Tungkol saan ang Barako?
THE MOVIE. Barako is a haunting account of a young man’s attempt to effect change in his town by gathering his friends around a kapihan called “barakuhan”. In the absence of media, it effectively becomes a venue for the townsfolk to practice their democratic rights, colliding expectedly with the elite’s political and economic interests.
The movie starts glaringly with the American occupation of Batangas (early 1900) with the valiant Gen. Malvar (Archie Adamos) and another local hero, Mateo Ilustre (Manolito Sulit) plotting its defense. It then takes us to a seemingly restive yet impoverished Batangueño community 100 years later, taking shifting points of view of the people from the grassroots, drawing them initially around one central figure, an unnamed character labeled only as the Publicist (Publisista, played by Arnold Reyes) and later on, around yet another, Mando (Carlon Matobato)—referred to in the story (by the Publicist himself) as "ang tunay na barako".
BASED ON A TRUE STORY. “Barakuhan,” a public forum over a cup of coffee organized by the Publicist with other major characters (played by the likes of Nanding Josef, a veteran actor and CCP’s artistic director, and surprisingly, poets Mike Coroza and Vim Nadera) is in actual existence in Ibaan, Batangas from 2002-2005, remembered by the locals as one that decisively confronted a relatively unknown power outage that crippled the town for six weeks in 2003—which has also become part of the movie.
Other characters (most are also unnamed) include the Politician (Pulitiko, played by Leo Martinez) and his cohorts (Behn Cervantes, Dennis Marasigan, Tots Aguila, Arthur Casanova and Raul Funilas), plus a significant portrayal of the aging Publicist by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera .
WHAT THEY SAY. Barako has been described by no less than National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera as the only movie in current circulation that “completely” tackled Philippine politics. “Like Behn Cervantes’ Sakada in the Martial Law years,” he commented, “but more complete.”
Rhod Nuncio, in a review, wrote, “Manolito Sulit, the Filipino poet cum director and scriptwriter of this film envisions a criss-crossing of time, genre, form, and narrative to bring out a contemporary reading of local/national Filipino life.”
Barako earned the title “new Noli” from the viewers in its so-called Cinemalaya “world premiere” in July 24, 2007 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, taking into account some similarities with Rizal’s novel.[Source: Barakothemovie.com]
Sa amin sa Batangas, hindi laang daw kape ang barako. Pati daw mga tao. hehe!