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- 95 min.
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The Philippine Tragedy of Insiang...
Read more in French on La Saveur des goûts amers.
Filipino director Lino Brocka's follow-up to Manila in the Claws of Light is Insiang, a piece of naturalism set and shot in the slums of Manila where people are piled on top of each other, looking for jobs, and screaming at each other a lot. This is a very loud film, with blown-out sound and dragging musical cues even when the immersive chaos at the start of the film (which starts with a pig being bled out in a processing plant, just to give you a jolt from the beginning) calms down. The story isn't rosy, but it is engrossing no matter the film's technical flaws (which do not include the visuals, which are rich and colorful, and even more impressive when you realize the film was shot in seven days). Insiang is a young woman at odds with her bitter, nagging mother, a difficult relationship that becomes even more difficult when mommy dearest invites a predator in the already too-full house. Insiang will eventually get her revenge on the people who wrong her, lending some desperate thrills to the third act, but the heart of the matter always lies with the mother-daughter dynamic, the former's hubris almost out of Greek tragedy, but the emotional context is modern and universal, at least to anyone who's had a cold parent.
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In 6 official lists
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This movie ranks #7 in Pinoy Rebyu's 100 Greatest Pinoy Films of All Time
This movie ranks #27 in ICM Forum's 500<400
This movie ranks #43 in BIFF's Asian Cinema 100
This movie ranks #271 in Doubling the Canon
This movie ranks #723 in Tom Vick's Asian Cinema: A Field Guide
This movie ranks #1021 in The Criterion Collection