After 32 years, documentary on aftermath of Marcos rule gets PH premiere


Posted at Sep 18 2020 02:16 PM

After 32 years, documentary on aftermath of Marcos rule gets PH premiere 1
A scene from "A Rustling of Leaves," which will premiere in the Philippines this weekend. Handout

MANILA -- A film on the aftermath of the Marcos dictatorship is finally getting its Philippine debut after more than three decades.

"A Rustling of Leaves: Inside the Philippine Revolution" is a documentary made in 1988 by acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Nettie Wild.

It will be part of the opening activities of Daang Dokyu, the country's first documentary festival of its kind, with the theme "Martial Law, Never Again." 

In a statement released Friday, Wild said it is time for "A Rustling of Leaves" to come home after 32 years.

"It is only now that the film will face its most important audience -- the Filipinos," said the filmmaker, who is unable to attend the screening in the Philippines due to the pandemic.

"During the making of the film, we were following very big, important stories, but we were also finding stories that were surprising and not being covered by the mainstream media," Wild added. "Perhaps these stories can provide a way of making sense of this extraordinary chapter in the Philippines' history." 

"A Rustling of Leaves" was filmed in 1987, a year after the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown.

It follows the lives of Kumander Dante, founder of the guerrilla New People's Army; Father Navarro, rebel priest and guerrilla fighter; and Jun Pala, a radio DJ and the voice of the "Anti-Communist Crusade" and right-wing death squads in Davao. 

Also part of the documentary are former radical priest Ed dela Torre and the young lieutenant and now senator Ronald dela Rosa. 

"A Rustling of Leaves" won the People's Choice Award at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival, the Prix du Public award on the 50th anniversary of the National Film Board of Canada, the Grand Prize at the Houston Film Festival, and the Best Cinematography award at the Society of Canadian Cinematographers.

It went on to be featured at film festivals across the globe.

Jewel Maranan, festival director at Daang Dokyu, noted the significance of "A Rustling of Leaves" in the country's history.

"Before foreign film productions started looking into the political situation in the Philippines, there was 'A Rustling of Leaves.' In my opinion, no sharper and more in-depth analysis of our nation's conflicts and contradictions has been made in film than this distinctive documentary by Canadian filmmaker Nettie Wild," Maranan said. 

"We are screening it now at Daang Dokyu, 32 years late, but it remains very relevant today. It is an important film for people seeking to understand the roots of conflicts in the country and for those concerned about the peace process," the director added. 

The online screenings are scheduled from September 19 to 21 on the Daang Dokyu website. 

Other featured documentaries include Kiri Dalena's "Alunsina" (2020), ABS-CBN's documentary "Marcos: A Malignant Spirit" (1986), Lito Tiongson's "Mendiola Massacre" (1987), and Ramona Diaz's "Imelda" (2003).

"A Rustling of Leaves" will also have a rerun from October 9 to 15 as part of Daang Dokyu's festival proper.
Daang Dokyu is initiated by the Filipino Documentary Society (FilDocs), which is founded by documentary filmmakers Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Baby Ruth Villarama, Coreen Jimenez, and Maranan.