Insiang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Insiang
Insiang poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLino Brocka
Screenplay by
Story byMario O'Hara
Starring
Music byMinda D. Azarcon[1]
CinematographyConrado Baltazar[1]
Edited byAugusto Salvador[1]
Production
company
CineManila Corporation[2]
Release date
1976[3]
Running time
94 minutes[1]
CountryPhilippines
LanguageFilipino

Insiang (Tagalog pronunciation: [inʃjaŋ]) is a 1976 Philippine drama film directed by Lino Brocka. Its screenplay, written by Mario O'Hara and Lamberto E. Antonio, is based on O'Hara's teleplay of the same name. Set in the slums of Tondo, Manila, the film stars Hilda Koronel as the eponymous character: the young daughter of a resentful mother (Mona Lisa), whose much-younger lover (Ruel Vernal) rapes her. After her assault and the betrayal of her own lover (Rez Cortez), Insiang seeks revenge. A representation of urban poverty, the film explores themes of betrayal, revenge, and despair.

It is the first Philippine film shown at the Cannes Film Festival,[4] and to use Tondo as a shooting location.[5] A box-office failure, Insiang received good reviews from critics (some of whom regarded it as one of Brocka's best). The film's rights were transferred to the Film Development Council of the Philippines in 2015 by producer Ruby Tiong Tan for the council's discussion with Martin Scorsese's The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, about its restoration.[6] The restored version was selected for screening in the Cannes Classics section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival,[7] and played at a number of other film festivals.

Plot[edit]

In the shanty town of Tondo, Insiang works as a laundrywoman. Her mother Tonya, whose husband left her and her daughter for another woman, sells fish at a market. She has become cruel and domineering to Insiang, preventing her daughter from pursuing relationships with men although she is romantically involved with Dado, a butcher several years her junior. Tonya evicts her sister-in-law and her family from their home, saying that they are a burden, and Dado moves in the following day.

Insiang's car-mechanic boyfriend, Bebot, sneaks into her house one night and asks her to have sex to make up for missing their date. She spurns his advances, telling him to leave before Dado (who sneaks out of his bedroom) awakens. Tonya learns about the affair, and slaps Insiang repeatedly. Dado meets with Bebot and warns him not to go near Insiang again, explaining that he has a hold over the girl and her mother. After learning from Bebot about Dado's threat, Insiang confronts Dado for meddling in her relationship. When he claims that Bebot is cavorting with other women and his threat was intended for her security, Insiang disagrees. He chokes her into unconsciousness later that night, and carries her away.

Tonya finds her crying in pain the next morning, and learns that she has been raped by Dado. When he returns home, Tonya throws objects at him and tells him to leave. He admits having sex with Insiang, but convinces Tonya that her daughter tried to seduce him by bathing (and lying nude) in his presence. Tonya then blames Insiang for the assault, comparing her daughter to the girl's womanizing father. Bebot agrees to elope with Insiang to prove his love for her. They check into a cheap motel in Binondo, where they consummate their relationship. Insiang wakes up alone the next morning, with no idea where Bebot is.

She returns home, and is forgiven by Tonya on the condition that she works with her at the market to keep her from seducing Dado again. Dado sneaks into Insiang's bedroom that night and admits his attraction to her, explaining that being with Tonya is the only way he can be near her. Insiang invites him to have sex the following night. She finds Bebot acting cold and distant the following day; that night, Insiang asks Dado to avenge her. Dado and his gang beat up Bebot at the dump the next day. Over the following days, Insiang and Dado's relationship becomes intimate. A jealous Tonya confronts her daughter, who reveals that she and Dado have been having sex because he has been attracted to her all along. Furious, she stabs Dado to death as Insiang watches without apparent shock or pity.

Some time later, Insiang visits Tonya in prison. Uninterested in seeing her at first, Tonya tells her daughter that she has no qualms about murdering Dado; she did it so they could not be together. Insiang replies that she was disgusted with him for raping her, and wanted Tonya to kill Dado in anger and jealousy. Tonya says that Insiang must be overjoyed now that she has her revenge. Insiang begins crying and hugs Tonya, craving her affection. When Tonya responds coldly, Insiang leaves her. Consumed with guilt, a sorrowful Tonya watches her daughter walk away from behind the prison bars.

