"Meghe Dhaka Tara" tells the tragic story of the beautiful daughter of a middle-class refugee family from East Pakistan, living in the outskirts of Calcutta under modest circumstances. ... See full summary »
Husband (senior ministry official) and wife find their house is riddled with listening devices put there by his own ministry. A harrowing night follows (reminiscent of 'Who's Afraid Of ... See full summary »
In the coal mining region of Pennsylvania, Wanda Goronski is constantly drinking to shut out the problems in her life. Having deserted her husband and infant children, Wanda sleeps on her ... See full summary »
A schoolteacher (Miereveld or "field of ants") is entranced by one of his students (Fran). Not being able to have his love fulfilled he tries to escape it and moves house and job. Working ... See full summary »
Poetical tale of Anne-Marie Stretter, the wife of a French diplomat in India in the 1930s. At 18 she had married a French colonial administrator and went with him on posting to Savannakhet,... See full summary »
James Benning took the founding of the New York Times in 1851 as a departure point for his latest film, Deseret. In the best Benning tradition, Deseret unfolds magnificent landscapes ... See full summary »
Lino Brocka's masterful study of a man's loss of innocence is a centerpiece of great Filipino cinema. The tale of young innocents traveling to the infamous city of Manila, and losing their way, has been told countless times, but "Manila: In the Claws of Neon" was the first, and this unflinching look at urban decay must have shocked people at the time. Bembol Roco is heartbreaking in his role as the small-town laborer who travels to Manila in search of his beautiful girlfriend, who has vanished without a word. With his baby face and puppy dog eyes, he conveys the image of the ultimate naive youth, and Hilda Koronel possesses the same pure quality, as his lost love, Ligaya.
Once in the clutches of the decadent metropolis, Julio is forced to either let go of his innocence, or be swallowed up by the ruthless, hardened characters around him. This same theme returns in Brocka's equally powerful "Insiyag." 'Maynila' is more than a study of lost innocence, of course. It is also an honest look at third World poverty, and the desperation that causes people to do things that they might not do otherwise, in order to survive. One of the film's most harrowing scenes features a scared and sickened Julio, lured into working at a sleazy male whorehouse. The character is obviously not homosexual, and being forced into having sex with men is the beginning of his own personal demise. The bloody, shocking climax of this film is one of the most memorable disturbing set pieces in film, and was borrowed from heavily, by Martin Scorsese a year later for his classic "Taxi Driver." Viewed back to back it becomes evident as the scenes in the hallway of the dark apartment tenement are virtually identical. Brocka's vision came first, too bad so few people are not aware of this beautiful film. Thought to be lost, due to improper storage of the film, this has surfaced on the internet, which is where i was able to finally see it. This one, and some other Filipino films are long overdue for restored DVD releases. If you can find it, see it.
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