I first saw Ismael Bernal's Himala when it was shown on local TV during Holy Week several years ago. I was a child back then and well, I just watched it because there was nothing else on TV. Admittedly, I did not fully absorbed Himala back then as I was just too young to comprehend the context. So it's a great pleasure that 30 years after its original release, Himala returns to the big screen in a digitally restored version that gives the film a brand new life.
During an eclipse, Elsa (Nora Aunor), from the small town of Cupang, allegedly saw an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on top of the hill where she was also found by her adopted mother. Soon after, Elsa began conducting faith healing to the local residents and when word got out about the miracle, pilgrims and tourists flock Cupang. A mass hysteria occurred which forever changed the lives of Elsa and the people of Cupang.
The technical aspects of the digitally-remastered version of Himala is very impressive. The images are crisp which will make you fully appreciate the film's visuals. I was blown away with the first couple of scenes when it transitioned from the darkness of the eclipse to the shot where Elsa was having her first apparition. That sequence alone gave me goosebumps. The restoration was rendered magnificently and you could see, frame by frame, the hard work that was put to it.
I now understand why many people considers Himala as one of the best Filipino films of all time. The story is just so powerful and three decades after it was made, it still remains relevant today. All aspects from the the visuals, to the sound and most especially the acting is just top notch. Nora Aunor's “Walang Himala!” speech will still give you the shivers no matter how many times it was parodied already. This is high-quality work from all accounts.
I encourage everyone to go and watch Himala as it returns to theaters today. I know this film has been shown countless times on television and a lot has already been said about it but this restored version will still give you an amazing theater experience. There's nothing like watching a classic on the big screen. We should be grateful that through this restoration, this masterpiece is now preserved in its full glory.
The restored version of HIMALA, opens today (December 5) at SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM Southmall, Powerplant, Market Market, Trinoma, Glorietta, Robinsons Galleria, SM Cebu, SM Davao and Gaisano Mall Davao