Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dekada 70 Movie Review

by: Uel Ceballos

“ Ang mga kamay daw na nag-uugoy ng duyan ay mga kamay na nagpapaikot ng mundo, sapagkat iyon ang mga kamay na umaakay sa sanggol. Hanggang sa matuto siyang lumakad at maglikot, tumuklas at magtanong at mangatwiran. Hanggang sa lumaki siya at maging ganap na mamayan ng kanyang bansa. Pero ang may-ari ng kamay na nag-uugoy ng duyan ay mamayan din ng kanyang bayan, hindi siya dapat manatili lang sa maliit na silid, sapagkat nananahan din siya sa daigdig, ang kanyang mga kamay ay di lang para sa pag-uugoy ng duyan kundi para din tumulong magtawid sa bangka ng pagbabago” (It was said that the hands that sway the crib are the hands that control the world, because those are the hands that guide the young until such a time that he will learn to walk and move around, explore and ask questions and reason out to justify his own actions. Until such a time that he grows up and becomes a full citizen of his own country. But the owner of the hands that sway the crib is also a citizen of her nation, she must not stay only in a small room, because she also lives in the same world, and her hands are not just for cradling but also for paddling the boat across the water that will help make the difference to her country.”)

-- Dekada ‘70

Opening in such lines with Amanda Bartolome (played by Vilma Santos) shown rallying among the crowd, one would think that the movie is all about the political issues during the 70’s era. Well it really was, but it was more than just tackling and demonstrating the 1970 decade wherein Ferdinand Marcos was in the peak of his political power.

Dekada ’70 is all about parenting and the challenges that are entailed with it, of which is considered to be the hardest job that you could ever imagine in the whole wide world. The film was based from the highly praised novel with the same title, written by Filipino author, Lualhati Bautista. The ensemble casts was led by premiere actor and actress, Christopher De Leon and Vilma Santos together with Piolo Pascual, Marvin Agustin, Carlos Agassi and Danilo Barrios. It garnered numbers of nominations and awards and regarded to be one of the best Filipino Films that were ever produced.

The story revolved in the middle class family of Julian and Amanda Bartolome, whose marriage was blessed with five broods. You would see here how the children had matured from being innocent and playful to being full grown-up men. The movie depicted here the way that Julian and Amanda raised their children and how they managed to do it in times of political chaos and social rebellion. The country’s president then, Ferdinand Marcos, had declared Martial Law and his dictatorship form of government had caused implications to Amanda’s family. Her first born son Jules (Piolo Pascual) became an activist and soon joined the underground movement where he earned one of the highest positions. The third son (Eman) grew to be a writer who at such times has produced numbers of banned articles. Ironically, while the two brothers (Jules and Eman) were on the same page of their social beliefs believing that Marcos was a puppet to the American government and implementing capitalism and fascism, their other brother Gani (Carlos Agassi) had entered the US Navy and served under the white people. Their parents supported them all the way to whatever they decided to do for their lives, even though they found it the hardest to do on Jules’ case, they still worked their way to accept their first son’s risky choices.

Lualhati Bautista clearly described here what it was like to live in the era that was tainted by the blood of military violence, suppression of the freedom to express, and the greediness of people for money and power.  Moreover, the author had nailed here the painstaking process that all parents experience as they watch their children reach adulthood, as they begin to lose the power to control their children’s decision and action, and let them go out on their own no matter how dangerous the road their offsprings are planning to traverse. As parents, all that they can do is watch over their grown up children, let them fly wherever they wanted to, pray for their safety, and receive them in open arms when they finally come back home even though they have left before without a single word. The film had quite shown us the unconditional love of parents to their children and it was indeed very touching, making us think of our own family in one way or another.

Dekada 70 is fully informative of what happened during the Marcos era, of which the accounts were focused on the effects it had to the civilians such as in Amanda’s family. The story had also exposed the kind of torturing that was suffered by the suspected members of the underground movement as shown to Jules and his friend Billie’s case. Dekada 70 had fiercely touched the viewers of its vivid depiction of the 1970’s condition wherein the society was forcefully and brutally ruled by the military power vested upon the executive branch. Lualhati had done something in the story that would surely twist your heart in writhing sympathy for the Bartolome Family. Chito Roño had executed Lualhati’s writings into a great film artwork that told an important part of the Philippine’s history – the 70’s era that marked another of the Filipinos’ struggle and bravery towards freedom. Aside from the political issues that were covered by the story, Dekada 70 had also touched the issues of women’s rights, highlighting the women’s slow but eventual rise to their status’ level.

This is a must-see movie for Filipino people of all ages and walks of life because Dekada 70 not only discussed political matters but greatly presented as well the important role that each family plays for the society. All homes consist of parents and children, parents are responsible for what kind of persons that their children will grow up into. The persons that their children will become in the future will soon become the parts of the society’s new generation… and in time they will have their own family too … the hands that rock the crib of the children are the same hands that cradle the nation, and the hands that cradle the nation are the same hands that hold the world…parents must know that their responsibilities are not only confined to the future of their children but to the future of the world as well.

For this movie that linked me to that one important era of my country’s history, I’ll drink to it with 10 Espresso Shots! Cheers to Top Filipino Film!