Last week, while scanning my Facebook timeline, I happened to see several status posts of my friends praising the movie “Heneral Luna,” and encouraging people to watch it. Since we haven’t watched a movie in a long time, I asked my husband if we could watch last Friday night.
We were a bit late to buy tickets so we got second row seats. I prepared myself to watch a straightforward, historical film. The first few seconds of the movie showed a “disclaimer” saying that the movie, while mostly based on facts, is a combination of “the real and the imaginary.” I guess they wanted to make it clear that they opted to go for a little bit of creative freedom in their depiction of the fallen hero, Gen. Antonio Luna.
And what a moving and raw depiction it was! Kudos to the film’s director Jerrold Tarog and the entire cast, staff and crew for pulling off such a fresh and unique take on this part of Philippine history! They were able to inject wit and humor to the script, enough to entertain the regular “popcorn” movie-goer and the young ones who probably were “forced” to watch the film by their teachers (but I am sure were very pleasantly surprised after!). And I am sure the discerning film critics were also very satisfied (as evidenced by the numerous rave reviews online right now).
John Arcilla’s portrayal of Antonio Luna was nothing short of brilliant. He showed the General’s strength as an excellent tactical military man, his good leadership, his passionate love for our country – all the qualities of an admirable national hero. But he also showed Luna’s flaws – his very short temper, brashness, pride and impatience for “pasaway” subordinates. Kitang-kita sa pelikula na si Luna ay isang hamak na tao lang na marami ding mga kahinaan.
The movie was graphic and brutal – and it did not gloss over the real violence of war. It showed the blood, the sweat and tears that every Filipino who fought for our freedom shed. ‘Til the end, Heneral Luna displayed frightening bravery in front of his enemies.
The film made me feel proud to be a Filipino, like most historical films do. But it also made me feel sad and even ashamed to see the harsh reality that we Filipinos are not very patriotic – mas inuuna natin ang ating pamilya, ang ating mga pansariling interes. We can see in this film that Philippine politics is pretty much still the same – we elect politicians who serve themselves, not the people; or those who opt to be diplomatic and safe so as not to hurt their popularity. How sad that we often vote for the “lesser evil” – just because we have no “real” choice.
The next elections is almost upon us… I myself have not yet decided on who to vote for. But I am scared that the “greater evil” will win. God help us should that happen.
In the meantime, please head off to theaters ASAP and go watch “Heneral Luna.” It might just tug at your “pusong pinoy” and make you think twice on who to vote for in May 2016.
Check out the “Heneral Luna” Facebook page for screening schedules and updates.