Daily Archives: May 8, 2019

Lino Brocka: The PHILIPPINES’ Greatest Director and dear friend

Lino Brocka: The Philippines’ Greatest Director

Lino Brocka was a radical filmmaker whose socially conscious films explored the plight of the marginalized and ignored sectors of Filipino society. Maria Soriano explores his trailblazing life and career, and looks at his films, which are unfortunately unattainable outside of The Philippines.
Catalino Ortiz Brocka, more famously known as Lino Brocka, was one of the Philippines’ greatest auteurs. He was born in Pilar, Sorsogon in 1939. His father Regino, who was a huge influence on Brocka, teaching him Maths and English as well as the Arts, was killed in a political murder when Brocka was still young. Brocka, along with his mother and brother, had to flee to live with his mother’s sister. But a good life was far from reach as he and his family suffered physical and verbal abuse from his relatives and were forced to do hard labour, an experience he would carry with him throughout his career as a director.

Brocka developed a strong interest in films during his youth, particularly Americanfilms, and despite his poor upbringing he managed to flourish academically and won a college scholarship in the country’s leading academic institute, the University of The Philippines. Initially majoring in pre-law, he dropped the course to study literature instead. While studying at the University, he joined the Dramatic Club but was criticized for his provincial accent and demeanour, a treatment that disgusted him. Brocka took it upon himself to watch his beloved American movies to practice his English further and improve his accent, a move that eventually gained him acceptance in the club, but only as a stage hand. After dropping out of college, he converted to Mormonism and devoted himself to missionary work, travelling to a leper colony in Hawaii. He then travelled to America and worked menial jobs in San Francisco for a brief period of time before turning down a chance for American citizenship, opting instead to return to the Philippines to revive his interest in filmmaking.

He joined the Philippine Educational Theatre Association where he met its founder Cecille Guidote, which led to the making of his first film, 1970’s Wanted: Perfect Mother, a box-office hit based on The Sound of Music, the only film he has made that was not heavy on social injustice and drama. From then on, Brocka’s films became more personal, his filmography depicting the plights and suffering of the Filipino people. Some of his best works are Insiang (1978), a revenge tale of a girl’s rape by her mother’s lover, which became the first entry by a Filipino filmmaker at the Cannes Festival, earning him the prestigious Palm d’Or. Manila: In The Claws of Darkness(1976), Jaguar (1980), and Bayan Ko (My Country, 1984) were also nominated for the award, further cementing his reputation as one of the greatest directors to come out of South East Asia.

Brocka’s films are very character driven, magnifying the oppression and neglect of the common citizen, the poor everyman barely scrapping by while fighting off abuse from the system. He often cast unknown actors to focus more on the story and not on the celebrity. Actors such as Bembol Roco, Hilda Koronel and Laurice Guillen are amongst the unknown actors that worked with him repeatedly for years, eventually becoming stars in their own right. Alongside his socially conscious films Brocka also discussed themes of sexuality, which filmmakers during his time tended to avoid. Despite his Mormon faith, Brocka was openly gay and homosexual themes were often a big part of the narratives of his films, as was showing sexually confident and strong-spirited women. Brocka’s films highlight the marginalised and ignored sectors of society- the slum dwellers, prostitutes, street hustlers, as well as those who were discriminated against simply because of gender or sexuality – subjects that no other director dared to touch, especially while under the Marcos dictatorship.

Manila: In The Claws of Darkness explores the prostitution of provincial girls and their hand-to-mouth existence in the city, while Jaguar, which many see as a companion piece to Manila: In The Claws of Darkness, is about a kind hearted country boy named Poldo who works in the city as a security guard and is drawn into the seedy underbelly of city life. Brocka manifests himself and his upbringing in his films by using naïve country folk, just as he once was, trying their luck in the city and finding out the hard way that the promise of a good life is nothing but an illusion. The gritty violence and voracious lack of morals in his films can be overwhelming, but it elicits a certain moral response from the audience that makes them very aware of the depressing state of affairs in society.

Under the Marcos regime, strict censorship was enforced in the media and Brocka was forced to smuggle his films out of the country for screenings to avoid heavy cuts. In 1984, he flew to Cannes to support another nomination for Bayan Ko (My Country). In his fight for freedom of speech, he declared that the Marcos dictatorship had taken control of the Philippine media for its enforcement of censorship, which resulted in his arrest and imprisonment along with other journalists and filmmakers upon his return to the Philippines.

He was released from jail after the fall of Marcos and was invited by Corazon Aquino, Marcos’ successor, to be part of a committee to draft the 1986 constitution but left soon after as he felt that many of the policies worked against the Filipino people. He protested against the new government by making radical films such as Ora Pro Nobis(1989) and Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak (1990), with Ora earning him yet another Palm d’Or nomination.

Lino Brocka died in a car accident on May 21, 1991. His untimely death did not stop his long and hard fight for social justice as he was posthumously awarded the National Artist Award and is considered, to this day, the greatest social realist, and the greatest director, the Philippines has produced.

Randy Ford and his wife Peggy were close friend of Lino and have many fond memories of him

FILM & TV

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HISTORY

The Life and Legacy of José Rizal: National Hero of The Philippines

12 of the Most Influential Chinese Film Directors

The 10 Best Books in Modern Philippine Literature

The 7 Most Legendary Filipino Authors

ART

The Power Of Filipino Expressionism: Artists Interpret The Marcos Dictatorship

16 English Words and Sayings Travellers Won’t Understand in the Philippines

KEEP GOING

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Curt Stubbs Gay Poet – de Joel and other poems

de joel

by Curt Stubbs

In the April darkness a child squalls,

Abandoned by his mother, put up for adoption,

unwanted for 11 months.  I never knew he was there.

