Kisapmata (In the Blink of an Eye, 1981)

  • March 26, 2023 | 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM | Sunday
  • Oldham Theatre


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Director: Mike De Leon
Language: Filipino; English subtitles
Country: Philippines
Runtime: 90 min
Rating: M18

Full Synopsis

Shot in the blink of an eye—a mere three months—and featuring some of Filipino cinema’s greatest actors from the studio era, including Charito Solis, Kisapmata was inspired by the real-life crime story “The House on Zapote Street” (1961) by Nick Joaquin, who wrote as Quijano de Manila during his career as a literary journalist. Mike De Leon writes, “Kisapmata explores the concept of strongman rule as exemplified by the character of Dadong, ang Tatang, the psychotic padre de familia, rendered monstrous by the unforgettable performance of Vic Silayan. The father has incestuous relations with his daughter—the ultimate corruption. That the film was interpreted as an allegory of the regime of Ferdinand Marcos was no coincidence, though the crime happened in 1961. Nevertheless, many elements in this allegory were present in the original story. The policeman was an Ilocano, and so was Marcos. He ruled with an iron fist and subjected his family to unmitigated terror, just as Marcos did to the country.”

The restoration of Kisapmata was made possible using the incomplete 35mm original camera negative, an original optical soundtrack negative, and a positive print preserved by the Asian Film Archive.


This screening is part of Retrospective: Mike De Leon. For the full programme, please click here.

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