Mike de Leon’s classic film to be shown in Cannes

Published May 15, 2022, 10:25 AM

by Stephanie Bernardino

Charo Santos (left) and Mona Lisa in a scene from ‘Itim’

Director Mike de Leon’s first feature film “Itim” has been selected to be part of the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

The 1976 movie is among the “Restoration World Premieres” under the “Cannes Classics” category.

The 107-minute film stars Charo Santos, Tommy Abuel, Mario Montenegro, Susan Valdez, and Mona Lisa, among others.

The story revolves around Jun (Tommy), a young photographer living in Manilla, who decided to return to his native town to visit his father (Mario), a retired doctor who became paralyzed after a car accident. During his visit, he decided to do a photo documentary on the locals’ Holy Week rites. He meets the mysterious Teresa (Charo), and while they’re becoming quick friends, she slowly started to open up about her sister, Rosa (Susan), who recently died. Her presence still haunts Teresa.

Mike de Leon

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Mike reacted to his masterpiece premiering in Cannes almost 50 years later.

Mike said: “For personal reasons, this vindicates my long-held belief that you don’t have to do poverty to get noticed, unlike in Lino’s (Brocka) time. Especially if ‘Batch 81’ and ‘Kisapmata’ are released simultaneously with ‘Itim,’ e ‘di puwede pala.”

According to the 74-year-old filmmaker, he won’t be able to go to Cannes. Instead, his “Itim” co-screenwriter, the New York-based Gil Quito, will represent him.

The prestigious international film festival will take place from May 17 to 28 in France. (Photos from the official website of the Cannes Film Festival)