Darryl Yap (right) attends the press conference in Swissotel, Dubai, before the Friday afternoon special screening. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Two highly-intelligent university mates and fraternity brothers who both professed love to the same woman, whispered among the traditionally intricately woven elite and political circles, and whose extended acrimonious political rivalry proved detrimental to their motherland with the rise of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army — this is “Martyr or Murderer” (MoM).
In cinemas in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman from March 9 and across the UAE including Al Ain from March 16, with a special screening in Dubai on Saturday, “MoM” is the second installment to the Viva Films-Vincentiments trilogy about the controversial Marcos family scheduled to run in a total of 37 countries.
The first was “Maid in Malacanang” (MIM) that internationally grossed Php800 million (Dhs53.7 million), bulk of which was from abroad particularly from the UAE, according to its co-producer/scriptwriter/director Darryl Yap, on the sidelines of the Saturday morning press conference.
On Saturday evening and from the Sharjah City Centre where the one-hour-and-forty-minute film, partly shot In Morocco, are showing in four theatres, observed were groups of Filipinos obviously unborn yet during the so-called tumultuous September 1972 to January 1981 Martial Law.
Among the so-called “Martial Law Babies” in reference to the 1960s to 1970s-born, Nicolas Dabu volunteered, “We were not impoverished. Dad had a decent job. But I fabricated my age to 18 when the (1986) Snap Elections were called so I could vote. An urban propagandist enlightened me. That it was best for Marcos to be ousted. More than 30 years now, I believe we have to listen to the Marcoses’ story. I and my friends supported the Aquinos. We voted for (Rodrigo Duterte) and then (Ferdinand Marcos Jr).”
From the press conference, Gulf Today asked Yap on the involvement of the Hollywood production crew of the “Black Widow” and “King Kong vs. Godzilla” for the shoot in Morocco where Imee, the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr’s and First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos’s eldest - the trilogy storyteller - and her own family fled in 1989 from the clan’s three-year exile in Hawaii.
“The contract was through production manager (Marianne Oandasan) of Viva Films. They said (Angel Studios), working with MCU for the ‘Marvel Series’ was excited to work with us. We jokingly roasted (Viva Films). We said we were also MCU (Marcos Cinematic Uniseries). They laughed.”
Yap enumerated the efficiency and integration of government services led by the Ministry of Tourism of Morocco, for the ultimate satisfaction of foreign filmmakers, resulting in more economic benefits for the country, when this reporter pursued on his work experience in that North African monarchy that possibly brought him new learnings.
“Their tourism, film industry with the airport management are linked. They work together for their tourism promotion to fortify their economy. I hope that someday in the Philippines, there would be coordination between our government and our film industry (in spite of differences in political views).”
Yap was asked for in even three years as an independent film producer-scriptwriter-director, he has become influential despite being extremely bashed. Ruffa Gutierrez (Imelda Marcos) described him as “young and brilliant with a bright future.”
So far, 14 international movies have been shot in the Philippines such as “Apocalypse Now” (VietNam War, 1979) and “The Year of Living Dangerously (Indonesia’s Sukarno Era, 1982). Crisp and tight are the dialogues and how the Marcos Family timelines from 1954 to 1989 - minus their last four days in Malacanang - the MIM plot - were scripted. Crisp and tight as well was Vincent L Asis’ editing.
Parts of some of the dialogues were extracted to patch with significant moments in the family’s past.
Except for the President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. (Cesar Montano) and Irene Marcos-Araneta (Ella Cruz) episode that pointed to the latter’s lavish wedding which the media overly disparaged in 1983.
Mentioned in that father-daughter dialogue was “iginuhit ng tadhana” referring to the late president’s and former first lady’s marriage as “drawn by fate.” “Iginuhit ng Tadhana” is the 1965 black-and-white Sampaguita Films-produced biopic of Ferdinand Marcos Sr that concluded with his proclamation as the 10th president of the Republic of the Philippines in December 1965.
Yap’s message, “Do not treat humans as monsters and saints. The Marcoses and the Aquinos are just like us. Not perfect. Trying to be good citizens of our country. Give each other a chance to tell his own story. After all, they say, villains are superheroes with stories untold.”
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