Love those memorable film classics
THERE’S joy in looking for something among your old things. Sometimes, what you find is even better than what you were actually looking for!
Some time ago, while I was getting riled that I couldn’t find the DVD of an old film, I ended up finding copies of “Forbidden Games” and “Battle of Algiers,” instead—so, I was elated! Other gems I found: “Mogambo,” “The Barefoot Contessa” and “Bus Stop.”
I so enjoyed those films that I decided to watch other old favorites like “High Society,” “Oliver” and “Gone with the Wind.” To rest my weary head, I interspersed watching them with the three instalments of “That’s Entertainment.” The experience was nothing short of marvelous—I felt weary but enlightened!
Watching Rene Clement’s “Forbidden Games” was life-changing for me, Lino Brocka, Joonee Gamboa and Adul de Leon. We saw it together at the Far East Auditorium during an international film festival in 1956. Among the other classics we saw were “The Bridge,” “Open City” and “Bicycle Thief.”
“Burn” and “Battle of Algiers” were the favorite films of activists during the First Quarter Storm. These Pontecorvo classics were highly rated along with films like “Z,” which was banned when martial law was declared. Ironically, during Imelda Marcos’ international film festival, the filmmaker was asked to head its board of judges!
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of watching old films, so I also watched “In the Heat of the Night” and “Midnight Cowboy.” Jon Voight had the impeccable beauty of a country rose exposed to Manhattan’s pollution. The contrast between Voight and Dustin Hoffman was startling to observe.
I also decided to include “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Citizen Kane” and “The Third Man,” which were trendsetters when they were shown over 50 years ago. They are so moving that they affect viewers to this day.
Heart, mind and soul
It’s satisfying to watch an intellectually stimulating film—it moves your heart, mind and soul, because film-watching is an audio-visual experience. When its music is as exciting as the score of “The Third Man,” it truly becomes an emotional experience.
I decided to continue the experience by watching musicals, which further thrilled me. I watched “The Sound of Music” for a while, but it lacked the impact of “Oliver,” despite the presence of Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Eleanor Parker.
After watching “Forbidden Games,” I sat quietly for an hour, because I had to think about the film. It was the same thing with “Battle of Algiers” and “Burn.” As “Battle” ends with a disclaimer that not a foot of the film is a documentary, “Burn” starts where the old story begins.
Life is a cycle. You think about it, and you wonder. Since I’ve been watching old films, other gems that deserve to be seen again came to mind: “The Unfinished Dance,” “Robin Hood,” “Jungle Book,” “Shane” and “Marcelino Pan y Vino.”
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