Himala

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Spanky Manikan
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Himala

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Himala.jpg
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Directed by Ishmael Bernal
Produced by Charo Santos
Written by Ricardo Lee
Narrated by {{{narrator}}}
Starring Nora Aunor
Spanky Manikan
Laura Centeno
Music by Winston Raval
Cinematography Sergio Lobo
Editing by Ike Jarlego, Jr.
Distributed by Violett Films and GMA Films
Release date(s) 1983
Running time
Country [[Image:{{
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Language Tagalog
Filipino
Budget
Gross revenue
Preceded by {{{preceded_by}}}
Followed by {{{followed_by}}}
[ Official website]
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile


Himala is a landmark 1982 film directed by Ishmael Bernal. It tells the story of a young woman in a small town in the Philippines who claims to have seen an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary and suddenly begins to exhibit healing powers. More than a movie about faith-healing, the film is an excellent commentary on Third World poverty and backward and contradictory rural customs. The lead role is superbly played by one of the country's premier dramatic actresses, Nora Aunor.


Contents

Synopsis

The film is set in the sleepy, dry town of Cupang (actually shot on location in Ilocos Norte). The locals believe the drought to be a curse placed on them for driving away a leper. However, after Elsa (Nora Aunor) claims to see an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the sad, forgotten town is consumed with commercialism and exploitation. Elsa mysteriously acquires healing powers and the whole village becomes a bustling venue for mass-produced statues of saints, tours, bottles of miraculous water, and souvenir T-shirts. Hundreds of people come to see her: from overweight matrons in fancy cars to undernourished beggars and countless sick people with diseased and malformed bodies.

There are two subplots. The first is the homecoming of Elsa's close friend (Gigi Dueñas), who is labeled the town's harlot. The second subplot revolves around a cynical film director (Spanky Manikan), who is obssessed with filming Elsa's healing sessions. In the process, he unknowingly films a dark secret about Elsa, which leads to the suicide of her elder sister. Meanwhile, Elsa herself is thoroughly exploited and the course of her life is manipulated beyond her control. The film's most memorable line comes when Elsa finally yells to a crowd of people "Walang himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao...ang himala ay nasa puso nating lahat!" (There is no miracle! The miracle is in the heart of a person...the miracle is in all our hearts!)


Release

Himala swept the major awards at the Metro Manila Film Festival in 1982 and was accorded the prestige of opening the 1983 Manila International Film Festival under the auspices of then First Lady Imelda Marcos. The film was produced by the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines on a budget of three million pesos, triple the normal amount then for a Tagalog movie.

The film itself won numerous awards, including Best Picture from the 1982 Metro Manila Film Festival and the 1983 Catholic Mass Media Awards. The film's international honors include the Bronze Hugo Prize at the 1983 Chicago International Film Festival. Himala is also the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino's choice as one of the best films of the 1980s.

Superstar Nora Aunor's role in this movie has been called the best performance of her career. It won her the Best Actress trophy at the Metro Manila Filmfest and was eventually nominated for top acting accolades by all the other award-giving bodies in the country. She almost won the best actress prize at the 1983 Berlin International Film Festival where the film vied for the Golden Bear Award, having been personally handpicked by Festival Director Moritz de Hadeln himself to be part of the official selection.



Cast

Himala movie poster


Awards

Nora Aunor in one of the film's memorable scenes.

Berlin International Film Festival (1983)

Golden Berlin Bear - Ishmael Bernal (Nominated)


Chicago International Film Festival (1983)

Bronze Hugo - Ishmael Bernal


Gawad Urian Awards (1983)


Metro Manila Film Festival (1982)


Reviews

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width="20" valign="top" style="color:#B2B7F2;font-size:{{#switch:280% 10px=20px 30px=60px 40px=80px 50px=100px 60px=120px Celebrity, religion, poverty, and fanaticism collide in "Himala", arguably one of the best Filipino films ever made...If you can choose only 1 Filipino film to watch, let it be "Himala". width="20" valign="bottom" style="color:#B2B7F2;font-size:{{#switch:280% 10px=20px 30px=60px 40px=80px 50px=100px 60px=120px
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- Russell Jayme from Philippines and United States


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width="20" valign="top" style="color:#B2B7F2;font-size:{{#switch:280% 10px=20px 30px=60px 40px=80px 50px=100px 60px=120px Himala is a very good film...However, what makes it not only a good film but a great one are the questions it dares to ask. Celebrity, religious hyprocricy and commercialism, poverty, and fanaticism collide in "Himala". In a country overwhelmingly spoon-fed with Catholicism, "Himala" dares to question the institutions and truths we've created and challenges us to do the same. width="20" valign="bottom" style="color:#B2B7F2;font-size:{{#switch:280% 10px=20px 30px=60px 40px=80px 50px=100px 60px=120px
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- Noel


References


Citation

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