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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Need for more factual, historical movies

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The apparent success of the historical biographical film GomBurZa, directed by Pepe Diokno, should inspire more Filipino filmmakers to tell other true-to-life tales of national significance, partly to instill patriotism and encourage the youth to lead a more righteous life. 

The movie, apart from being the most talked about among the packed that opened to theaters during the Christmas season, won seven awards at the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival Awards, counting the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas Cultural Award and 2nd Best Picture. Why there is an award for the 2nd, 3rd, and for this year, a fourth, best film in a battle for Best Picture – I can’t, or I choose not to, justify.

In light of recently made movies criticized for employing historical revisionism in a contestable sense and the spread of fake news on social media to twist history for political maneuvering and selfish gain, the need to educate mainstream audiences of the lessons of history is all the more necessary. 

Award-winning actor John Arcilla stars as ‘Heneral Luna’

There are other significant historical films made in recent memory like Marilou Diaz Abaya’s Jose Rizal and Jerrold Tarog’s Heneral Luna. But there is certainly enough room for more. Here are some key figures or events from the glorious, or gory, past that movie makers may take a look at when thinking of what subject to delve into. 

1.    Ramon Magsaysay plane crash – The “Champion of the Masses” as he was referred to after a plane carrying him and more than 20 others crashed on March 17, 1957 was amusingly the originator of campaign jingles. Thus, you may have heard of one called “Mambo Magsaysay.” The former president turned Malacañang into a “house of the people” and he virtually popularized the wearing of barong Tagalog. It is said around two million people attended his funeral. A journalist named Nestor Mata was the lone survivor of the crash. 

2. Lapu-Lapu and Magellan – The question “Who killed Magellan?” is by far among the easiest to answer related to Philippine history, unless you’ve been convinced by trolls who managed to trick you into believing someone else did it. Most of us know little about the backstories of these two men so it must be interesting to dig further before a climactic visualization of the historical moment that made them inseparable.

Cesar Montano in a scene from the historical film ‘Jose Rizal’

3. The Third Republic – For a time Independence Day was celebrated on July 4 to commemorate what happened in 1946. How this crucial era came about and its effect on the Philippines becoming the nation we know today is vital to the understanding of anyone wondering how the country is being run like, well, however you want to describe it.

4. Sublime Paralytic – A movie about Apolinario Mabini must be done to inspire and empower communities, especially the persons with disabilities and their families. It should also be an avenue to pinpoint the debunking of the rumor that his paralysis was caused by syphilis. The greatest of all Marites must have spread such a rumor.

5. Silang couple – Talking about a power of two back from the pre-Philippine Revolution era is cool. A filmmaker touching on the tale of Diego and Gabriela Silang may also be able to look at the British occupation of Manila for 18 months beginning in October 1762, which is essentially linked to the Silangs. Ever wondered how it could have been had the British succeeded in urging Filipinos to “Be British?”

6. Jose P. Laurel – It’s okay to reflect on the life and presidency of a man forever attached to serving during the Japanese occupation in the early 1940s. Such a film may vindicate his place in history and make him more than a puppet leader as some quarters would prefer to qualify him.

7. The Beatles in Manila – For all of Pinoys’ reputation as hospitable and among the greatest concert fans, there was the dark episode where the world’s greatest band was accused of snubbing somebody, then beaten on their way to fly out of the country. Such a film should settle the record straight, that Filipino fans genuinely loved the Beatles as a total of 80,000 came to watch the group perform two shows, and that the few who eventually harassed them were likely just following orders.

8. Maguindanao Massacre – This horrific tale happened in the 21st century, yet its significance is as old as those past elections vying for the title dirtiest in history. There’s so much to dig over the killing of an entourage on the road to just file the certificate of candidacy of someone who decided to challenge a powerful clan.


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