Veteran theater and movie director Behn Cervantes died Thursday morning due to complications from pneumonia . He was 74.
According to his sister Lengleng, Behn had been confined at the Asian Hospital in Alabang, Muntinlupa where he had been confined due to his deteriorating health condition.
As per his dying wish, Cervantes’ remains were cremated on the same day.
He would have celebrated his 75th birthday on August 26.
As one of the visionary activists of local cinema, Cervantes was one of the staunchest critics of former President Ferdinand Marcos, who fought the dictators regime on the streets, on stage, and on the big screen.
He established the UP Repertory Company in 1974 as a way “to combat the censorship that was in place during Martial Law,” he once wrote in UP Forum.
His film Sakada (1976) which starred Hilda Koronel, Bembol Roco, Alicia Alonzo, Robert Arevalo, Rosa Rosal, Gloria Romero, and Pancho Magalona, was about seasonal workers who don’t have a good life, and [their]hacienderos … excessively rich Filipinos who enjoy life without deserving the enjoyment of life,” he described.
His actions made him a prime target of the administration and Cervantes became a political detainee because of Sakada.
Cervantes’ other films included “Ito kaya’y pagkakasala?” “Masikip, Masakit, Mahapdi” and “Bawal na Pag-ibig.”
Together with National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, Cervantes was among the founding members of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino.
He recently received a Life Achievement Award from the University of the Philippines Alumni Association, and an Aliw award for Life Achievement in Theater.