Today’s guest post is courtesy of my mom, Lucila Dypiangco. I recently asked her and my dad Oscar to start contributing “Top 5” lists of their favorite things: movies, books, foods, cities or whatever else might be fun. When I asked her to write a favorite movie list today, my mom replied that she was too busy. However, she then went on to ask for my help viewing emailed photos from one of her former students. This request presented a golden opportunity. I agreed to solve her computer issues… if she created this list. Clearly desperate to see these pics, she quickly accepted the terms of my deal. Although she said she’d have the list done in ten minutes, she ended up taking an hour to craft this well thought-out piece:
Doctor Zhivago – The Russian Revolution I had read about and taught came alive for me in this film. Having lived only in the tropical Philippines up to the time I saw it, I found the many winter scenes of the Russian landscape absolutely mesmerizing! They have left an indelible imprint in my mind. The breathtaking cinematography provided me with crisp images that showed the beauty and harshness of the season. Of course, the music (“Lara’s Theme,” in particular) enhanced the mood throughout the epic.
The Sound of Music – The picturesque vistas of “hills alive with the sound of music” will always be a source of joy to me. The colorful cast of characters provides amusement, the plot keeps me interested, the beautiful town and hills of Salzburg never fail to delight, but it is the music that makes me watch this film again and again.
The Song of Bernadette – Maybe because it’s one of the very first films I have ever seen that makes me think of the film as one I have truly enjoyed. Although it is in black and white, it has made me want to go to Lourdes, France to see the town for myself. This film succeeded in capturing a story of faith and projecting it on the screen without sacrificing its spiritual dimension.
Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli) – Because of Zeffirelli’s fidelity to Shakespeare’s text, this film makes for an excellent teaching tool. As a Shakespeare fan, I have seen many of the Bard’s works freely and loosely interpreted on the screen that would have made poor Will turn in his grave, if he would even recognize them as versions of his plays. Zeffirelli depended solely on the text and as he himself acknowledged in the credits, “to William Shakespeare, without whom I would have been at a loss for words.” The casting was expertly done, and the acting left many scenes open to various interpretations, just the way its author had written them.
Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing – Maybe it’s the romantic in me that makes me choose this film, but when I compare it with other films of its genre (Love Story, Magnificent Obsession, An Affair to Remember, all of which I also like), Love Is a Many Splendored Thing stands out. Its exotic Hong Kong setting highlights the interracial and cross cultural conflict essential to the story. The love affair between a Eurasian widow of a Chinese general and a married American correspondent was doomed from the start in the tradition-bound milieu of the former British Crown Colony.