Back to the 70s—Tisoy is a Romantic Take on Old Manila

Words by Kimberly Claire Reyes

This October 2019, QCinema International Film Festival showcased a variety of show-stopping films exhibiting the immense talent and artistic suave of creators in the film industry. Among the films, the remastered  1977 film Tisoy stood out for its theatrical display of what life would look like if one were to live in Manila during the 70s.

Restored Tisoy Singing

Directed by Ishmael Bernal and released back in 1977, Tisoy is a film that was originally based on a comic strip by Nonoy Marcelo. It narrates the story of Tisoy, a young and carefree man, who comes back to the heart of Manila in hopes of finding his American father. This film takes you to a wild adventure with Tisoy and his barkada as they dance through life’s challenges together, eventually realizing that the strong bond of their friendship lies on the journies they have with each other.

Restored Tisoy Street Sweepers Dance

While the film centers itself on the search for Tisoy’s father, the aspect that has caught our attention would be the film’s romanticized portrayal of the old Metro Manila. Just at the beginning of the film, we are given a dance number by a group of street sweepers which sets the comical tone of the movie. The film also includes an amusing interpretation of the dreadful horrors of city traffic which I am sure we all can relate to even in today’s time. Overall, Tisoy successfully evoked roars of laughter inside the cinema by drowning its audience with waves of corny jokes and action-packed scenes.

What makes this year’s Tisoy film even more fantastic was the fact that it was digitally restored by Kantana and Wildsound Studios. The remastered film did not only improve in its overall quality and design aesthetics but also directed the spotlight towards the revival of a forgotten art in Filipino culture—comics.

Restored Tisoy Traffic Jam

Watching this film is simply like seeing the panels of a comic book come to life before your very eyes. From the comedic dialogues to the all-so-sudden thrilling chase inside a prestigious hotel, this film has indeed bestowed upon us a sense of familiarity and nostalgia we get from Filipino comics.

Tisoy is just one of the few stepping stones towards the awakening of Filipino classics. It is truly remarkable to see what our local artists and producers are capable of creating. If there’s one thing I am sure of, it’s that we will definitely be counting the days until next year’s QCinema film festival. After all, who doesn’t enjoy old-fashioned Filipino films?

QCinema International Film Festival is an annual event hosted in Quezon City. It serves as a platform for a variety of films, both local and international, to be showcased to the mass.

Photos from “Tisoy” trailer.

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QCinema International Film Festival