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‘Oro, Plata, Mata’ now on Netflix, writer Jose Javier Reyes shares how he ended up with the Filipino masterpiece

By Brooke Villanueva Published Oct 03, 2022 11:43 am Updated Oct 03, 2022 1:48 pm

Oro, Plata, Mata is now streaming on Netflix.

Directed by the late Peque Gallaga with a screenplay by Jose Javier Reyes, the 1982 film revolves around the stories of two families who reside in the upper class of the social hierarchy. Set during World War II, the Ojedas and the Lorenzos “try to flee from the raging war that lands on their hometown,” according to the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation, Inc., bringing to light the “blood, gore, and violence” that it comes with. 

Starring Kuh Ledesma, Jaime Fabregas, and the late Cherie Gil, among other veteran stars, Oro, Plata, Mata means “Gold, Silver, Death”—in reference to the Filipino belief that staircases with a multiple of three at the end could bring bad luck to the entire household. Divided into three parts, each one puts the spotlight on the “slow deterioration in the lives of the rich families.” 

In a Facebook post, Reyes looked back at how he ended up with the1982 war/drama masterpiece.

“When my friend, Don Escudero, invited me to meet with Peque Gallaga for a possible collaboration, I did not realize that it would be the turning point of my life,” he began, sharing that he was just 27 years old then, fresh from his studies in Indiana University. At the time, he has written only four screenplays under Regal Films. 

“I have heard of Peque because of his work in television. I knew he was a visionary, a maverick—but I did not expect those meetings in his abode in New Manila where he should be the rough sequence treatment of his project entitled The Jungle Story would yield a film that changed all our lives,” he continued. 

For Reyes, it was a daunting task to show how the Filipino was damaged by the Second World War.

"After the Japanese occupation, the Filipinos were never the same. Our moral fiber was destroyed by the buratlity we experience and the endurance that was demanded in order to survive," he wrote.

The movie ended up embodying "the transformation of the Filipino, the generational damange brought by the violence and war."

Reyes also expressed his utmost gratitude to the people behind the classic movie’s restoration and Netflix arrival.

“To all those responsible for restoring and bringing our film to Netflix now available for the new generation of film lovers and Filipinos to see, maraming salamat po.”