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By Myke U. Obenieta

So to speak

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

EVER present, the past is apparently stuck in the scene of its disappearing act. See how we stay transfixed by the need to recreate. As if all we need to do to reach something near to perfection, even if it were mere fiction, is to repeat. All seems not well, or far away from the possibility of forgiving and forgetting the mistakes, if we remain still.

Moving on must be a matter of going through the motion, over and over again. Such feat of perpetuity entails foremost an imagination rendered persistent with the vigor of a vocation true to the epic undertaking, for instance, of the Reenactment Guild of America.

Comprising “of Living Historians, Educators, Entertainers and Reenactors,” the guild’s mission statement not only sticks out its tongue but also tries to lick the malaise of clueless modernity. Make my day! Or so their challenge goes to the new generation who may scoff at their work: “the preservation of and education regarding the History of America's 19th Century, primarily but not restricted to the American Old West.”


Where to find the frontiers almost lost? Better yet, how to reclaim the ascendancy of ideals and its shade of innocence—sometimes as immaculate as the whitewash of wishful thinking trickier than fantasy—in history books and old movies?

Actors, we all are. Spotlighted in the scheme of nation building, our calling is to rise to the occasion less opportune for playing cowboys or comic heroes than history keepers. Thus we are enjoined or inspired to take our cue from the various anniversary rituals that amply imply the radiance of our race.

Whether it’s the reenactment of the slaying of Magellan in Mactan island or the commemoration of the People Power Revolution in Cebu recently, the show must go on regardless of the “possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” What one novelist noted may be in a different context but it’s still pertinent to our social issues too rueful to be true to the movie in our minds: less inequity and insecurity, more peace and progress.

Go on, get moving. Truly does it, yes, when action resonates with the remembrance of show-and-tell artists who can leap through the missing links from the reel to the real.

When the founders of the Cebu Cinema Development Council talked about the urgency of reviving and preserving our “native cinema,” its subtext of development for Cebu and for our country conveyed a narrative that probably sounded naïve but definitely brave, defiant and worthy of the most valiant of visionaries.

Seeing—we’ve heard it said time and again—is believing. Beyond lip service, of course.

Along this line, the second Cebuano Cinema Conference initiated by the Graduate School of Cinema Studies of the University of San Carlos and the Cebuano Studies Center (Feb. 28-29 at Casa Gorordo and Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center) looks like it’s walking the talk for retracing and reclaiming what remains of our heritage.

There’s more to do certainly beyond showing nearly forgotten movies like ‘Badlis sa Kinabuhi’ (1969) and ‘Aliyana’ (1974). For starters, showing there’s more to progress than meets the wink-ready rhetoric of our politicians suffices enough creative courage to nudge us for now into hoping and looking forward to far-reaching rays beyond the boredom of rage.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 26, 2014.


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