Have a more meaningful leisure time
It doesn’t take a film critic to figure that Jerrold Tarog’s “Heneral Luna” is not just another historical biopic. With its breathtaking photography, brilliant screenplay and powerful performances, especially from John Arcilla who played the title role, the film is easily one of Philippine Cinema’s best in recent years. But more than just a work of art, “Heneral Luna” is a historical account of the Filipino people’s struggle for genuine independence, which remains far beyond our reach up to this very day. And while the movie is, to some extent, guilty of cinematic exaggeration, it doesn’t change the fact that it is based on historical truths.
Indeed, we should focus our attention on the continuing relevance of Antonio Luna, and not just on how a badass he really was as the fiery commander of the Philippine Revolutionary Army that fought against the superior forces of the United States during the Philippine-American War. Making fun of those who know little about our history doesn’t prove anything either.
There must be only a few local movies, including Raymond Red’s “Sakay,” that dare to expose the villainous role of US imperialism in our history. And “Heneral Luna” is a breakthrough in that respect. Furthermore, it features the concessionist inclinations of the elite leadership under Emilio Aguinaldo that plotted the murder of Luna and his loyal men. Lest we forget, most of the victims of state terrorism today were also advocates of nationalism.
We can’t expect the government to support an indie film like “Heneral Luna.” Aside from its pro-imperialist nature, the present administration wouldn’t want the public to develop a sense of nationalism—one that condemns subservience to and dependency on the United States. It is therefore our responsibility as students of history to promote the movie and emphasize its significance to the younger generations. We have had enough of the “Kalyeserye” phenomenon; it’s time we used our leisure hours in a more meaningful way by revisiting our past.
—DANIEL ALOC, email@example.com
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