On Heneral Luna and Its Effect On Me

September 23, 2015

I’ve been seeing posts about Heneral Luna since the other week. I even saw the poster when we went to the mall that same week (but it was a very awkward week since my money was almost gone – our payroll hasn’t been processed yet so my boyfriend and I couldn’t watch). Just last week, I saw posts saying that it has been pulled out in some cinemas because it wasn’t really grossing. I got scared because I might not be able to watch it come Saturday. When that issue spread like wildfire, I suddenly read good reviews and positive feedback about the movie. It was crystal clear: I wanted to watch. Slash wanted. I NEEDED TO WATCH. But I had work and I still need to go home (from Makati to Cubao) so I prayed and I prayed really hard that it’ll still be on cinemas come Saturday because that’s the only time I can watch. And because of the viral posts and tweets and the outpouring support of how great a movie it is, it was still extended. So thank God for an answered prayer!

Before I go on yapping more on my thoughts about the movie (no, this is not a review, but a movie analysis of some sort), I just would like to give you a little background on what I went through before I was able to finish this post. It took me a few days to finally have my thoughts organized. And the hangover still lives on. After watching the film, I wanted to say a lot of things, but I couldn’t. I wanted to draft a long post on Facebook, but I couldn’t. I wanted to immediately blog about it, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know where to start. It was too much (for me). I couldn’t take all the greatness of the film in. I loved every bit of it. It has that effect on people. It opens your eyes. It clears your mind. It makes you think what the difference is between Heneral Luna’s time and the present. It suddenly makes you nationalistic.

The director, Jerrold Tarog, is a genius. The casting was superb. The cinematography was splendid. I still can’t find the right words how to describe it. It feels like drowning in an ocean of words I could never juxtapose in the right way to fully justify the film. I know, I sound OA, but ask the others who have watched the film. I bet, they too, would share the same sentiments. I have to give all the actors kudos for their impeccable acting. I abhorred Emilio Aguinaldo, Heneral Mascardo, Felipe Buencamino, Heneral Janolino, Pedro Paterno, and everyone who was too coward to stand against the wrong people. I hated Aguinaldo too much that even when we saw Mon Confiado outside of the cinema when the movie was over, I was really torn whether or not I should have a picture taken with him because I was still silently condemning him as Aguinaldo in my mind. Yes, he was that great of an actor. And so were the others involved, especially John Arcilla. My, Sir John Arcilla, gave 200% of his best.

Well, here are my thoughts about the movie (both the story and the movie as a whole) in relation to the present times.

  1. When you’re doing something right, the guilty are going to hate you for it and make sure you “die”. In Heneral Luna’s case, it was literal. It may be true in a few cases in our present time, but sometimes, the people who don’t want the truth about the government issues to come out “kill” the rights of the people to know. In the scene where a few Filipino soldiers were torturing him and endlessly blasting gun shots, I was almost grinding my teeth in anger because this REALLY happened years ago. And it is still happening now. They were putting their selfish desires over the nation’s future. How many lives have been taken because they were on the right path and were fighting for the right principles?
  2. “Hindi mga Amerikano ang kalaban natin, kundi ang sarili natin… Tayo ang pumatay kay Heneral Luna.” Non-verbatim. This line really struck me most. It still applies to the present times. Fellow Filipinos bash each other and trample on each other’s ideals and beliefs especially if they’re on the right side. It is sickening that this has been a cancer of our country until now. Funny how the Philippines has an incurable disease, and yet it is still “alive”. How much blood still needs to be spilled? We are not under any country (or so we think), and yet we become slaves to the media and some people in authority that can never really assure us if what they’re telling us is 100% true.
  3. Politicians should watch this. And not just watch, but analyze. I may be no one in the world of politics, but I encourage all those who are in the government, especially those who are going to run for office in the 2016 Philippine Elections, to watch and internalize the movie. Dibdibin niyo at nawa’y mamulat ang inyong mga mata  sa reyalidad na kinasasadlakan ng Pilipinas ngayon. ‘Wag na tayong magbulag-bulagan, magbingi-bingihan, magpipi-pipihan.
  4. “Wala na tayong panahon para sa mga bagay na hindi natin kayang panindigan.” – Isabel We are in an era where people choose to fight for foolish advocacies, promote immorality, and ignore beliefs and principles that are worth fighting for. You’d see love teams trending on Twitter than more important issues we need to talk about. You’d see movies grossing and hitting box office with main ideas and themes that have been recycled over and over again than movies like this which deserve more support. I was never mum about my views on issues like this (read [here], [here], [here], and [here]). And I will keep on talking about it as long as I live.
  5. There are still a lot of Aguinaldos in this present time. People who may appear as heroes, when in fact, they take part in deeds that are not commendable. Villains that are disguised as “heroes”. “Heroes” who “kill” the real heroes. “Heroes”, who even if they don’t actually murder heroes, let them die unaided. They would rather choose to let other people, who are willing to sacrifice for the country’s betterment, be a victim of selfishness.
  6. We need more movies like this. Ditch all the movies promoting adultery and nonsensical ideas. We should focus our funds and resources, most of all our support, in producing films such as Heneral Luna. This movie is of great quality and lesson. We need more of this and less of movies who glorify love and pain, immorality and absurdity.
  7. Even if we are not at war, a lot of us are still cowards. Have we ever actually fought with sweat and blood for something we deeply believe in? I notice that most of the youth of today, even the adults, choose to go with the flow rather than swim against the current. People become so complacent and just accept what they are fed and not choose to find out the truth for themselves. May mga duwag sa katotohanan at mga duwag lumaban.
  8. “Walang nakakaangat sa batas, kahit na presidente.”  We need to emphasize this. Just because people hold positions in the government does not mean that they are already exempted or are above the law. Our country, whether we admit it or not, practices a lot of under the table transactions and special treatments just because they are rich or powerful. THIS SHOULD STOP NOW.
  9. I found this post on Facebook and I couldn’t agree more.





