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Manila, Philippines

A Peculiar Perception of an 8-year Old During War on Khavn’s ‘Balangiga’

Photo courtesy of Khavn

On the 28th day of September 1901 in Balangiga, Samar, 48 members of the United States 9th Infantry were ambushed by several yet united forces of Filipino fighters. However, The States did not take this well, and retaliated by setting fire on the town with the infamous order ‘Kill Everyone Over Ten’.

"I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me... The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness..."

— Gen. Jacob H. Smith

Photo courtesy of New York Evening Journal

This is the story of an 8-year old child in the middle of a war, with dead bodies laying all over the place, dead chickens, and weird dreams of a child after witnessing traumatic experiences. First thing that you’ll notice about the movie, other than its peculiarity, is the cinematography by Albert Banzon. It is breathtaking yet disturbing at the same time. Throughout the movie, we are all 8-year olds during 1901.

Carlo Manatad did an extremely meaningful editing on the film as it had helped the viewers to have different perceptions on the film. The way the scenes are pieced together can mean several other things, without any other explanations, the viewers can receive different impacts, depending on how they understood the movie. Lastly, Khavn’s imagination is something that made me speechless, everything was done boldly.

Frankly speaking, the first time I tried to watch this film was during 12 midnight. Not even 30 seconds had passed, I immediately closed my Netflix. This film is not for the faint of heart, it is extreme, vulgar, and this will make you uneasy.

But the thing is, war is extreme, vulgar, and will never be easy.

‘Balangiga’ is a strange movie no doubt. It speaks about the truth of war. It is frank, direct to the point, and no sugar coating. This is not everyone’s piece of cake, but this is a movie that needs to be viewed by everyone, as everyone needs to know the truth.


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