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Retrospective Spotlight: Karnal (Of the Flesh, 1983)

Directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya

2:30 PM – Doors open
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Film Screening

This screening is made possible by ABS-CBN’s Sagip Pelikula (Film Restoration) and TFC.

When Narcing (Phillip Salvador) brings home his wife Puring (Cecille Castillo) to their hometown Mulawin in the 1930s, it sets off a series of events that include parricide, infidelity, betrayal, guilt and redemption. Karnal examines how filial loyalty can also be a form of bondage that supports patriarchy and the subjugation of women, extending through generations in the family of Narcing.

Restoration Notes:

Karnal, a 1983 classic among Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s trilogy of feminist films that include Brutal and Moral, was restored in 2015 by ABS-CBN in partnership with the Central Digital Lab (CDL). It took 1,122 hours to clean the evident marks on the picture particularly the watermarks and splices. The existing 35mm archive print from the collection of ABS-CBN was used to scan the film in High Definition. Although, there were a few missing frames in the print source, CDL was able to fix some to eliminate the jerk and breathing. However, Reel 2 was found to be problematic due to off-frame, thus, was replaced with a better copy taken from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). The cinematographer and husband of the director, Manolo Abaya, was consulted for the color of the picture and attended to the first quality checking of the film to give his inputs on the grading. The restored film had its premiere night at CCP during the 2015 Cinemalaya Film Festival.

When the Fukuoka Asian Cultures Prize presented its 2001 award to Marilou Diaz-Abaya, it acknowledged what her countrymen had long recognized, that hers was one of the more distinguished voices in contemporary Asian cinema. Part of the citation reads: “She conveys the Asian spirit to the world through works that depict the joy and sadness of common people with great vitality. Her superb films are indictments that harshly examine the reality of the Philippines today, and are filled with warmth and affection for the common people, surviving on their strength.”

She had been producing meticulously crafted films for over twenty years and would continue to do so for a decade more, even as she battled with illness in her last five years. Her death in late 2012 at the age of 57 was widely mourned in her country and those parts of the world where her works had captured the imagination of filmgoers and signposted the burgeoning vitality of Asian cinema with a Philippine complexion.

Dates & Times


AMC, Otay Ranch Town Center

Sun, Oct 16
2:30 pm