Editorial: Malan’s fate: A reminder of the long, warped road ahead-A A +A
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
THE pullout of “Malan” underlines the long, bumpy, and oftentimes warped way ahead with regards mainstreaming cultural sensitivity. It is also reflective of how callous we have become against the norms and ways of the indigenous peoples, despite the fact that we have a good number of tribes whose cultures deserve to be preserved, most of all, respected.
But then, we shouldn’t be surprised. We are a people who are known for insensitivity to the nuances of our different ethnic origins, peppering our sentences with attributions to the “Ata”, the “Moros”, the “Mandaya”, the “Igorot”, the “lumad”, all said with disparaging tones.
Many still up their nose on ethnicity, feeling superior because of their mixed races; the faux pas committed first by clothing company Bayo, which gave superior attributes to those with a mix of Caucasian blood, and very recently by skin care brand Belo Essentials, which gave superior attributes to whiter-skinned men, is but reflective of this warped mindset.
The pullout came after unresolved issues between the producers, the Buhilaman Visions Davao Inc. and the movie director Benjamin Q. Garcia, who was just employed to direct the film for which Visayas poet Agustin “Don” Pagusara was given a grant by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). This means, Pagusara owns the story and the creation, but Garcia wants his own way of telling the story to be followed. Except that, the story revolves around a B’laan lass and an outsider and the B’laans, a tribe of Davao del Sur, have as much right on how their story has to be told as the producers, directors, and story writer.
For the culturally sensitive among us, we know that the indigenous peoples’ ways are steeped with traditions and that tradition includes high respect for the dignity of their women. The director wanted a torrid kissing scene shown, the B’laans and the producers cringe in distaste and protest.
The mainstream Filipino, however, may cheer and jeer, for the outdated ways of the lumads, and that’s because unlike us -- the urbanized people who patronize television shows where half-naked women gyrate with sexual innuendoes and pass this off as dancing, and show hosts are allowed to make as many sexist and make fun of the ugly, the dark-skinned, and everything else that is not fair of skin -- the ways of the lumads give far more importance to dignity and respect than we can ever dream of.
It’s sad, however, that a Davao-produced film with all the good intentions of making people understand the travails and nuances of peoples and communities who are Filipinos like us but whom we have conveniently shelved in some dusty crevices of our existence, has been pulled out and shelved on the very days when the film for better understanding was supposed to have been shown.
And while we are not really privy to what is happening in the background, we strongly believe that Nestor Horfilla, who has contributed more than his fair share to the performing arts in Davao, does not deserve the insults that has been and is being thrown against him all because he had the heart to tweak the film to become what it has set out to do, be culturally sensitive while recalling the dark days of Martial Law in Mindanao in the way that equally respected poet Don Pagusara has written it.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 04, 2012.