Classic film ‘Genghis Khan’ made more accessible to movie buffs | Inquirer Entertainment

Classic film ‘Genghis Khan’ made more accessible to movie buffs

By: - Reporter
/ 12:20 AM January 10, 2016

JUN URBANO (left) with FDCP Chair Briccio Santos and actress Liberty Ilagan

JUN URBANO (left) with FDCP Chair Briccio Santos and actress Liberty Ilagan

“He was ahead of his time,” said actor-director Jun Urbano of his father, National Artist for Film Manuel Conde, whose film, “Genghis Khan,” was recently released on DVD by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and the National Film Archives of the Philippines.

“In the 1950s, the most common genre was romance. Stories then were usually the boy-meets-girl type. But Daddy was already thinking of the Mongolian emperor then. He also did a film on the German hero, Siegfried,” Urbano told the Inquirer on Wednesday.


A monumental film in many ways, “Genghis Khan” introduced Philippine cinema to the world when it was chosen in the main competition of the 1952 Venice Film Festival. It was lauded as a technical achievement for Conde and production designer Carlos “Botong” Francisco, who worked on a shoestring budget to bring their compelling cinematic vision to life.


“Daddy and his best buddy, Botong, often talked about Philippine history while working together—their interest in it was deep,” Urbano recalled.

Sixty-five years after its premiere, the restored version of “Genghis Khan” finally had its DVD launch at the Cinematheque Manila last month. This marked the beginning of the celebration of Conde’s birth centennial that will take place this year.

“I am pleased by the effort exerted by the FDCP,” said Urbano. “This means that it will now reach more viewers, especially the students. They can now appreciate the classics! The restored version was well-made—watching its clear visuals made us feel like it was shot only yesterday!”

The “Genghis Khan” DVD is the first release of FDCP’s Heritage Film series, which “seeks to make our cinematic heritage accessible.” The package comes with a booklet that provides a synopsis and outline profiles of Conde and Francisco.

The Cinematheque Center on T.M. Kalaw St. in Ermita, Manila “aims to elevate our national identity, furthering exposure and appreciation for Filipino and world cinema. Starting this month, it will showcase award-winning foreign films, as well as acclaimed contemporary, independent and mainstream Filipino features.

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TAGS: “Genghis Khan, ” Manuel Conde, Filipino movie, Jun Urbano, Philippine Cinema

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