A masterpiece of Filipino cinema directed by one of its most famous exponents
New 2K restoration
Julio, 21, left his fishing village for Manila seven months ago to find his fiancée, Ligaya. The latter also went to the capital where work was waiting for her. But when she stopped giving news, Julio left everything behind to go in search of his beloved. Soon running out of money, he gets hired as a worker on a building site. Julio gradually discovers the universe of the underclass in Manila between prostitution, corruption and extreme poverty...
Filmed in 1975, Manila is the adaptation of a novel by Edgardo Reyes entitled Sa mga kuko ng liwanag ( In the claws of neon in French), in reference to the many neon signs that flood the capital. This initial title illustrates the fascination exerted by Manila which, according to Brocka, "attracts the provincials like moths who come to burn themselves in the lamps". Because the city is here a sprawling character that attracts its inhabitants within it and closes its trap on them, a Sodom and Gomorrah of modern times where vice is at every street corner.
Producer and director of photography Mike de Leon is behind the film: he entrusts the project to Lino Brocka, whose previous feature, Tinimbang ka ngunit kulang , was a huge success in the Philippines. Brocka demonstrates here an extremely innovative staging and editing for the time - passage from black and white to color, recurring flashbacks... The stylization of the staging sometimes clashes with the violence and rawness of the story which evokes at times the universe of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. As usual, Lino Brocka finds the right balance so that his film appeals to the general public while conveying a strong political and social message. Through this story, he denounces the disastrous situation that exists in the poor neighborhoods of Manila and the lack of intervention by the Marcos regime to improve the situation of precarious people.
If Brocka is inspired by the Shakespearean tragedy with Insiang , shot the following year, he revisits with Manila the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, through the character of Julio who desperately seeks his great love in the hell of the underworld. Manila. This is embodied by the young Rafael Roco Jr – here in his first big screen role – who will soon become a star of Filipino cinema under the name of Bembol Roco. For the character of Ligaya, Brocka enlists his star actress, Hilda Koronel, whom he cast from his first film, Wanted: Perfect Mother . Multi-awarded at the FAMAS (equivalent to the Philippine Caesars), Manila is now considered one of the greatest Filipino films of all time, to be admired in its sublime 2K restoration!
MANILA (1975 – Colors and B&W – 127 mins) new 2K restoration
. INTRODUCTION BY MARTIN SCORSESE
. MANILA: LINO BROCKA BY PIERRE RISSIENT (6 mins) Pierre Rissient talks about Manila , which he considers Lino Brocka's first overtly political film.
. "MANILA… A FILIPINO FILM" (1975 – Colors – 22 mn) Archive images and interviews on the set of Manila . A making-of produced by Mike de Leon; filmed and edited by Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr.