Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Heneral Luna is not a historical movie or a biopic but an artistic scathing contemporary parallelism of the Filipino's indifference (towards history and freedom). We are too forgiving, forgetful of the lessons of history or we lack true sense of patriotism. Or we just don't care. Hence the question aptly posed by Luna: "Negosyo o kalayaan, bayan o sarili? Mamili ka?"
It debunks our fondness of looking for a hero/ idol and immortalizing them as gods. It reminds us that heroes are not saints and that heroes are humans too. Leaders are not necessarily heroes. Leaders and heroes are not infallible. Tayo ang bayani. Tayo ay bayani din. The movie also emphasizes the pivotal role of unsung and mostly historically forgotten "lesser" heroes. I'm not just talking about Luna's faithful comrades: General Jose Alejandrino, Colonel Francisco “Paco” Roman, Captain Eduardo Rusca and the Bernal brothers but Antonio Luna himself who pales in recognition compared to Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo or even his brother Juan Luna. If a survey was conducted prior to the film showing, Luna won't even land in the top 10.
Heneral Luna decries the politics that has beset our nation since time immemorial. The prevalent themes of self-righteousness, self interest, divisiveness, dishonesty, and betrayal are but familiar even (especially) in the present Philippine setting. We should be reminded (as Heneral Luna imparts) that we are our own worst enemy.
Notably featured in the movie is role of women especially mothers in the lives of heroes and in the course of history.
The movie's appeal is its simplicity and candidness. It is mirror of the Filipino psyche - a virtual Spoliarium as indicated at the end of the film in reference to Juan Luna's (Gen. Luna's brother) painting. It's not artsy fartsy and preachy. Educational yet not too academic. Periodic at the same time contemporary. And yes, thank God, it is a welcome respite from mushy and hollow Pinoy blockbuster movies.
The movie's disclaimer though is ironic and un-Heneral Luna. However, it may be necessary especially with the way we trivialize and fictionalize history as well as due to our spoon-fed intelligence. View it more as a reminder rather than an apology. And hope that it is not meant to appease the critical gods.
A movie like Heneral Luna deserves a sequel or a paraquel featuring Goryo, Manolo, Poly or even a version of the events from Rusca's point of view. The Oscars inclusion is encouraging. It should be an inspiration and momentum starter lest we fall again to artistic ningas cogon and just be contented with "patok sa takilya".
Although this may sound like an unsolicited movie review, it is more of an invitation to watch the film and support the arts in general. It is a prayer and a manifestation of hope.
I still believe in the Filipino!
- @SIRVis, 22 September 2015
(Photo: Movie screen cap)
Posted by Simon Francis Blaise Vistro at 3:29 PM