Interpretation of history: the iron butterfly flutters its wings, the free man kills

  The Philippines will hold its six-yearly presidential election on May 9. The most eye-catching news focus is Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (nicknamed “Bangbang”), the son of former President Marcos. Not only has he registered to run with the backing of the ruling party, but he is well ahead of candidates pushed by the opposition party in the polls.
  The Marcos family, who was forced to flee Hawaii for a time, came back after more than 30 years, and once again won the presidency of the Philippines. This also means that this election may rewrite the history written by the “people power revolution” in the Philippines in 1986.
  Why and how did the Marcos family make a comeback? How do Filipinos face the influence of the Marcos family today? With these questions in mind, documentary director Lauren Greenfield followed and filmed the old Marcos’ widow Imedai for four years to complete the documentary “King Maker”.
“Iron Butterfly”

  An elderly woman in fancy clothes sits in her car and looks out the window at the cluttered streets of Manila.
  In the next shot, the car stopped and waited for the red light. Someone in the car opened the window, and the person outside the window exclaimed , “It’s Yimedai!” Giving alms to children who keep putting their hands into the car is like feeding a pond fish.
  This is the opening scene of “King Maker”. Imedai said: “I feel so depressed and sad when I see Manila. It used to be a little paradise.
  ” The “First Lady” of the Coase era, also known as the “Iron Butterfly”.
  The name “butterfly” is because Imedai often wears the Philippine national dress Terno (also known as “butterfly suit”), with a special shape with broad shoulders and standing upright like a butterfly.

  If I go to the ghetto, I have to dress better, because the poor are always looking for the stars in the dark night.

Imedai campaigned with ‘Bangbang’

Imedai handing out banknotes to children

  She said: “When I became the first lady, my requirements were even higher. If I was going to the ghetto, I had to dress better, because the poor are always looking for stars in the dark night.” Miss Manila, with her beautiful appearance, she really fits the image of a “butterfly”.
  But what about “iron”?
  Different from the “first lady” in our impression, Yimeidai is unwilling to be a foil vase, she is vigorously involved in the Philippine state affairs; while Marcos needs to be with Yimeidai’s “fairy companion” image, she also relies on Yimei Dai’s sociability enables Philippine diplomacy.
  At the beginning, Imedai accompanied Marcos to the United States, which swept the Western political arena and media, and was called “Jacqueline of the East”. Later, Marcos feared that he would suffer a coup when he left the Philippines, and even dispatched Imedei to conduct diplomacy in various countries.
  ”Women can do a lot of things, and sometimes, not being taken seriously is an advantage.” Imedai proudly said of this past, “I can sincerely say that at the height of the Cold War, my mission never failed.”
  In 1968, American film star Dove Beams went to the Philippines to film Marcos’ heroic anti-Japanese movie during World War II, but had an extramarital affair with Marcos, which was recorded and distributed to the media. Imedai was very angry when she learned of this, but she did not leave Marcos because of this, but took advantage of this opportunity to ask Marcos for more political power. Yimeidai gradually broke out of the cocoon and transformed into “iron”.

“King Maker” filming location
“Marcus Dynasty”

