Tuesday, July 20, 2004

We saw the Imelda movie last night in Glorietta 4, good two nights ahead of the general populace. The film started after several loops of the cinema's happy-happy joy-joy soundtrack which annoyed the crowd composed of expats and hoity-toity groups. The documentary's very good and very informative. I didn't know that Imelda's aunt and grade school teacher were still alive and very spritely as they gamely answered questions as to what the former First Lady was like as a kid. And revealing answers they did provide, giving the viewers bits of anecdotes here and there about her fantasies of being a princess or at least an awareness of her "importance" at such an early age. Not to say that her family was well-off rather she grew up in poverty. One anecdote they recalled told of a story about this one time she went to school wearing a dress made of discarded parachute. She was pleased to show off her dress since it felt and looked like a dress made out of silk. One of the really interesting stories she herself told was sometime during the 1930s when she was invited by Gen. Douglas McArthur to sing before his guest, Irving Berlin. She sang "God Bless the Philippines" to his surprise and when he told her that she got it all wrong, she insisted that she was right because those were the words her teachers taught them. Mr. Berlin told her that she was wrong because the song was really called "God Bless America" and that he was the one who composed it. So what he did next, as she recalled, was to go to a corner by himself for twenty minutes and composed a new song for her to sing in an inauguration or something. That's something that doesn't happen everyday. Another incident that hews closer to home was the botched assassination attempt on Imelda which everyone is talking about. I recently learned as it was revealed to us by my dad last week over dinner, that the assassin was his cousin and that he was held in Camp Crame along with the other businessmen (holding a bazaar within the Nayong Filipino Park at the time) right after the incident for suspicions of complicity. This piece of news both a source of pride and shame for all of us. I don't know what to feel about all this, but I guess it's okay to bring it out in the open. I won't talk about Imelda's reaction to the incident. I was just dumbfounded about her deadpan humor about the whole thing. If, it was intended as a joke like she says.

As far as documentaries go, this one continually entertains and is never, ever boring at all. It opens the eyes and minds of the viewers, affirming our worst fears and suspicions about the Marcoses themselves right from the horse's mouth. Like, did the former President Ferdinand Marcos create Imelda or did Imelda create Ferdinand Marcos? What's with the "Seven Portals of Peace and Order"? Can you apply the "Pac Man Theory" to yourself? Is the link between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the internet valid? Where does she get these wacky ideas? Would you pity Fr. Reuters for listening to Imelda talk for four hours straight (minus the video about her talking about the same topics) if he got six pounds of Hersheys chocolate in return? But in the middle of this sea of irony you can find two poignant scenes where for a brief moment the viewer is afforded a glimpse of sobriety. In both quiet scenes she talks about her love for Ferdinand and how much he loved her in return. In both instances I guess it's perfectly okay to excuse yourself for feeling for her. I wouldn't join the popular chorus of laughter and mockery after watching this film. If at all it afforded me a glimpse into her sense of reality. For how could I laugh at someone living inside a bubble? Laughing at her would be bordering on the cruel. It's a pity indeed those she took into her confidence didn't have the nerve to pop her protective bubble of a world when they had the chance. I just hope and pray to God that He would send someone or something that would open her eyes before it's too late. Another thing, what if Ramona Diaz continued to train her camera on other colorful characters like say, Kris Aquino? I'm sure she wouldn't mind talking about herself and her mind before the camera nor would she petition the court to put an injunction against the showing of the movie. That would be something. Or better yet, no.

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