“I do not believe that a biography of a man should be all praises. It should be both praise and criticism because it is not bad to show the human side of a person. You make him human by painting his defects.”– Teodoro Agoncillo (1912 to 1985), Filipino historian
Despite being a leading propagandist during the twilight years of Spanish regime and a revolutionary leader at the onset of the Filipino-American War, Antonio Luna remains one of the most unappreciated of all Philippine heroes. The movie ‘Heneral Luna,’ directed by Jerrold Tarog and developed by Artikulo Uno Productions, seeks to change that.
The movie, which will be shown in cinemas nationwide beginning this September 9, puts the spotlight on Luna’s heroic works and his unflattering personality (which eventually led to his assassination).
A hero with an unflattering personality? Isn’t that an oxymoron? The only reason it seems so is because countless historians in the past seems to have made it a point to portray heroes as flawless individuals – effectively making their work more like hagiographies instead of a fact-based account.
The movie shows Luna’s most valued character trait: his passion and uncompromising commitment to the cause of Philippine independence as well as his brilliance in military tactics. No less than Emilio Aguinaldo, the country’s first president, described him as the best war general under him (“siya ang pinakamahusay kong heneral“).
However, the movie also discusses the aspects of his personality that made people see him as a repulsive human being. He is not a smooth-talker, and is too hot-headed. In other words, he is a “my way or the highway” type of person. That of course did not sit well for a lot of officials in Aguinaldo’s administration, causing Luna to have so many enemies.
Heneral Luna is neither led by showbiz A-listers that other historical biopics in recent years had (like Cesar Montano in ‘Jose Rizal,’ Jericho Rosales in ‘Baler,’ and Alfred Vargas in ‘Supremo’) nor backed-up by splashy promotional campaigns. Instead, it is relying on social media to heighten public interest. The producers have also organized special screenings in various schools to target history educators and students.
Filipino netizens always rant about not seeing enough quality content on the media (television and cinemas, particularly) in general. Now is a chance for us to show our support to a movie that not only shows the life of one of the most courageous Filipinos who ever lived but also discusses a critical part of our nation’s history.
“Mas magandang mamatay sa digmaan kaysa magpasakop sa dayuhan.” –
2. “Ano ba ang tingin niya sa Cavite? Ibang bansa?”
– When told that forces under Kawit Company will not be providing him with necessary reinforcements for a battle
3. “Mas mahalaga ang papel natin sa digmaan kaysa sa anumang nararamdaman natin sa isa’t isa.”
– A certain woman told Luna, emphasizing that petty conflicts over women are distracting the revolutionaries’ cause
4. “Hindi natin sila matatalo sa teknolohiya. Pero matatalo natin sila sa taktika.”
– Antonio Luna on the Filipinos’ chances of defeating the Americans
5. “Hindi panlalait ang pagsasabi ng totoo.” – Luna to Felipe Buencamino, one of his tormentors
6. “Hindi ko ginusto na siya ay mamatay, pero naniniwala akong makatarungan ang nangyari. Malupit siya, abusado, mayabang!” – Felipe Buencamino on Antonio Luna