First Ever Film Review: “ORAPRONOBIS” (“FIGHT FOR US”)

Day 15 of the #NaNoPoblano2021 challenge. Major Theme: “A Few of My Earliest Things”. New sub-theme: “My Firsts”. Related post: My Evolution as a Writer. Related page: CRITIC’S CORNER

orapronobisWell, lookie what I found the other day…My very first film review! A few years back, I shared one that I thought was my first. But having found this, I changed my mind. I actually distinctly remember watching the film Orapronobis (Fight for Us). I was in school (sophomore year) and ready to go home. But we were asked to stay after a symposium on human rights. I stayed not only because it was for school (we were asked to write a film review or reaction paper). I stayed because I was somewhat interested. I was curious mainly because, in 1989, there was a film ban against it in the country. The public saw it only after its premiere at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.  

I always thought that the title should be Ora Pro Nobis, not one whole word. But when I saw the controversial film, I think it showed the title as one word. Doing a Google search now, I get the same results although there are some images that show it in three words. I also Google-translated.

ccp-free-screening-orapronobis-2019

A 2019 free screening announcement from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). It was to pay tribute to the late director Lino Brocka. The title says ORA PRO NOBIS.  You can understand my confusion, right?

It detected the words as Latin for “Pray for Us”, not “Fight for Us”. So if you know that it’s supposed to be three Latin words that mean “Pray for Us”, also know that the wrong translation and title are not my fault at all.

To be honest, the film is still hardly viewed especially since many of the younger generation do not know about it. I also feel like there’s still some sort of invisible ban over it. For instance, only last year (or it could be back in 2019), the whole movie was uploaded on YouTube. I can’t find it now. 

I re-typed my review verbatim. Nevermind the wrong grammar and don’t expect too much. I’m just happy my teacher gave me a perfect score for it 🙂

ORAPRONOBIS

After the symposium about Human Rights Violation last Thursday, I was ready to leave school. Then it came as a surprise to me that class wasn’t over yet. We still had to watch a movie. My friend and I grumbled a little to ourselves. We knew that it would soon be dark and that we would arrive home late in the evening.

When I heard that it was the Orapronobis film we were about to see, I said to myself, “Why not? After all, I’ve heard a lot of positive comments about it already.” But still, I had the impression that I would just be bored. 

When the film started, I wasn’t quite interested. But as it went on, my first impression died. It was a very good movie after all.  It showed that even the military which was supposed (and is supposed) to protect the people were the ones who violated the rights of the civilians. Just because the military people are more powerful, they act like the world owes them a lot, that they can step on somebody’s neck anywhere and anytime they want. It wasn’t fair.

What is most unfair, it is the poor who is most pitiful. No wonder they (poor people) compose the N.P.A. the most. They just are too fed up with the way the government runs the nation. If the government and the military will not start to straighten up, what will happen to our country? Graft and corruption everywhere.  Violence here and there. These lead to too much human rights violation which are not only sinful to the eyes of man but to God’s eyes as well.   

Since I have spoken about God, I think, the worst sin you can do in this world is use his name and say you’re religious when you’re not or that you haven’t done anything wrong to anyone or against Him. I really detest those kind of people who try to wash their own hands. They’re nothing but frauds! And everytime I forget that they, too, have the right to live, I sometimes wish they’d be hanged on the gallows.

By the film, I could relate it to Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo. The church and the government, which were very powerful in his time, abused their authority over the Filipinos. They should’ve been models, they should’ve showed the way to righteousness. Instead, they showed cruelty and violations of the rights of the people. And only then did the people revolt.

But at that time, we were reigned by the Spaniards. Now that we aren’t, why should the government continue being a burden to society when it can make everybody’s life more pleasant? Should they (government officials) wait until the people of the republic themselves make drastic actions? The more people get hurt, the more they rebel.  If the government doesn’t need peace, the people do.

After the film, I still was worrying because it was dark outside already. But then, and so what? I realized this film was a million times worth watching. It didn’t matter what time it ended. I honestly think that such movies like it will always be that valuable to students like me (and very informative, too!). I am looking forward for more.