MANILA, Oct 1 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III attended Saturday evening the formal repatriation and the premiere showing of the newly restored internationally acclaimed Filipino film “Genghis Khan” by Manuel Conde.
The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the National Film Archive of the Philippines (NFAP), together with the La Biennale di Venezia led the restoration and repatriation of the movie to the Philippines. The Venice Film Festival is part of La Biennale di Venezia.
The prints of Genghis Khan, filmed in 1950, were turned over to the National Film Archive of the Philippines (NFAP) for the preservation. NFAP, which is under the auspices of FDCP, has been established to collect and conserve audiovisual materials as part of the country’s historical and cultural heritage.
After the formal turn over ceremony, the FDCP, together with its partners held the premiere screening of the newly-restored movie at the SM Mall of Asia’s Cinema One along Roxas Boulevard.
The restoration of Genghis Khan was conducted at the L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, Italy, a world-class laboratory recognized as one of the best in the field of film retrieval. Among the famous Hollywood personalities and entities that worked with L’Immagine Ritrovata include director and film archiving stalwart Martin Scorsese and the Film Foundation.
Genghis Khan, which was shown in Philippine theaters 60 years ago, had long been considered lost until a copy surfaced recently in the Venice film vaults. After the restoration, the movie was screened during the Archivio Storico delle Arti Contemporanee (ASAC) retrospective of 10 rare restored films in the recent Venice Film Festival.
With the repatriation of Genghis Khan, FDCP chairman Briccio Santos said it could send a strong signal to the international archivists to turn-over Filipino films that remain in their collection.
Aside from FDCP chairman Santos, among those present during the event were Venice Film Festival retrospective curator Stefano Francia di Celle, L’Immagine Ritrovata director Davide Pozzi, NFAP head Benedict Salazar Olgado and the Urbano/Conde family representative Jun Urbano.
Also present were National Artist for Films Eddie Romero and National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Imao.
The low-budget movie was filmed in the mountains of Angono, Rizal. It was about the adventures of the Mongolian leader Genghis Khan prior to his assumption to the throne.
Among those who also worked with Conde in making the film was the Angono painter Carlos “Botong” Francisco, as production designer, who eventually became a National Artist for visual arts in the Philippines.
Manuel Urbano, who used the screen name Manuel Conde, was born in Daet, Camarines Norte on October 15, 1915. During his stint as a producer, actor and director, he made classic films such as the Juan Tamad series (1947), Vende Cristo (1948), Prinsipe Paris (1949), Krus na Kawayan (1956), Siete Infantes de Lara (1950), Molave (1961) and Genghis Khan (1950). (MNS)