Cast[edit]

A black and white photograph of film director Lino Brocka behind the camera
Director Lino Brocka

Themes[edit]

Insiang explores themes of betrayal, revenge, and despair.[8] According to Lino Brocka, "The film is basically a character study of a young girl growing up in the slums. I wanted to show the violence of the overcrowded neighborhoods; the loss of human dignity caused by the social environment and the ensuing need for change."[9] It has been associated with the rape and revenge subgenre.[10] Don Jaucian of CNN Philippines said that the film's opening scene, depicting pigs being butchered, was "a thinly veiled depiction of the plight of the Filipinos under the Martial Law regime".[4] Some critics have associated the slaughterhouse scene with the country's poverty.[11][12]

Production[edit]

The film was originally an episode of the Philippine television dramatic series Hilda, which aired in 1974 with 17-year-old Hilda Koronel in the lead role.[13] The screenplay, by Mario O'Hara, was inspired by a family he once knew.[14] Producer Ruby Tiong Tan (a stockbroker at the time) was approached by Brocka to pitch the film with O'Hara's script: "That was the first time I met him. I found him to be sincere, professional, convincing; he had a fire in his eyes as he spoke. That impressed me. I couldn't turn him down. At the end of that meeting, I told him 'yes, let's do the film'".[15] Two days later, filming began for 21 days, on location in Tondo.[14][15] Policemen were on duty during the shoot to prevent the crew from being bothered by gangsters, since the slums of Tondo had an organized-crime presence. The filmmakers had to work quickly, wrapping production in time for the first Metro Manila Film Festival.[9]

Release[edit]

Initial release[edit]

Insiang's initial release in the Philippines was halted under the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1976. Marcos's wife Imelda was critical of the film, saying that it barely depicted a "beautiful view" of the Philippines,[16] and it was a target of censorship by governing bodies for the same reason.[15] Religious officials and the public protested, which obliged the censors to lift the ban and allow the film to be released.[9] It was unsuccessful at the Philippine box office, forcing Brocka's production company (CineManila Corporation) into bankruptcy.[2][17] The film was entered in the 1976 Metro Manila Film Festival, and won its four categories: Best Actress (Koronel), Best Supporting Actor (Vernal), Best Supporting Actress (Lisa), and Best Cinematography (Conrado Baltazar).[18]

Producer Ruby Tiong Tan was contacted that year by Cannes Film Festival artistic adviser Pierre Rissient, who told her that Insiang had been selected as a Best Foreign Film entry.[15] Tiong Tan, Koronel and Brocka traveled to France for the festival, the producer reportedly smuggling the film rolls in her luggage to prevent customs officers from confiscating them; she had added English subtitles.[9] At the 1978 Cannes festival, the film premiered during the festival's Directors' Fortnight section to critical acclaim;[4] it was the first Philippine film shown at Cannes.[15][17] Koronel's performance led to her front-page appearance in the French daily Le Monde.[15] In the United States, however, the film was less well-received at its premiere.[19]

Later release and home media[edit]

Film poster, with a pensive Insiang and the title outlined in white
Cannes Classics poster for Insiang

In 2015, Insiang was digitally restored in a joint effort by the World Cinema Project (owned by director Martin Scorsese), L'Immagine Ritrovata and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). For its preservation, the film's rights were transferred by Ruby Tiong Tan to the FDCP. The three organizations were also involved in the 2013 restoration of Manila in the Claws of Light (Maynila, sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag), a film directed by Brocka in 1974.[20] Insiang was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival on May 16.[21] It was also screened at the New York Film Festival (hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center) on September 28,[22] and at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) from October 28 to November 3 of that year.[23] The restored version was screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on April 9 with other preserved films, including The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965).[24]

The British Film Institute released the restored version in the United Kingdom as a 2017 box set, Two Films by Lino Brocka, which includes two DVDs and two Blu-ray discs (one for each film) of Manila in the Claws of Light and Insiang. Both transfers of the Insiang disc include Signed: Lino Brocka, a 1987 documentary directed by Christian Blackwood with an in-depth look at Brocka's life and career.[25][26] Insiang joined the Criterion Collection as part of Scorsese's World Cinema Project No. 2.[1]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Insiang received good reviews from foreign and domestic critics,[17] some of whom called it Lino Brocka's masterpiece.[2][3][21][27] Richard Brody of The New Yorker called it an "intense, furious melodrama" which "fuses its narrative energy with documentary veracity".[23] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times said, "Throughout, Mr. Brocka, working with his excellent director of photography, Conrado Baltazar, creates images of startling power, like that of bloody hands clutching in the void."[11] Nick Schager of Slant Magazine gave the film a score of 3.5 out of 4: "Brocka's portrait of familial treachery and societal abandonment channels its melodrama through the filter of neorealism, its story's heightened emotions kept at a simmer by an aesthetic at once verité-blunt and yet shrewdly, meticulously composed."[12]

José B. Capino of Film Comment said, "Brocka's handling of melodrama is nothing short of virtuoso."[19] Michael Joshua Rowin of Reverse Shot (a Museum of the Moving Image publication) was, however, critical of its status as a masterpiece: "Insiang is all skeleton and little flesh: the actors trudge in front of the camera, woodenly recite the purely functional lines from Lamberto E. Antonio and Maria O'Hara's screenplay, and wait for Brocka to provide some sort of commentary. None arrives."[28]

