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4 films about the Martial Law era you can stream right now

[Trigger warning: Some of these films show graphic and violent scenes.]

Unpacking the events under Martial Law means knowing that different kinds of struggles were experienced by different types of people. And if you’ve ever found yourself stuck in the rut of history books and virtual explainers, full-length films are useful resource materials to empathize with the era’s victims and survivors—and further understand their narrative.

As a continuation of last year’s list of Martial Law-themed film recs to combat historical amnesia, here are more movies you can watch that tackle the harrowing era, all available to stream online.


Dir. Auraeus Solito

Ever chanced upon those stills that say, “It is your duty to free your minds. Make original research projects, drawn from existing conditions?” You guessed it right, it’s from “Pisay.” Set in the 1980s, eight students from one of the top high schools in the country experience the wonders and horrors of adolescence, all while navigating the “real world’s” baptism of fire during Martial Law’s peak.

Stream on MOOV.

“Respeto” (2017)

Dir. Treb Monteras II

Hendrix (Abra), a young aspiring rapper, forms an unexpected friendship with Doc (Dido De La Paz), an old poet and bookstore owner loaded with a traumatic past. Set in the underbelly of Pandacan, Manila, this Cinemalaya 2017 Best Picture (with stunning cinematography and sound to boot) shows how music is both personal and political. 

Stream on MOOV.

“Barber’s Tales” (2013)

Dir. Jun Robles Lana

Set in a remote village in the 1970s, a widower (Eugene Domingo) inherits her husband’s barbershop. As her new journey is painted peculiar in a male-dominated community—and at a time when having a voice is a luxury—she works to seek freedom and liberation. 

Stream on KTX

“The Kingmaker” (2019)

Dir. Lauren Greenfield 

With portraits of a lavish lifestyle, this documentary chronicles and dissects the history of the Marcos family, especially of former first lady Imelda Marcos as she helps her son Bongbong to win the 2016 vice-presidency. If you know someone who’s strong in the historical revisionism department, here’s a rec you can send. 

Stream on MOOV.

Read more:

We asked a lawyer all your questions about the Anti-Terrorism Act

The future belongs to the revolution

Let’s remember Martial Law for Imee Marcos 

Still from “Respeto”


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