Iginuhit ng Tadhana (1965)

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“…As a piece of hagiography, you can’t get more melodramatic or shameless than 1965’s Iginuhit ng Tadhana (Drawn by Fate). In this biopic covering the life of kleptocrat and Martial Law architect Ferdinand Marcos (Luis Gonzalez) from his childhood to his ascent to the Philippine presidency, there is crying beside windows (courtesy of the martyr mother to end all martyr mothers, Rosa Mia), nervous wiping of brows on witness stands (because apparently, trial judges are blind to obvious body language), and kilometric monologues—including interior ones spoken in voice-over! How these characters don’t bore themselves to death is beyond me…Iginuhit ng Tadhana wastes no time getting down to its primary objective: settling scores. Conceived as propaganda for Ferdinand’s debut presidential campaign, the first 45 minutes of Iginuhit’s 136-minute running time busies itself scrubbing the Marcos name off the first of its multitude of sins: the death by sniper of Ferdinand’s political rival in Ilocos Norte, Julio Nalundasan. On the night of the murder, the film insists, our hero was busy reviewing for a law exam. He couldn’t possibly have stolen a rifle from his ROTC bunker and shot the congressman while he was brushing his teeth! And still, despite his nerd cred (and the aforementioned nervous mopping of brows by the star witness), the court had the gall to convict him! Hopefully, having gone through his own travesty of justice, our hero will have the empathy and drive to strengthen the rule of law in his own presidency, right? Right? Anyway, having demonstrated Ferdinand’s brilliance as he mounts his own defense in front of the Supreme Court, the film gets down to its next order of business: the meet-cute between our hero and his wife-to-be, Imelda Romualdez (Gloria Romero). Imelda is a far cry from his own mother, who visits her son in jail wearing a baro’t saya—no, when Ferdinand meets Imelda in the congressional cafeteria, she is wearing a man’s shirt, pants…and mismatched shoes! I can imagine the young Imelda watching this sequence and thinking, That will never happen again. After that, Iginuhit ticks off all the obligatory boxes: portraying Marcos as a family man, conscientious lawmaker, and devoted mama’s boy. (If I were Imelda and I were watching my husband call his mother “honey,” as this film says he does, I would have ran screaming from his latent Oedipus complex.) Oh, and watch out for a young Vilma Santos playing the eldest child, Imee. The role doesn’t give her much to do, but I foresee great things from this young performer…maybe even a run in politics…” – Andrew Paredes, ANC, 21 September 2018 (READ MORE)

Soon to be released for nation-wide showing is the much-awaited film, Iginuhit ng Tadhana, starring the favourite love-team of Gloria Romero and Luis Gonzales. Also starring veteran character actress Rosa Mia, Iginuhit ng Tadhana is directed by three top movie directors: Conrado Conde, Jose de Villa, and Mar S. Torres. Iginuhit ng Tadhana is a film based on the colourful and exciting life of Ferdinand E. Marcos, one of the most outstanding personalities of our time. From the law student who argues his case before the Supreme Court in a stirring defense of his own life, to the Bataan soldier who risked his life many times to become his country’s most decorated hero, and finally the brilliant stateman who distinguised himself in politics and in Congress, whose celebrated romance with a national beauty fired a nation’s imagination – all these have been captured and vividly projected on film in one of the few motion pictures destine for greatness. Luis Gonzales who has starred in some of the screen’s most dramatic hits plays the most important and challenging role of his career as Ferdinand E. Marc os. Gloria Romero, first lady of the screen in beauty, glamour and box-office prominence, portrays the role of another national beauty and top model who became the Senator’s lady, Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos. Rosa Mia personafies the woman to whom Ferdinand Marcos owes much of himself and his success, his mother, Mrs. Josefa Edralin Marcos. Together, all three combine dramatic talents in their most impressive and inspired performance in Iginuhit ng Tadhana.

The screenplay of the film was written by Emmanuel Borlaza and Luciano B. Carlos who based their scenario on personal interview with people associated with his life, actual newspaper reports, published stories and magazine articles about him, and other sources of material. Musical scoring of the picture is directed by Restie Umali. Cameramaen for the production are Steve Perez, Felipe Santiago and Amaury Agra. Film editors are Jose Tarnate and Marcelino Navarro. Three assistant directors have been assigned to this production: Santiago Dueñas, Charlie Ordoñes, and Tony Lumen. In charge of sets is Honorato de la Paz. For authentic locale, the film shooting unit motored to different places in the Philippines for location shooting. Director Conrado Conde shot most of the first portion of the film in Ferdinand Marcos’ hometown in Batac and Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, and in the town plaza of Laoag. Houses of pre-war style were reconstructed to enhance the authenticity, and special pre-war costumes were ordered, including those of students of the University of the Philippines, where Marcos studies in his youth. Director De Villa, who directs the second portion, brought his entire film unit to the hills of Bataan, Tarlac, Tayabas, Fort Santiago and Bessang Pass, where highlights of Marcos’ career as a soldier were filmed. For the third portion, Director Mar S. Torres took his filming unit to Baguio, where the celebrated romances of Ferdinand and Imelda culminated in the much-publicized “wedding of the year.” Highlighting the film Iginuhit ng Tadhana are portions of Ferdinand Marcos political career and the national convention that made him the youngest contender for the highest postion in the land. Iginuhit ng Tadhana has a selected cast of top-ranking actors and actresses in Philippine movies, and hundreds of extras. Announcements about the premierre showing at a first-class downtown theater will be released soon. – Screen Stardom, August 1965, reposted at Video48