Lino Brocka
An undated photo of Brocka
Catalino Ortiz Brocka

(1939-04-03)April 3, 1939
DiedMay 22, 1991(1991-05-22) (aged 52)
Quezon City, Philippines
OccupationFilm director
Years active1970–1991
RelativesQ. Allan Brocka (nephew)
Awards Order of National Artists of the Philippines
Cultural profile of Lino Brocka from the "Order of National Artists" (National Commission for Culture and the Arts)

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 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.[1][2][better source needed] He was a member of the Coalition for the Restoration of Democracy.[3]

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." In 2018, Brocka was identified by the Human Rights Victims' Claims Board as a Motu Proprio human rights violations victim of the Martial Law Era.[4]

Early life

Brocka was born in Pilar, Sorsogon.[5] He grew up and lived in San Jose, Nueva Ecija[6][7] and graduated from Nueva Ecija High School in 1956.[8]


He directed his first film, Wanted: Perfect Mother, based on The Sound of Music and a local comic serial, in 1970. It won an award for best screenplay at the 1970 Manila Film Festival. Later that year he also won the Citizen's Council for Mass Media's best-director award for the film Santiago!

In 1974, Brocka directed Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang ("You Have Been Weighed and Found Wanting"),[9] which told the story of a teenager growing up in a small town amid its petty and gross injustices. It was a box-office success, and earned Brocka another Best Director award, this time from the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS).

The following year, he directed Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag ("Manila in the Claws of Light"), which is considered by many critics, including British film critic and historian Derek Malcolm,[10] to be the greatest Philippine film ever made. The film tells the allegorical tale of a young provincial named Julio Madiaga who goes to Manila looking for his lost love, Ligaya Paraiso. The episodic plot has him careering from one adventure to another until he finally finds Ligaya. Much of the film's acclaim is directed towards the excellent cinematography by Mike de Leon, who would later on direct landmark films such as Kisapmata and Batch '81. The film won the FAMAS Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor in 1976.

Insiang (1976) was the first Philippine film ever shown at the Cannes Film Festival.[11] It was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section of the 1978 Cannes Film Festival. It is considered to be one of Brocka's best films — some say his masterpiece. The film centers on a young woman named Insiang who lives in the infamous Manila slum area, Tondo. It is a Shakespearean tragedy that deals with Insiang's rape by her mother's lover, and her subsequent revenge.

The film Jaguar (1979) was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first Filipino film to compete in the main competition of the festival.[12] It won Best Picture and Best Director at the 1980 FAMAS Awards.[13][11] It also won five Gawad Urian Awards, including Best Picture and Best Direction.

In 1981, Brocka returned to the Cannes' Director's Fortnight with his third entry, Bona, a film about obsession.[14]

In 1983, Brocka created the organization Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP),[3] which he led for two years. His stand was that artists were first and foremost citizens and, as such, must address the issues confronting the country. His group became active in anti-government rallies after the assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr., eventually becoming one of the progressive organizations representing artists and cultural workers in the country. On January 28, 1985, Brocka and fellow filmmaker Behn Cervantes were arrested at a nationwide transport strike organized by public transportation drivers.[15] They were charged for organizing illegal assembly and denied bail. Both directors denied being leaders of the strike, stating they were attending in sympathy with the drivers.[16] They were released after 16 days,[17] following public pressure for President Ferdinand Marcos to release the directors. He joined the Coalition for the Restoration of Democracy after his release.[3]

In 1984, Bayan Ko ("My Country") was deemed subversive by the government of Ferdinand Marcos, and underwent a legal battle to be shown in its uncut form. At the 1984 Cannes Film Festival however, it was nominated for the Palme d'Or. It garnered four honors at the 1986 Gawad Urian Awards, including Best Picture.

In 1986, Brocka served as a jury member in the 39th Cannes Film Festival.

