Kapit was well covered by media, as any competition film in Cannes is covered, except that the rave reviews were numerous. Festival reports had it that, of the critics, only a minority found the film’s “constant agit prop a little hard to digest, however much they sympathized personally with Brocka’s politics.” Le Quotidien’s Gerard Lefort felt that the famous Costa-Gavras could stand comparison with Lino Brocka! Brocka garnered enough inter national prestige in the 1984 Cannes event to put Philippine cinema an—foremost in Brocka’s priorities— Philippine politics in the limelight. Read More »
Lino Brocka’s “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” (My Father, My Mother, roughly, 1978) is the master filmmaker’s one collaboration with the near-universally acknowledged King of Philippine Comedy, Dolphy (Rodolfo Vera Quizon). Screen legends working with famed filmmakers rarely if ever create sure bets; it’s something of a surprise, then that the resulting picture from these two is so straightforwardly poignant, laced with just enough humor to wriggle past one’s defenses. Read More »
Manila: In the Claws of Darkness is the most impressive of his films noirs, made with bows to the American cinema, to Italian neo-realism and to his own country’s tradition of star-driven melodramas, but with the force of a third-world director determined to say something about his own society.It is the richly romantic but realistic odyssey of a boy named Julio, who arrives in Manila from the country to search for his childhood sweetheart. The darkness of the title refers to the capital itself, which, said Brocka, exerts an invisible force on the lives of its people. Read More »
Poldo, a lowly security in a publishing firm, dreams to be rich. He becomes the personal bodyguard to his employer’s son, Sonny, when he impresses the latter with his courage and skills during a quarrel where Poldo defended Sonny. Poldo gets a taste of his boss’ carefree and extravagant lifestyle and thinks that he accepts him as a friend. In one of the nightclubs they frequent, Sonny is smitten by dancer Cristy and aggressively pursues her despite a warning from San Pedro, the movie director with whom Cristy has an affair. When they chance upon each other, Sonny and San Pedro fight. Poldo comes to his boss’ rescue and guns down San Pedro. In subsequent circumstances, Poldo would soon arrive at a bitter realization. As he could not see in Sonny the benefactor that he pictured him to be, Poldo finds himself alone, abandoned and betrayed. Read More »
Brothers Ellis (Christopher De Leon) and Loren (Philip Salvador) battle it out in a sibling rivalry of biblical proportions in this award-winning retelling of the Old Testament story. Controlling matriarch Señora Pina (Mona Lisa) blames eldest son Loren for her husband’s death and showers all her love on the younger Ellis. Tensions between the warring brothers increase as they grow into adulthood, culminating in a bloody confrontation.
Read More »
Lino Brocka’s “Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa” (Three, Two, One, 1974) shows the filmmaker’s versatility in the short form, working with various writers.
The first segment, Tony Perez’s “Mga Hugis ng Pag-asa” (Faces of Hope) has Jay Ilagan play Noni, a drug addict struggling in a drug rehabilitation center. And while the segment is generally considered to be the weakest of the three, it does feature cinematographer Romy Vitug’s fine monochromatic camerawork, and the startling image of Ilagan being shaved of all his hair (a shockingly traumatic sight when I first saw it at the tender age of nine).
Read More »
Macho Dancer is a 1988 Philippine film, directed Lino Brocka, which explores the harsh realities of a young, poor, rural gay man, who after being dumped by his American boyfriend, is forced to make a living for himself in Manila’s seamy red-light district. Based on a true story, the film frank depiction of homosexuality, prostitution, drag queens and crooked cops, porno movie-making and sexual slavery, and drugs and violence caused the Filipino government censors to order extensive edits of the film, forcing an uncensored edition to be smuggled out of the Philippines and shown to a limited number of international film festivals. This print is now part of the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York [Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video. 1994. Raymond Murray] Read More »