TRIPLE BILL: Crossroads (2022) + Manila, In the Claws of Light (1975) + Manila, A Filipino Film (1975)

  • April 2, 2023 | 5:00 PM - 7:40 PM | Sunday
  • Oldham Theatre


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Sangandaan (Crossroads, 2022)
Director: Mike De Leon
Language: Filipino; English subtitles
Country: Philippines
Runtime: 4 min
Rating: TBA

Full Synopsis

Borrowing a beloved song from his own 1984 feature Sister Stella L., Mike De Leon made this video in a damning response to the victory election of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as president of the Philippines. In a prepared statement at the Cannes premiere of his restored Itim, he wrote, “Horror has now acquired a more sinister meaning. It is no longer about a ghost but about the monsters of Philippine politics, monsters that, after a long wait in the subterranean caverns of hell, have returned to ravage and rape my country all over again. The crazy thing is that we invited them back.”

Followed by:

Maynila, Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila, In the Claws of Light, 1975)
Director: Lino Brocka
Language: Tagalog; English subtitles
Country: Philippines
Runtime: 124 min
Rating: R21

Full Synopsis

A haunting, beautiful landmark of Filipino cinema, Manila, In the Claws of Light launched the international careers of director Lino Brocka, cinematographer and producer Mike De Leon, screenwriter Clodualdo del Mundo Jr., and actors Hilda Koronel and Bembol Roco. It firmly established a bold and often controversial new style of filmmaking in a movie industry primarily known for lavish musicals, prestige melodramas, and other popular fare.

As De Leon reminisces in Last Look Back, “I didn’t give serious thought to those anti-Marcos politicians who had been imprisoned. I was ignorant of the military atrocities committed all over the country and the unchecked greed of Marcos and his cronies. I was more enthusiastic about filmmaking and the ‘idea’ of Maynila because it promised to become an ‘artistic’ film in the tradition of the social realist Anak Dalita (The Ruins) that my father produced with great critical success in 1956. But I hoped Maynila would achieve not only critical but some measure of commercial success…..”

The restoration of Maynila, Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag was made possible using the original camera and sound negatives deposited by Pierre Rissient, on behalf of Cinema Artists Philippines at the BFI National Archive since the early 1980s. A 35mm positive print of the film preserved by the Asian Film Archive was used as a colour reference during the grading process.

The film was restored in 2013 by the World Cinema Foundation and the Film Development Council of the Philippines at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with LVN, Cinema Artists Philippines and Mike de Leon. Restoration funding was provided by Doha Film Institute.

Followed by:

Maynila, Isang Pelikulang Pilipino (Manila, A Filipino Film, 1975)
Director: Clodualdo del Mundo Jr.
Language: Filipino; English subtitles
Country: Philippines
Runtime: 23 mins
Rating: TBA

Full Synopsis

Doy del Mundo’s documentary recounts the making of Lino Brocka’s acclaimed film Maynila, Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila, In the Claws of Light). Despite the difficulties of staging some sequences like the dramatic fall scene, working with non-professionals and capturing the city’s underbelly, the film insists on painting an authentic portrait of Manila. As Brocka put it, “We just want to make […] a good Filipino movie, a movie that the Filipino audience can relate to. I feel that the only way to achieve this is to make movies that reflect the values and attitudes of the people.”


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

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