Brocka directed over forty films. Macho Dancer (1988) was screened in the Philippines at the time of its release, but it was heavily censored due to its political and sexual content.[18] Brocka secretly smuggled an uncensored 35mm print of the film out of the country to evade government censorship; the print is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.[18] Other notable works include Orapronobis (international title: Fight for Us) (1989) and Gumapang Ka sa Lusak (1990). In 1990, Brocka's frequent cinematographer Pedro Manding Jr. was found stabbed to death in a canal in Quezon City, with authorities later identifying the perpetrator as a person from Labrador, Pangasinan.[19]

For his opposition against the Marcos regime, Brocka, in 1986, was appointed by President Corazon Aquino as a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission to draft a new constitution for the country. He eventually resigned in August 1986. His main contribution to the 1987 Constitution is Article III, Section 4. According to Justice Adolfo Azcuna, he was the only delegate who had succeeded in amending the Bill of Rights.

One of the last things Brocka campaigned for was the removal of U.S. bases in the Philippines. He would continue to do so, urging senators and the government to remove U.S. military presence in the country, until his death.[20]

Brocka was openly gay, and a convert to Mormonism.[21][22]


On May 22, 1991, Brocka and actor William Lorenzo left the Spindle Music Lounge, where they watched a show starring Malu Barry, in a 1991 Toyota Corolla being driven by Lorenzo, heading home to Tandang Sora in Quezon City, Metro Manila. At around 1:30 a.m., the car crashed into an electric pole made of concrete along East Avenue, after Lorenzo tried to avoid a tricycle suddenly swerving towards their path. Both Brocka and Lorenzo were rushed to the East Avenue Medical Center, where Brocka was declared dead on arrival, with Lorenzo in critical condition but declared out of danger by doctors.[23] In 1997, Brocka was given the posthumous distinction of National Artist for Film.


Detail of the Wall of Remembrance at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, showing names from the 2007 batch of Bantayog Honorees, including that of Lino Brocka.

Lino Brocka's name has been included on Bantayog ng mga Bayani's Wall of Remembrance, which recognizes heroes and martyrs who fought against martial law in the Philippines under Ferdinand E. Marcos.[24]

Brocka was also recognized by the University of the Philippines (U.P.), his alma mater, for his involvement in the fight against martial law in the Philippines.[25][26] At the recognition ceremonies held at U.P., then university president Emerlinda Roman lamented how the "dictatorship had crushed [U.P. students' and alumni's] dreams for the future." Roman said the recognition was held to "remember their extraordinary valor." Former Senator Jovito Salonga also noted the sacrifices made by the honorees. In his address to the audience, Salonga said, "We promise their relatives that we will never forget their sacrifices so that the light of justice may never be extinguished in this country whose fertile soil was washed by their blood."[26]

The Development Council of the Philippines organized a retrospective of Brocka's films on September 20–25, 2016, "in remembrance of the proclamation of Martial Law 44 years ago."[27] Screenings of Brocka's films and of the documentary Signed: Lino Brocka were held at Cinemateque Manila. A symposium, a panel discussion with martial law survivors, and a film editing workshop were also held as part of the retrospective.[27]

Contestable Nation-Space Cinema, Cultural Politics, and Transnationalism in the Marcos-Brocka Philippines, a book by University of the Philippines Professor Rolando B. Tolentino, focuses on Brocka's engagement with society and dictatorship in the Philippines. The book explores "Brocka's filmic engagement and critique of the Marcos politics provide the condition of possibility that allows for the dictatorship to cohere and fragment, and for 1970s and 1980s Philippine cinema to be an important receptacle and symptom of negotiations with the dictatorship, the latter allowing for the foregrounding of subversions to the state and its order."[28]

The Cultural Center of the Philippines commemorated Brocka's 70th birth anniversary in 2009 with "Remembering Brocka: Realities/Rarities," a series of screenings of Brocka's films and public fora following the screenings.[29]

In 1987, a documentary entitled Signed: Lino Brocka was directed by Christian Blackwood.[30] It won the 1988 Peace Film Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The Philippine Educational Theater Association, where Brocka was once executive director,[31] named its multi-purpose hall the Lino Brocka Hall, in memory of the director.[32]

Law professor Tony La Viña noted the significance of the 1990 Philippine Supreme Court decision in the Brocka vs. Enrile case, which, for La Viña, "illustrates... what a difference democracy makes."[33] Brocka, Behn Cervantes, and Howie Severino were arrested by officers from the Northern Police District at a protest rally in 1985 while Ferdinand Marcos was still president.[34] Brocka, Cervantes, and Severino were subsequently charged with illegal assembly and inciting to sedition. In a decision issued after the EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos, the Supreme Court ruled that the criminal proceedings against Brocka et al. amounted to persecution and were "undertaken by state officials in bad faith."[33]


