The Cinemalaya film festival run, although packed and loud, just happens to be too short, isn’t it? This year is no exception. August may have passed, but some stories are meant to come back. Just like the return of Liway to cinemas nationwide last month, Benedict Mique’s ML dominates the screen again today, Nov. 7. This time, it’s for a nationwide release.
Set in today’s time, ML narrates college student Carlo’s (Tony Labrusca) search for someone to interview about Martial Law for a school requirement. His friends then recommend talking to an old retired soldier (Eddie Garcia) who’s just within their community. This goal to gather knowledge later on brings Carlo, his best friend, and girlfriend in hell on earth. The old man chooses to torture them, showing the truth about the era of dictatorship, death, and despair in the realest manner—no books, speeches, and screens to take reference from.
ML, alongside Liway, got the best of both worlds. They gained the top grossing spots in the 2018 Cinemalaya, and bagged numerous awards. Aside from earning best editing under the full-length category, Eddie Garcia was honored for his third best actor award for ML. Just by digesting the trailer, you can see how these two aspects were maximized to let you in the bloody discourse—something that jolts as its finds triumph in its hits.
Films like ML wear the brand of bravery we need to stand in this time of looming dictatorship, violation on human rights, and historical revisionism (with its nasty daughter, fake news). It’s something worthy of approval if it had to be screened in schools. Again and again, with opportunists trying to twist and turn our minds, it’s a requirement to learn from our past.
Film still from ML