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By: Heinrich Domingo

Activism, today, is a concept too alienating for people to understand. The struggle towards toppling the Philippines’ most corrupt official (Ferdinand Marcos Sr.) seems like a distant past. For a generation cradled comfortably in the soft mattress of democracy, fighting against tyranny is but a misaligned notion popularized by the radical hippies in the 80s. Alingawngaw sa Panahon ng Pagpapasya is a film that aims to discuss the 1986 revolution from the inside of the most basic unit of society – the family. Its narrative is a refreshing take for a story that has been delivered multiple times in multiple ways.

alingawngaw

Set in the dark years of Philippine history, the film narrates a Filipino family’s struggle to live a normal life. The matriarch, being a member of a left movement, has to sever her ties with her comrades. She has to leave her progressive principles in exchange of keeping her family safe from government attacks. The story, then, chronicled the kind of society that a dictator provides. From the creation of the “Bagong Lipunan” (a fascist Marcos government) until the People Power revolution, scenes and images of a dark era are flashed before the viewer’s eyes.

Alingawngaw sa Panahon ng Pagpapasya is a rich narrative told in a simple and clear manner. It does not need to be grand in its production because to begin with, the story it presents is already strong and powerful. Although its story is multi-tiered, the audience, at the end of the movie is certain of the mood and emotion that the film wishes to deliver. Whether it’s nostalgia, empathy, or melodrama, the crowd surely went home with a feeling of utmost satisfaction.

The film also included a brilliant performance of actors and actresses. Alessandra de Rossi and Micko Laurente (both in Bambanti) have again showed their brilliance in acting. As the story progresses, characters have to develop notable and distinct personalities. The cast were able to personify characters that we regard today as part of history.

The movie trusted the audience in having the ability to grasp the message no matter how complex the elements are. The screenplay was certain of its vision. It did not need to sugarcoat the storyline or the script. New People’s Army (NPA) was actually a key in toppling Marcos; many activists were believers of Marx or Lennin; and communist and socialist groups were part of the anti-dictator movement. Instead of subtly discussing, the film filled its script and musical scoring with a discussion on these topics.

Alingawngaw sa Panahon ng Pagpapasya is necessary for this generation. We are in need of brave and uncompromising filmmakers who stay true to their vision. We are in need of narratives of the past that would help in our quest towards finding a grand narrative of the Philippine identity.

4.5 stars

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