Thursday, September 24, 2015

Heneral Luna

John Arcilla, Joem Bascon,
Mon Confiado, Archie Alemania
Jeffrey Quizon, Arron Villaflor

"Bayan o Sarili?"


Everyone + their aunts were raving about this history based film about one of our most valiant heroes - General Antonio Luna. My hubby suggested we go watch it as well. After all, he is a history professor and even though he already knows this chapter by heart, he wanted to see the approach that director Jerrold Tarog would use to convey to the viewing public what made Luna such an iconic figure in our colorful history.

Authentic wardrobe and cinematographic landscape, dialogue reminiscent of the era and a stable of highly believable actors buoyed the film. The first part of the film suffered in terms of editing because several scenes would rapidly shift as they tried to incorporate as many 'back stories' as possible. But it later stabilizes, so to speak and things move smoothly until the gripping dramatic conclusion. 

I did not like the scenes where they used comical tunes to convey humor. Perhaps it was done to lighten the mood but I felt it wasn't appropriate and they did it just to generate laughs. It was fascinating though to see the political machinations which occurred during the closed door cabinet meetings led by President Emilio Aguinaldo (Mon Confiado) where a clash of diverse opinions, heated arguments, hurt egos and wounded pride reigned supreme. Given that it was a very volatile period in our history, it is understandable that tempers will flair up as motives and convictions are tested and questioned.

It is a controversial film as there are numerous "murmurs" as to who really ordered the assassination of the feisty general. Yet the film doesn't seek to preach nor provide any answers and instead prefers to awaken the nationalistic and patriotic sense of the Filipinos through the heroic attitude of its main character. 

Much credit goes to John Arcilla for his larger than life portrayal of Antonio Luna. Arcilla nailed it by displaying the multiple facets of the embattled general. A well balanced mixture of subtle and subdued acting during pensive scenes yet aggressive and tenacious in very dramatically charged sequences. He embodied the true persona of General Luna, by not glamorizing him. This works as Luna was a flawed character presented as a strong willed person with a bad temper. His authoritarian ways would rub people off the wrong way and this in essence led to his brutal slaying.  

Another point that makes this film highly relevant today is that history keeps repeating itself and our nation is still beset with behemoth problems. The sad part is we may be "free" but we are still our own worst enemies. 

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