Insiang: A Cautionary Tale from the Past
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Like many of Lino Brocka’s films that focuses on the lives of those in marginalized sector of our society, Insiang followed this formula. It was the first Filipino film to be featured at the Cannes Film Festival in 78’. This 1976 classic tells the tale of a teenager who lives in the slums of Tondo with her verbally abusive mother.  The setting in the slums, itself, builds to the tense anticipation of the main character’s attempt to escape her suffocating situation. Like in a purgatory state, the characters are stuck in their own economic problems as they go about their day to day lives. Their problems drown in a sea of noise from others who are struggling just like them. This depiction of everyday life in Tondo, may seem mundane on the surface, but it beacons one to feel the hopelessness and the complacency the characters resign to. Insiang was filmed during the Martial Law years of the Philippines. By mixing melodrama and neorealism, Brocka has created a narrative that, on the surface, speaks of a classic revenge tale but beyond its facade lies volumes of symbolism against the Marcoses. From startling viewers with its opening scene at the butchery to presenting its scenery of the slums, the film was temporarily banned by Imelda Marcos because it was showing an image of Manila that is contrary to the image that they are trying to sell to the world. A masterpiece that is regarded as a world cinema classic, Insiang is a film that speaks of the socio-realities of the impoverished Filipino people that still rings relevant up to this day.

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