Saturday, October 3, 2015

Thoughts on Heneral Luna

This is not a proper Heneral Luna review. I tried writing one, but words fail me. Simply put, Heneral Luna is one of the most remarkable Filipino made films I’ve seen. The talent that went into creating this movie from all people involved evokes pride in me as a Filipino. The risk they took in creating a work of quality in the midst of commercial naysayers appeal to me immensely as an artist. That this movie triumphed is a victory I feel myself, my trust in the Filipino’s intelligence justified. That I love this film is now beyond question.

But there are things I do want to say about certain aspects of it.

I’m absolutely sorry to the actor who played Joven, but I believe he needs to attend more acting workshops. His acting is, I feel, the weakest in the entire film. His delivery has that sing songy quality that I detest in a lot of Filipino films and TV shows. That he had a scene with the actor playing Paco Roman, himself not that strong of an actor, as they rode the cart on the way to Cabanatuan just made me cringe.

Compare Joven’s delivery with the delivery of the actor playing Jose Rizal (in a voiceover). Just absolutely brilliant. Nakakakilabot. Nakakaiyak. Holy shit.

Outside of that, every single actor and actress here were just excellent. Brilliant casting all around. That I don’t know most of these actors lend well to the credibility of the film.

Joey de Leon has commented that this movie would have been a bigger hit if it had cast Alden or some other famous person in certain roles. The problem I have with that is that Heneral Luna would have become a showbiz film. Viewers would not see the character, but the actor. The moment the viewer goes “Ay, si Alden!” the credibility of the film and the integrity of it will be shot to hell. In spite of the star-less quality of these actors, the movie has nevertheless earned 200 million pesos (and counting), far more than any historical film in the history of the Philippines. Would it have made more money if it had “stars”. Perhaps, but it would have been a movie that’s damaged, its integrity compromised.

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