The Los Angeles Times describes it as “disturbing, comprehensive, illuminating…. [with] a raw immediacy that is engaging, fair-minded.”
Hollywood Reporter says the film runs along "at a refreshingly fast gait and sparkles with deadpan wit and shrewd observations". The magazine also does not fail to note the "further wallop of panache and comic editorial counterpoint" given by the film’s "eclectic and zippy music"—which includes selections from David Byrne and The Talking Heads, the Bee Gees, and Filipino composer-performer Joey Ayala.
We are talking about "A Rustling of Leaves: Inside the Philippine Revolution," a film that aims to take audiences back to the political and social unrest after the People Power revolution, fresh from the overthrow of Marcos and the victory of Cory Aquino. It is part of the opening program of Daang Dokyu, the Philippines’ first documentary festival of its kind.
The documentary was made by acclaimed Canadian documentary filmmaker Nettie Wild. It waited three decades to finally have its Philippine debut.
"It is only now that the film will face its most important audience - the Filipinos," says Wild. "It’s time for 'A Rustling of Leaves' to come home. It’s only a pandemic that stops me from being on a plane to be in the Philippines for this first official screening." Wild offers the online screenings to the Filipinos she met while making the film, "the Filipinos who offered friendship to me, an outsider."
The documentary was filmed in 1987. It follows the lives of Kumander Dante, founder of the guerilla New People’s Army, and Father Navarro, rebel priest and guerrilla fighter. Also featured in the film are former radical priest Ed dela Torre and the young lieutenant, now senator, Ronald dela Rosa.
The film won the People’s Choice Award at the 1989 Berlin International Film Festival, the Prix du Public award on the 50th anniversary of the National Film Board of Canada, the Grand Prize at the Houston Film Festival, and Best Cinematography at the Society of Canadian Cinematographers.
Jewel Maranan, festival director of Daang Dokyu, says "A Rustling of Leaves" is a pioneering effort, having come before foreign film productions started looking into the political situation in the Philippines. “In my opinion, no sharper and more in-depth analysis of our nation's conflicts and contradictions has been made in film," Maranan says. "We are screening it now at Daang Dokyu, 32 years late, but it remains very relevant today. It is an important film for people seeking to understand the roots of conflicts in the country and for those concerned about the peace process.”
The film will have an introduction from the filmmaker during the online screening, as well as a question and answer with Prof. Roland Tolentino, member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino.
The online screenings are set from September 19 to 21.
Other featured documentaries in the program are Kiri Dalena’s "Alunsina" (2020), ABS-CBN’s documentary "Marcos: A Malignant Spirit" (1986), Lito Tiongson’s "Mendiola Massacre" (1987), and Ramona Diaz’ "Imelda" (2003).
"A Rustling of Leaves: Inside the Philippine Revolution" will have a re-run from October 9 to 15 as part of Daang Dokyu’s festival proper.
More information on Daang Dokyu, the film festival that showcases a selection from the largest collection of Philippine documentaries from the past one hundred years, is available at daandokyu.ph.
Streaming of "A Rustling of Leaves" starts September 19, 9AM at daangdokyu.com/watchnow.