Films are intended to amuse audiences, and it's a plus if they also impart a moral lesson or an insightful perspective on human psychology or history. However, films must fundamentally entertain. To captivate spectators, a film must evoke the following emotions: fear, rage, hatred, loathing, grief, pity, and love. All the rest, such as new information and knowledge, are extras, because these are not the functions of a film, unless it is a documentary.
Darryl Yap directed "Maid in Malacanang," who has recently faced backlash and controversy as a director but has also had notable success in filmmaking in the past with "#Jowable," which was released in 2019. Cesar Montano plays Ferdinand Marcos Sr., Diego Loyzaga plays Bongbong Marcos, Christine Reyes plays Imee Marcos, Ruffa Guiterrez plays Imelda Marcos, and Ella Cruz plays Irene Marcos in the film.
The film follows the Marcos family during their final days in Malacanang, as an ongoing rebellion sweeps the country. The family must make the difficult decision to flee the palace because they fear for their lives and the lives of those close to them. The majority of the plot revolves around the family and their household helpers and bodyguards, specifically three maids named Biday (Beverly Salviejo), Santa (Karla Estrada), and Lucy (Elizabeth Oropesa). These three are crucial because they serve as focal points for the story as it unfolds as they witness it all firsthand.
When the film Maid in Malacanang (MIM) was released in early August 2022, Philippine historians were thrown into a frenzy. The controversial film drama depicts then-President Ferdinand E Marcos Sr's and his family's final 72 hours in Malacanang Palace, the nation's seat of power. MIM attempted to portray the Marcoses as just another family in crisis, engulfed in turmoil and plagued by anxiety while attempting to make sense of what was going on. Director Darryl Yap claims that the fictional account of the historical events leading up to the family's flight from the country, having lost the support of the military and the United States, aimed to "humanize" the Marcoses by depicting their "side of history."
A critical point of view
In the past, audiences and critics have been tolerant of films or television shows based on true stories, allowing for artistic license. Historians recognize that reconstructing the actual past, no matter how faithful to primary sources, is impossible without reimagining scenes. Even shows with extensive research, such as Netflix's "The Crown," have been chastised for inaccuracy. Respect for basic documented facts, adequate scrutiny of sources, and restrained creativity that does not distort the true story are what distinguish good historical renderings from works of fiction, fabulism, or falsehood.
Direk Yap did not conceal the true nature of "MIM." In fact, he is open about it, declaring in a recent interview, "This is a family in crisis film..." and is best appreciated through the eyes of the maids, particularly the three Yayas - Biday (Beverly Salviejo), Lucy (Elizabeth Oropesa), and Santa (Elizabeth Oropesa) (Karla Estrada). In the same interview, he admitted that Senator Imee Marcos deleted some of the original scripts, added some of her own, and approved the final script. Senator Imee Marcos also serves as Executive Producer. In this regard, the people behind "MIM" are open and honest about the film's intentions.