  After Marcos was re-elected in 1969, Imedai’s power gradually expanded. Marcos even directly appointed Imedai as the head of Metro Manila in 1975, and appointed her as the Minister of People’s Residence in the following year; in 1979, Imedai continued to be appointed as a cabinet member, and from the central to the local areas, almost all of Marcos and Imedai’s men and women, ” The Marcos dynasty” took shape.
  With the expansion of power, Imedai’s behavior has become more and more luxurious. Every time she travels, she has to bring hundreds of suitcases and change ten sets of dresses every day. In order to build a private zoo, she even imported animals from Africa and expelled 300 residents of Kraut Island as the Minister of People’s Residence. Stock African animals such as giraffes and zebras on the island.
  The gorgeous clothes, shoes and bags on Imedai’s body, as well as the antiques and famous paintings at home, cost the entire Philippines.
  In the early days of Marcos’ administration, the Philippine economy was the second largest in Asia, and its per capita GDP was second only to Japan. In 1966, the Beatles went to Asia to perform, and only chose to sing in Japan and the Philippines. At that time, the future situation of the Philippines was very good, but in the late period of Marcos’ administration, the people’s life was already miserable.
  In 1986, the “people power revolution” broke out against Marcos, and the Marcos family fled the Philippines in a helicopter. “We didn’t escape, we were kidnapped. They said we were going to Paula, a town in Ilocos Norte province, and they sent us to Hawaii.” Imedi was annoyed at this.
  The Filipino people rushed into the presidential residence and found that Imedai had 3,000 pairs of shoes and thousands of dresses. From the bills found, it was found that Imedai once spent 3 million US dollars on antiques in one day.
  Subsequent investigations revealed that the huge assets of the Marcos family, and even hundreds of US aid projects, have many unknown funds. At that time, the governor of the Philippines, Juan Fevado, said that in the highway plan built by the US aid in his province, the road should have 6-8 inches of cement, but they only paved 2 inches. According to speculation, the amount of embezzlement by the Marcos family is as high as tens of billions of dollars.

  In 1989, the old Marcos died in Hawaii; in 1991, “Bangbang” and Imedai returned to the Philippines one after another. At that time, Yimeidai faced more than 70 civil and criminal lawsuits, with a total sentence of more than 100 years. She went directly to the crime in full view and was released on bail.
  After Imedai returned to the Philippines, she was obsessed with power. “When I returned to China, despite the massive negative media reports, the people kept calling me to run for election.” Yimedai decided to run for the House of Representatives. She was elected for the first time, and she was re-elected for several terms.
  In “King Maker”, there are a lot of pictures of Imedai and “Bang Bang” campaigning together. At that time, “Bang Bang” was already a senator and was about to run for the vice-president position. Although “Bang Bang” later lost to the opposition party Leni Robredo, but looking at the current situation, Imedai’s “King Made” – from Marcos, Imedai herself, to her son “Bang Bang” – is very likely again.

  Oppenheimer tried to ask: What keeps these Indonesians living in fear, even after decades?

  Watching “King Maker”, it is not difficult to guess the director’s attitude towards the era of Marcos and towards Imedai. Although she did not challenge everything she said in front of Imedai, but through editing, she put the reverse side of Imedai’s “fairy tale” in front of the audience:
  after Imedai finished talking about her “35-year relationship with Marcos” “Happy marriage and no bad memories”, followed by the long-publicized history of Marcos’ romance; when Imedai kissed the glass case containing Marcos’ body with a mournful face, the subsequent interview pointed to Imedai manipulated political interests through the fact that Marcos’ body could not be buried in the “heroic cemetery”; when Imedai said that there were not many people on Kraut Island and had little influence, the director put on an interview with Kraut Islanders. The havoc that African animals have done to their lives.
  Compared with the filming and editing techniques of “King Maker”, “Deduction of Killing”, which shocked major film festivals in 2012, also used the current image to see the history, but the director took a more experimental approach, allowing the audience to look directly at it. The massacre in Indonesia in 1965 made people shudder and speechless after reading it.
“Free man”

  On September 30, 1965, after the “September 30 Incident” in Indonesia, the truth of which is still unknown, Army Major General Suha Yukon, President Sukarno, took control of the real power and began to incite the masses to eliminate those who opposed the military, detonating a large-scale explosion. mass killings.
  These killings are often carried out not by the military itself, but by local, informal paramilitary groups, gangsters. As a result, these “perpetrators” and “victims” may have been neighbors who greeted each other yesterday, but today they have killed each other, and the survivors and survivors will still meet at the alley for decades to come.
  These gangsters call themselves “Preman”, which comes from the English word “Freeman”. During that period of turmoil, these hooligans were collectively mobilized to take part in the killings.
  Surprisingly, then-Indonesian Vice President Yusuf Kara attended a rally of the “Five Rings Youth” (a paramilitary group), donning their uniforms and giving a speech saying “We need hooligans to get things done” .
  Director Joshua Oppenheimer was invited by the International Food and Agricultural Workers Union to Indonesia in 2001 to teach farm workers the process of organizing a union through video recordings. However, during the labor union activities, the management recruited the “Five Precepts Youth League” to threaten the workers, causing the workers to be overwhelmed with fear, saying that they did not want to continue to resist, because many of their previous generation were killed by those people in the 1950s. .
  Oppenheimer returned to Indonesia in 2003 and began to ask: What keeps these Indonesians living in fear, even after decades? In the end, after ten years of field shooting and editing, Joshua Oppenheimer produced “Deduction of Killing” and “Image of Silence” in 2012 and 2014 under the risk of being deported countless times. A moving documentary.

