THE Cultural Center of the Philippines Arthouse Cinema, in cooperation with Society of Filipino Archivists for Film (SOFIA), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the UP Los Baños Foundation Inc, presents MANUEL CONDE@100 at the CCP Tanghalang Manuel Conde on Sept. 24, Oct. 1 and 8.
This special event is part of the year round series held to celebrate the birth centennial of National Artist for Film, Manuel Conde, born Oct. 9, 1915.
At the CCP, three Conde films will be shown:
• Genghis Khan (1950, MC Productions) on Sept. 24: Starring Manuel Conde and Elvira Reyes, this is the saga of how the young but wily Temujin rose to become the overlord of the Mongol empire. The version shown will have the original Tagalog soundtrack, unhampered by James Agee’s poetic narration in the re-edited international edition, which was restored in 2012. SOFIA (Society of Filipino Archivists for Film) board member Teddy Co will discuss for the first time some confounding and overlooked facets about the film.
• Krus na Kawayan (1956, MC Productions/USIS) on Oct. 1: Starring Manuel Conde, Aida Carino and filmed entirely in Vietnam, with Filipino actors in Vietnamese roles, the film tackles the refugee crisis at the onset of the Vietnam war. The United States Information Service (USIS) funded the film as propaganda material to portray the evils of Communism during the Cold War era. Jun Urbano, who was a young boy in the film, will be present to talk about his experiences working with his father.
• Venganza (1958, LVN Pictures) on Oct. 8: Starring Mario Montenegro, Carmencita Abad, Perla Bautista and Carlos Padilla, Jr., this action-thriller is one of Conde’s underrated films. Film scholar Nicanor G. Tiongson, author of The Cinema of Manuel Conde, will give a talk after the film, emphasizing Conde’s delicacy and care in depicting the indigenous Igorot people shown in the film. A rare bonus clip of an interview with Conde before he died will also be shown. The screening will be preceded by cocktails and the launch of the Manuel Conde Centennial stamp by the Philippine Postal Authority and NCCA.
Conde was declared a National Artist in 2009 but officially conferred the title only in 2016. He was one of the Philippines’ most original filmmakers who straddled both the mainstream and independent film worlds. Born in Daet, Camarines Norte, Conde started out in movies in 1934, acting in bit roles, then became assistant director to Carlos Vander Tolosa at LVN Pictures before graduating to directing films at the same studio in 1940. It was only when he put up his own company MC Productions in 1947 that he began to hit his stride by directing himself and acting as Juan Tamad, and creating epic costume pictures on minimalist budgets. He achieved international renown when his Genghis Khan became the first Filipino film to compete at the Venice Film Festival in 1952, against films by a pantheon of history’s greatest filmmakers – Chaplin, Renoir, Ford, Mizoguchi.
After working on ambitious but unrealized projects in the 50s, Conde continued producing films and TV series well into the 70s, and made cameo appearances in minor films until his death at age 69 in 1985. Kidlat Tahimik, the acknowledged father of local independent filmmaking, once said, Manuel Conde should be called the ‘grandfather’ of Philippine independent filmmaking.
The CCP Arthouse Cinema Program aims to provide audiences with opportunities to engage with local and international art films and their makers through a yearlong program of screenings, talkbacks, special events and other movie-related activities.
For more information, please call CCP Media Arts at tel. no. 832-1125 local 1704 and 1705 or the Society of Filipino Archivists for Film at email@example.com