Now on its 7th year, patron of culture and the arts Shangri-La Plaza once again hosts the much awaited Manila International Silent Film Festival from August 23 to 25, at the Shang Cineplex.
This year, six thoughtfully selected titles are set to entertain and educate cinephiles and film buffs, with the participation of the Japan Foundation, the Embassy of Italy, the Goethe-Institut, the Embassy of the United States, Instituto Cervantes, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.
Opening the festival on August 23, Friday, 7:30pm is the by invitation screening of Japan’s Keisatsukan (A Police Officer), which follows a series of events that test the friendship between high school buddies Itami—a police officer—and Tetsuo. Investigating a bank heist that left his mentor, Sergeant Miyabe, seriously wounded, Itami slowly discovers that his friend Tetsuo might be the culprit. Pulso Band, a three-piece instrumental group, lends its rock and blues musical score to the film.
Screening on August 24, Saturday, 5pm is La Grazia, one of the best films produced in Italy during the late ‘20s. The movie is based on the short story, Di Notte (At Night), written by 1894 Nobel Prize for Literature Grazia Deledda, and is an adaptation from the opera written by Deledda with Claudio Guastalla and Vicenzo Michetti. Set in the small village of Sardinia, a beautiful shepherdess finds herself carrying the child of her lover, a handsome stranger. Conflict arises as the couple’s passion and love clash with the strict honor code of the shepherds. The unique beats of Sino Sikat accompany the romantic and suspenseful plot of this film.
Following shortly at 8pm is Ich möchte kein Mann sein (I don’t want to be a man) from Germany. Ossi, a spoiled teenager who likes playing poker, smoking, and flirting with young men, finds herself trapped when her uncle hires a tutor to supervise her. She tries to escape by dressing up as a man and plunges into the nightlife, but unexpectedly finds herself drinking man-to-man with her supervisor. The Manila Composer’s Lab provides musical background to Ossi’s colorful story.
The popular Phantom of the Opera from USA premieres on August 25, Sunday, at 2pm. Mysterious things happen at the Paris Opera House as the alleged Opera Ghost falls in love with opera singer Christine. Soon, Christine is kidnapped and her fiancé Raoul is set to rescue her within the undergrounds of the haunted opera house. One of the Philippines’ legendary rock-and-roll bands Razorback adds to the suspense of the show with its strong and powerful music.
Showing at 5pm is Spain’s El Abuelo (The Grandfather), an adaptation of the novel by the reputed Benito Pérez Galdós. When his son dies, the Count of Abrit finds out that one of his beloved granddaughters is illegitimate—a result of the dissolute life of his daughter-in-law. He begins a mission to find out who the real and rightful descendent of Abrit is. Quezon City-based band Earthmover cleverly incorporates its dramatic music to the story.
Finally, closing the festival at 8pm is the Philippines’ own Kamera Obskura, a meta-film that challenges Filipino viewers to travel back in time and relive the lost silent cinema heritage of its country. Film historians discover a rare Filipino silent film of unknown origins, and are fascinated as it turns out to be influenced by the expressionist cinema of the era—an element unfamiliar and rarely explored in Filipino cinema history. Local blues super groupSpy brings its distinct blend of rock, jazz, reggae, and afro-beat to the scene.