All-Powerful Films You Should

Watch to #NeverForget Martial


by Maria Romero, August 31, 2018 1:38pm

A still from Citizen Jake by Mike de Leon.


All-Powerful Films You Should Watch to #NeverForget Martial Law

by Maria Romero, August 31, 2018 1:38pm
A still from Citizen Jake by Mike de Leon.

September came approaching fast and that means it’s THAT time of the year again. But NO, we’re not talking about how Jose Mari Chan will once again dominate our speakers with his Christmas carols, we’re talking about a more somber reality here—the 46th commemoration of Martial Law.

We are in a revolutionary era today but ironically, we are also in an era where the dim truths of the past seem to resurrect, this time even dimmer. As we remember and resist the dark antiquities of our country, Cinema Centenario, together with the Commission on Human Rights, spearheaded its first ever Never Forget Film Festival. This month-long film festival in September is a tribute to the heroes of the underground and a celebration of the lives of those who survived.

In line with the commemoration, these are the eye-opening films and documentaries you should watch to #NeverForget the facts and stories on the brink of being forgotten:

Insiang (1972)
Directed by Lino Brocka

Set in the slums of Tondo, Manila, this film narrates the story of Insiang who learned to plot revenge after being raped by her mother’s lover.

Moral (1982)
Directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya

A story of four desperate women—Joey, Kathy, Sylvia, and Maritess who are all trying to resolve their individual problems as they mirror the various faces of women in the Philippines.

Eskapo (1995)
Directed by Chito Roño.

Mistakenly imprisoned for conspiracy to assassinate Former President Ferdinand Marcos, two men are forced to play their final card in jail, which is to escape. This Osmena-Lopez thrilling prison break story left strong influence in politics and economy.

Batang West Side (2001)
Directed by Lav Diaz

This Filipino detective film tells the story of Jersey cop Juan Mijares as he put together the events leading to the death of Hanzel Harana. As Juan goes on with the investigation, he finds out the destructive effect of drugs on Filipinos abroad.

Ka Oryang (2011)
Directed by Sari Lluch Dalena

Young Gregoria’s tales and sufferings in the revolutionary beginning of Martial Law in the Philippines.

Barber’s Tales (2014)
Directed by Jun Robles Lana

Marilou, a widow who inherits her deceased husband's barbershop realized that she’s quite gifted with the shears. When nobody comes to the shop anymore, she learned to prostitute herself to get her clients into patronizing the business.

Esprit de Corps (2014)
Directed by Aureus Solito (Kanakan-Balintagos)

Reminiscent of the time when military training was mandatory, Private Cain Fujioka and Private Abel Sarmiento spend the remaining weeks of their training in burdensome assignments and exercises.

Mula Sa Kung Ano Ang Noon (2014)
Directed by Lav Diaz

A tragedy of a remote village in the Philippines struggling to resist Martial Law.

Forbidden Memory (2016)
Directed by Teng Mangangsakan

This story summons memories of the crucial days in September 1974 when thousands of men from Malisbong and neighboring villages in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat were killed; while 3,000 women and children were forcibly taken to naval boats nearby where they came upon unspeakable horror.

Tu Pug Imatuy (2017)
Directed by Arnel Barbarona

Right to kill in Manobo, Tu Pug Imatuy showcases a Lumad couple whose lives are compromised with their relation to the military.

Madilim Ang Gabi (2017)
Directed by Adolfo Alix Jr.

Just like what its title suggests, this narrative paints the picture of a Filipino couple who becomes muddled in drug trades on dark nights.

Citizen Jake (2017)
Directed by Mike De Leon

Jake Herrera, a 34-year-old journalist, has a conflict with his political family, particularly with his father who, a remnant of the Marcos regime, serves as a senator of the current administration.

Respeto (2017)
Directed by Treb Monteras II

Hendrix dreams of hip-hop greatness, but he's spiralling down a rabbit-hole of crime and poverty until he meets Doc, an old poet still haunted by his martial law past. Can they turn each other's lives around before they’re swallowed by their circumstances?

Ang Panahon ng Halimaw (2018)
Directed by Lav Diaz

Lorena, a young doctor who opens a clinic for the poor in a remote Philippine village in the late 1970s, disappears without a trace. Her husband Hugo, an activist, poet, and teacher comes to the village controlled and terrorized by uniformed armed men to look for her wife.


Ginoong Maria (2018)
Directed by Jon Red

A black comedy inspired by true events and set in the background of the surreal world of EJKs, fake news, and misogynistic and corrupt leader. Dindo, a family man, is recruited in the business of killing people. He is torn between personal ambitions and family.

Other stories to watch 

Other than these feature-length films, you can also watch documentaries during the festivals including Alaala: The Bonifacio Ilagan Story by Adolfo Alix Jr.; Multo ng Nakaraan by Howie Severino; Portraits of Mosquito Press by JL Burgos; and Signos by Mike de Leon.

Rounding up the short film lineup are Ang Mga Alingawngaw Sa Panahong ng Pagpapasya by Hector Barretto Calma; Maliw by Rob Jara; Oliver by Nick Deocampo; and Pormalin by Alfredo Ongleo.

“Light Stalkers”, an exhibit of photographs taken during Martial Law and a panel discussion by Nick Deocampo on the state of media during Marcos’ era will also be highlighted to better promote the festival’s advocacy.

Never Forget Film Festival will run from September 1 to September 30. Cinema Centenario is at 95 Maginhawa Street, Quezon City. For more information on tickets and viewing schedule, visit Cinema Centenario on Facebook.


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