As director and writer

Year English title Original title Director Writer Notes
1970 Wanted: Perfect Mother - Yes Yes First film; based on the novel by Mars Ravelo
1970 The Arizona Kid - No Yes Directed by Luciano B. Carlos
1970 Santiago! - Yes Yes
1970 Dipped in Gold Tubog sa Ginto Yes Yes Based on the comic series by Mars Ravelo
1971 Now - Yes Yes Lost film
1971 Lumuha pati mga anghel Yes No Credited as Lino O. Brocka
1971 Cadena de amor - Yes No Credited as Lino Brocka Ortiz
1971 Stardoom - Yes No
1972 Villa Miranda - Yes No
1972 Cherry Blossoms - Yes Yes Lost film
1974 Weighed But Found Wanting Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang Yes Yes
1974 Three, Two, One Tatlo, Dalawa, Isa Yes No
1975 Manila in the Claws of Light Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag Yes No Based on the novel In the Claws of Brightness by Edgardo M. Reyes
1975 Dung-aw Yes No Musical adaptation of the life of Filipina heroine Gabriela Silang
1976 Lunes, Martes, Miyerkules, Huwebes, Biyernes, Sabado, Linggo Yes Yes Lost film
1976 Insiang - Yes No Screened under Directors’ Fortnight at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival
1977 Tahan na Empoy, tahan Yes No
1977 Inay Yes No
1978 Mananayaw Yes No
1978 My Father, My Mother Ang Tatay Kong Nanay Yes No
1978 Wake Up, Maruja Gumising Ka… Maruja Yes No Based on the novel Maruja by Mars Ravelo
1978 Hayop sa hayop Yes No
1978 Rubia Servios - Yes No Based on the short story “Unforgettable Legal Story” by Aida Sevilla Mendoza
1979 Init Yes Yes
1979 Ina, kapatid, anak Yes No
1979 Jaguar - Yes No Based on the 1961 essay “The Boy Who Wanted to Become Society” by Nick Joaquin; screened in competition at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival
1979 Whore of a Mother Ina Ka ng Anak Mo Yes No Official entry to the 1979 Metro Manila Film Festival
1980 Stolen Love Nakaw Na Pag-Ibig Yes No
1980 Angela Markado - Yes No
1980 Bona - Yes No
1981 Kontrobersyal! Yes No
1981 Burgis Yes No
1981 Hello, Young Lovers - Yes No
1981 Dalaga si misis, binata si mister Yes No
1981 Caught in the Act - Yes No
1982 PX - Yes No
1982 In This Corner In Dis Korner Yes No
1982 Palipat-lipat, papalit-palit Yes No
1982 Mother Dear - Yes No
1982 Cain and Abel Cain at Abel Yes No
1983 Strangers in Paradise - Yes No
1983 Hot Property - Yes No
1984 This Is My Country Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim Yes No Screened in competition at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival
1984 Adultery - Yes No
1984 Akin ang iyong katawan Yes No
1984 Experience - Yes No
1985 Miguelito Miguelito: Batang rebelde Yes No
1985 White Slavery - Yes No
1985 Ano ang kulay ng mukha ng Diyos? Yes No
1986 Napakasakit, kuya Eddie Yes No
1987 Maging akin ka lamang Yes No Remade in 2008 as a TV series for GMA Network
1987 Pasan ko ang daigdig Yes No Remade in 2007 as a TV series for GMA Network
1988 Three Faces of Love Tatlong Mukha ng Pag-Ibig Yes No Anthology film with Emmanuel Borlaza and Leroy Salvador; segment: "Ang Silid" (lit. "The Room")
1988 Macho Dancer - Yes No Screened out of competition at the 1988 Toronto International Film Festival[35]
1988 God Is Still Sleeping Natutulog Pa ang Diyos Yes No Based on the novel by Ruben R. Marcelino; remade in 2007 as a TV series for ABS-CBN
1989 Kailan mahuhugasan ang kasalanan? Yes No
1989 Fight for Us Orapronobis Yes No Screened out of competition at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival
1989 Babangon ako’t dudurugin kita Yes No Remade in 2008 as a TV series by GMA Network
1990 Kung tapos na ang kailanman Yes No
1990 Dirty Affair Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak Yes No Remade in 2010 as a TV series by GMA Network
1990 All Be Damned Hahamakin Lahat Yes No
1990 Victim Biktima Yes No
1990 Ama… Bakit mo ako pinabayaan? Yes No
1990 How Are the Kids? - Yes No Anthology film with Jean-Luc Godard, Jerry Lewis, Anne-Marie Miéville, Rolan Bykov, Ciro Durán, and Euzhan Palcy; segment: "Oca"
1991 In Spite of Everything Sa Kabila ng Lahat Yes No
1991 Spark in the Dark Kislap sa Dilim Yes No
1991 A Plea to God Makiusap Ka Sa Diyos Yes No Final film
1991 Huwag mong salingin ang sugat ko No Yes Directed by Christopher de Leon
1992 Lucia - No Yes Directed by Mel Chionglo


