This is Part 2 of another multipart-part essay written for my “Pathless Travels” column. It was originally published in Northern Weekly Dispatch, 7 Aug 2005, and which I then reposted a few months later on my defunct blog hosted at Blogspot. Read Part 1 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here.
The year was 2005, and the GMA broadcast network had scored a big hit with the sword-and-sorcery TV series Encantadia. Sword battle movies were on the comeback trail worldwide, from Hollywood to China, and the genre seemed to appeal to Filipino sensitivities. But were they really unlocking insights to our own history as a people fighting against colonial powers?
War, that most horrible practice invented and mastered by humanity, remains nevertheless a fascinating subject in literature and art throughout the ages. It is as though people hope to exorcise the immense guilt of engaging in mutual slaughter, the utter terror of violent death, and the frenzy of close-quarters combat, by making them the topic of literature, painting and sculpture, music and theater, games, and in our day, through film.
I fell into such a morbid fascination with war at a young age. I guess it was expected of most boys of our generation. After all, we read about war in comic books and trading cards (the teks we were addicted to as kids, before the text of the cellphone era). We watched it on television as regular family weekend fare; remember Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders in the TV series Combat? We played in the street with toy guns and swords, and formed teams that competed in informal neighborhood war games using slingshots and paper pellets, in lieu of basketball tournaments. Continue reading “Romancing the sword (2)”