Monday, April 7, 2014

Remembering Lino Brooks

Lino Brooks was born Catalino Ortiz Brocka on April 7, 1939 San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. He directed his first film, “Wanted: Perfect Mother”, based on The Sound of Music and a local comic serial, in 1970. It won an award for best screenplay at the 1970 Manila Film Festival. Later that year he also won the Citizen’s Council for Mass Media's best-director award for the film Santiago!. The same year he wrote the story and screenplay for the Euro-western “Arizona Kid” starring Chiquito, Mamie Van Doren and Gordon Mitchell.
In 1974, now known as Lino Brocka, he directed “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” It was a box-office hit, and earned Brocka another best-director award, this time from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS).
The following year he directed “Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag”, which is considered by many critics to be the greatest Philippine film ever made. The film won the FAMAS awards for best picture, best director, best actor, and best supporting actor in 1976.
“Insiang” (1978) was the first Philippine film ever shown at the Cannes Film Festival. It is considered to be one of Brocka's best films — some say his masterpiece.
The film “Jaguar” (1979) was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival. It won best picture and best director at the 1980 FAMAS Awards. It also won five Gawad Urian Awards, including best picture and best direction.
In 1981, Brocka was back at Cannes' Director's Fortnight with his third entry, “Bona”, a film about obsession.
In 1983, Brocka created the organization Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), which he led for two years. His stand was that artists were first and foremost citizens and, as such, must address the issues confronting the country. His group became active in anti-government rallies after the assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr., eventually becoming one of the progressive organizations representing artists and cultural workers in the country.
The following year, “Bayan Ko” was deemed subversive by the government of Ferdinand Marcos, and underwent a legal battle to be shown in its uncut form. At the 1984 Cannes Film Festival, however, it was nominated for the Palme d'Or. It garnered four honors at the 1986 Gawad Urian Awards, including best picture.
For his fight against the Marcos regime, Brocka, in 1986 was appointed by President Corazon Aquino to the 1986 Constitutional Commission to draft a new constitution for the country. During his tenure in the commission, he eventually resigned.
In 1987, a documentary entitled “Signed: Lino Brocka” was directed by Christian Blackwood. It won the 1988 Peace Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.
On May 21, 1991, Brocka met an untimely death in a car accident in Quezon City, Metro Manila. In 1997, he was given the posthumous distinction of National Artist for Film.
Today we remember Lino Brooks on what would have been his 75th birthday.

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