These vintage Italian posters prove Pinoy films were being screened in Europe as early as the ‘60s

(L-R) Zamboanga (1937) is the oldest existing Pinoy film, discovered at the US Library of Congress; poster for Il Serpente sulla Croce, released in Manila as Sawa Sa Lumang Simboryo. Image via abs-can.com

By Jerome Gomez/abs-cbn.com – Three weeks ago, Archivo 1984 gallery at the La Fuerza compound in Makati screened the documentary Happy Days Are Here Again. It’s a Cirio Santiago production that weaves together many musical numbers from our big studio films from the 50s to the 70s, each segment introduced by the biggest stars of the day, from Gloria Romero to Nida Blanca to Tirso Cruz III.

But before some guests made it to the screening, they noticed a small space across Finale Art File that displayed some arrestingly colorful movie posters against a very green wall. A closer look revealed that the movies starred Filipino actors, but the posters were all made for a foreign audience—except for one: the poster for Noli Me Tangere (1930), the Rizal novel turned into a movie by Jose Nepomuceno, father of Philippine movies. According to Marti Magsanoc of Archivo 1984, it is the oldest existing Philippine movie poster. (Nepomuceno directed Dalagang Bukid, by the way, shown in 1919—the reason we’re celebrating Philippine cinema’s centennial this year.)

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