Maynila, sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag

It was still raining a bit in the morning when I decided to do my laundry. I returned home and watched “Manila in the Claws of Light,” a very good film that reminded me of “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Midnight Cowboy,” and “Missing.” It showed how tough it is to survive in a city like Manila. Also, it shows the plight of young women who get sold into sexual slavery. Julio Madiaga is the 21-year-old who was a fisherman who came to Manila to search for his girlfriend Ligaya, who was supposed to be getting an education and a job in the city. The first part of the film shows Julio trying to make money doing construction work. The workers have a tough job, and they are cheated out of their full pay. My impression of these workers was that they were really hungry all the time. I wondered how they kept clean. Julio went on to stay with a male prostitute named Bobby. This was the part of the film that made me think of “Midnight Cowboy.” We never see how Julio and Bobby part ways. Julio shouldn’t have confronted Mrs. Cruz, the woman who sold Ligaya to the prostitution ring, because she just cried out that he was robbing her of her purse. It seems that you have to do things quietly in Manila, away from the masses. We wait for about three-quarters of the film to see if Julio will ever reunite with Ligaya, and there were questions about whether that would ever happen. It feels like Julio will have to do something drastic to free Ligaya from her situation, and where would the two of them go, anyway? It seems that something dramatic and probably tragic is going to happen at the end. The film suggests that justice is not going to happen in a harsh world. The ending is difficult to watch because of its hopeless feeling. This film was released in 1975, and it still feels like an important film to watch. Critics consider it to be the greatest Phillipine film ever made. The actor who played Julio, Rafael Aranda Roco, Jr., would go on to play Kumar in “The Year of Living Dangerously” in 1983. He is 66 years old now. The director, Lino Brocka, died in a car accident at age 52 on May 22, 1991. Some of the people who died on December 5 include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1791), Alexandre Dumas (1870), Claude Monet (1926), Fred Clark (1968), Robert Aldrich (1983), Roone Arledge (2002), Don Meredith (2010), Nelson Mandela (2013), and Rashaan Salaam (2016). Today is a birthday for Margaret Cho (51) and Little Richard (87). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for December 5, “Charade,” starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, and Walter Matthau, was released in 1963. In 1964, Lorne Greene reached Number One on the singles chart. In 1968, Graham Nash quit The Hollies. In 1969, the Rolling Stones released their album “Let It Bleed.” In 1975, the album “Fleetwood Mac” was certified gold. In 1980, “Flash Gordon,” featuring a soundtrack by Queen, was released. In 2005, Valerie Bertinelli filed for divorce from Eddie Van Halen. In 2010, Don Meredith died of a brain hemorrhage at age 72.

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