Oras de Peligro: The awakening from passiveness

A BELIEF is hard to disagree with, especially when it is the belief that drives the majority of a country.

People will continue to be driven by their principles unless they are challenged by something unavoidable, something that will force them to see those ideals in a different light.

Directed by Joel C. Lamangan, Oras de Peligro encapsulates the notion of how people’s ideals change due to a multitude of unfortunate events.

The narration begins with actual footage of the events three days before the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution and quickly transitions to Beatriz (Cherry Pie Picache) discussing with her husband Dario Marianas (Allen Dizon), together with their children Jimmy (Dave Bornea) and Nerissa (Therese Malvar) about the recent transport strike. This scene portrays the family’s political passiveness.

Beatriz, who sees the people in Malacañang as gods, instructs her family to avoid the entire situation as much as possible. As she tells Dario before he goes out, “It’s never a good thing to fight the government.”

The atmosphere captured the audience’s attention through its straightforward use of facts and illustrations. One instance is the scene where the Philippine Constabulary Metropolitan Command (MetroCom) are arresting activists and labeling them as communists.

Foreshadowing was evident throughout the film. Subtle hints were used to stage the Marianas family’s ideological change, usually accompanied by a melodramatic tune. A perfect illustration of these hints was the scene where Jimmy and Yix (Timothy Castillo) were debating about their opposing beliefs at the ongoing rallies and their first-hand experience of MetroCom’s cruelty at the latter part of the film.

While the film did well in setting the proper atmosphere for the scenes, it could have done better in using transitions as there were some scenes that did not complement each other. This includes the transition from a scene where Nerissa was vowing not to spend the money her father gave her to a sudden short actual footage of an event from the EDSA Revolution dated February 22, 1986.

Some scenes were also overshadowed by the music used such as the arrival of Dario’s body at their home. It managed to accommodate the feelings of a person who recently lost someone special although the music slightly disrupted the flow.

official poster from Solar Pictures/Facebook

However, the film did great in applying the proper setting and tone for the important scenes. A great example of this is the scene where the killers arrived at Dario’s funeral. A dreadful tone was used not only to expose the killers’ true colors to the audience but also to illustrate the beginning of the revolution. It also signified the days before the dictatorship ended.

Oras de Peligro also used a bit of comedy. Scenes that include Ma’am Jessa (Mae Paner) along with her friends and some activist nuns gave a good laugh while preparing for the revolution. An example is the scene where Ma’am Jessa giggles in excitement while anticipating a call from an activist nun. Paner’s acting was sophisticated and showed how a bubbly character can balance out the intensity of the film without disrupting the momentum. Meanwhile, Picache’s performance gave justice to the people who lost a loved one due to social injustice.

Picache successfully portrayed someone who stood for her family head-on against the culprits, while grieving the loss of her husband. She showed an exemplary execution of someone scared but at the same time brave, despite the chances of her getting killed on the spot.

The film also displayed a scene that was rarely seen during the Martial Law period. Rita (Elora Espano) is a vital key to Dario Marianas’ case as her appearance consequently resulted in the demise of the true transgressors, which later gave Dario a proper burial.

This also ignited the change within the Marianas family. The once passive victims are now active members of the revolution and joined the march to Malacañang. It is followed by the actual footage of the citizens rallying, forcing the Marcos family to flee.

Overall, Oras de Peligro provided a good view on what happened in the days leading to the EDSA Revolution. To note, many citizens were jailed and tortured during the time of former president Ferdinand E. Marcos. Unfortunately, time and forgetfulness are the allies of the heinous ones. F Trixcy Anne B. Loseriaga

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