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Watching Heneral Luna

Patrick and I don't often get to watch a movie by ourselves but when we first saw the trailer of Heneral Luna while watching Ant-Man with Dylan, we decided that it was something that we'd be interested in watching.  That in itself is a big thing because we don't really watch Filipino movies.  So, now we got a chance to watch Heneral Luna in Robinsons Manila.











Ticket prices in Robinsons Manila are P200 each and we were surprised that it was free seating this time instead of being able to choose your own seat.  Students were also given 50% discount upon presentation of their school ID's.  The lines at the ticket booths were long and we presumed (correctly) that they were mostly for Heneral Luna.  Given that we booked the 3:15PM showing, we had time to do our errands before watching.



Knowing that seats were going to be on a First Come, First Served basis, we decided to be at the Theater 30 minutes prior to the showing and we were about 10th in line.  In as little as 5 minutes, the line to Heneral Luna was already that long.  When people started leaving the theater, there was kind of a panicky feeling to everyone in the line.  It's like everyone was gearing up for entering the movie house and finding the best seats ahead of everyone else.  Since we were lucky enough to be among the few to go inside first, we got good seats but as people started pouring in, there was kind of a frenzied action for seats.  


And that was that.  I found the movie to be good.  Now, I'm not a history buff and I must admit to being hazy about my knowledge of Philippine history.  The thing to remember about this movie was that it's about who Heneral Luna was, with the Filipino-American war as the setting for the piece.  The creators of the film have taken certain liberties in telling the story so it's up to us to determine which parts are true and which are not - which means doing more research and that's good.  We all need to brush up on our History.

I found John Arcilla to be immensely talented and he really brought Luna's brashness, arrogance and "lunacy" to life.  I appreciated the Filipino humor and camaraderie between him and his underlings Col. Paco Roman (Joem Bascon) and Captain Eduardo Rusca (Archie Alemania).  I kinda felt that President Emilio Aguinaldo (Mon Confiado) was portrayed as weak or indecisive in dealing with the Americans but swift and harsh when dealing with the insinuated Aguinaldo and Luna assassinations.  I liked that in the end, they all denied having anything to do with Luna's death.  Also, I liked the way they showed Luna's past through his mother's reminiscing.  It's like a guessing game if you can identify the heroes in the scenes. :)

What did I take away from the film?  If you reflect upon the scenes with the Cabinet members, it's eerily very similar to what we still have today, in terms of politicking and fighting for self-interest.  It's like we never learned from our past.    What would be the Philippines now if we didn't fight for our freedom and remained a colony of the US?  Would it have been better or worse?

I think it's time to revisit the history books and truly understand the players, the situations and conditions during that time and learn from it.  As an adult, I may have a better understanding than when I was a student and was mostly just intent on memorizing the facts to pass the subject.

I hope Heneral Luna fares well in the Oscars.  :)  I hope this inspires other Filipino film makers to invest in making high-quality movies for all of us to enjoy.

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