The Filipino poet as filmmaker in the 1986 People’s Revolution

February 24, 2011

The article below was written by Ms. Virginia R. Moreno, a good and close friend of Quijano de Manila, the owner of Cafe Orfeo where artists and poets used to converge somewhere in Ermita, and my former director, U.P. Film Center Founder. “Aling Barang” as we fondly called her is the person who sent me to the Film and Television Institute of India to study filmmaking. The following essay won the “Creative Planet Prize” presented at the 2000 Cannes International Film Festival.

THE POET filming the 1986 Philippine Revolution and running after its spirit is like hunting the wild tamaraw found nowhere else in the world. Both the hunting and the filming are better left to us natives since, we imagine, we are in [the tamaraw’s] skin and running on its legs, this elusive animal is in us, our psyche. The illusion is that we own ourselves, and that no stranger or outsider can trap us, even only on camera. How that spurs on the young filmmakers!

In the last four days of the February “flower over gun” uprising, there was a third “army” of transistor-carrying Filipinos—men, women, children, trailed by vendors of cigarettes and fish balls. Called out by the rebel generals over the one remaining radio station into the streets, they ran with prayer beads and flowers to surround and protect the camp of the rebel generals. Called out again by the rebel generals to meet the rolling enemy tanks charging from the dictator’s palace, they rushed with kisses, flowers and bananas to stop the tanks and win over the dictator’s Army men in those tanks. The “battle” movements of this “people’s army” were orchestrated by broadcasters and anchor women hooked up with the rebel generals. What a far cry from the primitive tom-toms, smoke signals and World War I pigeon message carriers! The use of the transistor radio for winning a war without guns, is peculiar to this Philippine Revolution of modern times, while the lucky filmmaker found epic battles to film as director on his own, with a free “army” cast of throngs moving on kilometric highways, helicopter umbrellas in the sky and commanding generals for movie stars.


Like a prophet, I had predicted, on witnessing the filming of the Vietnam War by Francis Ford Coppola in the Philippines, the rise of the Filipino filmmaker afterwards as “Director General” in a war film set. Such as this one?

Making a film and conducting a war are the same acts. Generals and film directors are faces of one coin. They both dominate over people and wield life-and-death powers on their film wars. Like God, they are omnipotent.

Except, unlike real battles, a film can have a “reel” life, an afterlife that can live over and over again on screen, and the filmmaker survives over generals, as director of that “immortal” film.

(Source: The-Filipino-poet-as-filmmaker-in-the-1986-Peoples-Revolution)


One comment

  1. Dieser Blog…. Ich war ziemlich sicher, dass die Leute finden es interessant, weil ich sicherlich tun.

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