masses, economy & psychology

No Filipino would forget Lino Brocka’s masterpiece “Pasan Ko ang Daigdig” and Ms. Sharon Cuneta shooeing her abusive father with a long black whip. For me, that’s the epitome of a smoldering fox with claws (rawr). As these scenes unfold in front of  “fatigued-by-life” audiences, I wonder whether we could really have a saviour like that. A celebrity who’d whiplash the assess of people who causes the suffering of many.

Now that’s Cinema Paradiso isn’t it? An auditorium where the masses can forget their unfair and sometimes destitute existence. It’s the place where they’ll see the entity of their wildest dreams–like a maid beating-up a blowsy employer. It’s where people living on a pittance will see themselves resurrected. A world where a voice is not denied to those who have less than impressive status-quo.

But in all honesty, I’d rather see scenes of ragged men in Philippine Cinema than see the ways of the rich. I don’t know if you notice this, but if you follow the trend of Philippine movies with reference to the economy, many of the classic movies of the 70s, 80s center on the underdogs of society. And yet, the economy was doing far better then compared to the present.

Nowadays, we have movie shoots from Milan (or any other foreign territory) where they feature well-to-do Filipino families. Movies about the broken-hearted ramblings of a spoiled-brat socialite. But in reality, more people live below the poverty line and the economy is far worse than in the 70s or 80s.

My statistics are nil, but I have the feeling that, in a developing country, using romanticism to cloak realism in film is vital for our progress. If the maid “Inday” saw a movie about a cleaning lady who toiled her way to unprecedented success, then perhaps the other Indays will get inspired to that idea. It will give them hope to do something better instead of collecting materialistic installment plans (wristwatches, Starwax, even translucent So-En panties). Trends which may be blamed from extensively glorifying the filthy-rich lifestyle.

I remember my early cinematic exposures during TV’s “Sari-Saring Sine”. The Peso-Dollar (USD) rate back then was only 20 Pesos to One Dollar. Yet, in a time when the Philippine economy was obviously doing well, I sat and watched my grandmother cry over disabled Rosemarie on a wagon, who begged for alms, while being pushed by the very young Gelli de Belen and Sheryl Cruz in Home Sweet Home (1983).

I know that many regard such plot as “formulaic” but there are situations more colourful than the story of Inday which lurks around the side-streets of our country. I have seen dramas in real life that I wish I saw in the movies. Like the scene in San Marcelino, where an itenerant mother commanded her young daughter to walk across a thorough-fare of ten-wheeler trucks. Or this scene from a busride to Laguna when a Christmas carolling young girl was pushed aside by commuters simply because the bus has reached one of its stops.

I believe that cinema should serve as the epicenter of hope in a truly rotten status quo.

Though, at times, it does annoy me to see some *Sharon Cunetas of the country to have abused the admiration of our people. They make the news 24/7, shedding a few tears to further their political agendas. And expects justice and fan support irregardless of reason. Legions of fans who knew that she once peeled pineapples in the silver-screen, rallies on a fictitious belief (that perhaps like them) their idols were victims of unfair treatment.

But where were the *Sharon Cuneta’s when a murdered corpse of a child simmers in Formalin? Where were the *Sharon Cunetas whenever card-games are the only solution to fund the burial of a victim who’s shot by a trigger-happy drunkard? Where is our “*Wish Upon a Mega?” Our whiplashing fox?

With the existence of superhuman regard to our powerhouse casts, can we really blame our masses for being too emotional? I completely disagree.

In mass psychology, all masses have a leader.

I blame the leader.

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