New article out on Criticine, an online magazine specializing in Southeast Asian cinema:
I watched Mario O'Hara's Uhaw na Pag-ibig (Thirst for Love, 1983) expecting a mediocre production—no awards, no admiring words from anyone—and for the first thirty minutes or so it pretty much confirmed my suspicions. It's your run-of-the-mill, fallen-woman story where Lala (Claudia Zobel) fights with her mother (Perla Bautista), gets pregnant by her boyfriend (Patrick de La Rosa), plans to elope with said boyfriend (who is stabbed while waiting in an alley), and eventually runs away from home.
Matters become more interesting once she leaves. She hooks up with Bong (Lito Pimentel) who gives her a dancing gig in a nightclub, then asks her to “entertain” a select clientele of men to the tune of two thousand pesos each (roughly 250, early '80s U.S. dollars). Bong's pimping is just one of his sidelines; there's the suggestion that he's also a drug-smuggler, and when one of his men bursts into his bedroom with a bullet wound in the shoulder and a police officer not far behind, Bong handles the situation with such cool ruthlessness (O'Hara's clean staging and editing of the action reminds you of Sam Fuller, or Raoul Walsh) that you suck your breath in dismay: this guy is bad news, and too damned smart to beat easily.