• Richard Olano

Daang Dokyu opening reminds us to #NeverForget Martial Law as they migrate online this year

When propaganda and forgetfulness take over truth and revise history, no society can ever truly be free.

With its original March run postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Daang Dokyu, the first documentary festival in the country is migrating online with a solid line-up of documentary films about the atrocities during the Martial Law-era Philippines for its opening salvo.


In line with the annual commemoration of the Martial Law declaration in 1972, Daang Dokyu opening is slated to run from September 19-21, featuring five films under the theme: “Martial Law, Never Again.” Among these films are ABS-CBN's Marcos: A Malignant Spirit (1986), Imelda (2003), Alunsina (2020), Rustling of Leaves: Inside the Philippine Revolution (1988), and Mendiola Massacre (1987).


“The opening program is not just a lineup of films to remember the past but a statement for us in the present. Our generation now has been witnessing the erosion of our freedoms, unbelievable abuses of power, and a growing confusion about the future. We think documentaries can help make up our minds about the lessons already learned, mistakes we shouldn’t repeat, and what we shouldn’t allow again to be done to us as a people. We are offering these films for free, the largest collection of curated Philippine documentaries ever put together for online public viewing, films from 1914 to 2020. We’re inviting everyone to revisit this album of images because these are about us,” Festival Director Jewel Maranan said.

Hosted by Angelo Castro Jr. of ABS-CBN, the rarely-seen Marcos: A Malignant Spirit containing rare footage and recorded conversations exposes the “the inhuman manner in which Marcos and his henchmen systematically drained the economy [...] in their greedy and unrelenting quest for fortune." Being one of her favorites in the line-up, Maranan described the film as “well-made, well-researched, and hard-hitting.”

Ramona S. Diaz’s 2003 feature-length documentary Imelda follows the life of the former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos. It premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Excellence in Cinematography Documentary Award and is considered the first-ever documentary film to be released theatrically in the country. As Diaz grew up in the Martial Law era, “the film has a particular Filipino gaze.”

Alunsina from filmmaker Kiri Dalena, the latest film to document the bloody drug war, is an intimate look at the children and the family members left behind by victims of extrajudicial killings.

32 years later, Canadian filmmaker Nettie Wild’s Rustling of Leaves: Inside the Philippine Revolution, will have its Philippine premiere. Documented after the Marcos dictatorship was overthrown, the film follows the “three points of a political trianglethe legal left, the illegal (armed) revolution, and the [...] armed reactionary right.”

Lito Tiongson’s Mendiola Massacre is a newsreel of the massacre that took place in Mendiola Bridge when peasant organizations called for genuine agrarian reform on January 22, 1987. The incident resulted in 13 deaths and injured hundreds of civilians.


Aside from these, the festival will also stream for free a collection of over 50 documentaries about the country’s environment, taboos, history, different regions, and its future for over six weeks from September 19 to November 5 via the Daang Dokyu website.


With history and stories coming to our own screens, we are now thrust with the challenge to educate ourselves and resist the “continuing legacy of violence, plunder, and divisiveness."


For updates and information on how to register and watch visit the Daang Dokyu Facebook page.

Photos from Daang Dokyu website

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