It’s Independence Day! And while we happily celebrate our freedom, it is always the perfect time to also commemorate the people in history who have taken a stand during the many times that the country’s independence was compromised. So if you’re planning to get to know them better, here’s a list of films you could check out on your holiday break!
1. Quezon’s Game
Directed by: Matthew E. Rosen
Starring: Raymond Bagatsing, Rachel Alejandro, and David Bianco
This multi-awarded film had been receiving positive reviews from Filipinos after its recent release in local cinemas. Set in 1938, Quezon’s Game tells the story of President Manuel L. Quezon and other key figures who opened the country for Jewish people seeking refuge during the reign of the Nazis in Germany.
2. Heneral Luna
Directed by: Jerrold Tarog
Starring: John Arcilla, Arron Villaflor, Epy Quizon, Mon Confiado, and Nonie Buencamino.
One of the heroes whose names weren’t mentioned too often in textbooks, General Antonio Luna was suddenly put into the spotlight with Jerrold Tarog’s biopic Heneral Luna. It centers around the arrogant and hot-headed General who insists for the complete independence of the country during a time when such freedom is being gambled by politicians in order to keep their standing in society.
3. Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral
Directed by: Jerrold Tarog
Starring: Paolo Avelino, Gwen Zamora, Epy Quizon, and Art Acuña
This sequel to Heneral Luna picks up directly from where its precursor left off. Goyo focuses on the internal struggles of the young General Gregorio Del Pilar as he tries to rediscover where his true loyalty lies and what would really make him worthy as a hero.
4. El Presidente
Directed by: Mark Meily
Starring: Jeorge “ER” Estregan, Cesar Montano, Baron Geisler, and Nora Aunor
This film recounts the life of President Emilio Aguinaldo, highlighting his roles in the revolution, from the mayor of Cavite El Viejo who led the provincial forces against the Spaniards until he became the key figure of independence itself, as the President of the first Philippine Republic.
5. Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo
Directed by: Enzo Williams
Starring: Robin Padilla, Vina Morales, Eddie Garcia and Daniel Padilla.
This historical biopic tells the detailed story of Andres Bonifacio, from the time he had joined Jose Rizal’s La Liga Filipina to the day he and his brother Procopio had faced their execution. While Bonifacio is one of the more popular characters in our textbooks, there is so much to see in the film that will make you know the hero better.
Directed by: Richard V. Somes
Starring: Alfred Vargas, Mon Confiado, and Nicco Manalo.
Since Bonifacio seemingly stands next to Rizal when it comes to popular Filipino heroes, it is not a surprise that there are numerous depictions of his life on film. Perchance you’ve watched one movie about him and is yearning to see another, having other options is a good thing.
7. José Rizal
Directed by: Marilou Diaz-Abaya
Starring: Cesar Montano, Joel Torre, Jaime Fabregas, Gloria Diaz, and Gardo Versoza
Produced by GMA Films, this movie is a 3-hour biopic on the life and times of the national hero. It covers many of the hero’s endeavors and losses that are sure to give the audience a deeper understanding on the man who had sparked the nationalism and patriotism among Filipinos.
8. Bayaning 3rd World
Directed by: Mike De Leon
Starring: Ricky Davao, Joel Torre, Daria Ramirez, Rio Locsin, and Cherry Pie Picache
This Mike De Leon mockumentary film focuses on Jose Rizal and the questions surrounding his heroism, particularly his supposed retraction before he was executed. It tells the story of two filmmakers who, in order to clarify the doubts on Rizal, would have imagined interviews with the people closest to him, and soon Rizal himself.
9. Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis (A Lullaby To The Sorrowful Mystery)
Directed by: Lav Diaz
Starring: Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, Hazel Orencio and Alessandra de Rossi
The film astounds anyone with the length of its runtime which is a total of 8 hours. Its narrative combines the historical and the imaginary, with two alternating stories: one is that of Gregoria De Jesus in search of the body of her husband and his brother Procopio; and the other follows the separate figures of Crisostomo Ibarra and Simoun.
10. Dekada ’70
Directed by: Chito S. Roño
Starring: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Piolo Pascual, Marvin Agustin, and Carlos Agassi
Adapted from the novel of Lualhati Bautista, Dekada ’70 revolves Amanda Bartolome, whose children gets involved in activism and rebellion during the time of Martial Law. When the family falls victim to extremist violence, Amanda would have to learn the hard way what her children had fought for in the first place.