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
Bembol Roco has come to Manilla to search for his girlfriend, Hilda Koronel. She was recruited to work in a factory in the big city, but there has been no word, so Roco has followed to look for her. He finds it a topsy-turvy place, where the poor are generous and the rich claim to have no money. As he gradually comes to get on his feet, he makes friends, some false ones who merely wish to use him, and a few who wish to help him.... and whoinform him she has almost certainly been recruited for the sex trade.
Lino Brocka's movie portrays Manilla as a ugly place. He also tells his story very efficiently, with Roco's young, blank face a perfect canvas for the Kuleshov Effect. I did not find anything particularly novel in this movie, causing me to wonder why it's on S.J. Schneider's list of '1001 movies you must see before you die.' I'll speculate it's because of its political message and he wanted to have one movie from the country on the list. It's good, but not spectacular.
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