Posted in Films, Life

Top 5 World War 2 Films That Contain Lessons Worth Pondering

War is the most horrible thing to happen in this world and nobody deserves to experience it. In war’s most difficult times, the films enumerated below have lessons that serve as reminders of love, hope, and many more.

1. Life is Beautiful

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Life is Beautiful Poster

Life is Beautiful shows the importance of love and optimism. Throughout the movie, the main character, Guido Orefice, displays his positive character and his love for his wife and son. Even though they are already in a concentration camp, he still manages to smile and assure his son that everything is alright. This movie makes one realize how perception and attitude can change things and reflect on the importance of valuing things that matter most in life: his family. His role as a loving father toward his son can be an inspiration to everyone — being a good example to people who look up to you and showing a positive attitude in a tough situation.

2. Schindler’s List

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Schindler’s List Poster

 

Schindler’s List emphasizes sacrifice and service to humanity. In a time of war, when most people are desperate and selfish, helping others in need is the most beautiful thing. Oskar Schindler, a wealthy German industrialist who sacrificed his money, time, and safety to save thousands of Jews from being deported to concentration camps by employing them in his enamel factory, has been thanked and honored with a ring that says “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire”. This act of kindness is a reminder that when all is crumbled and ashen, a little help can paint the grass green.

3. The Pianist

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The Pianist Poster

The Pianist is a story of Władysław Szpilman, a famous Polish pianist, who carries determination and perseverance in himself. When the world is destroyed by war, the soul is destroyed by the mind. Self-destruction, fear, and grief, would seem to be the daily bread of those who are hopeless, until they are swallowed into the depths of the earth and become nothing. Everything is falling apart but Szpilman continues to breathe, to live, to survive. Though he faces a lot of difficult moments, he still continues to be alive — he even uses his talent to save himself! Later on, he recovers from the brutal blows of war and continues to pursue his love for classical music.

4. Grave of the Fireflies

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Grave of the Fireflies Poster

Grave of the Fireflies is a film that focuses on the aftermath of the war that presents subtle hints about compassion and contentment. It uses the point of view of a teenager and his sister and that’s what makes this film more heartbreaking to watch. In a life where war is nonexistent and everything is easy and comfortable, it would be hard to relate to this film. When everything is already given, one might not have the chance to pause and contemplate about what life might have been. The characters suffer from great losses: family, food, and even their childhood, that’s why they teach us to be more loving and caring, and not to take things and the people we love for granted.

5. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Poster

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a film that presents friendliness and innocence. The war makes everyone harsh and violent and in order to contrast the war’s horrifying nature, they use children to portray the film’s lessons. When a person is involved in something appalling, his innocence disappears and when this happens, chains of bad actions take place. Compassion will diminish as power and selfishness take over the human mind just as what happened to Bruno’s father. Shmuel, though trapped inside a concentration camp, still has the interest to talk to Bruno and be his friend. Discrimination and hatred do not really happen at a young age — only the loss of innocence is what makes people do bad. Bruno and Shmuel proves that no race, no status, not even an electric barbed wire can break their friendship, and that’s what people need to learn and apply today.


We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.
—Isabelle Allende

Posted in Short Stories

The Myth of Calamansi

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Calamansi fruit

One day, a young woman named Kala came to live in the village. She brought with her her daughter. She found an abandoned small hut and decided to live there.

“This will do,” she said while studying the four walls of the hut. There were cobwebs in the corner, dusty table and chairs near the window, and a tiny room enough for them to sleep. That night Kala put her daughter to sleep and tidied their little abode and made it warm and cozy.

In the morning, while Kala was drying up some clothes and her daughter was catching some butterflies, three Maasims passed by and gave her malicious stares.

“Where is her husband?” a skinny middle-aged woman asked.

“Maybe her husband left her,” said the short woman.

“She’s too young to have a baby!” a fat woman exclaimed.

“Hush!”

Kala heard it all and it hurt her. Living somewhere far and foreign was difficult for her. She had to be strong and positive for her daughter.

The following day, Kala went to the market to buy fruits and vegetables with all the money she’s left with. She kept receiving sour looks from the tribe for being a newcomer, for being a single mother, and even for being poor. Even though the others were mean to her, she stayed humble and kind.

Kala was a beautiful young woman. Young men got attracted to her, not just by her beauty but also by her amazing personality. The mothers of these young men got afraid their sons might fall into Kala’s “spells”.

“I hear my son will court that dirty woman.”

“Oh, I say she’s a witch! She’s using her looks to get our sons.”

“We must do something or else that witch will destroy our village.”

“I say we banish her!”

“No, throw her into the deepest pit!”

“What if we stone her?”

“Good idea! She deserves it.”

The women roared with agreement. They were blinded by their anger and jealousy. They told everyone about how Kala is destroying their men and their tribe. Everybody believed what they said and they were convinced to murder her at midnight.

