Filipinos can watch the digitally-restored version of the revered Filipino classic film “Itim” (The Rites of May) by Mike De Leon, which earned Charo Santos her first Best Actress award at the 1978 Asian Film Festival.
This year’s QCinema International Film Festival, which will run from November 17 to 26, showcases 1981 Gawad Urian’s Best Film of the Decade “Itim” as one of the main titles in its Digitally Restored Classics category.
Since its release in 1976, the film continues to gain recognition from international audiences to this date—most recently being selected as one of the classics to be screened at the world’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival last May 2022.
“Itim” was the first film directed by acclaimed filmmaker Mike and the first film in which Charo played the lead role. It also starred seasoned actors Tommy Abuel, Mario Montenegro, Mona Lisa, and Susan Valdez.
In an interview, Charo described working with Mike, whom she considers one of her dearest mentors throughout her career as an actress and a producer in the film industry.
Charo said, “There was mutual respect. I respect his artistry. I admire him because he has a handle on his narrative and understands the film language.”
“He’s very disciplined. Everything I learned about filmmaking, I learned from Mike,” shared Charo, who was discovered and asked by award-winning director Lino Brocka to audition for the Mike’s first directorial job.
“Itim” retells the story of a budding photographer Jun (Tommy), and how he documented the locals’ Lenten rituals during his return to his provincial hometown. He then met and befriended a mysterious woman named Teresa (Charo). But as soon as she opened up to him about her life, she was suddenly possessed by the spirit of her sister Rosa (Susan), whose untimely death was unknown to their family. Through her sister’s restless soul, Teresa recounts the unsolved mystery behind Rosa’s disappearance.
Viewers can catch the digitally-restored version of “Itim” at the 10th QCinema International Film Festival from November 17 to 26 at Gateway Cineplex 5/1 and Power Plant Cinema 6. For the screening schedules, visit facebook.com/QCinemaPH or follow @QCinemaPH on Twitter and Instagram.