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Catalino Ortiz Brocka (April 3, 1939 – May 22, 1991) was a Filipino film director.
He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and significant Filipino filmmakers in the history of Philippine cinema.
He co-founded the organization Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), dedicated to helping artists address issues confronting the country, and the Free the Artist Movement and was a member of the Coalition for the Restoration of Democracy.He directed landmark films such as Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (1974), Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1975), Insiang (1976), Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (1984), and Orapronobis (1989).
After his death in a car accident in 1991, he was posthumously given the National Artist of the Philippines for Film award for "having made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts."
Brocka was born in Pilar, Sorsogon. He grew up and lived in San Jose, Nueva Ecija and graduated from Nueva Ecija High School in 1956.
He made his first film, Wanted: Perfect Mother, based on The Sound of Music and a local comic strip from 1970. At the 1970 Manila Film Festival, it received the Best Screenplay award. He also received the Citizen's Council Award for the film Santiago later this year.
Brocka's film Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang ("You Have Been Weighed and Found Wanting") told the tale of a teenager growing up in a tiny town in the midst of gross and racial injustices. It was a box-office hit and earned Brocka another Best Director award, this time from the Filipino Academy of Film Arts and Sciences (FAMAS).
Maynila sa mga Liwanag ("Manila in the Claws of Light"), which is considered by many commentators, including British film critic and historian Derek Malcolm, to be the best Philippine film ever made. Julio Madiaga, a young provincial who heads to Manila in search of his missing love, Ligaya Paraiso, is the film. He has gone from one adventure to another before finding Ligaya. Mike de Leon's superb cinematography directed Kisapmata and Batch '81, which would follow later in pioneering films such as Kisapmata and Batch '81. In 1976, the film received the FAMAS Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor.
Insiang (1976) was the first Philippine film to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival. It was shown in the Director's Fortnight section of the 1978 Cannes Film Festival. Some say it is one of Brocka's finest films, while others claim it to be his masterpiece. Insiang, a young woman who lives in Tondo's infamous Manila slum district, is the subject of the film. It's a Shakespearean tragedy that involves Insiang's abduction by her mother's lover and her subsequent revenge.
At the 1980 Cannes Film Festival, Jaguar (1979) was nominated for the Palme d'Or, becoming the first Filipino film to participate in the festival's main competition. At the 1980 FAMAS Awards, it was named Best Picture and Best Director. It also received five Gawad Urian Awards, including Best Picture and Best Direction.
With his third entry, Bona, a film about obsession, Brocka returned to the Cannes' Director's Fortnight in 1981.
Brocka founded Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), an organization that he directed for two years. He argued that artists were the country's first and greatest citizens, and as such, must address the country's challenges. Following Benigno Aquino Jr.'s assassination, his group became one of the country's most influential organizations representing artists and cultural workers. Brocka and fellow filmmaker Behn Cervantes were arrested on January 28, 1985, during a national transportation strike arranged by public transportation drivers. They were charged with organizing an unlawful assembly and were refused bail. Both directors denied being the strike's leaders, and they said they were attending in sympathy with the drivers. Following public pressure for President Ferdinand Marcos to release the directors, they were released after 16 days. Since being a student at the University of Michigan, he joined the Campaign for the Reconstruction of Democracy.
Bayan Ko ("My Country") was deemed subversive by Ferdinand Marcos' administration in 1984 and underwent a court fight to be displayed in its uncut form. It was however nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival. It received four awards at the 1986 Gawad Urian Awards, including Best Picture.
Brocka appeared as a jury member in the 39th Cannes Film Festival in 1986.
Brocka produced over forty films. Macho Dancer (1988) was screened in the Philippines at the time of its introduction, but it was heavily restricted due to its political and sexual content. Brocka smuggled an uncensored 35mm print of the film out of the country to avoid government censorship; the print is now in the Museum of Modern Art collection. Orapronobis (international title: Fight for Us) (1989) and Gumapang Ka sa Lusak (1990) are two other notable works.
Brocka, a rebel under the Marcos regime, was appointed by President Corazon Aquino in 1986 as a member of the country's Constitutional Commission to write a new constitution. In August 1986, he resigned. Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, was his principal contribution to the 87 Constitution. He was the only delegate who had succeeded in amending the Bill of Rights, according to Justice Adolfo Azcuna.
One of Brocka's last requests was the removal of US bases in the Philippines. He will continue to do so, urging senators and the government to ban US military presence in the country until his death.
Brocka was openly gay and a convert to Mormonism.