Emerged on a perfect time when Social Media served its purpose in paving to make something that might be unrecognizable, into something that catches the eyes and attention of the consumers like us. On first glance, i would have never thought I would be watching such movie, especially that I was really never fond of Filipino movies – you can’t deny how few Filipino movies has a distinct formula that makes it tasteless on the palate of the viewers – for example: “a rich boy founds a poor girl, the boy’s parent disagrees on the relationship of their son to a poor girl...” – you know how the story goes. But guess what, thanks to advancement of internet and media, There are people like me who have watched the movie because curiosity led us to it and aside for students who used the opportunity to get 50% discount, people kept talking about it on facebook, and tweeting on twitter, and it kill us if we were left behind. So yeah, I think it would be nice to watch something part of our history, which I am always fascinated about, and of which I have been waiting for a long time that a historical movie like this would come up (except the movie hari ng tondo“). After watching, I have resolved to write a few things in respect to the artistry I have found in the movie. Artistry that few may have already understood and relate with, and to the few who haven’t caught the gist of it at all. Here we go.
THE FOUNDATION MATTERS
Let me start my review with a realization. Has anybody saw the movie Harry Potter and its seven outstanding successful series. “You missed half of your life if you didn’t” (just kidding, but seriously). Well, let us start with an analogy between the Harry potter movie and the General Luna. One cannot appreciate the seventh book/movie, without watching or reading the previous chronicle. In contrast to the General Luna, one cannot or will have difficulty appreciating such movie if the individual hasn’t known any knowledge of the Philippine history. You would find yourself asking “who’s that?”, “what’s a indio?”, “what’s the significance of Del Pilar in the last part of the movie scouting for men from Luna’s army?” Or maybe “is this based on true story?” (Facepalm). The knowledge of such history and story changes everything. It will be boring and confusing to the younger generations who haven’t any idea of the characters and events. But for those who are knowledgable or quite have known the Philippine history, then this is a movie for you. A must watch movie worthy of its recognition.
THE HUMOR IS REAL
I have been waiting to say this, but i have never expected a movie like this would have such humor. At the beginning of the movie, it shows substantial amount of satire and humor especially to my favorite character of “Paco“the colonel of Luna played by Joem Bascon. Even the general himself showed humor amidst its iron fist aura in front of the politicians and Emilio Aguinaldo. This was not a mediocre movie because it has unexpectedly a lot of humor, but instead, it will give the viewers a huge gasp of the REAL history. A history that is govern and created by Filipinos like us, which commits mistake and have different attitudes and philosophy. It was unexpectedly so realistic because movies of this kind of genre contains and shows heroes that are SERIOUS, PERFECT, someone you look up to, someone that is always right – but NO, the movie shows a filipino hero we read on books that is Funny, a prankster sometimes, boastful, and hot tempered. And you know what, because of these portrayals – makes the movie genuine, realistic, and true. That is what I love about the movie the most – the ambiguity of the characters emotions.
There are a lot of great lines and conversations made by each characters, well mostly from General Luna himself. Giving credits to the writers of the film, the narration and the dialogues are outstanding. Full of metaphors, full of hidden meanings, or may be satiric in a sense. When I was watching the movie, after every lines thrown by the protagonist, I keep saying “ooooh” or maybe “ohhh snap, what a burn“. Loving this movie will be of no difficulty, full of power, and full meat where viewers will definitely gain insights and realizations before leaving their seats. In my own experience, As I was about to leave the premises of the Cinema, it made me realize how i need to work more like to be a Filipino and do a lot more on our actions, rather than saying it through words alone, which was emphasized by General Luna which also accounts one of the “Hugot lines” in the movie.
A PILE OF SYMBOLISMS
If you listened to your teacher when you were still in elementary or at middle school during his/her Philippine history discussion then you will surely never miss the symbolisms the director and writers packed this movie with. Well, off-course there would be some who haven’t noticed it, or haven’t known about it at all!
First on the list of “notable” symbolisms is the “Spolarium” painting by Juan Luna. Yes, synonymous to the last part of the movie after Luna’s assassination, the bodies of both the general and his men were placed public. They were dragged just like the depiction of gladiators on the infamous painting made by Juan Luna – the brother of Antonio Luna.
Second one which only took few seconds in the movie, was when a woman in Spain sat on a couch, which Juan Luna painted. This shows the painting “The Parisan Life“, a painting shows depicts a courtesan or a prostetute, which symbolizes the fallen womanhood. The woman is said to be the mirror image of the archipelago – the Philippines, on contrary, the the three man on the background are the friends Luna, Rizal and Ariston Bautista who is said to be westernized yet remained “Filipino at heart”. Inclusion of such, proves the teams’ attention to details towards the creation of the movie. So if you have decided to watch soon, pay attention to the screen and give a little respect to the artistry, rather than illuminating the room with your phone and texting.
Third was Joven Hernando, the young men, who throughout the movie sticked around General Luna and interviewing him with his “Harry Potter” glasses. He is one of the characters in the story aside from General Luna that has great role and significance in the movie. He symbolizes the New and upcoming generation which shows ambivalence towards the crisis and issues surrounding our country. See how Antonio Luna, gave so much importance to young man as they traveled and how events went, with emphasis to the scene where Joven, was shot by bullet into his hand. This just symbolizes how the past generation should nurture the generation to come with values of authentic Filipino countrymen, nationalism, and wisdom of good intent.
I am pretty sure there are a lot more of this “reading between the line” stuffs. Well one way of helping me out in uncovering such would be for you to watch the movie.
John Arcilla as General Antonio Luna, played a great part in portraying his character, with such strong character and poetic aura on stage, makes him the best person to in-act the protagonist. Mon Confiado as President Emilio Aguinaldo, has a baddass haircut to enable to “carbon” copy the real Emilio Aguinaldo. Epi Quizon as Apolinario Mabini known as the “dakilang lumpo“. To those who haven’t known, he has Polio, for christ sake that’s why he was kept seated the whole duration of the movie, and as a polio patient, lower extremities are so thin, so weak, and muscles are not completely developed due to prolonged disuse, that is why he keeps on covering it with a cloth (I’m a nurse, i know this). As a whole, if anybody have observed – a number of actors were into indie film in the past. And one thing i have realized, some of the best actors we have are the ones that are UNDERRATED. Compared to those who are GOOD looking and really famous of their movies – a compensation to there acting performance(not everyone though). Well, I think they should just stay having a good face.
After uncovering the script after many years since the mid 1990’s, at last the presentation of such was realized through this film. Like a wine being preserved in a cellar. Brewed until good quality production was made. “Heneral Luna” was a one of a kind film, great production, invested with good script, cast and great amount of money. Well, you should be lining up by now and procure some time to watch this Historical movie – Heneral Luna, for these kind of movies are scarce at present.