“Man does not live by strength alone.” This and other memorable lines have been found worthy for an ending fit for a legend at the third and final installment of the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy, “The Legend Ends”. For the first time, I was one of those given a chance to see its premiere night. For a Rurouni Kenshin fan like me, I wouldn’t trade this ticket even for a thousand bucks. After being left hanging in the second part, Himura Kenshin finds himself returning to his roots. In order to defeat a nation’s crumbling under a madman like Makoto Shishio, the former Battousai has to learn how to overcome his past, his fears, and himself. Of course, I wouldn’t be a spoiler although some of you (especially those who had followed the anime series) may be guessing how the story will gou. But the movie emphasized one point — to have the will to live. Up to the end, Rurouni Kenshin did not disappoint me. Though much has been left out from the series to fit into the film (like the highlights of the one-on-one matches with the members of the Juppongatana), the final installment retained the very soul and mantra of Kenshin himself. Just like the anime series, Rurouni Kenshin is not just a battle of swords, and fighting styles, with a bit of ostentatious politics lurking behind the higher-ups in society. It is the battle of principles. Kenshin’s “will to live” — which his Sensei Hiko Seijuro emphasized — is not for on glory and fame alone. To live is for the most important things in life, which is, not only for self, but for others and the peace of society. Although our timelines are far off from Kenshin’s “new era” under the Meiji reign, still his principle is something that we can learn from. While I couldn’t help but gape at the impressive fight scenes and quick storyline, it brings to the point the need to search and think about of our purpose in life. We live for something far more worthy than money, fame, and power. When we take off our eyes from the temporal things, we’ll find something more worth fighting for. I’m sure I’d miss Kenshin again after the final installment. But I’m sure this ending, though humbling, is a worthy bow for a remake. Screening of “Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends” in Philippine cinemas begins at September 24. I bet you have to get in line first before countless Kenshin fans start to fill the queue. 🙂
Archive for September, 2014
Let me sleep, sleep, sleep
Even when the cars keep on whirling
In the city made for breaking
While the people keep on stomping
To the beat of machines humming
Let me sleep, sleep, sleep
Eyes now blank to the flashes and winks
Of blatant liars with saintly faces before lenses
Ears deaf to the noise and screeches
Of outspoken spokespeople pretending to be preachers
I carried the burden and depth
Of wonders and cares of both historian and sage
But my shoulders cannot adept
To the shifting changes in their weights
Let me now sleep, sleep, sleep
To the sugarcoated field of lies
Do not let me hear the intrigues in disguise
But could I wake up when it is thier turn to sleep, sleep, sleep?
Perhaps it shall only be when they have torn this world apart at once
I must never sleep, sleep, sleep
To lose a loved one through death is tragic, but to lose them without a trace is more devastating. Such is the pain that relatives of the missing go through, which was brought to life by Christian Tordecillas’ masterpiece, “Katre”.
It’s an honor for me to see a friend’s work come alive on stage. Christian, or X as we fondly call him, had written plays that imply social relevance. One of them was the one-act satire, “Dyip” (Jeep, short for jeepney), which won him the Carlos Palanca award in 2006. I was already impressed by his brilliance in provoking critical thinking of life’s realities through artistic writing. This time, “Katre” touched my heart as it brought up the issue of desaparecidos in the country.
In the play, an aged Lea awaits for her missing husband and child. Everytime she rises and returns to her katre (bed in Visayan dialect), she recollects her life when her family was still with her. Not knowing their fate, she clung on the hope that they are still alive.
Lea is the epitome of those left by desaparecidos, or those who are missing due to forced disappearances. We remember Jonas Burgos, who still remains missing since he was taken in 2007. We remember Karen Empeño, and Sherlyn Cadapan, whose whereabouts remain unknown even when alledged abductor Ret. Gen. Jovito Palparan had been caught. We remember the rest of the desaparecidos since Martial Law, who had been forcefully taken into the seclusion. Just like Lea, those left behind by desaparecidos struggle between hope and despair.
Because I did not want anybody to see I was a crybaby, I gulped back my tears when Lea battled against that hope she treasured for years. The actress convinced me of the pain and frustration Lea tried to deny before. Her story rings the message of the consequences of impunity — which the Philippines has struggled for a long time.
Without glorifying the political overtures of impunity, “Katre” brings to thought the ordeal of those who have been victimized by it, whether the desaparecidos or the families they left. Simply portrayed yet deeply movong, “Katre” awakens the fact that the issue of impunity should not be ignored.
“Katre” is one of the plays featured in “BA-WAL: Mga Dulang Bagong Luwal” by Project Mayhem Productions. Also featured here is the dark comedy “Over My Dead Body” by Christian Dagsil. You can watch them at Ateneo de Manila, at the ISO complex. Remaining theater dates are at September 7, 13, 14, and 15. These plays are shown at 3pm and 7pm, except on September 13, as show is only at 7pm.