Directors pick must-see martial law movies for Du30

/ 12:30 AM November 23, 2016
“Batch ’81” cast, led by Mark Gil (third from left) and Noel Trinidad (second from right)

“Batch ’81” cast, led by Mark Gil (third from left) and Noel Trinidad (second from right)

In explaining his decision to grant a hero’s burial to dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, President Duterte declared: “Whether or not he performed worse or better, there’s no study, there’s no movie about it, it’s just the challenges and allegations of the other side.”

In a jiffy, the interweb went abuzz with all sorts of hastily drafted lists of movies on the martial law era—films that are either made during or tackle a dark chapter in our nation’s history and its unrelenting aftermath.


Inquirer Entertainment asked different acclaimed filmmakers, both veterans and newbies, to come up with their own lineup of martial law films they would like to recommend for the President’s viewing pleasure.

Here are their martial law must-see movies:


Carlos Siguion-Reyna

Offhand, the movies about martial law I know are Chito Roño’s “Dekada ’70” and “Eskapo.” But there were several made during that period that spoke about the difficult social conditions of the time, but were not directly about martial law.

My list: Lino Brocka’s “Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag,” “Insiang,” “Cain at Abel” and “Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim,” Ishmael Bernal’s “City After Dark,” Peque Gallaga’s “Scorpio Nights” and Mike de Leon’s “Batch ’81” and “Sister Stella L.”

Joel Lamangan

Brocka’s “Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim,” Roño’s “Dekada ’70, and my films, “Sigwa” and “Dukot.”

Jun Robles Lana

My list: Lamangan’s “Burgos,” Roño’s “Eskapo,” Lav Diaz’s “Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon,” Brocka’s “Orapronobis” and my film, “Barber’s Tales.”

Bembol Roco in “Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag”

Bembol Roco in “Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag”

Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil

I Googled to refresh my memory. Roño’s “Dekada ’70,” Lamangan’s “Dukot,” De Leon’s “Sister Stella L” and his docu, “Signos,” Behn Cervantes’ “Sakada.” For the President’s viewing, I add Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator.” All fascists will be remembered in ignominy, if not [as] subjects of satire. Also, Brocka’s “Orapronobis” (which was banned by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board under Manoling Morato in 1989).

Chito Roño

Those that are available [on DVD] are “Eskapo” and “Dekada ’70,” produced by Star Cinema. My film “Curacha: Ang Babaeng Walang Pahinga” is about military rule, but it’s set during President Cory Aquino’s time.

Jose Javier Reyes

Brocka’s banned films during the Marcos/Aquino period, “Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim” and “Orapronobis” and socially critical films like Bernal’s “City After Dark (Manila After Dark)” and De Leon’s “Sister Stella L.” An addendum would be Roño’s “Dekada ’70” (because the novel was penned by Lualhati Bautista) and “Eskapo.”


Mel Chionglo

These are the political, martial law films on my list: Brocka’s “Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim” and “Orapronobis,” Roño’s “Dekada’ 70,” De Leon’s “Batch ’81,” Cervantes’ “Sakada” and Lamangan’s “Dukot.”

Ralston Jover

My lineup: De Leon’s “Kisapmata,” “Batch ’81” and “Sister Stella L,” and Brocka’s “Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim” and “Orapronobis.”

Mikhail Red

I haven’t thoroughly watched some of the local classics. Off the top of my head, the best film I can remember and have seen indirectly tackles the aftermath of martial law, Brocka’s “Orapronobis.” It’s one of my favorites, but the last time I saw it was during my workshop days pa.

Ice Idanan

The docus: “Batas Militar” by Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala/EggieApostol Foundation and “Imelda” by Ramona Diaz. The feature films: De Leon’s “Batch ’81,” Roño’s “Dekada ’70,” Sari Dalena’s “Ka Oryang” and Eddie Romero’s “Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon?”

Rally scene in “Sister Stella L” (from left): Jojo Sanchez, Anita Linda, Jay Ilagan (at the back),  Vilma Santos and Rody Vera    —CESAR HERNANDO

Rally scene in “Sister Stella L” (from left): Jojo Sanchez, Anita Linda, Jay Ilagan (at the back),
Vilma Santos and Rody Vera —CESAR HERNANDO

Lav Diaz

Grabe, nakakatawa na nakakaiyak na nakakagalit na nakakapangilabot. Inilibing na nila doon ang Kriminal ng Republika ng Pilipinas.

Ipanood sa kataas-taasang Presidente ang dokumentaryong “Batas Militar,” bilang panimulang oryentasyon niya sa karumal-dumal na panahong iyon. Then, Brocka’s “Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim” and De Leon’s “Batch ’81” and “Sister Stella L.”

“Eskapo” (from left): Dina Bonnevie, Christopher de Leon and Teresa Loyzaga

“Eskapo” (from left): Dina Bonnevie, Christopher de Leon and Teresa Loyzaga

Tapos, my martial law films: “Batang West Side,” “Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino,” “Melancholia,” “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” at “Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon.”

Para sa history lesson ni Ginoong Duterte, ipanood din sa kanya ang “Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis.”

(It makes me laugh, cry, angry and scared. They gave a hero’s burial to the Philippine Republic’s Criminal there. Make the honorable President watch the docu “Batas Militar,” as an introduction to that deplorable time… For a history lesson, Mr. Duterte should watch “Hele,” too.)

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