Filipinos Must Pay The Price: Heneral Luna Experience

I rarely do posts like this. I rarely update my facebook on what I had watched, and as much as possible, I don’t want other people to know what I’ve been doing so even I, am surprised by myself posting again and again about Heneral Luna and me really promoting it to my friends via viber messenger or text message- even the ones I know that are not interested. I just don’t want this film to end so soon. I had watched it last Sunday but up until now I am deeply affected, even if my work and life is still revolving, whenever I am alone, I had this disturbing feeling that I hope every Filipino will watch this film and have their eyes opened on what is really happening.
Okay I think this will be a very long post so please bear with me.
Late last year, when I re-watched Sana Dati, a film by Jerold Tarog in Teatrino, I had this wonderful chance to see the trailer for Heneral Luna. Back then I was just waiting and waiting for the film to come out. So there I go waiting on the first half of 2015 until word came out that it will be shown on September. I kept my fingers crossed patiently waiting. I really didn’t know that they were planning to release it commercially- I thought it will be included in an independent film festival. But now, it makes perfect sense that the film was released commercially. It is a film made by Filipinos, about Filipinos AND for the Filipinos.
I had high hopes for this film. And to say that I have high hopes means that my standards were not easy to please. So believe me that when I say this film exceeded my expectations, that means that this film had done IT. They created a film that is so well-made that a week after, I still can’t get over it.
Back then, I was only an avid follower of Jerrold Tarog- but now I am fan. 😊 I hereby commit myself to watch all of Jerrold Tarog’s films.
I must admit. I personally don’t know anything about Antonio Luna. I just knew that he was a hero, a general and I think one of the reasons that still disturbs me until now is the way he died. (No spoiler alert since maybe a lot of you knew how he died).
I had to do an overnight work last Saturday- I came home at almost 10am on Sunday. I had only three hours of sleep but I still rushed to the cinema to watch. I thought I was only going to watch an intelligent film about history. But it was so much better than what I had imagined.
I am not very good with words. I cannot say how much this film affected me but maybe me still reliving it and that disturbing feeling is enough proof of what this movie had done to me.
I can say all sorts of how the cinematography, the directing, the editing, the musical scoring, the devices, the imagery is well-played in this film- but who am I kidding? I am not the best person to say that, at least.
But this movie is like a reflection of how our past haunts us, even until this time. You can see and realize the saddening truth that no matter how many technologies pass us – our values, or lack thereof, is still evident in our lives now.
One line that is still reverberating in my being is this:
“Sabihin mo sa mga Pilipino na hindi nila makakamit ang kalayaan sa pag-aaruga sa kanilang mahal sa buhay. Kailangan nilang magbayad! … Ng dugo at pawis. Kailangan nilang tumalon sa kawalan!”
Which is true. A lot of people are ranting about how they want things, the system, to change. But let me ask you this question: Are you willing to be inconvenienced by the change that you so fervently desire?
There were so many things I love about this film. I cannot outline this so allow me to just list it based on my memory:
1. That aerial shot with Hen. Luna in the mountains that had me squealing in delight inside the movie theater! Yes, I am a quiet type of person to watch a film but THAT one shot broke my silence.
2. The humor alongside the battles. We were not given box-type serious soldiers who fight for the country against colonizers, instead, we are given real people, filipinos, who are afraid of the battle, of gunpowder, of explosives because let’s face it- going into war is scary.
3. Which brings me to that typical Filipino trait – that we can laugh in times of trouble- it is shown here in their battles how Filipinos can laugh even in the direst of times. I really love how those scenes can be full of humor. So now, we all know how we can smile even if the whole Manila is swimming in flood. 😁
4. The flashback scene is endlessly fascinating. No words can express. Hands down.
5. The symbolisms- the burning flag while the Americanos were talking in the end. The background music, the perfectly captured shots and progression of the storyline is not boring. It was a historical film injected with wit, humor, action and drama.
6. The way the film captures your inner patriotism. Like, after watching the film, I just want to do everything I can for the love of the Philippines.
7. The realness of the place. Because in this place, in Manila, is where the battle take place. It’s like I am stepping on the very soil that Hen. Luna tried to protect.
8. The wonder of how a certain film can capture both content and technical aspects in a superb quality leaving no room for mistakes. Kumbaga sa tagalog, walang tapon! I can watch the film all over again and still discover more.
All in all, I was amazed. And a little bit of pride since I am one of those persons who waited for this for a year. But nonetheless- this is a film meant to be shared to fellow Filipinos.
I certainly have forgotten some of what makes the movie compelling to a greater degree and will remember it after I’ve posted this.
Congratulations to everyone who were a part of this film- the actors, director, cinematographer, writers, cameramen, etc. This is a collaborative effort between all of those people and I somehow wish that I could be a part of creating a thing like this! Like, one of my dreams is to create something like this- that would help fellow Filipinos to open their eyes and realize that we, our hands, can do something- we’re not at all helpless.
I still feel my tears threatening to fall down even as I write this. No other movie had captured my mind and my heart both at the same time. I had never come across a movie that makes me so much active in social networking sites and make me promote this to all the people I know like a madman. Some of them even asked me: “Promoter ka ba?”
But really, this is a coming of the age film. I encourage you to watch this- don’t let the chance slip in your fingers! Take hold of it and grasp it as firmly as you can, because if you really are a Filipino, you would care how we have come to this state. They say history is boring- but this film destroys that saying. This film will take you somewhere you never imagined and after that you’d never look at the Philippines the same way again.
“Bakit lagi na lang bang ganito? Kalaban ang kalaban, kalaban ang kakampi.”
“Mga inutil! Hindi tayo mamamasyal!”
“Negosyo o kalayaan, bayan o sarili? Mamili ka!”
“Para kang isang birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta!”
“Kung panaginip na lang ang umasa na tayo ay umunlad, mabuti nang mamatay tayong nananaginip. ”
“Mga kapatid, mayroon tayong mas matinding kalaban higit sa mga Amerikano… ang ating sarili!”

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