Lino Brocka’s 1975 film Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila in the Claws of Light) is regarded as one of the greatest films in Filipino cinema, and it will soon join other cinematic greats from around the world as it officially joins the Criterion Collection for 2017.
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that focuses on “important classic and contemporary films” for film aficionados. Since it started in 1984, it has produced copies of noted films from directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Jean Renoir, Federico Fellini, and many more.
Brocka’s masterpiece will be the first Filipino film to be included in the collection.
Maynila tells the story of Júlio Madiaga, who arrives in Manila from the province to search for his love. In the city, he witnesses and experiences various injustices while living on the fringes of society. It is an adaptation of an Edgardo Reyes story called Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag, which was serialized in Liwayway magazine from 1966 to 1967.
The film starred Bembol Roco, Hilda Koronel, Lou Salvador Jr. and Tommy Abuel.
The New York Times selected it as a NYT Critics’ Pick, and wrote, “The movie’s palpable, deeply lived-in realism is among its great attractions, largely because the film isn’t just a story about a young Filipino Everyman, but because it’s also a de facto record of Manila in the 1970s.”
In 2013, it was restored by the World Cinema Foundation and the Film Development Council of the Philippines. The restored film premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival under the Cinema Classics section.
Have you seen this film? What are your thoughts?
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