    That subliminal message with Joven’s scene is still true today. The media feeds us trash, the youth are brainwashed, and only a handful of teenagers are encouraged to fight the good fight. Some of the uninformed youth grow up to be people who do nothing but worsen the country’s situation. It’s a major disappointment.
  10. Most of all, I love that this movie can turn us into a nationalistic human being. After graduating, people tend to forget about how the history of the Philippines still offer lessons that can be applied to the present time. Some people believe that history does not repeat itself, but with the way things are going right now, the Philippines still faces some of the problems similar to Heneral Luna’s time. Now, the challenge is how we will act upon that ignited fire within us. We should not only be promoting the film, we should be living it out. Let our voices be heard. Let the country and its government officials know that our eyes have been reopened to the truth. I choose to do that with this blog.

I believe I cannot fully justify how great this film is. I believe this post cannot even come close to telling you how this is life changing. People may see me as exaggerated and be annoyed at my nonstop sharing of posts on Facebook or tweeting. But I’d rather annoy you and continuously talk about Heneral Luna, rather than endlessly feed you with AlDub vs. Pastillas Girl and other nonsensical issues that will NEVER benefit the country.

For those who still haven’t watched Heneral Luna, I encourage you to do so. The film is receiving standing ovations by people from all walks of life. The number of applauses echoing in each movie theater at the end of the movie still awes me. I am not forcing anyone. But let me say this with the most serious of tones: YOU’RE GOING TO REGRET IT IF YOU NEVER WATCH IT.

Here’s a totally irrelevant thought to keep you thinking (and to lighten the mood of this post): If the men who killed Heneral Luna were never caught, would they have told their children about it? If not, and they were mum about it until death, who knows? Maybe you’re a descendant of one of his murderers. LOL.

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  • Reply Clarisse September 23, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I tried watching this like twice but it’s always sold out!!! Hope I can fully relate to this article before it’s pulled out on all cinemas!

    • Reply Rej Relova September 23, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      I think it’s extended until this weekend? You should watch!

  • Reply Ochi September 23, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    I hate myself for not watching this yet! HUHU Great observations though, didn’t mind the little spoilers. Mehehe.

  • Reply Madz Madaje September 23, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    I agree with you. A made well movie and relevant today. Jerrold Tarog, the team and the casts set the standard higher like Heneral Luna’s integrity. And we, Filipinos, are responsible of our own future. Thus, we must be wise and committed in serving our country and our people.

    • Reply Rej Relova September 24, 2015 at 9:36 am

      I just love how the movie ignited something in everyone who watched it.

  • Reply Alyssa Panghulan September 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I’ve heard a lot of good reviews about this film din and same as Ochi, I hate myself for not watching it sooner. The movie seemed like a very insightful movie to watch. I was actually just skimming through your post as I don’t want to spoil myself. I hope they air this on CinemaOne soon! Haha.

    • Reply Rej Relova September 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      There’s actually no spoiler here. Of course everyone knows Heneral Luna died! HAHAHA. I just compared it to the present time 🙂

  • Reply Lou September 25, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I seriously liked reading this post, Ate Rej. Funny how I haven’t watch Heneral Luna, but as a cinema major, reading all the positive reviews from the people just makes me want to conclude that this film is truly life changing. Lucky how my school and our department got to be included to watch Heneral Luna’s pre screening mid-July, my classmates were able to hear Dir. Jerrold Tarog’s view on his own film. I get really happy to see people coming up to a realization after watching the film. Just that for some, not even a film enthusiast, utter words that the film is just a 3/5 because of this and that, and that it’s really annoying. I better download this on torrents soon. Great read, ate.

  • Reply Richel V. September 29, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I’ve been trying to watch this movie with my brothers. It’s either school/work got in the way or the movies are sold out. Ugh. I’m still praying that it can extend to this weekend. If not, I guess I have to wait for the DVD. Heard nothing but good things about this movie! Even the fact that it got so mainstream is amazing because more people are getting curious enough to watch it. Heard that the second movie of the trilogy is a go, too. So excited for us, Filipinos!

    Also, a really good post, Rej! Those are the points that every Filipino must know! Kudos!

    • Reply Rej Relova September 30, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Thanks, Richel! I’m glad buying a DVD copy is your option and not pirate DVD/torrents. It is too good for words and I just wish other producers and directors will do more movies like this. I love the fact that Gregorio del Pilar is now ensured. 🙂

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