"Estatwang kahoy pa lamang siya'y binigyan na niya ng kaganapan ang aking pagkababae."
So said Rita Avila in Machete: Estatwang Buhay. Or at least that was the tagline in the movie's poster. I have no idea how a statue could do that, or more appropriately, how a woman could do that to a statue. Indeed, it would have looked like necrophilia. But we all know the story -- the statue comes to life at midnight and maybe that's when he made Rita's womanhood complete. He's not just a estatwang kahoy after all.
During one of my solitary rambles, my feet brought me to MOWELFUND Film Institute and there I visited the Museum of Philippine Cinema. Rather, I went to visit the library; the museum's existence hitherto unheard-of but it was in the same building so I checked it out. There I found the real Machete, the same statue they used in the movie. I daresay it looked better than the pre-Rizal Cesar Montano who played the a-bit-disappointing animated version.
I never was a fan of the movie, nor of its remake (the one with Rosanna Roces and Gardo Versoza) but the sight of the damaged prop was dejecting -- all fingers on its left hand were mutilated. I'm not sure if the mutilation was part of the movie's plot, probably some ruffian did it on purpose for whatever gratification he would derive. Pity it's not well-taken care of, to think it is from one of the landmark films of its time. OK, I exaggerate by saying "landmark" but at least it's one of the movies we remember, unlike Christina Moran:Ang Babaeng Palaban, Huwag Mong Buhayin ang Bangkay, Super Inday and the Golden Bibe, and other films you don't remember for their storylines but for their outrageous titles. And it is our version of the Pygmalion-Galatea tale too.
Other stuff of interest were old movie posters and magazines (proofs of the theory that the 80s is the era that style forgot), invitations to the Manila International Film Festival, and Marcos's treatise on films' contribution to his New Society. Another remarkable item on display was the white robe that Nora Aunor donned in Himala. Now that I think about it, this last item deserves more than just being mentioned. It should have been my main subject, it coming from a milestone in the history of Pinoy cinema. But what can I do? Machete and the little loincloth that covered his you-know-what interested me more. *grin*
Interesting trivia: Both Machetes, Cesar Montano and Gardo Versoza would play national heroes later in their career. They both starred in Marilou Diaz-Abaya's Jose Rizal, Montano as the title character, while Versoza was Andres Bonifacio. That's what I call career growth...