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February 09, 2004

Cinema Paraiso presents “Mga Kuwento ng Pag-ibig- A Celebration of Love Theme and Love Teams in Philippine Cinema,” a banner project of the Committee on Cinema of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in cooperation with Asian Eye Productions, for the National Arts Month Sining Pinoy 2004. The event includes a festival of classic films, forum, and an audio-visual and memorabilia exhibit, all of which pay tribute to unforgettable love teams in Philippine cinema.

The first Cinema Paraiso held in 2003 was mainly an exhibition of cinema artifacts and memorabilia, covering pre-war to the present times. To complement the exhibit, classic films by acclaimed directors, including those of the five national artists for film, were shown. Both the exhibit and the screenings had SRO audiences, inspiring the NCCA Cinema Committee to do Cinema Paraiso again this year, and hopefully every year, each time with a different theme.

For this year, Cinema Paraiso takes on a theme that is closest to the Filipino moviegoers’ hearts –love. If last year’s festival highlighted the landmark and most awarded films, this year takes a look at the films the Filipinos grew up with.

Romantic icons such as Carmen Rosales, Rogelio de la Rosa, Leopoldo Salcedo, Rosa del Rosario, Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Gloria Romero, Luis Gonzales, Tita Duran, Pancho Magalona, Mario Montenegro, Tessie Quintana, Susan Roces, Eddie Gutierez, Amalia Fuentes, Romeo Vasquez, Juancho Gutierez, Nora Aunor, Tirso Cruz III, Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Christopher de Leon, and Hilda Koronel, among others, will once again grace the screen and transport audiences back to the time when life was simpler and problems ended with a good song-and-dance number. These now rare and immortal films are from the priceless collections of Sampaguita, LVN, RVQ, FPJ, Premiere Tagalog, Ilang-Ilang Productions, and the ABS-CBN Film Archives.

The event opens with the 1969 color epic set in Mindanao, Perlas ng Silangan and will close with the pre-war classic Zamboanga (a treasure find of filmmaker Nick de Ocampo) courtesy of Mowelfund Film Institute. The 1936 film, recently repatriated in cooperation with the US Library of Congress, is the oldest Filipino feature film known to exist. It was sent to the United States in 1937 for international distribution and was screened in San Diego and New York. This Fernando Poe (Sr.)-Rosa del Rosario starrer also features Philippine cinema’s first underwater kiss.

An exhibit highlighting eight iconic love teams is also currently on display at the NCCA lobby which features movie stills, publicity pictures, and glamour shots of Carmen Rosales and Rogelio de la Rosa, Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Gloria Romero, Luis Gonzales, Tita Duran, Pancho Magalona, Mario Montenegro, Tessie Quintana, Susan Roces, Eddie Gutierez, Amalia Fuentes, Romeo Vasquez, Juancho Gutierez, Nora Aunor, Tirso Cruz III, Vilma Santos, Edgar Mortiz, Christopher de Leon. There is also an audio-visual exhibit of the most memorable romantic moments in Philippine cinema.

Also included in the month-long run of Cinema Paraiso is a forum on the subject of the romantic movies’ role on shaping the Filipino popular culture. Panelists will include professionals and notable personalities from the academe and entertainment industry. There will also be a tribute to the late Bernard Fernandez, a former LVN wardrobe master who singlehandedly put up the LVN Museum. His last official function before he fell ill and eventually died, was to provide artifacts for 2003’s Cinema Paraiso exhibit.

Cinema Paraiso activities are open to the public from 4 February to 5 March 2004, free of charge. Film showings are from Monday to Friday, 7 pm at NCCA’s Tanghalang, Leandro Locsin. The exhibit may be viewed from 12 nn – 7 pm.