Brocka was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts in 1985, for "making cinema a vital social commentary, awakening public consciousness to disturbing realities of life among the Filipino poor".[36] He was posthumously named Philippine National Artist for Film in 1997.

Year Group Category Work Result
1984 British Film Institute Awards Sutherland Trophy Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim Won
1984 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim Nominated
1980 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Jaguar Nominated
1992 FAMAS Awards Hall of Fame Director Won
1991 FAMAS Awards Best Director Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak Won
1990 FAMAS Awards Best Director Macho Dancer Nominated
1986 FAMAS Awards Best Director Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim Nominated
Best Director Miguelito: Batang Rebelde Nominated
1983 FAMAS Awards Best Director Cain at Abel Nominated
1980 FAMAS Awards Best Director Jaguar Won
1979 FAMAS Awards Best Director Gumising Ka... Maruja Nominated
1978 FAMAS Awards Best Director Tahan na Empoy, tahan Nominated
1977 FAMAS Awards Best Director Insiang Nominated
1976 FAMAS Awards Best Director Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko Ng Liwanag Won
1975 FAMAS Awards Best Director Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang Won
1973 FAMAS Awards Best Director Villa Miranda Nominated
1972 FAMAS Awards Best Director Stardoom Nominated
1971 FAMAS Awards Best Director Tubog Sa Ginto Won
1991 FAP Awards, Philippines Best Director Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak Won
1986 FAP Awards, Philippines Best Director Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim Won
1992 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Sa Kabila Ng Lahat Nominated
1991 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Gumapang Ka Sa Lusak Nominated
1990 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Macho Dancer Nominated
1986 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Bayan Ko: Kapit Sa Patalim Nominated
Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Miguelito: Batang Rebelde Nominated
1984 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Hot Property Nominated
1983 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Cain at Abel Nominated
1981 Gawad Urian Awards Best Film of the Decade (Natatanging Pelikula ng Dekada) Insiang Won
Best Film of the Decade (Natatanging Pelikula ng Dekada) Jaguar Won
Best Film of the Decade (Natatanging Pelikula ng Dekada) Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag Won
Best Film of the Decade (Natatanging Pelikula ng Dekada) Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang Won
Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Bona Nominated
1980 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Jaguar Won
1979 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Mananayaw Nominated
1978 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Tahan na Empoy, tahan Nominated
1977 Gawad Urian Awards Best Direction (Pinakamahusay na Direksyon) Insiang Nominated
1985 Metro Manila Film Festival Best Director Ano ang kulay ng mukha ng Diyos? Won
1979 Metro Manila Film Festival[37] Best Director Ina Ka ng Anak Mo Won
1983 Nantes Three Continents Festival Golden Montgolfiere Angela Markado Won
1992 Young Critics Circle, Philippines Best Film Sa Kabila ng Lahat Won
1991 Young Critics Circle, Philippines Silver Prize Hahamakin Lahat Won

