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Taray by Romyn Sabatchi

Elena, a 18 year old woman, is reminded that the monster of war lurks around every corner.

Long Project Description

It’s dark, you hear the banging of wood against brass gongs and you hear the sounds of panting. You see bare skinned legs running frantically, blood running down those legs as the brush cuts them... the sound of the gongs get louder and louder...the panting increases...suddenly, you wake up and it’s silent.

A nightmare. You see 18 year old Elena’s frightened eyes, beads of sweat and the terror filled eyes change to relief as she realizes it was a dream.

She gets up and thinks it’s over, but little does she know that a shadow is following her.

You see parts of the shadow, a heavy leaded leg, blood drops following the leg wherever it goes, shadows of hands grasping the air, whispers of screams following wherever she goes. You hear a light sound of gongs.

She hears screams for help and turns but there’s no one there. The gongs get louder and louder. She realizes these aren’t ordinary gongs, they’re the sound of the gongs of war.

She makes the 4 mile trek home and home is in disarray, people are in disarray. Clothes, pictures, trinkets, food is scattered around the table, sisters are going around the room packing items in palengke (market) bags. The gongs get louder and louder.

There’s a loud knock on the door and the door bursts open,. There’s a man with beads of sweat on his face, he’s panting heavily, blood streams down his legs as we see cuts on his legs, and the gongs are at their loudest when suddenly everything goes quiet and still. In a loud, out-of-breathe whisper, he says, “Taray”.

Developed during the 2023 Wāhine in Film Lab

Artist/Director Statement

As the world goes through conflict, I wanted to acknowledge that conflict/war hurts everyone. Each side believes that they are doing right by their country. It affects every person in every moment no matter how small the moment is and no matter what role they play. With stories like this, we make sure we learn from before and remember why we should not repeat it.

Stories are important. Once we forget those stories, we forget a part of ourselvess and we forget those who came before us. If we do not share our stories, someone else will share it for us or it will not be known so thus my attempt in sharing this one. I learned this story through the exploration of my personal cultural identity and learning about the distinctions of a culture within a culture.

Connection to the story

When my lola was young, they had to run up the mountains when they were warned that the Japanese were coming. My lola had scars on her legs from going up into the mountains because the brush was so thick that it cut her. They hid in the mountains for several years. They would only cook at night so the smoke wouldn’t been seen. When the Japanese came to villages/towns, they took their animals and whatever they needed. (And I’ve read prior stories of them taking women as well in the Philippines in general and not specifically in the mountain area).



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