#179 – Manila in the Claws of Light – Filipino Cinema Masterpiece? – Film Analysis

Filipino cinema is in a state of emergency. It is grappling with an artistic gridlock that confines new films to a limited spectrum between rom-coms and slapstick. Amidst this cinematic stagnation, the cinema-goers gravitate towards Hollywood blockbusters, meanwhile relegating the rich Filipino cinematic heritage to neglect. However, a resurgence is underway as initiatives emerge to salvage and revive the remnants of this cinematic legacy. The Flick Lab takes on the responsibility of honoring Filipino cinema by shedding light on its critically acclaimed gems.

In this episode of the podcast, Karri and Henrik deep-dive into Manila in the Claws of Light, hailed as one of the Philippines’ cinematic masterpieces. Despite severe degradation of the film’s negatives, recent restoration efforts have breathed new life into this Lino Brocka creation. In a tapestry of realism, melodrama and noir, the audience is taken on a journey with a young fisherman who moves to Manila to locate his girlfriend, of whom he has not heard since she ventured into the bustling capital. The film deals with themes of hope, perseverance, desperation, love, and hate, echoing a howl and cry for something better. Based on and filmed in the 1970’s, the film illustrates the daily struggles during these times; monetary hardship, class struggle and rampant corruption.

Films covered in this episode:
Manila in the Claws of Light (1975)

Hosted by Karri Ojala and Henrik Telkki. Edited by Karri Ojala. The Flick Lab theme tune written and performed by Nick Grivell.

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