MANILA – The 1982 film Himala (Miracle) directed by the late National Artist Ishmael Bernal and starring Nora Aunor was named the winner of the Viewers Choice Award for Best Asia-Pacific Film of All Time on November 11 during the 2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) held in Australia’s Gold Coast.
The 1982 movie about a girl who becomes a faith healer after seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary was among 10 films chosen by a panel of critics, industry insiders and Asian actors, including Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. Himala won the popular vote in a poll hosted on CNN’s website in which viewers were invited to vote for their favourite movie among the top ten.
As early as September, CNN reported “an avalanche of raving positivity” for the film from thousands of online voters all over the globe. The CNN described Ishmael Bernal’s movie as having “austere camera work, a haunting score and accomplished performances that sensitively portray the harsh social and cultural conditions that people in the third world endure.”
Himala, was the only Filipino film in the top 10, which also included international classics such as Akira Kurasawa’s Seven Samurai (1957), Peter Weir’s Gallipoli (1981) and Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (1955). More recent films in the top 10 were Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001), Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express (1994), Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs (2002), Chan-wook Park’s Old Boy (2003) and Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Gabbeh (1996).
The Filipino classic, which was written by Ricky Lee, was originally released in 1982 for the Metro Manila Film Festival in which it won nine awards including Best Story/Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Actress (Nora Aunor), Best Supporting Actor (Spanky Manikan), Best Supporting Actress (Gigi Duenas), Best Editing, Best Cinematography, and Best Production Design. Himala also won the Bronze Hugo Award at the 1983 Chicago Film Festival.