On election season, it is clear when we’re hearing nothing but pa-cute and pa-media mileage, not just because we must be critical of everything we hear, but because usually it is in these instances that candidates slip up, revealing precisely how little they know of the subjects they speak of, and how they presume — they imagine! — that we will believe anything at all that they say.
Presidential candidate Grace Poe, for example, has decided to ride on the Heneral Luna bandwagon and get some mileage out of it too, asserting that the movie should be shown for free in schools, alongside so many other films. She said: “A lot of significant historical films have been produced in the past; I encourage our teachers to take advantage of these movies to help the youth understand and appreciate Philippine history.”
She continued with a list of films:
Poe said there were many other films about the lives of heroes, such as “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo” and “El Presidente.” Older movies that may be useful for teaching include “Jose Rizal” (1999), “Bayaning Third World” (2000), “Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon” (1976), which was set during the Spanish period, and “Oro Plata Mata” (1982), which depicts the Filipino struggle during the Japanese occupation.
I can let go of the fact that hero films are absolutely different from films that deal with a historical milieu. But one is hard put to believe that Heneral Luna, Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo, Jose Rizal, and Bayaning Third World are being spoken of in the same breath as the B-movie that was El Presidente.
No seriously. Did Grace watch that film? It had no saving grace (harhar), no historical importance, no value at all as far as telling history or teaching it, or even opening it up to discussion is concerned. She should have read reviews manlang — here’s one, and another, and another, and so many more if she tried to do research.
If she cared. This is the thing with election season: our candidates become unthinking, shooting from the hip, saying what they think will get them more votes, more media mileage, more interest. At the same time it is in these seemingly short and sweet soundbites and seemingly tiny articles that so much is revealed about the people who are running.
And Grace, for all the times that she has invoked her father’s name, knows not what she’s talking about when she speaks of local cinema. Or of film education. Or of film as pedagogy.
She needs a Pinoy cinema crash course, pronto!
PS: It might do her well to also get schooled in the K-12 program which she “likes” as it actually removes history classes altogether from our high school curriculum, and will only teach students history in Araling Panlipunan from Grades 4 to 6.
Yup. Takes more than just one film and some motherhood statements to get votes these days.