|Nora Aunor and Bembol Roco during the shooting of the film 'Thy Womb'.|
Condensed from Noralyn Mustafa’s Article ‘The veil, and an untold story’
Philippine Daily Inquirer
August 6, 2012
“‘Thy Womb,’ Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza’s new film about the seafaring Badjaos, is headed to Venice—though not literally sailing on a vinta… (Inquirer, 7/30/12).
“I’m more excited about sharing the story of the Badjaos with the whole world. I will get the chance to present a different face of Mindanao…. (In this film) I focused on a peace-loving people who live in Tawi-Tawi, a group of islands in the south,” Brillante said.
“I am not denying that there is conflict and poverty in our country, but there are untold stories in our midst,” he pointed out.
“I never knew there was such a story in our country,” he said. “The Badjaos are a generally passive people, not aggressive or quarrelsome, and very much capable of unconditional love.”
The Venice invitation that “Thy Womb” got somehow lessens the sting of its noninclusion in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
“Okay lang yon,” said Mendoza. “I am sure the MMFF committee has its reasons for not picking my movie.”
No, direk, it is not okay. This story about a Badjao midwife is a beautiful one. No wonder it was invited for screening at the Venice Film Festival. But the MMFF does not deem it good enough for inclusion in the local filmfest because it does not measure up to the standards of “Tanging Ina” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”
Still, Mendoza is right. There are so many untold stories about Mindanao and Sulu, the Badjaos and the Tausug, the Sama and the Yakan, the Mapun, etc. Like what Susan Calo Medina in her “Travel Time” said, “to know them (the indigenous peoples), to know their history and their culture, is to respect them.”