Father Balweg, Rebel Priest

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Father Balweg, Rebel Priest is a 1986 documentary on the controversial figure of Conrado Balweg, a priest-turned-rebel. The film was directed by Tikoy Aguiluz.



This 68-minute documentary features a rebel group in the Philippines that fought the dictator Ferdinand Marcos for years. It begins with breathtaking exploratory scenes of mountains, rivers, and villages. No soundtrack is heard, only native chants, songs, flutes, voices and eventually, silence. Viewers then see Father Balweg enlightening the peasants about the centuries-old land and class grievances of the people of the Cordillera mountain region, and ispiring them to advocate reform. Father Conrado Balweg joins the rebel group in 1979. One year later, Father Balweg was defrocked for taking up arms against Marcos. This rebel immage, immesely dramatized by Philippine TV, radio, and newspapers at the time, segues to show a very human Balweg: priest, husband, and loving father of two children.

After the dictator was deposed and Corazon Aquino was elected president, she sent government peace emissary (her brother-in-law) to talk to the rebels about their demands. This meeting comprises the second half of the film. Issues were discussed in an atmosphere of goodwill and respect.


This documentary was the first significant non-feature film to come out after the Aquino government took over from the Marcos regime.






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