(Filipino with English subtitles) This landmark film is considered by many to be one of the most important in Philippine cinema. The son of a wealthy man, Junior has everything he could ... 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 »
This film follows an antisocial working-class husband and father struggling to find work in the Midwest. As the film progresses, it seems that he has little actual interest in supporting ... See full summary »
The story of Norbu, a horse thief, who is thrown out of his tribe in an effort to purge it of evil. Norbu repents after the birth of his son, but he is forced to steal again after the birth... See full summary »
Julio Madiaga, a simple fisherman from the province, travels to Manila to find Ligaya, the woman he loves, after she went away with a mysterious woman promising a better future in the City. When he arrives, he becomes immersed in the city lifestyle and gets involved with its inhabitants experiencing extreme poverty, hard luck, and the overbearing need to grind for daily sustention. While Julio relentlessly searches for Ligaya, the city changes him little by little, becoming like an animal doomed to live only for survival in a wild jungle with no way out.Written by
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.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this