7 Filipino Period Films To Fill Your Sepanx From MCI
Our industry has long been creating a lot of films based on different historical period. The latest resurgence in trend was seen in the reception of TBA Studio’s Heneral Luna and Goyo. Even in television, GMA served a lot of iconic period teleseryes such as Amaya, Indio and Ilustrados. But it is in their recent outing of the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo translation teleserye that they hit a new pinnacle. There is no denying that Maria Clara at Ibarra shook the industry and pop culture.
In its five-month run, Maria Clara at Ibarra was able to hit staggering heights, reigning in primetime ratings. Its concept of past meets present has opened the eyes of younger audiences into historically themed teleseryes. The production was impeccable and the acting was seriously astounding. There is a sense of appreciation for literature and history, but at the same time, there is also an air of quirky-cute modern romance. They really produced something of quality—television was never the same.
Now that the said teleserye concluded, it is more than understandable if you’re having a sepanx right now. Perhaps, some viewers, maybe including you, are longing for the immersive world of historical or period shows. Luckily, if you’re looking for something to fill that void, we got you!
Here are 7 Filipino Period films to fill your sepanx from Maria Clara at Ibarra:
José Rizal (1998)
Perhaps after exploring our national hero’s written novels, you can explore his life next? This riveting epic by Marilou Diaz-Abaya probes the tribulations and martyrdom of José Rizal. In a monolithic 3-hour runtime, the film explores Rizal’s life and works, recounted nonlinearly through flashbacks. It reflects on him as a writer, propagandist, lover, friend, brother, doctor, son, and the man who helped inspire a revolution.
National Artist Ricky Lee wrote the screenplay of the film. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive film in the history of Filipino cinema with a budget of over ₱80 million. The film was an official entry to the 1998 Metro Manila Film Festival, swept most of the nominations with seventeen awards, making it the first film with the most MMFF award wins. I guess it’s that monumental of a film!
Moments of Love (2006)
Mark A. Reyes’ Moments of Love is somehow similar to the sensibilities of Maria Clara at Ibarra. Just like Klay and Fidel’s romance, this film tackles inter-period romance too. A classic romantic tale between two people from different timelines: Divina (Iza Calzado) is from 1957 and Marco (Dingdong Dantes) is from 2006. They connect and find solace through each other through a magical telephone.
Moments of Love was produced by GMA Films. The story came from the now-Kapuso Executive, Annette Gozon-Valdes, with the screenplay written by Gina Marissa Tagasa. The film is available to watch in Youtube.
Oro, Plata, Mata (1982)
Who could ever forget the magnum opus of the one and only Peque Gallaga? Oro, Plata, Mata was the most period film of all Filipino period films—a significant contribution to the Philippine cinema. The historical war drama tells the story of how two haciendero families cope with the changes brought by the war. It is set during the Japanese Occupation in World War II.
Oro, Plata, Mata is the first film produced by the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines as pursuant to Executive Order No. 770 by President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Jose Javier Reyes wrote the screenplay. The cast included big names such as Cherie Gil, Sandy Andolong and Joel Torre. ABS-CBN Film Restoration and Central Digital Lab digitally restored and remastered the film in 2012. Now it is considered as a masterpiece and one of the best Filipino films of all time. The film is available to watch in Netflix.
Ang Larawan (2017)
Shifting to a lighter and more recent period film, Loy Arcena’s Ang Larawan is an admirable trip of nostalgia for a time when things are unsubtly beautiful. The film is based on the stage play of National Artist Nick Joaquin. It is a musical tale about two impoverished sisters’ anguish over whether or not to sell the final masterpiece of their father, days before the second world war, in Manila.
Ang Larawan was an entry to the 43rd Metro Manila Film Festival, where it won five of its twelve categories. Its awards include Best Picture, Best Musical Score, Best Production Design, and Best Actress given to Joana Ampil. Critical response for the film was mostly positive. The film is available to watch in iWantTFC.
Balangiga: Howling Wilderness (2017)
If you’re looking for something more bizarre and surrealist, you can check Khavn’s Balangiga: Howling Wilderness. The magical-realist film chronicles the atrocious Balangiga Massacre done by the Americans on the island of Samar in August 1901. It explores the historical event through the eyes of an 8-year-old noy, Kulas. The film has clear political implications and suggestions, but at its heart, is a persistent humor and tender-hearted embrace to being a Filipino.
Balangiga debuted in the 5th QCinema International Film Festival, winning Best Picture and Best Director. Despite being new-comers, Justine Samson also won Best Actor and Pio del Rio won Best Supporting Actor. It went on to win Best Picture in the 41st Gawad Urian Awards. The film is available to watch in Netflix.
Ganito Kami Noon… Paano Kayo Ngayon? (1976)
In Eddie Romero’s Philippine period drama film, the question on the title itself, already says a striking message. Ganito Kami was set in the end of Spanish colonization and the start of American colonization in the Philippines. It follows a naive peasant through his leap of faith to become a member of an imagined community, portrayed by the incredible Christopher de Leon.
The film debuted in the 1976 Metro Manila Film Festival. It bagged Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay. ABS-CBN Film Archives and Central Digital Lab restored the film in 2013. The film is available to watch in Juanflix.
Markova: Comfort Gay (2000)
Gil Portes’ Filipino biographical-comedy, Markova: Comfort Gay, follows the life of Walter Dempster Jr., the last surviving Filipino comfort gay from World War II. It tells the story of his hardships during his childhood and his travail during the World War II Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Dolphy played the adult character, while two of his sons, Eric Quizon and Epy Quizon, played the role of two younger Markovas in two more different phases of his life.
The film debuts in the 2000 Metro Manila Film Festival, winning Best Supporting Actor for Epy Quizon. Aside from local acclaim, it also received international acclaim with the recognition of Prix de la Meilleure Interpretation to the father-and-sons Dolphy, Eric Quizon, and “Epy” Quizon at the 2001 Brussels International Film Festival. The film is available to watch in Netflix.
Xian Oquendo is a free-spirited writer and camera-person from Manila. His passion connects facets of poetry and visuals. Whether inside the cinema or in the groove of the city's streets, he is always in the pursuit of the transcendental.