GERARDO DE LEON
National Artist for Cinema (1982)
(September 12, 1913 – July 25, 1981)
Gerardo “Gerry” De Leon, film director, belongs to the Ilagan clan and as such grew up in an atmosphere rich in theater. Significantly, De Leon’s first job — while in still in high school — was as a piano player at Cine Moderno in Quiapo playing the musical accompaniment to the silent films that were being shown at that time. The silent movies served as De Leon’s “very good” training ground because the pictures told the story. Though he finished medicine, his practice did not last long because he found himself “too compassionate” to be one, this aside from the lure of the movies. His first directorial job was “Ama’t Anak” in which he directed himself and his brother Tito Arevalo. The movie got good reviews. De Leon’s biggest pre-war hit was “Ang Maestra” which starred Rogelio de la Rosa and Rosa del Rosario with the still unknown Eddie Romero as writer.
In the 50s and 60s, he produced many films that are now considered classics including “Daigdig ng Mga Api,” “Noli Me Tangere,” “El Filibusterismo,” and “Sisa.” Among a long list of films are “Sawa sa Lumang Simboryo,” “Dyesebel,” “The Gold Bikini,” “Banaue,” “The Brides of Blood Island.”.