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Director Lino Brocka remains the Philippines most celebrated name in cinema in the 20th century, but beyond his work as a director, Brocka was an outspoken political activist who saw political cronyism and corruption as condemning the country’s most vulnerable to their demise. MANILA IN THE CLAWS OF LIGHT takes aim directly at the political establishment and their blind eye to the people, but through the lens of effective genre storytelling: Brocka employs the narrative structures of film noir to set his tale of a country mouse who heads to Manila to chase his true love, only to be caught up in the city’s dark side.
“[If] MANILA IN THE CLAWS OF LIGHT… stands as the director’s finest achievement (it is the film that Lav Diaz credits for jump-starting his own interest in cinema as an art form), this is in part because it so vividly and fully captures the emotional, physical (and thus political) tenor of the city.” – CinemaScope, Lawrence Garcia