Amid those history classes, there was a courageous man in the sidelines of our textbooks who was Heneral Antonio Luna, brother of famous painter Juan Luna. He was versatile — a brilliant writer, a scientist, studied military tactics in Belgium and more. Heneral Luna was all things great but for some, he was this short-tempered man that angered Filipinos that led him to his deathbed.
His life wasn't well-discussed in our history classes which is why the film is the perfect gateway to learn more about Luna's life. Here is a list why Heneral Luna is a must-see movie:
1. Heneral Luna is not your average war general
Emilio Aguinaldo appointed him as Chief of War Operations and was assigned the rank of Brigadier General which is the senior rank in the armed forces. Heneral Antonio Luna was known for being a fiery but brilliant leader.
Being the Brigadier General, he made a number of enemies but he came back to the Philippines after his exile in Spain realizing the Americans shouldn't worry him but he clearly says that, "our enemies are ourselves." According to history, his last words were "Cowards! Assassins!" after he has been shot and stabbed countless times by fellow Filipinos.
2. Different from other historical films
The film tells differently the story of how we lost the fight and was conquered by the Americans. A part of history with wrong information that has been spoon-fed to us, according to producer, Ed Rocha.
While history tells us the tragic death of Antonio Luna, it fails to give us the details of the events that led him to his death. With this, Tarog was not reluctant to show the negative side in Luna's personality.
3. Film is relevant for today's audience
Tarog says the film used his artistic license to put a modern touch in the life of the hero so that the targeted audience, who are the millennials, would have a better connection to the film. So yes, expect to hear a few curse words in the movie. Also, the characters speak almost like the modern Filipino without sacrificing the art of the language for the film.
And although everyone knows that the General was killed by fellow Filipinos, getting to know him and seeing it happen in the big screen will make you feel sorry for him and will leave you saying, “Why?”
4. A cast born for their roles
John Arcilla who is known for supporting roles is the perfect actor to play as Heneral Luna and is complemented by Mon Confiado's portrayal as Emilio Aguinaldo. Arcilla portrays Luna as an aggressive military leader and dedicated Filipino that he was but also had a side of being good-natured and witty. Basically, Arcilla shows that Luna isn't just an aggressor that everyone knows him to be but he just wanted peace and freedom for his beloved nation.
Did you know? John Lloyd Cruz was the first choice for the movie but the offer didn’t get to him. But, when Director Jerrold Tarog saw John Arcilla in the 2013 film, Metro Manila, he knew right then that he was perfect for the role.
5. A worthy production
They have been working on the story since 1996 since they wanted to analyze how our nation was before until now only to find out that it hasn't really changed. After 18 years, Artikulo Uno Productions — produced Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo starring Robin Padilla and Vina Morales, and English Only, Please starring Derek Ramsay and Jennylyn Mercado — finally made it all happen in the hopes of awakening everyone's senses that there is a need of a change.
It was such a long pre-production says Ed Rocha, producer, but it was actually a good thing for them since they had time to think about all the details for the film. They had historical advisers together with their research — went to museums, libraries and actually went to Heneral Luna's house in Manila — to verify the design and texture so they can make the costumes accurate, according to Carlo Tabije, Costume Designer.
When they were shooting the Philippine-American war scenes, they had to look at old photos as a guide — for the location, horses, the trenches developed and more — and tried to recreate them so the viewers would have a certain feel for the film. The budget is estimated around P80 million that makes the historical costumes and props look genuine as it should be.
6. Heroes are humans too
The film shows the human side of Luna who just like us was an ordinary man, but happened to endure extraordinary circumstances. They may look crazy to the eyes of many back then but still managed to fight against revolution.
According to Jerrold Tarog, we don't have anti-heroes like him since our heroes are usually shown as heroes who are goody two shoes. On the other hand, Luna is portrayed as someone who doesn't care if he gets along or not with the others, and Tarog wants the audience to see who Luna really is — just an ordinary person.
7. Everyone can't get enough of it
Just came from the premiere of #HeneralLuna. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Please, everyone. Watch this movie.
— Rhian Ramos (@whianwamos) September 6, 2015
Manood kayo ng #HeneralLuna. Sana makagawa pa ng marami pang ganitong sine. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
— Ramon Bautista (@ramonbautista) September 6, 2015
I left the theatre with a heavy heart. Knowing that our situation from before has not changed. We are our own worst enemy. #HeneralLuna
— Lovi Poe (@lovipoe) September 6, 2015
I heartily recommend seeing Heneral Luna. It is a brave, strange film that is unlike any historical film made in this country.
— Phil Dy (@philbertdy) September 1, 2015
8. 50% off for Students
Yes, you read that right. Just present your school I.D. and you'll automatically get 50% off the ticket price in SM Cinemas, Ayala Mall Cinemas and Robinsons Movieworld. Wouldn't it be fun to learn outside the four boring corners of your classroom?
Heneral Luna, distributed by Quantum Films, opens on September 9 in cinemas nationwide.
Visit the official website at: henerallunathemovie.com