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Unity despite diversity

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - October 28, 2015 - 10:00am

The whole viewers were hooked when it started with a scene filled with heavy emotions. At first glance, a formed conjecture of either a mixture of a battlefield and a storm or probably can be viewed in two separate circumstances. That very scene was effective enough to sustain the whole attention of the audience who were privileged enough to attend the first public viewing of the film Iisa. I was fortunate to attend the gala and public viewing last October 24, 2015 at Gateway Mall Cinema in Quezon City.

Iisa is one of the films in the QCinema International Film Festival being viewed in Trinoma, Gateway, Robinson's Galleria from October 22 to 31, 2015. A directorial debut of an award-winning editor and producer Chuck Gutierrez, his works have championed Filipino cinema in major film festivals around the globe including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Busan, London, Tokyo and New York. He co-founded Voyage Studios which produce new breed of Philippine independent cinema with respected directors, writers and cinematographers in the Philippines today.

Loaded with brilliant and artistic people, the screenwriter is Arnel Mardoquio, director of photography is Dexter Dela Peña, Perry Dizon as the production designer with a powerhouse composed of Angeli Bayani, Rio Locsin, Jess Mendoza, Mon Confiado, Perry Dizon, Mitch Valdes and Rocky Salumbides. Except for Mitch Valdes, I was delighted to see, and congratulated them personally during the film festival.

The film depicts the war-worn town in Compostela Valley that is ravaged by a typhoon that practically changed the physical landscape of the community as well as the people's way of living.

The film also presents the glaring situation. Their community is far from reach of any government's basic service, but has long been penetrated by corporate mining projects, which caused destruction to their environment. Even the basic needs of the community have long been unanswered by the local leaders, as if they are very far from the civilization. Neglected by their political officials, their option left is to rob those who have more, for them to survive.

The main character, Ross, 28, belongs to a group of rebels tasked to rebuild the destroyed homes of people. "Ross and her group must get supplies to rebuild their broken lives. She encourages her people to go back to farming. When the aid from the Philippine government failed to arrive in their town, Ross seeks for the relief donations from international groups.

This is the beginning of her life's complication. She finds out that the town governor is hoarding the relief goods from the United Nations. As she goes down from the hidden mountain, she would be exposed to the eyes of her enemy, the Philippine military."

The conflict arises when they seek the assistance of the government but confronted with the fact that it is the same people that they have longed been in conflict with. 

A poignant end when major characters failed in pursuing their individual aspirations. And the only consolation is when people behind them continue what they have started.

The film presents so many issues that some of our Filipino brothers have been experiencing in far-flung areas. The perennial neglect of the corrupt government, the oftentimes conflicting individual and group interests, but in the end, a ray of hope is waiting. Hanging on to whatever is left ties all to act as one.

ANGELI BAYANI ARNEL MARDOQUIO CHUCK GUTIERREZ COMPOSTELA VALLEY DEXTER DELA PE FILM GATEWAY MALL CINEMA IISA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL JESS MENDOZA PERRY DIZON
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