Manila: In the Claws of Darkness (Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag)

“During the last decade, the films of Lino Brocka have formed the nucleus of a more universally-oriented cinema from the Philippines.... The Philippines' public has its own stars, and the thriving commercial success of (its) popular films has, somehow, not discouraged some directors (Mike de Leon, Eddie Romero) who, like Brocka, move toward neorealism and humanistic subjects.... Manila: In the Claws of Darkness of Brocka's most representative, trenchant examples of social criticism and ruthless determinism among all of his films. The story describes the experiences of a provincial youth, Julio, who comes to Manila in search of his childhood sweetheart, Ligaya. The city is a totally destructive force, and Brocka quite unflinchingly exposes the exploitation of construction workers, the torpid atmosphere of overcrowded slum areas, and the creeping degradation that eventually smothers all. A procession of vibrant characters inhabit Brocka's film world, and one senses the genius of an Asian Gorky, who seems dedicated to reshaping his public, something he has in common with other outstanding Third World directors. Julio's ultimate fall from innocence is a symbol of all forgotten youth, who, caught in a web of indifference, resign themselves to the limitless deafness of a world outside.” Albert Johnson, San Francisco Int'l Film Festival '80

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