- In a remote village, a young girl named Elsa (Aunor) claims that the Virgin Mary has spoken to her. She reveals her visions and starts healing people, thus, pushing the village to finally confront its own needs and beliefs. A story about faith and faithlessness, truth and delusion, Himala tackles the endless and timeless struggle of man in his quest to find something to believe in. The film's story, based on an account of the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary on Cabra Island in 1967, is widely regarded as one of the best pictures ever produced by Philippine cinema. Aunor's performance in this film was roundly hailed as a sterling achievement for any Filipino actress of any age.
- A lowly and plain-looking lass who never knew her real parents is believed to possess miraculous powers after she claims to have visions of the Blessed Virgin in a remote barrio. Pilgrims, tourists and the sick seeking to be healed by way of divinity flock to what used to be an obscure and sleepy town now transformed all of a sudden into a bustling community. Among the curious people trooping to the village in droves is a documentary filmmaker. He has cynical views about religion but hopes to capture the miracle on film.
'Himala' topbilled by superstar Nora Aunor in the best performance of her career is the winner of numerous awards and distinctions from here and abroad including Best Picture from the 1982 Metro Manila Film Festival and the 1983 Catholic Mass Media Awards.
Aunor won the best actress trophy for her role in the film at the December local filmfest and was eventually nominated for the top acting plum by the country's all other award-giving bodies. She almost won the best actress prize at the 1983 Berlin International Film Festival where the dramatic film vied in the prestigious competition for the Golden Bear Award as it was personally handpicked by Festival Director Moritz de Hadeln no less to be part of the official selection.
The film's international honors also include the Bronze Hugo Prize at the 1983 Chicago International Film Festival and the slot as opening film for the 1983 Manila International Film Festival. 'Himala' is the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino's choice as one of the best films of the 1980s as well.
Bernal, a product of the premier state university, is the latest screen director to be conferred the National Artist Award. He was posthumously proclaimed last June. He was born in Manila on September 30, 1938 and died on June 2, 1996. His solid body of work was accorded high recognition with the Gawad CCP para sa Sining in 1990 and the Centennial Honors for the Arts on the occasion of the 100th Year of Philippine Independence and Nationhood in 1998.
Best Story/Screenplay, Metro Manila Film Festival (1982); Best Picture, Metro Manila Film Festival (1982); Best Actress (Aunor), Metro Manila Film Festival (1982); Best Supporting Actor (Manikan), Metro Manila Film Festival (1982); Best Supporting Actress (Duenas), Metro Manila Film Festival (1982); Best Editing, Metro Manila Film Festival (1982); Best Cinematography, Metro Manila Film Festival (1982); Best Production Design, Metro Manila Film Festival (1982); One of the Ten Best Films of the Decade, URIAN (1980-89); Best Screenplay, Catholic Mass Media Awards (1982); Winner, Bronze Hugo Awards, 19th Chicago Film Festival
Direction: Ishmael Bernal
Story/Screenplay: Ricardo Lee
Cinematography: Sergio Lobo
Music: Winston Raval
Editing: Ike Jarlego, Jr.
Sound: Vic Macamay
Production design: Racquel Villavicencio
Executive producer: Charo Santos
Estela de Leon