Lino Brocka’s Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag recently won the “Best Archive Restoration/Preservation Title” award at the 11th annual FOCAL (Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries) International Awards. The ceremony was held April 30 in London.
The Maynila nomination was a result of the work between The Film Development Council of the Philippines and The Film Foundation/World Cinema Project of Martin Scorsese. The restoration was carried out at the Cineteca di Blogna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with LVN, Cinema Artists Philippines and Mike De Leon. The nomination was sponsored by FIAF (International Federation of Film Archives).
Cecilia Cenciarelli from Cineteca di Bologna and Davide Pozzi from L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory were present to receive the award. A surprise also, was the showing of a video message from Martin Scorsese on behalf of the Film Foundation, World Cinema Project, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.
“We were thrilled when the opportunity came to restore Manila, one of Brocka’s greatest films,” Scorsese said. He then went on to thank the institutions and individuals involved for their remarkable work on the restoration. He concluded, “It means a great deal to us to see our efforts acknowledged. I thank you.”
FDCP Chairman Briccio Santos shared similar sentiments, saying, “FDCP is most honored by this latest recognition for a film of great heritage significance to Filipino. This affirms FDCP efforts to pursue the preservation and restoration of the country’s cinema classics.”
Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag is indeed a Filipino classic. The film which originally came out in 1975, presents one’s desperate search for his place within the world. Fuelled by hope and love, the adventures and experiences of Julio in the midst of an alienating metropolis, paint a picture of the unforgiving circumstances people deal with in order to survive. The film is a masterpiece and an honest, albeit bleak, mirror of Philippine society; a masterpiece born during one of the country’s darkest hours.
The digitally restored work however has been making festival rounds in the recent year, most notably being featured at the Cannes Film Festival’s “Classics” Section in 2013. SM Cinemas also had a special limited run during August of last year.
The other two film titles in the running for the restoration award were: Jean Cocteau’s La Belle Et La Bete (Beauty and The Beast) from France and J.B.L.’s The Epic of Everest from the UK.
The 11th Annual FOCAL International Awards in association with AP Archive was hosted by Dan Snow and held at The Lancaster Hotel. The awards are held to honor producers, filmmakers and other creative professionals who have used library footage across all genre and platforms of production. Other past recipients of the award include David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962), George Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon (1902), and Herbert G. Ponting’s The Great White Silence (1924).
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