The Claws of Light is by many regarded as the best Filipino film ever made, and I can certainly see the reason why. It's the story about the twenty-one-year old man named Julio Madiaga, who used to be a simple fisherman in one of the rural provinces but has moved to the capital Manila in order to find his girlfriend who was promised a decent job and an education by one suspicious fat woman. Nobody knows where she is, and Julio's one goal in life is to find her. But in the meantime, he needs money for food, but the wages that he earns as a construction worker is just inhumane.
This is a strong emotional story. You just feel so bad for Julio, who are one of many living in this unfair world of low wages and social injustice. It's an everyday struggle to survive. The people Julio meets might be gone the next day. It's a social drama that show us the dark side of an industrialized society, with poor working conditions, which causes violence and prostitution, which Julio at one point is forced into as a male prostitute. It has the same dark tone as Scorsese's Taxi Driver, and Julio Madiaga is the Filipino Travis Bickle, who at one point simply can't take it anymore. A strong powerful drama with a strong political voice. Thumbs up.
Sergei Bondarchuk's Destiny of a Man is a story set during the second world war, Andrei Sokholov (Bondarchuk) who is capture by the germans is experiances the grusomness of the war, the only thing that keeps him going.
The multi-talented artist Vincent Gallo is known for his felibilty between different art forms such as music and films, both when it comes to composing, writing and performing. But he will always be best remembered for his indie classic Buffalo 66' which he directed, wrote and starred in. And it's also set in his own home town, Buffalo, New York.
Buffalo '66 is the story about Billy Brown (Gallo) who returns to his home town, Buffalo after spending five years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. All that time he has lied to his parents (Anjelica Huston and Ben Gazzara) that he worked for the government and was married. But Billy kidnaps the first and best girl, a dancer named Layla (Christina Ricci) who must pretend to be his wife. But when we finally meets his parents it's certainly a shock to see how little they care about anything but football. They hardly remember anything about their son.
Buffalo '66 is a good melancholic indie film, with its small time post Reagan America. Gallo give us a great performance and a great character, a realistic haunted irritating individual. Christina Ricci character, Layla is more interesting because while we know so much about Billy, we don't know anything about Layla. And it's also the fact that Billy often treats her like dirt, but no matter how cruel he is Layla sticks by him, she's probably got a tough life of her own.
The most surreal thing about this film is Billy's parents and how apathetic they are towards anything but football, specially his mother, who gave birth to Billy the day the local football team Buffalo Bill lost the Super Bowl of 1966. And she often says that it's Billy's fault for being born that day.