To celebrate the 65 years of diplomatic relations and 150 years of consular ties between the Netherlands and the Philippines, Dakila launched the opening of the Active Vista International Human Rights Film Festival last August 20 at the Robinsons Movieworld, with a free screening of the films “Lucia De B.” and “Honor Thy Father.”

The Festival will last until August 27 and the rest of the screenings will be held at SAFAD Theatre, University of San Carlos – Talamban Campus.

Lucia De B. by Paula van der Oest

Synopsis: A young assistant DA (district attorney) puts a serial killing nurse behind bars, only to discover evidence that may prove her innocence.

A film based on the real life story of a pediatric nurse falsely accused of murdering her patients, Lucia De B. demonstrates the unfair and almost unreasonable justice system in the Netherlands. The film takes the audience into a thrilling and at the same time infuriating series of events that happened to Lucia from before her conviction until her release. Viewers who watched the Active Vista screening could be heard cursing in disbelief, screaming in one of the scenes where the prosecutor, Judith Jansen, was seen looking for a strong evidence to prove that Lucia was innocent, and even cheering when Lucia was finally acquitted of the murders.

Overall, the film evoked strong feelings of sadness and despair as the main character went through consecutive disappointments in trying to prove her case. Director Paula van der Oest was successful in bringing the audience from the theatre seats to the terrifying scenes in the movie, backed by the solid acting of its cast and the somewhat dark atmosphere of its chosen locations.

In the scenes showing the lone and narrow prison rooms, it was not only Lucia who felt trapped inside the unjust system but the viewers themselves who seemed to be left with no choice but to feel uncomfortable and disturbed by the harsh reality.

Lucia De B. is indeed a must-see, not only for people who are fond of independent movies, but for everyone. The film reveals the truth, no matter how ugly or painful it is. Watch the movie and witness the truth for yourself.

Honor Thy Father by Erik Matti

Synopsis: A family is caught in a financial ruin after being involved in a Ponzi scheme.

A film starring John Lloyd Cruz as Edgar, a family man who resorted to vigilante justice in order to save the life of his family, Honor Thy Father addresses the dangerous consequences of being involved in a fraudulent investment scheme and people’s seemingly delusional regard of religion.

In a country where the justice system is considerably weak, one would not deem the brutal punishments demonstrated in the film as impossible. Brutality is rampant, especially within areas where greed and lust for money thrive among powerful politicians or families.

Edgar and his wife, Kaye (Meryll Soriano) were both desperate to pay back the investors and escape their probable death. This desperation led Edgar to resort to illegal ways such as stealing from their church, the Church of Yeshua. The film depicts hopelessness which in turn leaves the audience with disturbing and shocking scenes that portrayed each character’s eagerness to survive.

The film also gives emphasis to the devout churchgoers’ absurd attitude and loyalty toward the church. In one scene where the people were worshipping and raising their hands in heartfelt devotion, Edgar was the only person who was motionless as if waiting for the whole worship to stop. In the Philippines where religion is regarded highly by most people, the film’s concept can either upset the faithful ones, or expose to the viewers the hypocrisy of most church leaders.

Honor Thy Father was made to disturb us, not only through its script or the fine acting of its cast, but also through the gloomy atmosphere that was captured perfectly in every scene. A remarkable and frightening film, it leaves the audience with an impactful ending and a difficult choice between sympathy and blame.

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