Kisapmata (In the Blink of an Eye). 1981. Philippines. Directed by Mike De Leon. Screenplay by De Leon, Clodualdo del Mundo Jr., Raquel N. Villavicencio. With Charito Solis, Vic Silayan, Jay Ilagan. DCP. In Filipino; English subtitles. 90 min.
Shot in the blink of an eye—a mere three months—and featuring some of Filipino cinema’s greatest actors from the studio era, including Charito Solis, Kisapmata was inspired by the real-life crime story “The House on Zapote Street” (1961) by Nick Joaquin, who wrote as Quijano de Manila during his career as a literary journalist. Mike De Leon writes, “Kisapmata explores the concept of strongman rule as exemplified by the character of Dadong, ang Tatang, the psychotic padre de familia, rendered monstrous by the unforgettable performance of Vic Silayan. The father has incestuous relations with his daughter—the ultimate corruptiuon. That the film was interpreted as an allegory of the regime of Ferdinand Marcos was no coincidence, though the crime happened in 1961. Nevertheless, many elements in this allegory were present in the original story. The policeman was an Ilocano, and so was Marcos. He ruled with an iron fist and subjected his family to unmitigated terror, just as Marcos did to the country.”