The furor over Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s questionable choice for this year’s National Artists have now reached the hallowed steps of the Supreme Court. Several National Artists, members of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, and various academicians are petitioning Lady Justice to declare a temporary restraining order on the conferment of the rank and title of National Artist on the folowing: National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Executive Director Cecille Guidote-Álvarez; architect Francisco Mañosa; fashion designer José “Pitoy” Moreno, and; cartoonist-filmmaker Carlo J. Caparás.
Among the four, Caparás has elicited the loudest disapproval. And for good reason.
And so for weeks, instead of eating his humble pie, an angry Caparás (together with an equally spiteful missus Donna Villa) is all over the media, lashing out at his critics, appealing to authority that the real reason why those who don’t want him to become a National Artist is because he’s from the lower class, a former security guard at that, and that he didn’t reach college.
A lame premise.
In the future, would teachers of film appreciation and theories be able to stomach the harsh reality that they’ll have to require their students to watch Caparás’ sleazy massacre films vis-à-vis the brilliant, moving, and thought-provoking artistry of the obras of Lino Brocka et al.? Many of Caparás’ movies are –massacre films or not– without doubt blockbusters. But that doesn’t make one a National Artist for Film.
Now let’s take a peek at some of National Fartist Caparás’ works, particularly his so-called massacre films of which he is very known for:
The Myrna Diones Story (Lord, Have Mercy!)
Humanda ka Mayor!: Bahala na ang Diyos
God Save Me!
The Cecilia Masagca Story: Antipolo Massacre (Jesus Save Us!)
The Vizconde Massacre Story (God Help Us!)
The Untold Story: Vizconde Massacre 2 – God Have Mercy on Us
Lipa Arandia Massacre (Lord Deliver Us from Evil)
The Maggie dela Riva Story (God… Why Me?)
Victim No. 1: Delia Maga (Jesus, Pray for Us!)
The Marita Gonzaga Rape-Slay: In God We Trust!
The taglines of the abovementioned true-to-life massacre films are actually “shout outs” toward the heavens (God Help Us!, Lord Deliver Us From Evil), as if implying that God was deaf toward the pleas of the massacre victims whose bloody fates were encapsulated in his poorly acted films. I do not know for sure what Caparás’ religious leanings are. But bloody hell, he is mocking God in these films whose titles can stand on their own without having blasphemous taglines.
Instead of saving face and “shaming” his critics by declining to accept the National Artist medal, Caparás remains adamant that he deserves the highest award reserved for a true harbinger of Philippine Arts.
And now that he is on the receiving end of a wrathful mass of Filipino artists nationwide while playing on the sympathies of the spectators of this “oh you poor, poor Carlo!” show, maybe it’s about time for his film-producer wife to make a true-to-life movie of his now controversial hubby.
So what should the title be?
THE CARLO J. CAPARÁS STORY: OMG!!!