Wednesday, February 01, 2006

'Ora Pro Nobis' by Lino Brocka

I just watched an 1980's movie entitled 'Ora Pro Nobis'
by Lino Brocka. Two of my English classes
required watching the particular movie and making a
reaction paper for it. The movie is substantial,
despite its age.

Here's some lousy reaction (its more of narrating the events, actually)


The movie entitled ‘Ora Pro Nobis’ puts its focus on a group of anti-communist vigilantes who calls themselves ‘Ora Pro Nobis.’ It is directed by Lino Brocka, an eminent director of the 80’s. Literally, ora pro nobis means ‘fight for us’.

Dry barren lands, unpaved roads and the provincial locale emphasized the initial setting of the movie. These are typical settings where one can expect to see rugged men carrying rifles, traversing the land in search for enemies.

These rugged men, the Ora Pro Nobis, are man-slaughterers. They considered every man they meet as rebels, and that they should be eliminated quickly. The Ora finish alleged rebels on site, brutally and sometimes inhumanely, for they sometimes eat their victims’ body parts after roasting them – alive. Excluding rebels, they also tend to finish off people who just talked or complained about them, like in the case of the foreign priest who got an unhesitant shot through the head. The priest was executed by Kumander Kontra (Bembol Roco), the faction’s leader. Their ‘bad’ attributes and description is well portrayed throughout the movie, both in their words and actions.

Jimmy Cordero (Philip Salvador) is a former priest and a former revolutionary rebel who joined a human rights activists’ group. This group, spearheaded by Sister Dimasupil is on a path-finding mission on track of the Ora. They voice out that the vigilantes indiscriminately finish off ordinary citizens and not rebels, and that the Ora is under the protection of the military. Because of their opposing actions against the Ora, the human rights activists are continuously pursued, threatened and eliminated by the Ora, with some help from the military. This clearly shows the oppression of the weak and the powerless by the well-armed and politically strong.

As the group continued its dispute against the ‘vigilantes,’ they were forced to evacuate into the city after receiving a threat from Kontra. In the church’s sanctuary they were raided, and alleged rebels were abducted even though the people were only presented with mere search warrants and not arrest warrants.

Cordero barely escaped an assassination plot against him. While riding a car with his brother-in-law, bullets showered them. Unfortunately, his brother-in-law died on the spot. A media man, a co-worker of Cordero’s wife was also abducted. Due to the dismaying series of events, the human rights group was forced to plead in the court. Shortly, after a court session, Cordero’s ex-fiancé and his son were also abducted.

Back in the mountains where they were brought, Cordero’s ex-fiancé was repeatedly beaten-up and tortured by the Kontra, in her son’s presence, who was then around nine years old. Kontra then raped her, and witnessing the events, made her son to go berserk that made Kontra shoot him. The infuriated mother was able to grab a gun from another man who was about to rape her, and fired upon Kontra. Wounded, Kontra was still able to counter-fire and killed her. Kontra’s subordinates, who once believed he was immune to gunfire and knife-stabs saw him and unhesitantly killed him. A brutal execution for Kontra by whom he considered as a comrade is appropriate for such a ruthless man.

The outcome of events forced Cordero to once again join a revolutionary group where he was once a member, even with her wife’s sure objection.

The title makes a good start in capturing prospect viewers’ attention because of the uncommon language used.

Though some scenes may be too brutal, it seems necessary to portray the true nature and activities of the Ora.

These events had occurred during the military regime of Marcos, and are seemingly recurring onto the present in a different form during the present administration of Arroyo.

The overall flow of events is in good pace – it is neither fast nor slow. The screenplay invokes its viewers to be vigilant about their current social, political and economic status, and to protect their human rights from oppressive forces. The movie has the potential to provoke an uprise, especially in an event of extensive tyranny.


This may serve as a student's future reference. Something wrong with my reaction? Email me.


Blogger mUnChKiNs said...

hi..i found ur post very helpful...we have a report on ora pronobis in our Film Class... may i use some of it as reference??thank you so much...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger DavidR said...

To correct and clarify the point about the title:
Ora pro nobis is from the Hail Mary in Latin, and means 'pray for us'. Lino Brocka made a point of calling his film after the name of the vigilante group Orapronobis, without spaces, highlighting how they had heard things in church without understanding.

When the film was later distributed in the USA, it was re-named 'Fight for us' in a clever play on the original title.

In France it had yet another title, meaning 'the people who never give up' as a tribute to the human rights workers it features.

Note that every incident in the film is based on something that happened in real life, although not to the same group of people.

Thursday, February 05, 2009 2:12:00 AM  
Blogger DavidR said...

I must add: virtually all of the film takes place in the period of restored democracy when Aquino was president. Only the opening, the murder of a priest and eating his brain, took place under Marcos (an actual event in 1985).

Thursday, February 05, 2009 2:15:00 AM  
Blogger komandante said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sunday, July 20, 2014 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger komandante said...

This is also about the brutal killing of an Italian priest Tulio Pavali (PIME) in Mindanao by the CHDF backed Ilagas led by Norberto Manero alias Kumander Bucay during the Marcos regime..

Sunday, July 20, 2014 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Princess Stephanie Tauyan said...

yey. thank you

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 5:29:00 AM  

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