AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. CESAR HERNANDO
by Leo Valencia and Princess Wendam
 
(c) Digital Media Festival 2001 Mr. Cesar A. Hernando started his career in the film industry during the late 70s. Through the years, he was able to work with some of the countries foremost directors and became part of some of the most acclaimed films of our time--"Batch '81,"" Sister Stella L." and "Kisapmata," just to name a few. He has also received countless recognitions for his work as a film production designer. He won a Gawad Urian in 1981 for the film "Kisapmata," and again in 1992 for the film "Bayani."
Currently, Mr. Cesar A. Hernando serves as the vice-head of the cinema subcommission, of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. He also teaches at the UP College of Fine Arts and acts as the adviser of the UP Cinema as Art Movement.
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Leo V: Sir, first of all, how was it for artists, for filmmakers especially, during the Martial Law era? Naging mas mahirap po ba dahil sa suppression na nanggaling sa gobyerno?

Cesar H: Sa tingin ko, nakatulong yung period ng Martial Law para maging creative yung mga artists. Sinuppress mo sila so maghahanap sila ng ways and means to express their art. Maaaring nakatulong 'yung suppression para ma-challenge 'yung mga artists.

Princess W: Parang they saw it as a challenge? 'Yung suppression na ginawa ni Marcos, para ma-express pa rin nila 'yung sarili nila?

CH: Yes, correct. That was the time na nagkaroon ng Concerned Artists of the Philippines, kung saan 'yung members coming from different art groups-merong galing sa tv, sa visual arts, sa theater, music and literature-bonded together to unite and form this group. Isa nga sa mga founders niyan si Lino Brocka.

LV: After Martial Law, sinasabing nag-decline ang Philippine Cinema, ano po sa tingin niyo ang dahilan?

CH: Ang tingin ko nag-decline ang Philippine Cinema nung panahon na ni Cory, that was 1986. Mapapansin mo during that time, from 1986 to the 90s, hindi ito naging kasing lakas kaysa nung panahon ni Marcos.

LV: Sabi niyo po, ang downfall ng Philippine Cinema ay nag-umpisa noong 1986 sa panahon ni Cory. Sa tingin niyo, mula 1981 hanggang 1986, kahit wala nang Martial Law, bakit nagpatuloy pa rin ang lakas ng industriya?

CH: I think noong '82 and '83, ito 'yung panahon na nagkaroon ng, supposedly, parang palabas si Marcos-'yung Manila International Film Festival. So, naging engrande itong event na ito during that time. Para sa akin, okay naman yung MIFF except that it's too lavish. 'Yun kasi ang tingin ni Marcos, malaking bagay ang medium ng cinema as a tool for getting people.

PW: Going back po sa sinabi ninyo na nag-start mag-decline ang industriya noong panahon ni Cory. Sa tingin niyo po ba, naging factor 'yung pag-restore ng democracy sa pagbaba ng kalidad ng mga pelikula noon?

CH: Siguro, dahil suddenly parang nakuntento siguro ang mga tao, as opposed to the time under Martial Law na may struggle pa. Actually, until now, I'm still wondering kung bakit gano'n.

LV: Too much freedom?

CH: Siguro. But actually, hindi rin naman "too much freedom," kasi marami ring flaws 'yung Aquino regime. Kaya nga nagkaroon ng maraming coups, tapos naging malakas pa rin ang military. So, naroon pa rin 'yung, supposedly, nagre-repress.

This site was created by the Ishmael Bernal group as a final requirement for their Film 102 class under Mr. G. Dormiendo.