The society of respected film critics that hands out the annual Gawad Urian in cinematic excellence

Himala (1982)

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Ishmael Bernal's film may be read as a parable of “art” and “life, “ faith and fact, hope and despair, in a society driven to desperation by widespread destitution. A filmmaker (Spanky Manikan) plays a pivotal role in the unfolding of the story of a village “miracle-maker” (Nora Aunor) who in claiming the Virgin has appeared to her, consequently brings the dying barrio to life. Bernal's parable is both philosophical and political. The filmmaker seems to have been set up as a representation of the artist who believes his art is a simple transcript of reality and finds himself confounded by the morality of condoning “untruth” by his failure to expose the outrage on the “miracle-maker.” The political aspect, in retrospect, is Bernal's damning comment on the deceptions being foisted by the Marcos dictatorship on the Filipino-- the fiction that Martial law had brought aibout the “miracle” of eradicating poverty and unrest in Philippine society.