Photo: Vilma Santos as Sister Stella Legaspi,  Mike De Leon’s Sister Stella L, Regal Films, 1984

By: Audrie Julienne Bernas and Zymon Arvindale R. Dykee

44 years since the late president Ferdinand Marcos declared Proclamation No. 1081, the history of the Martial Law years seems to have become obscure.

Through the power of the cinema, Filipino directors present a detailed view of the regime, instilling in the minds of the viewers what has happened in the 1970s to the 1980s and letting them decide on how to respond to the controversy at the present time.

 

ANG LUNGSOD NG TAO AY NASA PUSO TRILOGY: “OLIVER” (1983)”, “CHILDREN OF THE REGIME” (1985) and “REVOLUTIONS HAPPEN LIKE REFRAINS IN A SONG” (1987) by NICK DEOCAMPO

Known for his loose portrayal of socioeconomic issues on documentaries and personal films, Deocampo surges on the lives lived during the Martial Law period with this documentary trilogy which illustrates the almost-routine standard of life under dictatorship. The trilogy delves from male prostitution and class exploitation during and after the Marcos dictatorship and demonstrates how tumultuous life was back then for the working class whose jobs are not-of-the-normal stance.


SAKADA (1976) DIR. BEHN CERVANTES

In this film, class struggle between the landlords and the farmers in a sugarcane plantation are depicted. Feudalism comes as the binding force in which the film takes stride. The story takes a wide berth as one character from the higher class takes a stand with the masses—the farmers—which entrances the unification of the rich and the poor to oust Marcos from the seat.

 

SISTER STELLA L (1984) DIR. MIKE DE LEON

Sister Stella Legaspi, played by Vilma Santos, is a nun who involves herself in labor strikes after having knowledge that the government is neglecting the poor and the working classes. An echo against the Marcos regime, the film shows avid support for the actual people victimized by the dictatorship—Sister Stella’s political awareness put to unrest as her friends, a journalist and a union leader gets killed.

 

ESKAPO (1995) DIR. CHITO ROÑO

Geny Lopez and Serge Osmeña, sons of two of the most prominent personalities in the country, are jailed at Fort Bonifacio for the military has turned to them when it finds out that their fathers are not present when Martial Law has been promulgated. After finding out that escaping is possible, they furtively plan their escape and when the right time comes, the two are in for the thrilling ride towards freedom. Eskapo sketches the shutting down of the press and the unjust imprisonment of the innocent during the years of Marcos.

 

DUKOT (2009) DIR. JOEL LAMANGAN

Junix (Allen Dizon), a student leader, is among the leftist activists in the list of the military during the Marcos Regime and gets abducted and tortured for his advocacies. His parents and Sonia, the mother of his lover, Maricel (Iza Calzado), team up in search for him and the rest who are missing. Dukot delineates the revolting condition of the desaparecidos, a Spanish term referring to the disappeared, and the rigorous struggle of pursuing justice in the 1970s.

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