Ishmael Bernal

  • Ishmael Bernal – Nunal sa tubig AKA A Speck in the Water (1976)

    Ishmael Bernal’s opus recreates the quality and slow pace of life in a dying village surrounded by the sea as it is caught in the eternal cycle of love and hate, of fertility and pollution, of birth and death. A bold and successful attempt to depart from the usual commercial fare, it cryptically paints a large, bleak canvas showing rural fold and how their chances at redemption and happiness are irreversibly decimated by poverty, ignorance, neglect and the dark side of big business.
    The only existing 35mm copy (with Japanese subtitles) of the film was found in Fukuoka City Public Library Archive, thus the Japanese hardcoded subs.Read More »

  • Ishmael Bernal – Pagdating sa dulo AKA At The Top (1971)

    From Hong Kong International Film Festival:
    Bernal’s impressive debut feature confirmed him as a prominent filmmaker who was not only capable of orchestrating a striking narrative, but also one that revealed the hypocrisy permeating the carnivalesque affairs of filmmaking. The story follows Ching, a stripper, who performs to the lustful stares of her patrons. Discovered by an idealistic film director, she rises to stardom and takes her lover Pinggoy, a taxi driver, into show business. Scrambling to the top, they reap fame and forture only to find tragedies awaiting. Bernal has made startlingly accurate observations of the dichotomies facing Philippine cinema and society, winning Best Film of the Decade in the country’s prestigious Gawad Urian Awards.Read More »

  • Ishmael Bernal – Himala aka Miracle (1982)


    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.Read More »

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