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WORDS: Andrew A. Paredes and Gay Ace Domingo
PICTURES: MOWELFUND Film Institute

FHM exhibits a massive festival of the best Filipino movies from the 1970s up to present!

Manila by Night (1980)
Director: Ishmael Bernal

A sweeping commentary not only on the dog-eat-dog sensibility of those living below the poverty line, but on the hypocrisy of those living above it. A slap to Imelda Marcos’ aesthetic of “the true, the good and the beautiful.” The former First Lady even had Regal Films matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde change the title to City After Dark!

Wiliam Martinez on Manila by Night: William Martinez on Manila By Night: "Ishmael Bernal is one of the best directors in the Philippines and Manila By Night is one of the landmark films in Philippine cinema. It was a privilege to work for him. He trained me and Maricel Soriano. Bernal was very strict. I had to be very punctual during the shooting. The most na puwedeng ma-late was only 10 minutes. Kapag ma-late kay, lilipad ang silya!

There was a shooting day that I will never forget. Doon sa bahay ni (designer) Rudy Fuentes ginawa. Nasa kuwarto si Bernardo Bernardo and then I found out na may kissing scene pala kami ni Bernie. I was only 17 years old then and I didn't know what to do. I left the set. Sabi ko magpapalamig muna ako. I called my manager, Douglas Quijano. Sabi ko, 'Dougs, may kissing scene pala ako dito.' Sabi niya, 'Gusto mo bang mag-artista?' 'Oo.' 'Nasa puso mo ba ang pag-aartista?' Sabi ko, 'Oo.' I went back to the set at nakipaghalikan ako kay Bernie. That's my job. Kapag artista ka, dapat kaya mo kahit anong role.
Bernal was very inspired when he was making that movie about morals and the ills of the city. We made that during Martial Law and the film was about the bad side of Manila. In-edit ni Imelda ang movie kaya noong pinalabas yon, maraming jump. Even if the film was made in 1980, it remains very timely, hindi nawawala sa panahon. Parang kahapon lang ginawa yung pelikula. Yung hitsura ko doon gan'on pa rin!"


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