Today is National Heroes Day. We look back to how Filipino heroes have lived and died battling for our country’s rights and freedom. We’ve listed 8 nationalistic movies you could binge-watch this holiday:
Did you know that Macario Sakay was the one who founded the “Tagalog Republic”?
Starring Julio Diaz, the film tells the story of Macario, who battled against the United States after the official end of the Philippine Insurrection.
The film was a 1993 MMFF entry which received the prestigious Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award, and was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Raymond Red who also bagged film awards at Cannes for this historical masterpiece.
Jose Rizal (1998)
This 1998 film about love, honor, camaraderie, courage, and revolution stars Cesar Montano as Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda. It is a classic retelling of our national hero’s life story as a writer, lover, son, brother, friend, doctor, propagandist and revolutionist.
Through a series of non-linear flashbacks, director Marilou Diaz-Abaya revealed Jose Rizal’s life as a versatile Filipino Brainiac turned nationalist, martyr, and revolutionist who is hungry for political and social reform.
Bayaning Third World (1999)
This Mike De Leon documentary film covers yet another take on Jose Rizal’s life. Filled with fact-supported puns for entertainment, it shows the issues and controversies in the life of Rizal. In the movie, you’ll be served many opinionated stories about Rizal’s acquaintances such as Josephine, Paciano, and Padre Balaguer that were documented through testimonies. All in all, it is a perfect illustration on how filmmakers back then were eager to digging deep about our national hero’s complicated past.
Circling on trust, power, honor, and authority, this 2012 Richard V. Somes film showcases the revolutionary life of Katipunan leader Andres Bonifacio (Alfred Vargas).
Film reviews commended its amazing cinematography, over-the-top production designs and engaging musical scoring for providing all the feels. Its slow-paced sequencing is perfect for detail and fact conscious viewers out there.
Quezon’s Game: 2019
Not many know of Manuel L. Quezon’s humanitarian legacy during the reign of Nazis and the persecution of Jews in Germany. A relatively new film, Quezon’s Game was hailed by critics for its story as well as exemplary performances from Filipino actors, especially Raymond Bagatsing’s portrayal of our former President.
Heneral Luna (2015)
Probably the most well-known historical movie on this list, the movie starred “John Arcilla” as Heneral Luna. This 2015 hit biopic film highlights the stern and focused leadership of General Antonio Luna when he served during the Philippine Revolutionary Army in the Philippine-American War.
While it began with how the mighty general battled against the American colonizers with his fellowmen, Jerold Tarog ends it with a riveting scene wherein Luna was shot and stabbed to death by armed men—leaving the audience wondering who ordered the assassination.
This is Jerold Tarog’s sequel to Heneral Luna, and it tells the story of the young general Gregorio Del Pilar (Paulo Avelino), who served and died during the Philippine-American War at the historic Battle of Tirad Pass.
Sunday Beauty Queen (2016)
Historical? Not really. Nationalistic? Absolutely.
Our 8th entry might seem as the “odd one out”, but while we talk about celebrating national heroes whose lives played significant roles in shaping our country’s history, we might as well honor our modern-day heroes who are proudly raising the Philippine flag overseas.
Sunday Beauty Queen is a 2016 Baby Villarama documentary film which covers the journey of OFW’s turned Hongkong beauty queens as they join and prepare for a traditional pageant while living the hard life as domestic workers. This 2016 MMFF entry offers a new and more honest perspective through the abundant feelings and engaging narratives of Villarama’s subjects. This masterpiece is a definite must-see.
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