Kristo (1996 film)

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Directed by Ben Yalung
Written by Emmanuel H. Borlaza
Ruben Arthur Nicdao
Ben Yalung
Starring Mat Ranillo III
Charmaine Rivera
Amy Austria
Ruel Vernal
Rez Cortez
Michael Locsin
Music by Lutgardo Labad
Cinematography Larry Manda
Edited by George Jarlego
Release date
Country Philippines Philippines
Language Filipino

Kristo is a 1996 Filipino cinematic interpretation of the life of Jesus Christ. Produced in 1996 by Cine Suerte Productions and Oasis of Love Movement (by Fr. Sonny Ramirez, OP, host of the telemagazine Sharing in the City), Kristo stars Mat Ranillo III in the title role, together with Rez Cortez (as Judas Iscariot), Ruel Vernal (Peter), Michael Locsin (John), freelance model and then college student Charmaine Rivera (in her first and only film appearance as the Virgin Mary), and Amy Austria (Mary Magdalene).

The film also includes an all-star cast in their cameo appearances playing various characters. Among them are Gabby Concepción (John the Baptist), husband-and-wife pair Rudy Fernandez and Lorna Tolentino (as Simon of Cyrene and Veronica respectively), Aga Muhlach (the demon-possessed man), Rachel Lobangco (the Temptress, in which Satan is in a female form in the temptation of the desert scene), Silvia Sanchez (the adulteress), Ang TV star and singer Lindsay Custodio (Salome), and Christopher de Leon (as Dimas as credited in the film).


The film started on a prologue, What if the Story of the New testament was replaced the setting, from the Middle East to the Philippine Islands, What would be the Image and culture of the new testament look like?

The narrative of Kristo is based on the combined Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but imagined as occurring in Classical Filipino society with ethnic elements and some aspects of Ancient Rome and first-century Judaea. Kristo was shot in various locations such as Intramuros, Lawton and Luneta in Manila, as well as in Laguna and Pampanga.

The film starts with an open book presenting the Nativity of Jesus in the form of illustrations. Live action scenes or the flow of the story follows the next page 30 years after, beginning with the preaching of John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. Kristo cycles through the various episodes in Christ's ministry, his death, and resurrection, ending with his ascension and its illustrated version on the last page with a Biblical message.


Major roles[edit]

Cameo roles (in order of appearance)[edit]


  • Before being adapted into a film, Kristo was a Senákulo (traditional Filipino Passion Play) in dance-drama played at the Folk Arts Theater (now Day By Day Christian Fellowship) in April 1977. Both Ranillo and Cortez reprised their respective roles as Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot from the 1977 production.
  • Ranillo was also nominated as "Best Actor" by the Film Academy of the Philippines in 1997 for his performance.
  • This was director Ben Yalung's second religious film after Divine Mercy: Sa Buhay Ni Sister Faustina (Divine Mercy: in the Life of Sister Faustina) starring former matinee idol and MTV VJ Donita Rose in 1993. Yalung also produced and directed his 3rd religious film, Ama Namin (Our Father) under Premiere Productions and DWXI Prayer Partners Foundation and Birhen ng Manaoag (Virgin of Manaoag) was released in 1998.
  • Ranillo eldest child, Krista, was named after the film.

See also[edit]