Cabaero: Which movie to watch?

·3 min read

Which one will you watch? This question was posed to television viewers last Friday as two movies—one on the Marcos family and the other on Martial Law victims—will hit the cinemas this week.

It was an informal poll where people phoned in their choice, and, because there was no science to it, the result was unclear, although the show’s hosts said there were more callers who said they would watch the movie “Katips” than those who would go for “Maid in Malacañang.”

Both movies hit local cinemas this Wednesday, August 3, 2022.

The reason for the poll is the controversy over the “Maid in Malacañang” film, which, according to the movie’s synopsis, was about the last 72 hours of the family of Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. inside the presidential palace, as narrated by a “reliable source,” before they fled to Hawaii during the 1986 People Power Revolution. Critics said, however, that the movie intends to revise history.

The movie “Katips,” a musical, is about the horrors of Martial Law as experienced by the people. Vince Tañada, producer, director, and writer, said the film is based on the 2016 stage musical “Katips: Ang Mga Bagong Katipunero.”

“Maid in Malacañang” first announced its release date; “Katips” declared a show date also for this Wednesday after a call was aired for a movie to counter the Marcos line.

Tañada had said the movie was about those who suffered during Martial Law, such as his grandfather, the late senator Lorenzo Tañada, who was jailed for his political beliefs. But “Katips” is not a political film, the director said, adding that no actor played Marcos and the late dictator’s accomplishments were even shown. Tañada also said he decided to release the movie after director Joel Lamangan issued a call for a film to show the truth. Lamangan is a Martial Law victim.

Now, which movie to watch?

I’ll go to “Katips” because it is about people who were arrested without charges, who were harassed, tortured, killed. I know some of those who survived Martial Law. They are lawyers, educators, priests, social workers, and journalists. They were among those who collected payment under the Martial Law compensation law.

I remember when Martial Law was declared. At the dining table, Dad gathered the men in the family, while Mom and the women were ordered to go to our rooms. I was in elementary then, already with a journalist’s curiosity, so I went back down to mid-way on the stairs and listened. They talked about martial law and what it meant. They spoke in low voices, although I remember that Dad did most of the talking. The way “Martial Law” was whispered made me understand it was serious. My father instructed my brothers to stay at home or, if they must go out, to return home before curfew, to strictly follow the rules, and not to argue with law enforcement.

I want to see if what I know about Martial Law is in “Katips.”

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