Manila in the Claws of Light


Manila in the Claws of Light 
Maynila sa mga kuko ng liwanag

The Philippines, 1975, 135’, Filipino 
Directed by: Lino Brocka
Screenplay: Clodualdo (Doy) del Mundo Jr, after the book In the claws of brightness by Edgardo M.Reyes
Photography (color): Mike de Leon
Editing: Edgardo Jarlego, Ike Jarlego
Art Direction: Alfonso Socito, Soxy Topacio
Music: Max Jocson
Producers: Mike de Leon, Severino Manotok, for Cinema Artists  
Cast: Hilda Koronel (Ligaya Paraiso), Rafael “Bembol” Roco (Julio Madiaga), Lou Salvador Jr (Atong), Tommy Abuel (Pol), Joonee Gamboa (Omeng), Pio de Castro III (Imo), Juling Bagabaldo (Mrs Cruz), Tommy Yap (Ah Tek), Danilo Posadas (Benny), Joe Jardy (Frank), Spanky Manikan (Gido), Edipolo Erosido (Eddie), Pancho Pelagio (Mr Balajadia), Purita Yap (Nanay), Josephine Guttierez (family of Ligaya), Gina Segul (family of Ligaya), Anna Marie Nicolas (Batang Ligaya) 

Date of First Release in Territory: July 16th, 1975
Restored Version: 2013


In the story of a young fisherman coming to Manila and gradually falling into all the traps of the “big city,” Lino Brocka strongly depicts all the inequalities of Filipino society that existed under the Marcos regime, and still do. Rarely have we seen such a powerful and emotional film in Filipino cinema.
In the 1970s, Julio Madiaga, a poor fisherman, who lives in the province, is in love with young Ligaya Paraiso, lit: “Joyful Paradise” (Hilda Koronel). Out of money, like most of his kind, he goes to the capital, Maynila (Manila), to find work, and to look for Ligaya, who is supposed to be there, but has disappeared. At first, he finds a hard job as a construction worker, but, unused to it, collapses with fatigue, while one other worker has a fatal accident on the site. He befriends Atong, a colleague, who warns him that living in the Big City without money can be a real challenge. Julio stays in the cheaper Chinatown, and always passes by the corner of Ongpin and Misericordia streets, where he spots a peculiar building. He has visions of Ligaya, and tells his story to his friend. He thinks he finds her when he sees a woman crossing the streets, but that’s not her, it’s a certain Mrs Cruz. He goes to the building he spotted, and asks about Ligaya. An old man answers in a negative and aggressive way. Julio leaves the building, but observes it later, in case Ligaya goes out…
Manila in the Claws of Light (or … of Neon) is the film that really asserted Lino Brocka’s importance as a new director, after the success of You Were Judged and Found Wanting
This compelling melodrama, written by Doy del Mundo, after Edgardo M. Reyes’s book, and put to life by DP Mike de Leon who stumbled upon the script by Del Mundo, shows the fate and destiny of a youth caught into the urban spiderweb, and who has eventually to resort to violence, when nothing else is possible, as his love is dead.
It is the 12th film by Lino Brocka, who made 65 altogether. The film, which was critically acclaimed, and a modest public success, received many awards at the prestigious FAMAS awards in 1976: Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor. It is one of the very few Filipino films that have been listed in the “World’s top 100 best films” regularly. 

Lino Brocka

Catalino Ortiz Brocka was born in Sorgoson in 1939. In the 1960s, after some time in the US, he returned to the Philippines and joined the Educational Theatre Association (PETA) as actor and director. He also worked in TV. His first film, Wanted: Perfect Mother, which was inspired by The Sound of Music, was a box office hit. Later on, he started to make more introspective and socially conscious films. A prolific author, in 1974 he established his own production company, Cine Manila Corp., and was able to make even more personal films. By the time he died in a car accident in Manila on 22 May, 1991, Brocka had made 65 films.


1970 – Wanted: Perfect Mother
1974 – You Were Judged and Found Wanting
1975 – Manila in the Claws of Light
1976 – Insiang
1979 – Jaguar
1980 – Bona
1980 – Angela Markado
1984 – My Country, on the Edge of a Knife
1989 – Orapronobis
1991 – A Plea to God

Max Tessier
Film director: Lino BROCKA
Year: 1975
Running time: 125'
Country: The Philippines
27/04 - 4:00 PM
Visionario, Via Asquini 33
27-04-2022 16:00 27-04-2022 18:05Europe/Rome Manila in the Claws of Light Far East Film Festival Visionario, Via Asquini 33CEC Udine