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Remembering Lino Brocka’s social activism



The reawakening of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) to make films and its allied medium as a socially-relevant creative industry for national identity, development and international diplomacy is unprecedented under the present mandate of the penultimate livewire Chairman Liza Diño.

This calls to mind the social commitment in parallel direction of National Artist for Film Lino Brocka (real name: Catalino Ortiz Brocka) who co-founded Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), Free the Artist Movement and The Coalition for Restoration of Democracy.

He perished untimely in 1991 in a car accident driven by newbie actor William Lorenzo. To some in the know, it was a such a mysterious death.

To recall, Lea Productions then eagerly wanted to give a directorial break to founder of nationalist theater (PETA) Cecile Guidote (now Alvarez), but the country’s pioneering thespian passed it on to Lino Brocka instead. Thus was born the critically-acclaimed “Wanted: Perfect Mother.”

As a committed director, Lino was a giving-sharing person. He strongly opposed Martial Law and was more than supportive of showing socially-relevant film classics including his own to help address and polarize the social unrest against Martial Law at the time.

Our paths crossed. He generously consented to holding a regular festival of local film classics mostly from LVN Pictures that he curated and keynoted with Q & A after each screening of the likes of “Anak Dalita,” “Biyaya Ng Lupa,” “Malvarosa” and “Tuko Sa Madre Kakao.”

This was at the elite PhD holders galore academic community of University of the Philippines Los Baños whose student counselling weekly film programming I took charge under Dr. Benedicto Parker.

Foregrounding this filmic cultural landscape were student leaders Mario Dumaual now ABS-CBN Star Patroller, bionic beauty titlist Lizbeth de Padua ans co-faculty activist Jessica Sales, a “desaparecido.”


Long story short, from being a blue-blooded supporter of the late Corazon Aquino, Lino pivoted to the left-leaning groups appropriating films including street theater to praxis in the words of activists.

The National Artist for Film became Cory’s nightmare. He spoke openly in rallies here and abroad of the incompetence of Ninoy Aquino’s widow and the vicious practices of crony capitalism under her administration. The outspoken director came out with the controversial film, “Orapronobis,” a searing indictment of private armies running loose during Cory’s term in Malacañang. The movie was banned locally and abroad.

But Lino’s political maturity as shown in his films was way off ahead his time. He refused to be gagged and went on to denounce Cory fearlessly in his attempts to wake up most of us from the stupor or hoax of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino’s last resort to fake martyrdom that the Dictator’s nemesis himself stage managed with the stamp of his adoptive country, the purveyor of postmodern global colonialism.

From Cory’s ascension to power mistaken for a saint, Lino Brocka would have shown in his films condemning the “noynoying” immediate past Pres. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd who arguably dragged the country into limbo or hell, a reprise of his mother’s past floundering acts.

* * *

GUESS WHO? The younger brother (YB) who is into showbiz is made to appear that he is well provided by his older brother and bigger action hero on screen. The truth is YB moonlights with gay benefactors to augment his income.

Clue: YB is touted as a better actor than his older brother.

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Today’s Front Page January 25, 2020

Today’s Front Page January 25, 2020