News  ·  07 | 08 | 2018

Manila In Black And White

Maynila: sa mga kuko ng liwanag (Manila, in the Claws of Light) - Piazza Grande

Opening credits. Footage of a city reawakening. Ordinary people going to work, the shutters go up, someone opens their eyes, over in a corner. It is Manila, Manila in black and white. Then suddenly a zoom-in, the face of a boy, standing still in the street looking upwards. Black and white becomes color. It's the unforgettable beginning of the tumultuous screaming story of Julio, a country boy who arrived in the city to find his beloved Ligaya, who left before him and who now may have disappeared. Manila: sa mga kuko ng liwanag (Manila in the Claws of Light) is the masterpiece with which, in 1975, the Filipino filmmaker Lino Brocka, in the midst of Marcos' dictatorship, was able to tell the story of an entire nation caught between poverty and social struggles, to film as never before the deafening cry of this metropolis, the dust, the mud, the slums, the prostitution, the world of homosexuality, the daily struggle for survival. A masterpiece that Locarno dedicates to Pierre Rissient, a friend and contributor of the Festival who recently passed away, someone who literally saved the film by handing over the negatives received directly from Brocka's hands to the British Film Institute (and later restored by the intervention of Martin Scorsese/World Cinema Foundation, the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Cineteca di Bologna). Based on a novel by Edgardo M. Reyes and illuminated by the great Mike De Leon, Brocka's film is a continuous explosion of images and conflicts. A worker's death on the job becomes an opportunity to experiment with progressive editing speed; Julio's flashbacks of the days with Ligaya in his native countryside raise the level of vision until transforming the city into an authentic hallucination. Lino Brocka will always be remembered for this unique ability to change any political factor into a poetic possibility..