POSTSCRIPT / August 9, 2022 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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More ‘history’ films after Katips & MiM

Hold on to your seats and the popcorn, folks! More history-based films are coming soon after the divisive duel at the box office between the anti-Marcos “Katips” and the pro-Marcos “Maid in Malacañang” movies.

We don’t cover cinema, but we have heard of at least two films coming soon that are based on historical facts – which means we could have another round of re-checking the historical bases of some movies.

Variety has reported that Hollywood actor Danny Trejo will play the role of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in “1521,” an epic on the “discovery” of the Philippines. Filipino actress Bea Alonzo plays a lead role as a native, with Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan as her sister.

A story of the last hours of the Marcoses inside Malacañang before fleeing to Hawaii in 1986. Photo: Twitter/ #MAIDinMALACANANG

Bea will also star in another history-based film, “Angel Warrior”, where war transforms her into a “she-devil” helping underdog Filipino and American guerrillas fight Japanese occupation forces on Panay island in World War II.

When watching supposedly fact-based films, like many other adults, I momentarily suspend disbelief intending to snap out of the attempted brainwashing if the delivery becomes too much to take.

But with the subliminal messages streaming through the brain, traces or strands of unwanted or harmful materials may stay after we voluntarily lowered our level of critical thinking.

This problem of being brainwashed is heightened when, without being aware of it, we have been included in a targeted audience of the best mind-manipulation scheme that gold, Tallano or whatever, can buy.

* * *

Back to the “Katips vs MiM” topic that we started to take up before we were distracted by Bea Alonzo:

Based on Vince Tañada’s 2016 stage musical of the same title, “Katips” is about students from the Katipunan area of Quezon City protesting Marcosian martial law in the 1970-80s. “Katips” is slang for “Katipunero”, the group that rose against tyrannical Spanish rule before the last century ended.

Daryl Yap’s film “Maid in Malacañang”, on the other hand, recalls the last three days of the Marcoses in the Palace before they fled to Hawaii at the height of the 1986 EDSA Revolt.

Yap thanked Sen. Imee Marcos, one of the executive producers of the film, which he said aimed to bring the “missing piece in our history.” He added, “I believe Filipinos want to know the real score.” You bet!

Tañada’s own grandfather, the venerable Sen. Lorenzo Tañada, was among those unjustly imprisoned during the Marcos dictatorship. Vince wants the younger generation to know that Martial Law was not the golden era that trolls are making it out to be on social media.

One MiM scene widely criticized for not only being false and malicious but also in bad taste is one showing Cory Aquino playing mahjong with nuns in the Carmelite convent in Cebu. Cory’s eldest daughter Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, who had been her private secretary and constant companion, said: “Mom never played mahjong during EDSA or her presidency.”

The Carmelite monastery said “the attempt to distort history is reprehensible.” The sisters said, “We were then praying, fasting and making other forms of sacrifices for peace in this country and for the people’s choice to prevail.”

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, which is under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., defended “Maid in Malacañang” against criticisms that it attempts to “distort historical facts”.

MTRCB Chairperson Diorella Maria Sotto-Antonio said the film “is a dramatization of the last 72 hours of the Marcos family in the Palace in 1986 and does not purport to be a documentary.”

Sotto also defended MTRCB’s decision to give a parental guidance rating for the film, saying parents should guide the viewing habits of their children under 13 years old.

“While the PG rating serves to guide viewers and was assigned by the Board based on its own judgment applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard, parents are encouraged to conduct their own assessment,” she said.

* * *

On another “historical” movie coming soon, Variety reported that actor Danny Trejo (“Machete,” “Con Air,” “Heat”) has been cast for the role of Portuguese explorer Magellan in “1521,” an epic on the pre-colonial Philippines highlighting the Battle of Mactan.

Produced by Filipino-American filmmaker Francis B. Lara Ho of Inspire Studios (“Angel Warrior,” “Palawan: Last Man Out”), “1521” follows the journey of Magellan, who led the Spanish expedition. He found the islands (in what is now Visayan seas) on March 16, 1521.

Also in the cast is Michael Copon (“One Tree Hill,” “Power Rangers,” “Scorpion King 2”) who will play the role of Lapu-lapu, a local chieftain whose warriors massacred the intruders, including Magellan who was killed on April 27, 1521.

There is, of course, the obligatory romance spicing up the story, this one between Mactan princess Diwata, played by Bea Alonzo (“Eerie,” “Unbreakable”), and Enrique, a Spanish soldier who was also Magellan’s interpreter, played by Hector David Jr. (“Power Rangers,” “East Los High”). Another Filipino, Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan, plays Ahmani, a sister of Diwata.

Alonzo is also due to star in the WWII story “Angel Warrior” as a taxi dancer whose near-death experience transforms her into a fighter described as a “she-devil” helping the ill-equipped Filipino and American guerrillas fighting Japanese occupation forces on Panay island.

Variety said “Angel Warrior” is produced by Inspire Studios’ founder and CEO Francis Lara Ho and executive produced by John Shepherd (“The Stoning of Soraya M.”) and Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxing champion and former senator. The screenplay is written by Cyrus Nowrasteh (“The Stoning of Soraya M.”).

(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 9, 2022)

* * *

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