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Peque Gallaga’s Oro Plata Mata (Review)

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Peque Gallaga’s Oro Plata Mata (Review)

Last Saturday (June 14, 2014), I watched Director Peque Gallaga’s known masterpiece in the field of film making, Oro Plata Mata (Gold, Silver, Death), which was released in 1982. It was my first time to watch that movie, and it made me a bit bored because it ran for almost 3 hours. While watching it online, I was joined by my father, telling me that it really was a great film. He also added, “But sadly, after that, Filipino movies suddenly focused on explicit and x-rated movies that has something to do with appealing sexuality and sensuality.” I was never introduced to classic Filipino movies like Oro Plata Mata, making me see how different Filipino movies were during that time. I must also mention the scriptwriter of the movie, Mr. Jose Javier Reyes, who made a wonderful job in making such a meaningful and important story that relates with the Philippine History. Mr. Jose Javier Reyes shared, “Other than Peque asking me to do it, what inspired me to write this movie were stories I learned from my father, Marciano Reyes Sr., about the so-called peacetime and how we Filipinos were never really the same after the War.” (via


Director Peque Gallaga

Since I watched the movie online, the version available to watch was not in High Definition (HD) and there were many deleted scenes because of the violence and sexual scenes. Deleted scenes make the movie incomplete for me, but I understand why those scenes were deleted. The person who uploaded the videos may be banned. Anyway, away from digressing.

Oro Plata Mata was really a good movie in terms of its story and importance in the Philippine History. It started with Nick Joaquin’s quote about what happened during the time of war in the Philippines. He stated that, “There has been no peacetime since (the start of the Second World War)…” That certain state that was said by Nick Joaquin was shown in the film: how the Ojeda and Lorenzo families moved from one house or place to another in order to survive in the midst of a war, and how each of them coped up with it. Even rich families were having a hard time living in those times.

Honestly, for me, the theme of the movie was deep if you do not analyze it at all. It may be another film about lives during the war, but like Filipino literature, the director and writer included symbolism in Oro Plata Mata. One symbolism that I noticed was the title of the movie and the families moving from one place to another. Oro (Gold) was the first step: the rich families were all happy as they gathered for a birthday celebration. Plata (Silver) was the second step: the Ojeda family evacuated to the Lorenzo’s hacienda. The joy in the family fell continuously as they were considering safety measures from the Japanese army. Mata (Death) was the third and last step: the time when Japanese soldiers were seen approaching towards the hacienda of the Lorenzo family. They went to the Lorenzo’s forest house. In there, situations among the characters became worse. But in the end of it all, they returned to a happy state, but not as happy as how it once started. As how Trining Ojeda said (which was a highlight in the movie), “Naging hayop nang lahat sa atin. Ang digmaang ito, ginawang hayop tayong lahat (All of us became animals. This war made us all animals.).”

As for my overall comment about Oro Plata Mata: The realism depicted in the film was superb.

Cherie Gil on “Oro Plata Mata”:

“Oro, Plata, Mata” is what art is all
about. The masterful manner of Peque’s execution of
every scene, almost unmatched to this day, brought
us a masterpiece — one of the most important films
ever made in our country. (