Comrades, a love story in 'Lihis'


MANILA, Philippines -  During the politically charged 1980s, soon after the EDSA revolution, there were several mainstream films ranging from "Gabi Na, Kumander" to "Balweg: The Rebel Priest" and "Kumander Dante."

These films enjoyed commercial and critical success.

This year, the indie scene has revived this phase of political cinema with "Burgos: A Mother's Love" and the upcoming biopics of Emmanuel A.F. Lacaba (Tikoy Aguiluz’s "Eman"), the martyred poet, journalist, and activist, and of Jose Maria Sison (Sari and Kiri Dalena’s "The Guerilla Is A Poet"), without the Ara Mina-ballroom episode, one supposes.

Like "Eman," Joel Lamangan’s new film, "Lihis," will be shown alongside the Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival, which will take place at SM Cinemas nationwide from September 7 to 16.

Same-sex affair

The film is set against the backdrop of the New People's Army rebellion against the Marcos dictatorship.

But the film, said Direk Joel, is above all a love story involving two comrades, as portrayed by Jake Cuenca and Joem Bascon.

One assumes this same-sex affair was too radical even for the underground movement at the time. 

But Direk Joel, a political detainee during the Marcos dictatorship, said this film is based on a true story.

His screenwriter Ricardo "Ricky" Lee, another ex-detainee, said he wrote this script way before "Brokeback Mountain." 

This is Lee's second collaboration with Lamangan this year, their other politically inspired project being the "Burgos" film starring Lorna Tolentino.

The extended official trailer of "Lihis" already gives away its story, which flashes back and forth between a 20-year-old town massacre (shades of Bantay, Ilocos Sur, and the terrific Crisologo-Singson episode?) and a journalist (Isabelle Daza) who looks back to piece together this incident's puzzle or mystery. 

The trailer also gives us a rather generous glimpse of the passionate love scenes between the two leads, and not a few may well regard this as the film’s highlight.

But Jake and Joel also have their love scenes with Isabelle and Lovi Poe, respectively.

"Lihis" also stars, among others, veteran character actor Tony Mabesa, acclaimed screenwriter and actress Raquel Villavicencio, and Gloria Diaz, Isabelle's mom. -

Here's the trailer of 'Lihis':


'Lihis' will be shown in SM theaters starting September 7.