This screening will be accompanied by an introduction from Josh Siegal, film curator at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), who first conceived and organised the programme Mike De Leon: Self-Portrait of a Filipino Filmmaker.
Director: Lamberto V. Avellana
Language: Filipino; English subtitles
Runtime: 120 min
Swept up in the anti-Communist fervour of the 1950s, and in defense of the Philippines—”the bastion of democracy in the Pacific”—LVN Pictures produced three jingoistic films warning of a Fifth Column of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist conspirators bent on Chinese supremacy in the region. “The Cold War between America and the Communist bloc of the Soviet Union and China was becoming a hot war,” as Mike De Leon writes in Last Look Back, “and the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (People’s Army Against the Japanese) or Hukbalahap, evolved into the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (People’s Liberation Army) after the war. The Huk movement, as it was called, supported the peasants’ ardent desire to own their land, and advocated armed struggle…. In 1953, with extensive help from the CIA, soon-to-become President Ramon Magsaysay and the United States Information Service (USIS) launched a nationwide campaign to persuade the Huk rebels to lay down their arms and take advantage of the government’s offer of amnesty. Those who surrendered were promised their land, specifically in Kapatagan, Lanao, in Mindanao. Huk in a New Life is based on this campaign message, although it transcends propaganda as directed by Avellana. It remains a powerful drama with stirring performances by Padilla, Joseph de Cordova, and Leroy Salvador.”
Please note: little survives of the film library of LVN studios, and what does survive is generally in poor condition. We nonetheless present these rare films so that Singaporean audiences can experience them for the first time.
This screening is part of Retrospective: Mike De Leon. For the full programme, please click here.
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