Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Forbidden Memory (Teng Mangansakan, Cinema One Originals 2016 Best Documentary Winner)

Recollection of atrocities during Martial Law played a big part in the build-up to the People Power Uprising in 1986. The courageous bearers of stories risked their lives to expose the violent, corrupt nature of the Marcos administration.

The wellspring of horrendous Martial Law stories has yet to dry up. With the hushed and rushed burial of President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Martial Law victims are coming out with their stories.

Forbidden Memory documents eyewitness accounts of the gruesome massacre of more than 1,500 adult males in Palisbong, Sultan Kudarat in September 1974.

The documentary consists basically of a barrage of talking heads. However, filmmaker Teng Mangansakan alternated the interviewees. Generally, four to six persons talk about the circumstances of the incident. This editing device serves to concretize the horrendous communal experience.

It is not only one family that felt military abuse. Hundreds of families were greatly affected by the wanton criminal act of the soldiers. Women and children were put on board naval ships. The adult males were then herded and subsequently killed. Their only fault was that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Towards the end of Forbidden Memory, the issue of a Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani springs out in the open. More than three decades have passed but the anger towards the Marcos administration still seethes among the survivors. They do not want him to be buried honorably. One frail, elderly woman regretted not having been the one to kill President Marcos.

To the millennials interested in learning more about the Marcoses, the 20-year reign of President Marcos, and the Martial Law era, check out the following films from a variety of directors:

1)      Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim (Lino Brocka) – a desperate, laid-off worker is forced to commit a crime
2)      Dekada ’70 (Chito Roño) - a middle class family supports the idealism of a young activist
3)      Forbidden Memory (Teng Mangansakan) – survivors speak out against the perpetrators of the September 1974 massacre in Mindanao
4)      Imelda
(Ramona Diaz) – documentary on the idiosyncrasies of the wife of President Ferdinand Marcos
5)      Ka Orya
ng (Sari Lluch Dalena) – a female medical student decides to serve the people
6)      Mula Sa Kung Ano ang Noon (Lav Diaz) – militarization during the pre-Martial Law era
7)      Pisay (Kanakan Balintagos) – a group of high school scholars gets caught up in the Yellow fever
8)      Sakada (Behn Cervantes) – sugarcane farmers fight for their rights
9)      Sister Stella L. (Mike de Leon) – an awakened religious sister urges the audience to go out in the streets and fight the Marcos dictatorship
10)   Working
Girls (Ishmael Bernal) – a lady boss with the initials C.A. battles male chauvinist pigs and breaks the glass ceiling

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