Maynila Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag - Manila in the Claws of Light

"Okay, I really need this job". Julio

"Okay, I really need this job". Julio

☆ Classic 


Maynila Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag - Manila in the Claws of Light (1975) is an unflinching look at urban poverty.


Directed by Lino Brocka.


Starring Hilda Koronel, Bembol Roco and Lou Salvador Jr. among many others.


Irony and social realism are blended in Lino's film to create a journey of one young man's loss of innocence. The film is based on the novel, In the Claws of Brightness by Edgardo M. Reyes. A truly tragic and realistic drama about what urban decay does to one's innocence and youth. The strongest direction that Brocka has is his unflinching social commentary on third world poverty and the filth and horrors it inflicts on its inhabitants. Lino's focuses his camera  on the depravity and ugliness its inhabitants inflict on each other to survive in an urban jungle.

An interesting viewpoint Lino brings to the screen is male prostitution. Brocka was homosexual and he points out that many young male urban prostitutes are heterosexual and only commit gay sexual acts for money and that their clients understand this and allow the boys to decide that they will do sexually for money. Lino then contrast this with the urban female prostitutes who are beaten, rapped, drugged, deprived of their money and forced into doing sexual acts. Brocka's gritty, remorseless direction would influence Martin Scorsese a year later in Taxi Driver.

Another point I found interesting is that Brocka's characters name have very deep meanings and help the viewer to better understand their place in the story. The girl's name means happiness and paradise, the boy's means patience. The brothel owners name means money, and his recruiter of young girls means cross, a reference to the cross they have to bear.

Lino's ultimate message is that no one has a chance in this urban jungle unless they are protected by the authorities or able to pay the price. It's no wonder Marco's regime tried to suppress this film which had to be secretly smuggled out of the Philippines to be shown at the Cannes International Film Festival.

The beauty of the scene below is the church setting in which they finally meet. Two formers lovers finally meet to reconcile and renew the love, innocence and youth that was taken from them by society. 



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Trivia - Bembol Roco got the lead after Jay Ilagan kept increasing weight and had to quit.




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Note - If you would like to view Maynila Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag - Manila in the Claws of Light to rent or buy please click on the link below the comments. It is sponsored by Google, so it is the safest and most secure way to get a copy for your film library.