VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Were there really no movies about the martial law years?

STATEMENT:

The clandestine burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) Friday angered many, prompting a wave of protests across the country.

In response, President Rodrigo Duterte, who in his campaign days promised the interment of the deposed strongman at the LNMB, called for “forgiveness.”

Currently in Lima, Peru to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Duterte said he “was just being legalistic about it.”

“President Marcos was a president for so long, and he was a soldier. So that’s about it,” the president said.

He also added:

“Whether or not he performed worse or better, there is no study, there is no movie about it. It’s just the challenges and allegations of the other side, which is not enough.”

Source: RTVM, Ambush Interview – Lima, Peru (Watch from: 1:57 to 2:30)

FACT:

No movie about the martial law years? Wrong, and on so many levels.

One, ostensibly the Philippines’ greatest filmmakers, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, both national artists, made films that are nothing less than critiques of the so-called “conjugal dictatorship” during the martial law years. These include Brocka’s “Maynila: sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag” and Bernal’s “Manila by Night.”

Source: Marcos, Brocka, Bernal, City Films, and the Contestation for Imagery of Nation

Two, some of the best Filipino movies are about the martial law years, including Mike De Leon’s “Batch ’81” and “Sister Stella L” and Peque Gallaga’s “Scorpio Nights.”

Source: Critic After Dark: 100 Best Filipino Films

Three, movies about the martial law years are still being made after the 1986 People Power movement deposed Marcos from power, from the mainstream thriller “Eskapo: The Serge Osmeña-Geny Lopez Story” by Chito Roño, to Sari Dalena’s independent features “Ka Oryang” and “Dahling Nick.”


Four, documentary movies have been made about the Marcoses, from Ramona Diaz’ “Imelda,” which won an award at Sundance, to “Portraits of Mosquito Press” by JL Burgos.

Five, who can forget “A Dangerous Life,” the 1988 Australian movie, where Tessie Tomas played Imelda Marcos? Or “Dekada ‘70,” which among others won Piolo Pascual the grand slam for best supporting actor.

Missing this fact about the martial law years might seem trivial, except Duterte had earlier also said the violations under the Marcos dictatorship are yet to be proven in court. Wrong.

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative.)

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