starring Sandy Andolong, Cherie Gil, Joel Torre, Liza Lorena and Ronnie Lazaro
Hailed as one of the most important Philippine films in the 1980s, Oro Plata Mata serves as an almost exact portrayal of the continuing collapse of the social order in our country.
The lavish lifestyles of the Ojedas and the Lorenzos are driven to a halt with the fall of Corregidor. They are forced to live in the Negros jungles, but safety isn’t what they will encounter as fellow Filipinos take advantage of the chaos, pitting one against the other.
A microcosm of our country, Peque Gallaga and Joey Reyes carefully recapture the Pinoy every-man-for-himself ideology in times of trouble, unabling one to pick a side between the protagonists and the villains.
Culture survives on the Ark, is handed down like breadcrumbs from one generation to the next, remember this, keep this safe, this is who we are. Aurora Blake whispers her grandfather’s stories in her children’s ears, oro plata mata, the white lady, one revolution after another, elf kings who live inside balete trees.
Bellamy likes the war stories, the valiant last stands of long-gone martyrs, adios patria adorada, region del sol querida, but Octavia’s favorite tale is the one about May Day Eve.
“In the time of the Spaniards, when the clock struck the first of May,” their mother says, “a woman could take a candle into a darkened room and see the face of her future husband in a mirror— but, if she wasn’t careful, she would see the Devil himself.”
Bellamy doesn’t want to see the Devil, nor is he particularly interested in seeing his future wife, but Octavia dares him to do it. And so, one night when he is sixteen, after the clock has struck twelve and left April behind, he takes a flashlight and quietly makes his way down the long dark corridors, footsteps buoyed by the hum of the Ark’s engines and the dreams of its sleeping passengers.