Maynila sa mga kuko ng liwanag (1975)
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- Manila in the Claws of Light
- 125 min.
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Movie deals with issues that still go on today in 2016. Movie showed true poverty and desperation.
Manila in the Claws of Neon starts with a black and white credits sequence, very much in a documentary style, establishing from the off that it is a portrait of Manila. And when it turns to color, it nevertheless retains that gritty, natural (and naturalistic in the literary sense), feeling of cinema verite. This is the Philippines in 1975, but it could be an urban center in any poor region, at any time in history, where people suffering in rural areas flock to the big city to find fortune, but mostly find a world that wants to abuse them. Though Julio's quest to find his girlfriend, the victim of human trafficking, is compelling, it nevertheless often feels like an excuse for him to be in Manila so he can experience first and second hand the injustice, inequity and corruption on offer in Manila. Though Julio makes easy friends throughout, many of them come to terrible fates, and several of their stories are told rather than seen. This is a very depressing movie. Downer or not, there's one scene that feels indelible to film canon, and it's essentially the climax where Julio gets a certain piece of bad news as women cackle at a nearby table. A masterful moment of point of view realism.
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In 6 official lists
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This movie ranks #350 in The British Film Institute: 360 Classics
This movie ranks #381 in Doubling the Canon
This movie ranks #528 in NY Times' The Essential 1,000 Films to See
This movie ranks #597 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #719 in Asian Cinema: A Field Guide
This movie ranks #1120 in The Criterion Collection