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Escape (Eskapo)

Eskapo image
Wednesday, February 20
Center for Korean Studies Auditorium @6:30 PM
Philippines, 1995 (114 mins)

Tagalog w/English subtitles

Director: Chito S. Roño
Screenplay: Jose F. Lacaba, Roy Iglesias
Cast: Christopher De Leon, Richard Gomez, Dina Bonnevie, Joel Torre, Teresa Loyzaga

Eskapo (Escape) begins with video footage of the days just before Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972: eerie, washed-out images of marching demonstrators and riot police. It’s a terrifying beginning that sets an ominous tone for everything that follows.

What follows is a ’70s party in full swing. Director Chito Roño glides his camera into the middle of the action and rubs our noses into the decadence of the period, reminding us pitilessly of how embarrassing we looked. Those clashing colors! Those teased wigs! Those floor-sweeping pants!

The movie regains its bearings when the military arrests Sergio Osmeña III (Richard Gomez) and Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr. (Christopher de Leon), scions of Philippine society.

From here we see the step-by-step procedure as the story of the descent into the maws of Martial Law is clearly and harrowingly set out eventually leading to the two men’s escape from the Fort Bonifacio detention center in 1977.

Eskapo is so entertainingly well made that in terms of intelligence, visual style, and acting, it deserved the title as ‘Filipino Film of the Year” (1996).

-Noel Vera, Critic After Dark

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Reminder…dress warmly, the auditorium is heavily air-conditioned.