“Orapronobis” (Fight for Us) is a 1989 film directed by Lino Brocka and written by Jose F. Lacaba. The film depicts the human rights violations and liberalism of the Aquino administration in support of “vigilantes” for the purpose of fighting communism.
“Orapronobis” was banned for commercial exhibition by the Philippine government because of its anti-militarization theme. The film however was previewed at the UP Film Center. Philip Salvador played the lead role of Jimmy Cordero, a priest and former rebel who became a political prisoner during Martial Law and was released right after the EDSA Revolution.
Here’s the english trailer of “Orapronobis” posted at Cannon Films’ YouTube channel.
Behn Cervantes, director of “Sakada” a socially oriented classic Filipino film, wrote about Orapronobis at Inquirer’s Entertainment section in 2007.
‘Orapronobis’ is as relevant as ever
By Behn Cervantes
MANILA, Philippines — The late Lino Brocka was an actor’s director. Because of his theater background, he drew from his actors performances worthy of acting awards. As a result, the likes of Christopher de Leon, Bembol Roco, Hilda Koronel, Gina Alajar and Philip Salvador received a number of awards for excellence in acting.
I recently viewed the banned Brocka film, “Orapronobis.” My hair stood on end when I realized that the human rights abuses depicted in 1987 are once again taking place — 20 years later! The same complaints are being lodged by human rights groups and families of victims as the military continues to rationalize the situation with the same, old excuses. History repeats itself.
“Orapronobis” was filmed in secret. The administration insisted then that no abuses were taking place no matter if documents proved that there were, indeed, hundreds of victims of vicious crimes committed by Mindanao-based vigilante groups.
The film isn’t pleasant to watch: Brocka graphically depicted the vigilantes’ cruelty, and underscored the military’s cold-hearted and vacuous explanations. Certainly, if the film were allowed to be shown then, a good number of its cast would have been honored for their performances.
Salvador portrayed an ex-priest who had to wrestle with his conscience — and the two women in his life! His performance was gripping and sympathetic. Alajar (as Salvador’s romantic interest in the underground) likewise rendered a finely-tuned performance that tugged at viewers’ hearts.
In contrast, Roco’s character was so evil that a viewer I showed the film to in Macau actually cheered Alajar on when her character shot him.
If the film were shown, Roco would have had a chance for a grand slam as best supporting actor. Philip, Gina and Dina Bonnevie (as Salvador’s feisty, confused wife) would certainly have merited accolades themselves. Joel Lamangan, who played a smooth-talking military officer, also turned in a memorable performance.
It’s time for the MTRCB to reevaluate its predecessor’s decision to ban the film from public screening. Filipinos have missed out on a well-crafted movie that boasted of insightful writing, atmospheric cinematography, and fine performances from its talented cast.