Why you should watch 'Liway,' a film based on real Martial Law experiences
MANILA, Philippines – Cinemalaya’s highest-grossing film Liway begins its commercial run in cinemas Wednesday, October 10. Based on director Kip Oebanda’s experience growing up inside a prison camp during Martial Law, the movie tells the story of a young mother who uses storytelling to protect her young son from the painful realities of prison life.
With stories of martial law victims being “systematically erased,” Kip felt now is the time to speak up and tell his truth.
“I just really felt that our stories were systemically getting erased. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the Philippine society in the coming years but it felt like I had to do it now. It’s a now or never thing,” Kip explained during the press conference for Liway.
“I feel that I’m at a point where I’m confident enough at what I’m doing. I think I could give a bit of justice to the people who are involved. I just thought the time was right.”
Fans who watched Liway during its Cinemalaya run are encouraged to view it for the second time to see the additional scenes that did not make the cut.
By giving the Martial Law victims a chance to tell their stories, Kip hopes Liway will be an eye-opening experience for moviegoers.
"I always read claims that the stories of Martial Law victims aren't true, that they're made up. A prominent personality said, ‘Name one martial law victim,’ I can name you several in the film. So that's it, the idea that people are discrediting not only the history of our country but the personal history of people. I found it offensive personally.”
“I decided the film should not be about the broader political discourse because a lot of films give you that but instead we want to give personal histories of the victims of martial law. One of the strengths of the film is we're not picking a fight with people. We're just narrating what really happened and that’s enough. In a world where lies are being spread its already something to be telling the truth."
With its nationwide release, Kip hopes that more Filipinos will get to watch Liway. Much more than entertainment, the director saw the film as an educational tool to learn more about the Martial Law era. According to him, several educators have already showed interest in screening the movie to different schools.
“They want their kids to see it kasi nga its very accessible. I think ML (another Cinemalaya 2018 entry) is an interesting counterpoint kasi ML provides a visceral gory intense experience of martial law. Our, it’s more toned down. It’s more of the feelings, emotions, guilt, paranoia, and the resilience of hope involved during the Martial Law.”
“It’s very optimistic but it’s not naively optimistic. It’s not saying that all our problems ended when martial law ended but it’s saying that no matter what happens there’s a way to fight and there’s a way to speak.”
Catch Liway in theaters nationwide beginning October 10. – Rappler.com