I watched Heneral Luna three years ago and I was impressed on how Jerrold Tarrog interpreted Luna’s biography making it an art and not just a source of entertainment, which uplifted the film industry in a different level.
This year, the second installment, which is ‘Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral’, of his trilogy was released. The poster that brilliantly placed along EDSA to mark its premiere caught my attention. In that moment, my excitement surged wanting myself immediately dragged in the nearest theater. Finally, at the end of its first week, I was able catch up the last full show to avoid any spoilers in my social accounts because I prefer spoiling my friends first (smirk). At the end of the movie, I was speechless while clenching my fist with mixed feelings of despair and disappointment. It wrecked my expectations like an iron ball hitting concrete walls and tearing it to pieces.
“It was a very bad movie!” I said to myself not thinking outside the box. I just realized after that the director portrays it on purpose. Goyo, an ambitious and striking lad that women cannot stop swooning, is full of immaturity, vanity and incompetence. A direct opposite of the Heneral Luna we admire who is full of vigor, hope and prowess. Goyo’s character led to his own destruction and the fall of our Republic, which is the fruit of Luna’s death.
It kept me wondering also if Del Pilar deserved his recognition as a hero fighting and claiming victories in the wrong side. Upon checking his achievements, it answered my question that true heroism does not lie on dying for the right reason but dying for a futile cause. Del Pilar proven it as he lead his troops and fought bravely against the tyrants with his knowledge of Aguinaldo’s retreat making themselves a human barricade.
On the other note, I just have a few insights on the film’s cinematography and editing:
- Few shots are quite nauseatic – shaky shifting of one scene to another. The places, events and people are more comprehensive if the cameras are still. I know they want to show the first-person views but some scenes are just not right.
- Dialects should have been used instead of Tagalog for more accurate depiction of events. During that era, we are aware that the northerners are more fluent in Spanish and their own dialects than our present national language. Tagalog was only spoken in Central Luzon not until during the Commonwealth Republic which it was recognized as the national language. It would have shown the diversity of our culture in the international film festival, which I know for sure, would be one among the entries. The subtitles will suffice for the translation.
- Though the film inspired us about the traditional courtship, it has been romanticized so much that the political and military affairs have become trivial unless the kilig scenes are really pointed out. I know for sure other viewers did not seek that after seeing the posters. You are all welcome singles-another movie off your list.
- The comical scenes are out-of-place losing the class of the film. Compare to its predecessor’s, it is excessive and lacks art (not to mention the rolling of Joven downhill-oooops sorry for that)
- The costumes are really well done and the events are accurate and very close to the facts.
- The deep metaphors linked to Goyo’s premonition of his death is very impressive. I encourage future viewers to refresh yourself with his biography and our history as well before you see it yourself because I got befuddled in the middle of the movie.
At the end of the movie, it is very disheartening to see gradual defeat of Goyo’s troops as Aguinaldo made his escape, which in turn made the mission useless following his surrender. The main cause of the brigade’s downfall was the faction that lies invisibly in our nation that still exist until today. As we open our newspapers in the morning and watch the late news at night, this is prevalent in our society. Just like Charles Darwin said, “In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” – through unity and cooperation we can break the impossible.
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