Saturday, 9 July 2016

Justice by any means

"Justice by any means"

Notes after watching Sigfred Barros Sanchez's "Magtanggol"

At first, this person would say that the movie entitled "Magtanggol" is as somehow quite relatable, especially to those who yearned for migrant worker's rights, and to those who yearned for an antihero-like protagonist.

As directed by Sigfred Barros Sanchez, Magtanggol, meaning "defender" in Pilipino language, is a movie that invokes a need for retribution and justice, and that those who live under the law should abide by it, and in those laws includes protecting ones fellowmen be it in one's homeland or in abroad.

However, despite its lessons expressed such as patriotism, the need for justice, and love for one's fellowmen, its scenes speaks largely of vigilante justice as means to attain the victim's desire to attain one. Be it the killing of a Chinese businessman happened to be maltreating a Filipina domestic helper, or a Korean manager who doused Filipino laborers with boiling water, the protagonist used Vigilante- style justice as means to impose a law that the courts with its due processes failed to thanks by corrupt lawmakers whose emphasis is on profiteering and self-prestige than those of serving and protecting the people as did by Magtanggol.

After all, according to an article of the Philippine Star, it said:

"...directed by Sigfreid Barros Sanchez and produced by Felix and Bert Film Productions, is an independent movie with a mainstream appeal and a diasporic advocacy. It is a narrative about the plight of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the hands of their abusive employers and what politicians can do in addressing the issue."

But, as noticed by some viewers concerned, the movie, although it stresses Filipino patriotism and love for one's fellowmen, seemed to be radically different from the typical Filipino-style sensibilities that usally shown in Philippine cinema. That instead of church and religious figures, if not emphasising much on closer family ties, the movie rather depicts those of the Philippine flag, singing the national anthem, the lawmaking center such as the senate, and the airport featuring Overseas Filipino Workers as being shown much if the film the way the Magtanggols depicted as patriotic, law abiding, and concerned citizens of the nation.
And speaking of being law abided in the movie, one would say that the law is interpreted in various ways that often leads to arguments. That if Juancho Magtanggol, the senator who's known for supporting the rights of Filipino migrant workers, chose the path through legalist means such as those of due processes, his brother, Anton, chose a different path that he took law in his hand, first as a migrants' rights activist, then as a vigilante fighter if not an entirely antihero image (as contrary to his brother's "heroic feats through legalist means") whose exploits involves killing repressors and slanderers of his race also meant imposing justice for those who hath been victimised by the latter.

Regarding the story flow, there are some scenes that somehow reminds of Allan Moore and his movie "V for Vendetta". Sanchez, however, being the director behind the movie, stated that through watching a Netflix series like "Daredevil" had brought ideas for his creation and that is inspired by it;
And in it may also perhaps in an attempt to break away from the typicality as any other Pinoy action figure/hero whose story seemed too much of Pinoy style sensibility.

Anyways, to most people, watching that movie such as that Magtanggol may have meant taking a break from the typical whose movies that rather invoke cheesiness, feels, lines to remember, and the typical sensibilities that makes the movie Filipino made.

However, few cinemas dare to show it, if not trying to take it off from their movie houses, thinking that those movies such as those of Sanchez's may deem unprofitable compared to much mainstream ones (including those whose artistry brought from independent film producers and directors hath brought entirely into mainstream). There are also people who thinks that Sanchez's work may fit for future film festivals both local and abroad, thinking that the movie smacks of change both in form and in substance.

But from the views of Sigfred Sanchez himself, that he'd rather focus much on showing the movie first to every Filipino, migrant or not, in propagating the message: that Magtanggol is more than just a family known for its political heritage (an "ideal political family and speaks of the type of politicians we all dream of" according to Tom Rodriguez), but an expression of a Nation in its quest for justice, and imposing it with its fullest extent by any means.