COTABATO CITY: The best documentary at this year’s Cinema One Originals Film Festival entitled “Forbidden Memory,” directed by multi-awarded Moro filmmaker Gutierrez “Teng” Mangansakan 2nd was shown on Friday, a day before International Human Rights Day (IHRD), at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex here.
The 96-minute documentary, dubbed as “the greatest Marcos horror story never told” in its synopsis, “summons remembrance and memories of the fateful days in September 1974 when about 1,000 men from Malisbong and neighboring villages in Palembang, Sultan Kudarat province, were killed while 3,000 women and children were forcibly taken to naval boats stationed nearby where they encountered unspeakable horror.”
These atrocities happened in the dark years of the martial law regime of the then strongman President Ferdinand Marcos.
The screening of the film a day before IHRD was aimed at opening the eyes of the audience to human rights violations and to help them understand the plight of the Moros during martial law, which Marcos declared on September 21, 1972.
Mangansakan, in his behind-the-scenes interview with Cinema One, said the film is “about a collective memory that keeps the aspirations of the people alive.”
It was first screened on November 18, the same day Marcos was hurriedly buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City (Metro Manila) 27 years after his death.
Mangansakan, in his Facebook account, posted that the timing was ironic, or rather providential, as it would serve as a reminder of who Marcos really was.
The film, he said, is an indictment of Marcos and the horrors of his authoritarian regime.
“The historical revisionism the Supreme Court committed” in allowing the Marcos burial [at the Libingan ng mga Bayani], Mangansakan added, “is a travesty of the memory of the thousands who perished and suffered under martial law.”
The film had two screenings on Friday.
One was at 9 a.m. for students, members of the military and government employees, while the gala night was at 6:30 p.m.for members of the business sector, local government officials, educators, opinion leaders, decision-makers and the media.
Tickets were given free by the Regional Human Rights Commission, the event organizer.
JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL