Cast: Hilda Koronel, Lou Salvador Jr., Rafael “Bembol” Roco, Tommy Abuel
Best Picture, Director, Actor, 1976 Film Association of the Philippines Awards
2013 Restoration by World Cinema Foundation and the Film Development Council of the Philippines
After following a recruiter to Manila for work, Julio’s girlfriend Ligaya has seemingly disappeared, leaving just scarce letters and a vanishing trail. And so, Julio leaves their island village for the big city to check out what grand opportunities have been promised to a beautiful young woman like her. By day, he works at a construction site. By night, he gazes through the darkened upstairs curtains of a Chinatown window, the shadowy corner where her trail seems to have evaporated. As he acclimates to the corrupt business of migrant work in Manila, he starts to suspect that Ligaya’s silence might be a sign of something sinister.
Julio wanders from shadow to shadow, job to job, leaving desperate footprints across a transforming cityscape, where new high-rises called “The Madrid” share a skyline with the neon lights of Japanese multinational corporations. Julio joins the ranks that shovel the cement and the entertainers who provide nocturnal pleasure to the masses so they can wake up in the morning, ready to be cogs in the machinery of the transnational finance and class inequality endemic to the Marcos years. To not become jaded or turn into a violent animal of the streets, Julio continues to prowl for signs of a lady vanished.
The consensus pick as the greatest Philippine film of all time, MANILA IN THE CLAWS OF LIGHT bakes 1970s romanticism into gritty urban realism to create a sweaty noir masterpiece. The great Lino Brocka bathes his characters in a hypnotic soundtrack of industrial drones and haunting voices, the chorus of a city promising enchantment and death in the same fateful requiem. Brocka shakes Julio with the cruelty of class injustice and flashbacks that cut into the psyche like shards of desire and vengeance. Relentlessly tense and fiercely political, MANILA leaves the viewer – and all of Philippine cinema – reawakened. –Brian Hu
This screening is FREE for Pac Arts members.
Show your membership card at the UltraStar box office to get your free ticket.
Co-presented by: Filipino American Lawyers of San Diego (FALSD)
Sun Apr 14