The 1970s was a tumultuous, violent time in Philippine history. The spark of martial law ignited the fires of the First Quarter Storm. We have fought since, spurred in the 1980s by an assassination, the overthrow of a dictator, and the hope of democracy. Yet here we are now, and it seems we have ignored everything that came before
It was an era defined by more than 70,000 warrantless arrests, 30,000 tortured, 3,000 murdered, hundreds of media outlets shut down and more than 100,000 recorded human rights abuses. How could we have easily forgotten?
Continuing with its well-received online endeavors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is once again offering the public a chance to remember those memorable days of September by screening four martial law-centered films for free for a limited time.
CCP Arthouse Cinema Online is screening a selection of four flms that were featured in past editions of the Cinemalaya and Gawad Alternatibo film fesivals that tackle the Marcos martial law era.
The featured films are:
EDJOP (dir. Joe Cuaresma, 1987)
Synopsis: EDJOP follows the life and times of student leader Edgar Jopson. Famously derided by Marcos as the “son of a grocer” the young “Edjop” led the student movement that sparked the historic First Quarter Storm.
Sigwa (dir. Joel Lamangan, 2010)
Synopsis: Dolly, a junior correspondent of a US magazine, is sent to the Philippines in 1970 to do a story on student activism in Manila. She returns after being arrested and deported in 1975, the third year of martial law. Her mission is personal this time: to look for her daughter, who was supposed to have died 35 years ago, but who, she has been told, is alive.
Beyond the Walls of Prison (dir. Lito Tiongson, 1987)
Synopsis: A documentary about the quest for justice and freedom of former political detainees under the new government.
ML (dir. Benedict Mique Jr., 2018)
Synopsis: ML tells the story of college jock Carlo (Tony Labrusca) as he experiences a Martial Law style incarceration and interrogation after stumbling into the demented existence of a retired military general (played to the horrific hilt by Eddie Garcia).
All four films can be accessed and screened at the CCP channel on Vimeo.com. Here's how:
- Go to https://vimeo.com/ondemand/neverforget
- Click the film you want to watch and click RENT
- At the billing info page, type the promo code NEVERFORGET
- Click APPLY
This should give you free access for the next 24 hours, or until the end of the CCP screening period.
For many of this generation's youth, it is an especially confusing time to learn about martial law and what it means in the Philippine historical context. Fortunately, there are resources online which anyone can access to better educate themselves on why we continue to fight against oppression, and why we should #NeverForget.
(Images from the CCP Media Arts Division page on Facebook)