June 1, 2017
Pola Esguerra del Monte
Chill out from Netflix for a while. If you’ve been thirsting for a really good Filipino film—and by that we actually mean excellent—here’s something that will keep you woke.
The prestigious Criterion Collection recently released Insiang (1976), director Lino Brocka’s now‑classic social realist melodrama that made Hilda Koronel a star at the Cannes film festival and also secured the director's place in international cinema.
Not only is the Philippines now represented in the Criterion catalogue, but its release of Insiang is also part of the Blu‑ray/DVD collector’s set entitled Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project No. 2 which retails at US$99.96.
(Also featured, among others, in the Scorsese project is Apichatpong Weersekathakul, whose Thai art drama film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) was shown yesterday at the UP Film Institute’s Film Center.)
A link on Insiang in the Criterion website also features an essay by cineaste Phillip Lopate that shows a refreshing familiarity with Philippine cinema.
It was reported late last year that Criterion would release another masterwork by Mr. Brocka, Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1975), on which New York Times critic Manohla Dargis wrote an earnest appreciation in her 2014 retro‑review.
Four decades after the Second Golden Age of Philippine Cinema—the era of Mr. Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, and Mike de Leon, among others—that period continues to be revived and rediscovered.
Movie still from Criterion’s official website.
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