“The Image of Silence” visits various perpetrators through the identity of the victim’s bereaved Adi optometrist

Stills of “Deduction of Killing”

  After the film was released, director Oppenheimer was banned from entering Indonesia by the Indonesian government.
  ”Deduction of Killing” and “The Image of Silence”, a film centered on Anwar Congo, the former leader of the “Five Rings Youth League”, filmed “the perpetrators”, and even let the perpetrators of the year design their own scripts and perform them The “killing” of the year; a filming of the victim’s survivor, Adit, through his identity as an optometrist, visited various perpetrators (helping them with glasses), and talked about the events of the year during the chat, which touched the history. scar.

  Among the many films shooting killing incidents, there are very few pictures of “perpetrators” as large as “Deduction of Killing” and “The Image of Silence”. Because of guilt, self-blame, or fear of being exposed, the “perpetrators” are often more willing to choose silence than to be identified as participating in the evil deeds that year.
  Surprisingly, however, these “perpetrators” in Indonesia do not have such a sense of cover-up. Anwar Congo is the 41st perpetrator filmed by the director. The previous 40 perpetrators kept bragging about the “big things” they had done in the past, proudly stating the killing process, without remorse, Doubly proud.
  ”Whether it’s on the big screen or on TV, it doesn’t matter. What we want to express is that this is history, this is us, and people in the future will remember it! This doesn’t have to be a big cast… We simply Simply follow the steps and tell the story, what great things did we do when we were young!” Anwar Congo said enthusiastically in the interview.
  He also took the director to the roof of the “killing” in those days, where he easily stated the killing process, and proudly showed and replayed his “innovation” in the “killing method” in order to avoid “too much blood and unpleasant smell”.
  After the performance, Anwar Congo said to the camera again: “I try to use good music, dance, and forget about these things…” The
  director mentioned in other interviews that he saw Anwar Congo and the 40 perpetrators in front of him. The difference: Anwar Congo talks about his pain, demonstrating how to kill one second, then dancing cha-cha the next. The director believes that what he sees in Anwar Congo’s actions is not pride, but the opposite of pride. Because of this, the director finally spent a full five years shooting Anwar Congo and used him as the protagonist of “Deduction of Killing”.
  Compared with the depression and shock of “Deduction of Killing”, “The Image of Silence” is more poetic. In this film, there are quite a few silent clips: when Adi watched the perpetrators on TV and talked about the murders in high spirits, there was no sound; when Adi saw the perpetrator or his When the family members suddenly asked about what happened in the past, and revealed that his brother was also killed in the killing, the responses were anger, self-justification, shame, and provocation, but more were still speechless and silent. These silences illustrate to us the difficulties of exposure and reconciliation.
  ”King Maker” and “Deduction of Killing” and “The Image of Silence” take completely different perspectives: the former focuses on the elite Imedai, who is good at dealing with the media and knows the power of propaganda. In the film, she even confessed Saying: “The perception is true, but the fact is not.” She knew that as long as she kept saying it, some people would believe it;
  the latter chose “common people” who are not familiar with the meaning of the media and are not good at concealing themselves. They even admitted their cruelty on camera, and the lies they once told. In this way, the documentary bares the dark side of human nature.
  But these two films touch upon Southeast Asia, especially the historical pain of Indonesia and the Philippines in the post-colonial period and the context of the Cold War. If these historical experiences related to colonization and the Cold War cannot be properly spread out and cleaned up, but instead are covered up in the era of information flying, then for these Southeast Asian countries, history is still in the present tense.
  Although the scenes in these three films are “documentary” of the past, they also reflect the viewer’s present, and even become a prophecy.