Subtletly in Satire


Artists, filmmakers, and journalists alike have constantly struggled to progress and evolve their form, especially during the years of Martial Law.

However, the strict film and media censorship was but a dust in the wind to the talents and vision of renowned director, Mike de Leon. Kakabakaba ka ba? (Does Your Heart Beat Faster?) is a satire, romantic- comedy musical released in 1980—during the end years of Ferdinand Marcos’ reign.

Melanie (Charo Santos), Johnny (Christopher de Leon), Nancy (Sandy Andolong), and Nonong (Jay Illagan) have caught themselves in a crossfire between the Japanese Yakuza and the Chinese Mafia, who both seek major power in the Philippine economy.

Notably, Mike de Leon displays his no-fear, satirical humor through the stereotypical delivery of Chinese and Japanese accents.

In the pursuit of control, the Japanese Yakuza teams up with the Church for easy distribution of pure opium to the masses. Here, Mike de Leon openly mocks the restrictions of art and film, not only through the presentation of foreign parties, but also through the domination of the Catholic Church.

Now remastered and distributed in iTunes by ABS- CBN, Kakabakaba ka ba? is one of the most original Filipino movies that have graced the industry. More than its take on a unique, closing, musical production, it’s the classic Filipino yet also out-of-the-box humor, as well as the subtle messages of power and foreign control, that make this movie unforgettable.