Film critic, Manunuri co-founder Mario Hernando passes away at 68

September 5, 2017 - 5:46 PM
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Mario Hernando. (Photo from his Facebook page)

Noted film critic Mario A. Hernando passed away Tuesday morning after a brief bout with bone and prostate cancer. He was 68 years old.

According to family members, a funeral mass was set for 5PM on Tuesday at Funeraria Paz in Araneta Avenue in Quezon City. After the mass, his body would be cremated immediately and the remains transferred to Mount Carmel Church in New Manila for viewing starting 9PM.

Considered a pillar of Philippine cinema, Hernando was a founding member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino. Later, he would also be appointed as a member of the Movie and Television Review Classification Board. He is also the brother of award-winning production designer and filmmaker Cesar Hernando.

In 1976, Hernando was among the 10 men who organized the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino and subsequently the Gawad Urian awards. The Manunuri consisted of respected film scholars, critics and award-winning writers. Along with Hernando, the Manunuri was founded by Pio de Castro III, Behn Cervantes, Petronilo Daroy, Bienvenido Lumbera, Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr., Manuel Pichel, Nicanor Tiongson, Nestor Torre, and Justino Dormiendo.

With Hernando’s demise, Lumbera, Del Mundo and Tiongson remain as the only surviving members of the original Manunuri that created the Gawad Urian awards.

Since it was founded by the Manunuri in 1976, the Gawad Urian has become the most prestigious award-giving body for Filipino films.

Hernando once had a brief stint as Managing Editor of the daily broadsheet, Malaya before he had a lengthy stint as Weekend Editor of Sunday Malaya. He also wrote film reviews for several print publications including the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star where he maintained an entertainment column until late last year.

His noteworthy reviews of Laurice Guillen’s “Kapag Langit ang Humatol,” Lav Diaz’s “Batang West Side,” Raymond Red’s “Himpapawid,” Sheron Dayoc’s “Halaw,” Marlon Rivera’s “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank,” Mes de Guzman’s “Ang Mundo sa Panahon ng Yelo,” and Francis Xavier Pasion’s “Bwaya” can be accessed at the Reviews section of the official Manunuri website.

He is also credited as editor of the book “Lino Brocka: The Artist and his Times” published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1993.

For most televiewers, however, Hernando is best known as the resident film reviewer of the showbiz talk show “Movie Patrol,” which was later renamed “Movie Magazine.” The show, which aired on GMA Network on Saturday afternoons, ran for eight years from 1987 to 1995 and was produced by the late Inday Badiday and her husband, Gene Palomo.

Hernando made use of the star rating system for his movie review segment in the show that other critics would later adopt for their own reviews.

In his last post on his personal Facebook page last Saturday, September 2, Hernando displayed his propensity for eloquent prose when he posted a link to The Guardian’s article on Princess Diana.

“Choice rich words on one of the most admired, overrated celebrities these modern times. I have approached this adulation, this mass hysteria, this hunger for myth with caution and sometimes disbelief. This Guardian piece says it all, what a fairly thoughtful writer might articulate tiptoeing between elegant insights and the excesses of tabloid fodder,” he wrote about the article.