Liway lights up the dark days of Martial Law
There are two things that make me sad about the movie Liway which is showing nationwide this week.
The first is that it only has a limited screening all over the country. In Davao, the film opened on Wednesday in four cinemas. Davao has 27 cinemas, so four is generous for a local indie film. But the next day, it was down to only two cinemas. Sadder still, the time slots given to the film are in the afternoon slots, a not so convenient time for people coming from work or wanting to have a late night movie date.
The second kind of sad is what you feel after watching the movie. It is a happy-sad feeling. Sad that what you see is a true story told in the eyes of a child named Dakip who was born and raised in a detention center, as his parents were captured for fighting the dictatorship.
His world is contained in a compound with barbed wired walls, and the only time he sees the world is when his mother helped him up a tree to see what was beyond the walls.
The first time he got to step out of the compound was when a nun requested Dakip’s parents to have him speak in a rally. Dakip hears and learns who his parents are. When it was his turn to speak, he seems overwhelmed, but tells a very personal story that strikes the rallyists, and the film’s audience as well.
In such a harsh society, Dakip finds solace in bedtime stories told by his mother, about a woman fighter named Liway. The stories are actually the personal experience of his mother, who had to join the guerrilla fighters when Martial Law cracked down against activists.
This film is naturally profound because it is a personal narrative of director Kip Oebanda about his childhood and of his mother, father and other detainees in Camp Delgado in Iloilo. It is a happy-sad story because you see how such families try to find the spirit and courage to live through such trying times, raising families in a not so normal period.
Told from the eyes of a child, I find this movie speaks of my generation, the Martial Law babies generation, of growing up in silence, escapism and propaganda. It also speaks to millennials and to other generations as well, who have dim memories of our past. This movie lets a child’s view of reality rip through our myths of what Martial Law was.
It’s kind of sad that we have been saying we need films that will enlighten the people about the dark Martial Law period. Yet we still need to find its audience as well.
Watch Liway and let her story light such hope.