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Philippine Cinema

Thursday, November 8, 1984
7:30 p.m.
9:25 p.m.
Lino Brocka (Philippines,1980)

Jaguar is Lino Brocka's evocation of a John Garfield film noir; it could be subtitled "They Made Me a Criminal." Brocka cast his favorite actor Phillip Salvador as Jaguar (the title comes from Filipino slang for "guard"), a naive, brawny slum kid who supports his sister and mother by working as a security guard in a high-class apartment house. Desperate to bust out of his poverty, he becomes the personal bodyguard for a wealthy gang boss, the publisher of a string of pornographic magazines and comic books. He soon develops a dangerous yen for the boss's actress-girlfriend (Amy Austria), who returns his affections. When he dutifully kills a rival gangster, however, Jaguar is forsaken by all. Brocka skillfully transforms the elements of a gangster thriller into an unsentimental, uncompromising account of the corruption and dehumanizing poverty that surround his hero; like Julio in Manila: In the Claws of Darkness (PFA, October 18), this dead-end kid learns a lesson, and for him, understanding equals anger.

• Directed by Lino Brocka. Written by Jose F. Lacaba and Ricardo Lee. Photographed by Conrado Balthazar. With Phillip Salvador, Amy Austria, Menggie Cobarrubias, Anita Linda. (1980, 106 mins, In Tagalog with English titles, 35mm, Color, Print from Armelle Oberlin, Janus Films, Paris)