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Director: Mike De Leon

90mins I Drama, Thriller, Mystery I Filipino I 1981

Section / Program
Pinoy Klasiks



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"Kisapmata" (In the Wink of an Eye) is a 1981 Filipino psychological horror film directed by Mike de Leon, with a screenplay by de Leon, Clodualdo del Mundo Jr., and Raquel Villavicencio, based on National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin's essay "The House on Zapote St." (as Quijano de Manila).

It tells the story of a controlling patriarch who loses it over his daughter's marriage and her attempts to escape from their incestuous household.

Cast: Vic Silayan, Charo Santos, Jay Ilagan and Charito Solis with Ruben Rustia, Aida Carmona, Juan Rodrigo, Cora Alforja, Dindo Angeles
Writer: Mike De Leon, Clodualdo del Mundo Jr., Raquel Villavicencio
Cinematography: Rody Lacap
Editor: Jess Navarro
Music: Lorrie Ilustre

Free Online Screening
OCT 17, 2023 - NOV 3, 2023


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Mike De Leon, the producer and cinematographer of Lino Brocka’s haunting masterpiece Manila in the Claws of Light (1975), is one of Filipino cinema’s most fiercely political and dramatic storytellers in his own right. His family owns LVN Pictures, founded in 1938 by De Leon’s grandmother Doña Sisang. Inspired by this storied history of popular moviemaking in the Philippines—one he experienced firsthand as a child on the LVN studio lot—as well as by Hollywood and European cinema, De Leon’s own films mix the genres of melodrama, crime, supernatural horror, slapstick comedy, and the musical with blisteringly critical stances toward his country’s history of corruption and cronyism, state-sponsored violence, feudalist exploitation, and populist machismo: the festering legacies of the nation’s colonial past made even more purulent by the dictatorships of Ferdinand Marcos and Rodrigo Duterte. [from MoMA Film Series via]

Miguel Pamintuan De Leon, also known as Mike De Leon, is a noted Filipino film director, cinematographer, scriptwriter and film producer. He was born in Manila on May 24, 1947 to Manuel De Leon and Imelda Pamintuan. His interest in filmmaking began when he pursued a master's degree in Art History at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. De Leon first made two short films namely: 'Sa Bisperas', 1972, and 'Monologo' (Monologue), 1975. He established the Cinema Artists Philippines in 1975. He produced Lino Brocka's 'Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag', while also acting as the said film's cinematographer in 1975. For 'Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag', De Leon won best cinematography awarded by the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS).

De Leon's films are a full reflection of the Filipino psyche that sought answer for questions on social class belonging, political absurdities, and fragmentation's in various form. His first major full-length work was, 'Itim' (Black), in 1976, an in-depth study of guilt and violence and shows De Leon's delicate balancing of cinematic elements to project mood and character. It was voted by the Philippine's Urian Awards as one the Ten Outstanding Films of the Decade: 1970-1979. The film also won him the best director award during the 1978 Asian Film Festival held in Sydney, Australia. De Leon directed 'Kung Mangarap Ka't Magising' in 1977, which became a tribute to his grandmother Dona Sisang to celebrate the family's film company, LVN Pictures. Known for his varied experiments in styles of directing, he pushed the birth of the new musical in 'Kakabakaba Ka Ba? ' which won for De Leon the Urian award for best director.

His other movies include 'Kisapmata' (1981), 'Batch'81' (1982) and 'Sister Stella L.' (1984). In these films he tackled social and political issues with powerful and disturbing imagery. His blockbuster film, 'Hindi Nahahati ang Langit' (1985) was an adaptation from an earlier Filipino Komiks version of the same title. In 1987,De Leon also made 'Bilanggo sa Dilim', a full-length video commissioned by Sony Entertainment. De Leon explored subjects such as incest, fraternity violence, and the Filipino workers' cause. These were themes that were portrayed in the films 'Kisapmata', 'Batch '81' and 'Sister Stella L' respectively. These films became cinematic masterpieces in Philippine History of Filmography and later listed as the Philippines's Ten Outstanding Films of the Decade: 1980-1989 by the Philippines (FAP) where De Leon also won a best screenplay award, for 'Sister Stella L'. De Leon won best director and best screenplay in the Philippines's Urian Awards in 1984, 'Kisapmata' and 'Batch '81' - both presented during the Directors' Fortnight at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival. The film 'Sister Stella L'. was an entry during the 1985 Venice Film Festival. De Leon pioneered the use of computer graphics animation for the TV advertising industry in 1988. His film, 'Aliwan Paradise', became a part Southern Winds in 1993, a film anthology collecting four films from Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Japan which was commissioned by NHK and the Japan Foundation. [from IMDB]

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Cannes Film Festival 1982, France
Toronto International Film Festival 1982, Canada
Goterborg Film Festival 1983, Sweden
Grand Lyon Film Festival 2022, France
MoMA, 2022, USA
Festival des 3 Continents 2022, Framce
Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinemas, 2023, France
Asian Film Archive, 2023, Singapore

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