I didn’t know what to expect when I caught Motherland at the opening of the Active Vista Human Rights Festival last night. The documentary by Ramona S. Diaz won the Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Award. It also participated in the Berlin International Film Festival and nabbed the Viktor Award at the Munich International Documentary Film Festival. So critics and the international audience seem to love it, at least. It makes one wonder why such an acclaimed film isn’t shown locally in all theaters possible.
But the ultimate question: Is it really that good? If you’re like me, a woman in the Philippines, celebrating the full implementation of the RH Law and the lifting of the TRO on contraceptives, it is. In reality, if you just any other person passionate about human rights and concerned about the welfare of others, it’s a must-see. I can’t think of a better way to urge us to fight for women’s rights, health care, and sex education.
Motherland is a documentary that follows the lives of several women as they give birth and stay at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital. Tagged as the world’s busiest maternity, you’ll see how mothers are made to share beds with one another, how they struggle to pay the bills, and are hesistant to undergo ligation or IUD. Some are just in their teens, most of them are in their early twenties and have given birth almost every year they’ve been with their partners. It’s heartbreaking but without the melodrama. It’s eye-opening and sometimes too real about poverty and ignorance, but without a dash of judgement. “I’m hoping that poverty doesn’t define them. I’m hoping that what defines them is being human, being a woman,” Ramona told us after the film screening.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll be touched. You’ll get a little angry too upon realizing how lack of compassion and the politicking that goes into the most basic human rights affect the less fortunate. It’s an important docu for every human, male or female, especially as we face an affront against human rights everywhere. Though the situation is nuanced and distinctly within a Filipino setting, the message pierces through various differences. Ramona says it best as she shares an important reflection, “If your human rights are violated, it affects everyone. It’s universal, no one lives in an island.”
Tonight, you can join Grrrl Gang Manila and Dakila as Motherland will be shown to the Filipino public for the first time in a local theater. Drop by at 7 p.m. at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri-La Mall. There will be an open forum with Ramona after the screening. I urge you to clear out your schedule as much as you can because it’s that imporant.
The Motherland premiere is just the start of the Active Vista Human Rights Festival. The festival will run until Dec. 10. Films up for show are Respeto, On the Job, Die Beautiful, and Engkwentro among many others. There will also be a showcase various exhibits, talks, special screenings, and performances all over the metro. Log on to their Facebook page to get the full schedule.
Screengrab via YouTube
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