I never comforted his fears. I never held him against the darkness,

but he grew through all the traumas of childhood,

perhaps magnified by his cleft palette,

and I still didn’t know he was there.

I never taught him to throw a perfect spiral pass,

I never taught him to throw a wicked curve ball,

I never taught him to ride a two wheel bike.

I was never there for his teen aged angst.

I was too involved in the pursuit of the perfect high, the mainline drunk.

even so he grew to manhood, pursued and won a wife, fathered little Erynn.

She never cried in the night, I bet,  lonely and not knowing who her father was.

I never even knew I had fathered a son.

By my seventieth year I had calmed down,  I had grown responsible,

learned to take care of myself.

But by then he didn’t need my care, my hard earned lessons.

He had all the things I never had, a career, a family,

a certainty about his place in the world.

Then he matched dna with me, found me

and I was startled out of my complacency.

and I finally knew where he was.

Curt Stubbs

3880 N Park Place  apt. A

Tucson, AZ.

857119 curtstubbs69@gmail.com

 

STONEWALL TRILOGY

by Curt Stubbs

1.    Before Stonewall

A theater showing grunting Gay porn.

Blue light voyeurs sitting alone in the dark.

An approach … tentative… nodding assent.

Mutual furtive hand jobs under humping coats.

An escaping sigh, a stabbing light.

Chuckle.  “What you boys doing here in the dark?

Zip it up.  We’re going downtown.”

A meek trip in a paddy wagon.

Coats hiding heads / faces / self-respect.

 

Closets are built of billi clubs and baseball bats

wielded by cops or fag bashers,

The certainty of fear,

the uncertainty of brutality,

keep people from going out,

holding hands, showing intimacy.

“You a faggot?” shove, “I asked

you a faggot?”  You deny it,

but they shove again.

“You scared of me faggot?”

Again you deny your internal identity.

They hit you anyway,

blow after blow.

Broken bones, cracked skull,

internal damage, all depending

on how many attack you.

At first you don’t go out

because of the bruises.

Then because of fear,

your loss of self-respect.

 

A mafia owned bar.  Watered down

twice-priced drinks add insult.

A bouncer at the door to signal

an approaching raid.  Men and women

dancing with men and women to switch

when the bouncer hits the light switch,

boys and girls to switch to opposite sexes,

“Ok girls, you better have two pieces

of men’s apparel under those frocks.

Show time now girls.  Show and tell.”

A meek trip in a paddy wagon,

coats hiding heads / faces / self-respect.

 

Newspapers list those arrested, addresses, jobs.

Loss of homes / jobs / self-respect.

Lives of quiet desperation.

 

2.  The Stonewall Uprising

Street queens, hustlers, homeless youth, those

with nothing left to lose.

A mafia run bar that had not paid off the police,

a raid expecting quiet acquiescence

as in the past.  “OK all you dykes and faggots.

We’re going on a little trip.

Everybody in the paddy wagons.”

Maybe Judy Garland’s funeral has long fanned the flames.

Maybe an arrestee’s plunge from an upper story

police station window and impalement

on the iron fence below.

Maybe they were just sick and tired

of being sick and tired.  A whole lot of maybes

fought back, fought, the cops, threw copper pennies

at the coppers, locked them

inside the bar, uprooted a parking meter

to batter down the solid wooden door.

Inside the scared police lodged

a cigarette machine against the door

to keep the angry, growing mob out,

open unashamed faces / self-respect.

Six nights of taunting “Lilly Law.”

Always circling around the block

top confront the police phalanxes.

Kick lines taunting, throwing bottles,

bricks and witty insults.

60’s protests came to the Gay community.

Kick line sings: “We are the Stonewall girls.

We wear our hair in curls.

We don’t wear underwear,

We show our pubic hair.”

and other such slacious songs.

More performance art than riot

 

3.   After Stonewall

Riot leads to the Gay Liberation Front.

Leads to one year later – a commemorative march.

Will a hundred show their faces?

Saw thousand! marching proud and free.

G. L. F. all over the country – the world.

Fight the laws, the American Psychiatric Association,

change the definition of mental illness.

Everybody’s doing it, doing it, doing it

in the bars, parks and bath houes.

No limp-wristed faggots here.

Moustaches, leather men, gym toned bodies.

Then Redrum = AIDS spelled backwards.

Fear, decimation, abandonment by those in power.

Fighting Falwell’s lies for self-respect,

Fight back – ACT UP – silence = death.

Chalk outlined die-in at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Come out, come out whoever you are,

you sick bastards.

Lesbians tending the living,

dying Gay men.

450,000 March on Washington.

Thousands of grave-sized quilts

to mark those who’ve gone before .

Silence = death.

5000 couples speak their commitments

a forecast of things to come.

Soldiers don’t ask,

and sailors don’t tell

abolished – stories of abuse.

Lawrence Vs. Texas goes all the way

to the Supreme Court

making consensual sex legal at last.

Everybody’s doing it, doing it, doing it,

leaving closets burning in their wake.

Courts everywhere striking down anti-marriage laws.

President Obama mentions Stonewall

with other freedom sites.

Who’s next?  Who’s next?

 

Curt Stubbs

curtstubbs69@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

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