Life as a movie | Inquirer Opinion

Life as a movie

/ 05:07 AM November 16, 2023


I used to watch movies all the time. I eagerly looked forward to this favorite past time especially when I needed to unwind from the severities of work. Then, my interest faded until it virtually disappeared. I don’t remember at what point and for which reason I lost interest, but I woke up one day and realized that my appetite for movies was gone.

Even when my wife tries to get me to join her in watching blockbuster Netflix movies, I strangely don’t get enticed. No amount of superlative words used in describing scenes and storylines would stimulate my interest. Even when my online group chats get filled with praises to high heavens for Korean telenovelas, my curiosity doesn’t get roused. I can’t put my finger on a single reason, so there’s probably a basket-full of different reasons responsible for why I’ve grown cold on movies.


One stinking suspicion that I have is that my days and nights get filled with all sorts of visual and mental stimulation by watching and reading the news these days. Life events inundate my mind with so many stories that are far stranger than fiction. Every film genre is represented in actual world events that are unfolding daily—tragically, dramatically, or comically.


One’s predeliction for horror plots is satiated by following the massacre of civilians, on both sides, in the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. Before that, there’s the Russia-Ukraine war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. And before that, there were the millions of death caused by the worldwide pandemic. And earlier before that, there were the six horrible years of the Duterte administration when thousands were gruesomely killed by the police in the so-called drug war. Every now and then, countries around the world get severely devastated by supertyphoons, wildfires, and massacres in the hands of wackos with access to weapons.

If one is fond of science fiction, there’s the unfolding development in the field of artificial intelligence and its most recent ability to perform tasks that involve judgment and creativity. There’s the growing number of space travel or missions, and there are already voiced out schemes to put up manned outposts in other planets, and even discussions on human reproduction in outer space.


If one prefers tragic-comedy, one only needs to watch television footages of congressional proceedings that feature some lawmakers who mouth hilarious but painful reminders on why we engage in self-flagellation by electing clowns and jesters who insist on being called “honorable.”

If one fancies drama, there’s the unfolding powerplay between forces loyal to House Speaker Martin Romualdez on one hand, and the dwindling supporters of Vice President Sara Duterte on the other hand. The drama has plots of betrayal by provincial warlords who used to genuflect in blind obeisance at the feet of the former president, but who have now shown their fangs against the Dutertes as they switch allegiance to the Marcos-Romualdez clan.

If one desires romance, there’s the people’s mystifying love affair with the Dutertes and the Marcoses. This romance has all the elements of a soap opera where one lover promises the moon and the stars, and the other lover bequeaths everything she has in return. This surreal romance has the elements of a betrayed promise of a life on a bed of roses, and a disheartened lover who nevertheless clings on like a battered wife.

If one fancies thrillers, there’s a major suspense plot developing in our midst. The thriller involves the future of former president Rodrigo Duterte under the new dispensation. With an International Criminal Court prosecution hanging over his head, Duterte’s fate hangs precariously on factors not in his favor. His daughter’s future as our country’s next president has suffered a major derailment with her access to vast public funds clipped by Congress. And now the release from prison of former senator Leila de Lima—the quintessential victim of Duterte’s cruelty—demonstrates that the Dutertes’ have lost their ability to sow a climate of fear—which they used to be able to easily do either because of their propensity for violence or their threat of imminent succession in 2028. The release of De Lima from detention is the clearest signal that the Dutertes will start facing very strong headwinds ahead soon.

Another source of real-life suspense is the recurring incidents of provocation and harassment by Chinese military and coast guard vessels in the West Philippine Sea against Philippine naval forces and Filipino civilian fishermen. With the United States declaring that it will come to the defense of the Philippines in case of attack, there’s the very alarming possibility that a world war may break out within our waters.

With real life events like these, who needs movies?

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