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Sunday, March 30, 2008


Kakaba-Kaba Ka Ba? (1980)

Batch '81 (1981)

Sister Stella L. (1984)

Miguel Pamintuan de Leon, also known as Mike de Leon, is a noted Filipino film director, cinematographer, scriptwriter and film producer. He was born in Manila on May 24, 1947 to Manuel de Leon and Imelda Pamintuan. His interest in filmmaking began when he pursued a master's degree in Art History at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

De Leon first made two short films namely: Sa Bisperas, 1972, and Monologo (Monologue), 1975. He established the Cinema Artists Philippines in 1975. He produced Lino Brocka's Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag, while also acting as the said film's cinematographer in 1975. For Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag, De Leon won best cinematography awarded by the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences [Famas].

"Itim" (1977)- Stars Tommy Abuel, Charo Santos, Mario Montenegro, Mona Lisa, Moody Diaz, Susan Valdez/ Directed by Mike De Leon

De Leon's films are a full reflection of the Filipino psyche that sought answer for questions on social class belonging, political absurdities, and fragmentations in various forms. His first major full-length work was, Itim (Black), in 1976. It was an in-depth study of guilt and violence and shows de Leon’s delicate balancing of cinematic elements to project mood and character. It was voted by the Philippine’s Urian Awards as one of the Ten Outstanding Films of the Decade: 1970-1979. The film also won him the best director award during the 1978 Asian Film Festival held in Sydney, Australia.

"Kung Mangarap ka't Magising "(1977)- Stars Christopher De Leon, Hilda Koronel, Laurice Guillen, Moody Diaz, Bibeth Orteza, Danny Javier, Boboy Garrovillo/ Directed by Mike De Leon

When De Leon created Kung Mangarap Ka't Magising in 1977, it became a tribute to his grandmother Dona Sisang to celebrate the centennial of the family's film company, LVN Pictures.

"Kakaba-Kaba Ka Ba?" (1980)- Stars Christopher De Leon, Charo Santos, Jay Ilagan, Sandy Andolong, Boboy Garrovillo, Johnny Delgado and Armida Siguon-Reyna/ Directed by Mike De Leon

Known for his varied experiments in styles of film directing, he pushed the birth of the new musical in Kakabakaba Ka Ba?, a landmark film which portrayed a number of self-important totems of Philippine society. Kakabakaba Ka ba? won for De Leon the Urian award for best director.

"Kisapmata" (1980)- Stars Charito Solis, Jay Ilagan, Vic Silayan and Charo Santos/ Directed by Mike De Leon

His other movies include Kisapmata (1981), Batch '81 (1982) and Sister Stella L. (1984). In these films he tackled social and political issues with powerful and disturbing imagery. His blockbuster film, Hindi Nahahati ang Langit (1985) was an adaptation from an earlier Filipino Komiks version of the same title. In 1987, De Leon also made Bilanggo sa Dilim, a full-length video commissioned by Sony Entertainment.

"Batch'81" (1981)- Stars Mark Gil, Sandy Andolong, Ward Luarca, Noel Trinidad, Ricky Sandico/ Directed by Mike De Leon

"Sister Stella L." (1984)- Stars Vilma Santos, Jay Ilagan, Gina ALajar, Laurice Guillen, Tony Santos, Anita Linda and Liza Lorena/ Directed by Mike De Leon

De Leon explored subjects such as incest, fraternity violence, and the Filipino workers' cause. These were themes that were portrayed in the films Kisapmata, Batch '81 and Sister Stella L. respectively. These films became cinematic masterpieces in Philippine History of Filmography and were later listed as the Philippines's Ten Outstanding Films of the Decade: 1980-1989 by the Philippines’ Urian Awards. Later on, Batch '81 was voted best picture by the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) where de Leon also won a best screenplay award. For Sister Stella L. de Leon won best director and best screenplay in the Philippines's Urian Awards in 1984. Kisapmata and Batch '81 were presented during the Directors' Fortnight at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival. The film Sister Stella L. was an entry during the 1985 Venice Film Festival.

"Hindi Nahahati ang Langit" (1985)- Stars Christopher de Leon, Lorna Tolentino, Dina Bonnevie, Edu Manzano/ Directed by Mike de Leon

De Leon pioneered the use of computer graphics animation for the TV advertising industry in 1988.

De Leon’s film, Aliwan Paradise, became a part of the Southern Winds in 1993, which is a collection of four films from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippine, and Japan. The NHK and Japan Foundation commissioned this film anthology.

Source: Wikipedia

"Bayaning 3rd World" (1999)- Stars Ricky Davao, Joel Torre, Cris Villanueva, Cherry Pie Picache, Rio Locsin, Lara Fabregas, Daria Ramirez, Joonee Gamboa, Ed Rocha/ Directed by Mike De Leon


1999 Bayaning Third World

1993 Southern Winds: Aliwan Paradise

1987 Bilanggo sa Dilim (unreleased) video

1985 Hindi Nahahati ang Langit

1984 Sister Stella L.

1883 Signos

1982 Batch '81

1981 Kisapmata

1980 Kakabakaba Ka Ba?

1977 Kung Mangarap Ka't Magising

1976 Itim

1975 Monologo (Monologue), a short film

1972 Sa Bisperas, a short film


Anonymous said...

I would rate Mike as one of the greatest Pinoy Directors. Very polished at pulido ang kanyang mga pelikula. Pero bakit kokonti lang ang body of work niya ? ano ang pinagkaabalahan niya ngayon ?


Anonymous said...

Hey, is there a store where they sell Kisapmata and other Mike de Leon films?

RJ Morada said...

meron kayang nabibilhan ng Kung Mangarap Ka't Magising?

Anonymous said...

is the place for hard-to-find pinoy classic films in dvd.

Anonymous said...

he's a great director and really one of the best. i do hope he'll make movie again with vilma, sister stella l is my favorite film of direk mike.thanks for this post/tribute.

Iza Larize said...

I like his films. But I find the ending of Kisapmata very depressing, even more depressing than Polanski's Chinatown.

Anonymous said...

Mike de Leon is my favorite Filipino Director. His movies are timeless.. they are as relevant as the current news events happening today.

MUSTAFAR A.R. said...

mike de leon not the winner of the best director in 1978 sydney asian film festival, but charo santos won the best actress in "itim" (rites of may). source: http://filemklasikmalaysia.blogspot.com/

evermoon said...

Hi! May I use your poster of "Kakabakaba Ka Ba?" on my post on the film in my blog? I have cited your page as the source. Here's the link to my blog entry:



Anonymous said...

Rest In Peace, Direk Mike De Leon
May 24, 1947-January 8, 2023


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