaper than malls. For the complete schedule, you can check out their Facebook Page.
Cinematheque Centre Manila
Run by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the motion picture theater also houses a museum, classrooms, a souvenir shop, and a library. FDCP also has an archive of Filipino films and on January, they usually treat moviegoers with the classics such as National Artist Lamberto Avellana’s A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino (1965), Laurice Guillen’s Kasal (1980), and the Lino Brocka masterpiece, Maynila Sa Kuko Ng Liwanag (1975). A ticket usually costs around P100.
Monthly movie schedules are posted on their Facebook page.