The film “Insiang” by the late Filipino film director Lino Brocka is among the jewels in Philippine cinema and is known as one of Brocka’s masterpieces.
Critics consider Insiang as the best example of film noir in Philippine cinema, a film which takes a hard and critical look at Philippine society and culture- the ills, faults and the disillusions of its people.
Although the film, produced in 1976, typifies the melodrama that is often seen in Brocka’s movies, it is not a run-of-the-mill tearjerker and rises above other Filipino movie dramas with its exceptional actors, superb script and excellent direction. A story of revenge, lust and poverty, Insiang was set and filmed in Smokey Mountain, one of Manila’s notorious shanty towns located in Tondo.
With its raw realism and portrayal of urban poverty, the film was denounced, censored and denied approval by former First Lady Imelda Marcos, making Brocka an outcast in the Marcoses’ New Society where the true–good–and–beautiful-only mantra was a dominant rule during the dictatorial regime of the Marcoses.
With Insiang, Brocka caught the eye of the international film industry when it premiered in Cannes outside the main competition, and launched the career of Hilda Koronel, the lead actress. Ironically, and despite the passage of more than two decades, the film’s portrayal of Philippine society remains valid up to this day, proof of Brocka’s talent and the power of cinematic art.
Mabuhay ang Philippine cinema!