Further reading


  1. ^ Lacaba, Jose F. (May 22, 2010). "Lino Brocka and Freedom of Expression Day". Ka Pete. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Sarmiento, Genevieve; Uy, Niña (February 20, 2016). "Lino Brocka: The Artist of the People – Pandayang Lino Brocka Political Film and New Media Festival". Archived from the original on April 22, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Manglinong, Dan (April 3, 2018). "Nat'l artist, freedom fighter Lino Brocka inspires from heaven". Interaksyon. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  4. ^ "Motu Proprio". Human Rights Violations Victims' Memorial Commission. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  5. ^ The Magsaysay Award XI, 1985-1987, Manila, The Magsaysay Award Foundation, 1989, online via this link Archived September 14, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Hernando, Mario A. (1993). Lino Brocka: The Artist and His Times. Sentrong Pangkultura Ng Pilipinas. p. 78. ISBN 9789718546161. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  7. ^ Lanot, Marra Pl (1999). The Trouble with Nick and Other Profiles. University of the Philippines Press. p. 17. ISBN 9789715422253. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  8. ^ The National Artists of the Philippines. Cultural Center of the Philippines. 1998. p. 68. ISBN 9789712707834. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  9. ^ "Lino Brocka – Tinimbang ka ngunit kulang AKA You Have Been Weighed and Found Wanting (1974) | Cinema of the World". January 11, 2015.
  10. ^ Lino Brocka: Manila - In the Claws of Darkness
  11. ^ a b "Four classic Lino Brocka films you can livestream now". ABS-CBN. June 1, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  12. ^ "Lino Brocka: The Philippines' Greatest Director". Culture Trip. November 16, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  13. ^ "Director Lino Brocka: Stronger than Life". September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  14. ^ Dimaculangan, Jocelyn (May 9, 2008). "Raya Martin's "Now Showing" will compete in Cannes Directors' Fortnight". Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  15. ^ Malcolm, Derek (February 8, 2012). "From the archive, 8 February 1985: Marcos regime arrests outspoken Filipino film director". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  16. ^ Lohr, Steve (February 3, 1985). "MARCOS ORDERS REVIEW ON JAILING OF DIRECTOR". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  17. ^ "BROCKA, Catalino O. – Bantayog ng mga Bayani". Bantayog ng mga Bayani. May 23, 2016. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Macho Dancer. 1988. Directed by Lino Brocka". Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  19. ^ "Top 10 Crimes Solved Via Hotline sa Trese". Manila Standard. Kagitingan Publications, Inc. March 20, 1991. p. 13. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  20. ^ Umali, Justin (April 15, 2021). "Lino Brocka, the Director Who Scared Dictators With His Camera Lens". Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  21. ^ Malcolm, Derek (January 11, 2001). "Lino Brocka: Manila - In the Claws of Darkness". The Guardian. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  22. ^ "Lino Brocka: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  23. ^ Lo, Ricky (May 22, 1991). "Lino Brocka killed in car accident". The Philippine Star. Philstar Daily Inc. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  24. ^ "Martyrs and Heroes". Bantayog ng mga Bayani. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  25. ^ "UP pays tribute to 72 martyrs and heroes". GMA News Online. November 29, 2008. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Choudhury, Pinky (January 2, 2009). "UP honors alumni who died for motherland". Philippine Reporter. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  27. ^ a b "Lino Brocka retrospective opens at Cinematheque Manila". GMA News Online. September 20, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  28. ^ "Contestable Nation-Space Cinema, Cultural Politics, and Transnationalism in the Marcos-Brocka Philippines". University of the Philippines Press. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  29. ^ "Remembering Brocka at CCP". Philippine Star. April 20, 2009. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  30. ^ "Films in context". Kidlat Tahimik. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  31. ^ Dody, Lacuna (April 7, 2017). "Remembering PETA and Lino Brocka". Malaya. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  32. ^ "Lino Brocka Hall". PETA - Philippine Educational Theater Association. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  33. ^ a b La Viña, Tony (February 20, 2016). "The Ilagan and Brocka Cases". Manila Standard. Archived from the original on April 8, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  34. ^ "'Litrato' (Documentary by Howie Severino)". GMA News Online. September 24, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  35. ^ Peter Malone (editor)Through a Catholic Lens: Religious Perspectives of Nineteen Film Directors from around the World, p. 137, at Google Books
  36. ^ "Brocka, Lino". Ramon Magsaysay Award. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  37. ^ "Metro Manila Film Festival:1979". IMDB. Retrieved April 9, 2014.