The sky started to bleed and soon darkness covered the whole land. There were no stars in the sky, only the sleepy moon. Kala brushed her daughter’s hair, sang to her, and told her how much she loves her.

“Inay, where is my itay?” her daughter’s sweet voice filled the room. It was a pleasant sound to hear.

“He died during a battle, Mira. He said he’s going to meet us at dawn, to live a new life as a family. But he didn’t come. The news of his death was then delivered by Manang Rosa, our neighbor back home. Do you remember her?”

“Yes, Inay. People there were kinder and they treated us very well. Why can’t we go home?”

“This is our home now Kala. It is peaceful here. Look how silent our place is. Besides, our house was destroyed and we have nothing left there.”

Mira stopped asking questions. She was just three – easily distracted by the firefly.

Midnight came. Everything was asleep – the animals, the trees, the flowers, but not the Maasims. They brought stones, big stones.

Kala saw them from the window. She went out to greet them.

“Good evening. How can I help you?”

There was no answer. Kala was dragged into the deepest part of the forest. The Maasims started throwing stones at her. She cried in pain and asked, “What have I done to you? Why are you doing this to me?”

The Maasims did not listen to her. They kept throwing stones at her. Before Kala drew her last breath, she prayed for her daughter’s safety.

Diwata Matamis knew about this and she was very disheartened. She was angry about what they did so she appeared before them.

“What evil have you done to this poor woman? Have you no mercy? You took someone’s life in the middle of the night! You judged her, said mean things to her, and treated her like she’s not human! You have no conscience, no morals, no kindness – love does not exist in you. Your hearts are as sour as your faces. I will curse you, all of you!”

The Maasims begged for mercy, like how Kala begged for her life, but Diwata Matamis did not hear their cries. They were turned into sour little green fruits.

“Anyone who will taste you will frown their faces. You will bear sons and daughters but they will be seeds in you. You will be in pain. You will be pinched for your children to be born. And I will name you Kalamansi, to honor and remember Kala of Amansi for her pure heart.

Diwata Matamis carried Kala’s body to paradise. She then adopted Mira and took great care of her and loved her like she was her own child. When Mira asked where her Inay is, Diwata Matamis would answer, “She’s sleeping on the high mountains above. Peace is with her.”

Mira missed her mother from time to time but she’s happy with her new Inay now. She learned kindness, respect, and love, which all the Maasims lacked.

 


Maasim – sour

Matamis – sweet

Posted in Life

Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses

Paris

Ever since I was a child, the thought of going to Paris occurred to me. I felt like I was the young Romanov, longing to see her grand-mama in that love-filled city. The Paris I saw in the movie, Anastasia, was vibrant and colorful. Because of that wonderful memory, I understood how people are very in love with Paris — it may be the pink skies, the magnificent Eiffel Tower, the freshly-baked baguettes, or just the rosy aroma that lingers across the street. Truly, Paris is the symbol of love and happiness.

College was difficult. I lost interest in almost everything. It was hard to find inspiration because even I was apathetic — dullness and boredom clouded my every way. Although things felt cold, I knew that a tiny fire – just a peck of light, was burning inside me and anytime soon, passion would crawl back into my body. It was then when I regain my positiveness when I stumbled upon the movie, Sabrina. It was a refreshing moment, a plot twist, a turning point. Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina inspired me to see life in rose-colored glasses. It was La Vie en Rose.

Sabrina
The LETTER FROM PARIS scene

This is a story about a depressed young woman who went to Paris to attend a culinary school who then transformed into an attractive and sophisticated woman. And As I watched Audrey (Sabrina) write a letter to her father, I noticed two things: the city lights and the song La Vie en Rose. The city lights glowed in the background – a symbol of hope, and the song flowed around her room like a perfume, a sweetener, that gave her warmth and assurance — a symbol of optimism.

That movie is a metaphor to every person’s life who relates to it. It shares a beautiful reminder, that no matter how dark the world may seem to be, always see life through rose-colored glasses.

You may ask, “how does the color pink affect your way of thinking?”

Pink reminds me of a youthful past where worries are light as the morning air and smiles as thick as the dawning sky. It reminds me of a vintage glow — dreamy and nostalgic. It pours joy and sweetness in a feminine and most fragile way. Pink is the feeling of when you smell your freshly brewed coffee, an image of the bleeding sky seen from a poet’s point of view, a snow globe, a music box, a rainbow after the storm… and when I see life through it, everything feels better.

The moment I practiced positive-thinking, my life became an imagery of a breaking dawn — fresh, new, and wholesome. I am now hopeful and optimistic and I realized something different in me; I face my problems with courage and confidence. Maybe that’s what I gain for inhaling the meaningful life I’ve always dreamed of and exhaling the doubtful life that has always pinned me down. Though life may not always be pleasant, there is still the presence of hope that prompts me to see life in rose-colored glasses.

Art Collage
She sees the world through rose-colored glasses.