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Different worlds

Throughout this pandemic, we have dreamed of going back to ‘the way it was,’ where we could go where we pleased, when we pleased, and experience live, crowd-drawing events.

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Watching the tennis championship games can bring a tinge of envy among us, still chafing in a world restricted by quarantine rules.

The crowds in the US Open could gather without qualms, likely fully vaccinated and confident in a health care system that would have available beds and necessary medicines should one fall ill from Covid-19.

The scenes bring back memories like a movie reel, and the emotional tug is real.

The same could be seen in the latest international film event where one of our own brought yet another distinction and pride for the country.

Actor John Arcilla, already well-known, but whose fame hereabouts catapulted after his performance in Heneral Luna, bagged the Coppi Volpi (Volpi Cup) for Best Actor at the recently concluded 78th Venice Film Festival held in Venice, Italy.

His performance in the movie On The Job: The Missing 8 grabbed the jury vote — and anyone who knows his work would understand why. The man who played the titular revolutionary army general Antonio Luna is a riveting performer — he brought to life a hero who “was flawed, imperfect and human,” as the character is described in an article.

In the “Philippine crime thriller, Arcilla as Sisoy Salas, a corrupt reporter for a local newspaper,” puts himself in the shoes of yet another such persona.

He is jaded and colluding with corrupt politicos, until the effects of social rot reaches far too close for his comfort. Eight people, including his best friend and godson, go missing. Redemption comes after a grueling character test.

While the acting no doubt impressed the jury enough to give the honor to the first Southeast Asian to cop a Volpi, perhaps the story would not have resonated as much as it would among Filipinos still stuck in Covidland.

Faced with fast-rising cases daily and relative helplessness at the next steps to take should one ever get infected, Filipinos have had to contend with controversies of corruption since last year, when the pandemic came.

From the Department of Health’s top honcho to PhilHealth officials to Red Cross to Pharmally — we realize the heartbreaking truth that corruption had grabbed us by the throat and is choking out hopes for a return to a semblance of normalcy.

Achievers like the Olympic medalists and now John Arcilla have given Filipinos the booster we need at a time when we have found ourselves vulnerable and unsure.

They inspire us all and deserve all accolades and recognition.

How we wish we could hold such celebrations with no qualms — like what we saw in the tennis championship games and in the oldest film festival that was held in person once more — of course with Covid-safety restrictions — with red-carpet moments and actual awarding ceremonies.

Throughout this pandemic, we have dreamed of going back to “the way it was,” where we could go where we pleased, when we pleased, and experience live, crowd-drawing events like sports, festivals and concerts.

For now, it’s another world we can only relive in reel time.

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