Filipino cinema’s watershed work—and the first to screen at the Cannes Film Festival—is a wildly perverse mother-daughter saga, a revenge tragedy of ancient Greek proportions, and a gut-punching look at life on the margins of Manila. Insiang (Hilda Koronel) is the meek, put-upon daughter of the slums who endures abuse from everyone in her orbit: her insensitive boyfriend (Rez Cortez); her bitter, harpy mother (Mona Lisa); and her mother’s sleazy younger lover (Ruel Vernal). But after she’s raped, Insiang’s timidity hardens into a steely resolve to get even. With shades of Fassbinder, director Lino Brocka concocts an explosive study of social injustice and a woman fighting back.
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