The review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 100 percent, based on six critics, and a weighted average of 7.4 out of 10.[29] O'Hara adapted the script into a play for the Tanghalang Pilipino (Philippine Theater) in 2004.[30] The Philippine Star listed Insiang seventh on its 25 Most Memorable Films list in 2011.[31]

Accolades[edit]

Award Year Category Work Result Ref(s)
Metro Manila Film Festival 1976 Best Actress Hilda Koronel Won [18]
Best Supporting Actor Ruel Vernal Won
Best Supporting Actress Mona Lisa Won
Best Cinematography Conrado Baltazar Won
Gawad Urian Awards 1977 Best Film Insiang Nominated [18]
[32]
Best Director Lino Brocka Nominated
Best Screenplay Mario O'Hara and Lamberto E. Antonio Nominated
Best Actress Hilda Koronel Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Ruel Vernal Won
Best Production Design Fiel Zabat Nominated
Best Cinematography Conrado Baltazar Nominated
Best Editing Augusto Salvador Nominated
FAMAS Award 1977 Best Supporting Actress Mona Lisa Won [18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Insiang (1976)". The Criterion Collection. Archived from the original on June 10, 2018. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Cutler, Aaron (October 27, 2015). "Insiang, the Best Socially Conscious 1970s Filipino Melodrama You've Never Seen (Presumably), at MoMA". Brooklyn Magazine. Northside Media Group. Archived from the original on August 19, 2017. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Lino Brocka's restored Insiang to open World Premieres Film Fest". GMA News. June 22, 2015. Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Jalucian, Don (September 27, 2016). "Sex as a weapon: Revisiting Lino Brocka's Insiang, 40 years later". CNN Philippines. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  5. ^ Babiera, Lester (January 12, 2015). "FDCP gets ownership rights of Lino Brocka's Insiang". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on December 25, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  6. ^ "Rights of Lino Brocka's Insiang to FDCP". Manila Standard Today. December 30, 2014. Archived from the original on 31 December 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Cannes Classics 2015". Cannes Film Festival. 29 April 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  8. ^ Francia, Luis H. (November 7, 2015). "A golden week". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d Carmona, Mayenne (August 18, 2007). "Insiang revisited". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  10. ^ Vestby, Ethan (April 8, 2016). "Insiang - TIFF Review". The Film Stage. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Dargis, Manohla (October 27, 2015). "Review: In Insiang, a Filipino Woman Suffers in the Slums". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 27, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Schager, Nick (September 26, 2006). "Insiang". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on May 14, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  13. ^ Francisco, Butch (June 24, 2001). "Insiang story as timely and as relevant as ever". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on August 28, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "FDCP obtains ownership rights of Lino Brocka's Insiang". Film Development Council of the Philippines. Archived from the original on January 16, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c d e f "Restored Insiang selected for Cannes Classics". Film Development Council of the Philippines. Archived from the original on January 16, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  16. ^ de Leon, Job (November 15, 2012). "Five films Imelda shouldn't have let you see". GMA News. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  17. ^ a b c "Director Lino Brocka: Stronger than Life". Philippine Entertainment Portal. September 28, 2007. Archived from the original on August 19, 2017. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c d "4 Filipino films listed among Asia's Best 100". The Freeman. Philippine Daily Inquirer. October 5, 2015. Archived from the original on January 27, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Capino, José B. "The Damned". Film Comment (September/October 2006). Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  20. ^ San Diego Jr., Bayani (May 3, 2015). "Brocka film Insiang returning to Cannes". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on February 3, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  21. ^ a b Red, Isah V. (May 6, 2015). "Restored Insiang returns to Cannes". Manila Standard. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  22. ^ "Insiang Returns to the 53rd New York Film Festival". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  23. ^ a b Brody, Richard. "Insiang". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on November 27, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  24. ^ Dacanay, Aimee (April 8, 2016). "Lino Brocka's Insiang is headed to the Toronto International Film Festival". Spot.ph. Summit Media. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  25. ^ Couzens, Gary (March 20, 2017). "Two Films by Lino Brocka (Manila - In the Claws of Light/Insiang)". The Digital Fix. TDF Network. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  26. ^ Tooze, Gary (February 14, 2017). "Lino Brocka: Two Films [Blu-ray]". DVD Beaver. Archived from the original on November 4, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  27. ^ Carballo, Bibsy M. (July 1, 2015). "Insiang survives the test of time". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on 2015-07-10. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  28. ^ Rowin, Michael Joshua (October 13, 2006). "Insiang". Reverse Shot. Museum of the Moving Image (New York City). Archived from the original on April 6, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  29. ^ "Insiang (1976)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  30. ^ Cadiz, Gibbs (July 1, 2012). "Lion of stage, movies named Mario O'Hara; 66". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on July 3, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  31. ^ Hernando, Mario A. (July 27, 2011). "25 Most Memorable Films". The Philippine Star. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  32. ^ "1st Gawad Urian Nominees (1977)". manunuri.com. Gawad Urian. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2017.

External links[edit]