Restored Version Of ‘Himala’ To Hit Local Cinemas Soon

To mark its 30th anniversary, the fully restored High-Definition version of the 1982 film "Himala" is slated for commercial release in local cinemas by the end of the year.

"We are planning to re-release it theatrically, on pay TV and cable as well as on DVD. We have big plans for it," revealed Leo Katigbak, head of ABS-CBN Film Archives.

The late Ishmael Bernal masterpiece, starring Nora Aunor in the role of a provincial faith healer with a mass following, is currently being screened along with other restored classics ("Chimes at Midnight" by Orson Welles, "Fanny and Alexander" by Ingmar Bergman, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" by Howard Hawks and many more) at the ongoing 69th Venice International Film Festival at the Venice Lido under the program titled "Venizia Classici."

The prestigious filmfest will end its run on Sept. 8.

Meanwhile, Katigbak added that his team is also working on the restoration of other Filipino film classics such as "Oro Plata Mata" and "Maalaala Mo Kaya, The Movie."

"This is the 30th year of 'Himala.' It is a great Filipino classic we would like everyone to see. We have also restored 'Maalaala Mo Kaya, The Movie' (Olivia Lamasan), which is celebrating its 20th year and we have begun work on restoring another ECP title, 'Oro Plata Mata' (Peque Gallaga), which we hope will be ready by early 2013," Katigbak said.

He also said that other Star Cinema films his team is restoring are Olivia Lamasan's "Madrasta," Laurice Guillen's "Tanging Yaman," Rory Quintos' "Anak," Marilou Diaz-Abaya's "Bagong Buwan" and Chito Roño's "Dekada '70."

According to ABS-CBN, the restoration is meant to "give contemporary audiences the opportunity to view again or see for the first time films of great historical importance, and to revaluate films that have been unjustly forgotten or that are no longer visible, projected on the big screen in the best possible conditions."

"Himala," one of Nora's landmark films, was written by multi-awarded screenwriter Ricky Lee. The film about religion and faith healing was first shown at the Metro Film Festival in 1982. In "Himala," Aunor portrays the role of Elsa, a young woman who claims she has seen The Virgin Mary and can heal the sick, attracting international attention to her small town.

In 2008, "Himala" made history after winning the Viewer's Choice Award for Best Asia-Pacific Film of All Time in the CNN Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Organizers of the Venice filmfest earlier said that in screening films like "Himala" as part of the "Venizia Classici" program "will allow contemporary audiences the opportunity to view again or see for the first time films of great historical importance."