December 7, 2022

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

16 years of music and silent films

3 min read

A SCENE from Nosferatu.

THE INTERNATIONAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL returns to the big screen with nine films from different countries (including three from our own) and local talent providing the accompanying music.

The film festival will be held from November 24th to 27th at the cinemas of Shangri-La Plaza Mall in Mandaluyong.

Piccadilly, a film about a girl-turned-dancer, will be voiced by Anahata. Horror classic Nosferatu is voiced by The Brockas, while Malvaloca, a once-lost 1926 Spanish film, is voiced by Talahib. Japan’s film festival entry, The Lady and the Beard, by acclaimed filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, is voiced by Bullet Dumas and follows a conservative student who saves a young girl from bullies. I Figli di Nessuno is set to music by Pepe Manikan and is based on an Italian novel by Ruggero Rundi. All of these films were shot between 1919 and 1931.

The Filipino entries are much newer: all were made in 2021. Vahn Pascual’s Alingasngas ng mga Kuliglig (composed by Karl Arthur Javier and Nik Rosacay) is about a young healer who becomes a tikbalang (a mythical half-horse, half-human). Gabriela Serrano’s Dikit is about a cursed woman who is obsessed with her new neighbors and is set to be shot by Paolo Almaden. EJ Gagui and Marienel Calmas Ing Tianak on the supernatural demon child in Filipino folklore is set to music by Pau Protacio.

BConcept and Vincent del Rosario will provide the musical accompaniment.

The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) partner institutes that have provided the films in the series include the Embassy of France, the Goethe-Institut Philippines, the Embassy of Italy with the Philippine Italian Association, the Japan Foundation Manila, the Instituto Cervantes de Manila and the British Council in the Philippines.

This is the 16th year of the film festival. Martin Macalintal, cultural attaché at the Embassy of France in the Philippines, said during a news conference on November 8: “When we started doing this, we thought of having Filipino musicians provide the soundtrack for the films. Honestly, we wanted to attract more viewers. Who wanted to show silent films 16 years ago?”

“We would probably attract something, 50 viewers who have some kind of film culture and want to see these silent films,” he said, with the idea that local artists who had a following would bring their fan base to the films. “Over the years we’ve found that there is an audience for silent films. We (also) noticed that the Filipino musician is basically very talented.”

Mr. Macalintal cites as an example the pairing of a French film with Filipino indigenous music that would alter the experience from the film’s original context.

“It’s about breathing new life into the film heritage, which turns 102 this year. That’s something I think this festival is unique for. It’s something that keeps the culture alive,” he said. “You can see the exchange between cultures there. It brings added wealth to what we eventually produce.”

The films will be screened between November 24 and 27 – Piccadilly (Nov. 24), Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (Nov. 25), La sultane de l’amour (Nov. 25), Malvaloca (Nov .Nov.), The Lady and The Beard (Nov. 26), I Figli di Nessuno (Nov. 27), Alingasngas ng Mga Kuliglig, Dikit and Ing Tianak (Nov. 27). Performances are at 5pm for Nosferatu and Malvaloca; and 8pm for Piccadilly, Sultan de l’amour, The Lady and the Beard and the final films on November 27th.

Several bag events will take place throughout the week, including a talk on film restoration on November 27th and a talk with the musicians involved in the project on November 26th. Tickets are available on site.

Visit for more information. —Joseph L. Garcia

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