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

Filmography

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Batch '81

A realistic and metaphorical depiction of the horrors of fraternity initiations. The so-called masters of the organization subject their neophytes to gripping physical and psychological violence and humiliation leading to death and anarchy. It is yet another cinematic look at society's tolerance and acceptance, even approbation, of mindless conformity and submission-- the order of the day during the martial law regime.

Himala

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.

Kisapmata

Employing economy of means and the power of suggestion, director Mike de Leon effectively presents a highly visual and stark character study of a demented patriarch and retired policeman (Vic Silayan) and his acquiescent family. The old man's tight grip n his submissive wife (Charito Solis) and daughter (Charo Santos) is threatened when the young woman marries her fiance, driving the father to fits of jealousy and violence. Also a statement on tyranny and the use of terror by an authoritarian figure, an oblique criticism of the Marcos dictatorship.

Manila by night (City after dark)

A loving, candid, Altamanesque vision of a city full of colorful, flesh-and-blood characters—living, loving, lying, fighting, struggling in a world of decay and decadence, joy and squalor, mystery and revelation, hope and frustration. Using the eloquent language of cinema, the filmmaker imaginatively exposes the frailties and strengths of these people, their joys and heartaches, encompassing the different seasons and special occasions like one explosive New Year's Eve and a lusty Valentine merry-making.

Nunal sa tubig

Employing a quiet, experimental cinematic style, Ishmael Bernal's opus recreates the quality and slow pace of life in a dying village surrounded by the sea, as it is caught in the eternal cycle of love and hate, of fertility and pollution, of birth and death. A bold—and successful— attempt to depart from the usual commercial fare, it cryptically paints a large, bleak canvas showing rural fold and how their chances at redemption and happiness are irreversibly decimated by poverty, ignorance, neglect and the dark side of big business.

Insiang

A love triangle leads to a crime of passion as an innocent slum girl, Insiang (Hilda Koronel), is transformed into a scheming, ruthless woman by harsh social and physical conditions and by here even harsher experience. After being raped by her mother's live-in lover (Ruel Vernal), Insiang makes the lover fall in love with here, so that the mother (Mona Lisa) would be forced to butcher the man in a gruesome fit of jealousy.

Gaano kami noon... Paano kayo ngayon?

A sprawling, picaresque tale revolving around a character named Kulas (Christopher de Leon) who is tasked to bring bastard child of a Spanish friar to the city, and in the process, wanders through the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the Philippine-American War, and wonders about the meaning of being Filipino in those critical decades of national self-definition.

Maynila sa kuko ng liwanag

Manila is portrayed as a web of exploitation and poverty, that traps and devours a naive probinsiyano, Julio Madiaga (Rafael "Bembol" Roco, Jr.), who journeys into the city in search of a better life and his beloved, Ligaya Paraiso (Hilda Koronel), who has become a common-law wife of a Chinese merchant. When they try to escape from the oppressive city, Julio and his beloved are destroyed.