Friday, December 30, 2016

JOSE RIZAL (A FILM CRITIC)

REACTION PAPER


 TO


JOSE’ RIZAL
THE MOVIE




A. INTRODUCTION

Jose Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda, popularly known as Jose Rizal, is a noted Filipino in Philippines history which named as the National Hero for his works of patriotism.  Jose Rizal was well known in neighbouring countries and even called the “The Great Malayan Hero” for standing up against colonialism and fighting for the dignity of the Malay people.  It is recognition to a Malay descent who expressed opposition to colonial tyranny, a recognition that every Filipino should be proud of.  Jose Rizal strengthened a growing national consciousness to oppose the cruel conquest of the Spaniards and aspired to attain the democratic rights of the Filipino.

I feel privileged and grateful to speak my thought about a renowned person and I would like to take this opportunity to tell my words about Gat Jose Rizal, one of the great Filipinos of all times.   There are array of words to describe Jose Rizal.  An author, political leader, polymath, ophthalmologist, linguist, activist, and many more but there is one description of Jose Rizal that I would like to mention in this paper work – nationalistic.  There is no doubt Jose Rizal is a Filipino who had shown great love to his country.  His desire to free the country from Spanish colony was always in his heart, thought, works, and dream.  Wherever he goes, from Calamba to Manila to Madrid, Hongkong, even in Dapitan, he always thought of the welfare of his countrymen and never stopped to write and communicate to plan the freedom of his country.

Jose Rizal is logical in his every move.  Since his childhood, Jose Rizal has already showed presence of mind that exceptional to his age.  There is a story of Jose Rizal that really marked to my mind: the anecdote of young Jose Rizal and the pair of slippers.  When after losing one of his slippers while he was riding in a boat, young Pepe, as childhood nickname of Jose Rizal, threw into the water the remaining slipper saying that there is no use to him to keep it without the pair and maybe someone who might able to pick the slippers will be able to use the pair of slippers.  I am really a fan of this anecdote. I am amazed how the young Jose Rizal handled the situation.  It was a show of love to humanity where compassion is all about.   For me, he is an inspiration that always reminds and stimulates our sense of compassion to our compatriots and country.

The greatness of Jose Rizal was self-titled filmed and played by ace actor Cesar Monato shown to commemorate the Philippines’ 100th year of Independence Day.  As a Philippine supporter, I should not miss to watch this epic film story of Jose Rizal.


B. BODY

To give the reaction to the movie, let me give first a very brief summary of the movie.  The film was presented basically in flashbacks of Jose Rizal's life.  In the opening is while Jose Rizal was waiting execution jailed in Fort Santiago, Manila. In jail, Rizal meets with his government-appointed counsel, Luis Taviel de Andrade where Jose narrated his love from childhood to being a man he is.  Upon hearing his life story, Taviel begun to realize that the accused is not only innocent but also exhibits the qualities of an ordinary man.  When the mock trial unreels, Taviel is all set to act as the prime advocate for his client as Rizal himself is about to give an earth-moving speech to defend his honor and address his countrymen.  Meanwhile,the Spanish authorities have worked out the enormous political machinery to ensure a guilty verdict until Jose Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan.  This triggered the revolution, and a blood was shed when Andres Bonifacio, a leader of revolutionary group, attacked the Spaniards and Father Rodriguez who ordered the execution of Jose Rizal.

First and foremost, the movie Jose Rizal as a whole was great.  It is a film biography of our National Hero that we only read in history books but in this movie it was presented into vivid life.  Jose Rizal The Movie is about patriotism and heroism.  It is a great presentation of Philippine’s tragic history and life of Jose Rizal that made easily to understand than reading in the book.  I believe it can help a lot the student to learn our Spanish era history.  The movie was actually intended shown in 1998 to commemorate the Philippine’s 100th Independence Day – that intention alone can make the viewer to feel the sense of nationalism in their heart.  As a cinematic approach, the story was great.  From acting to production, the movie was a first rate epic that should not missed in a collector’s item.  The lead role, Cesar Montano practically owned the story thru his acting prowess although other casts have really done good job in their roles.  But the movie is rightfully to give the credit to the director, Marilou Diaz Abaya for really a job well done – she was the captain of the ship to manoeuvre the whole movie anyway.  Every scene was nice.  I like the intense in the scenes especially when the planned bombing of Simoun was about to happen.  Immediately, it flashed back the chapter I read in El Filibusterismo.  Reading that chapter in the book struggled me to visualize how it happened but watching the movie will help the student to easily understand what have really transpired.  But no matter how nice the thing is, there are still weaknesses to say.  There is no perfect anyway and this movie is not exemption.  Watching Jose Rizal the movie, there are scenes that I found imperfection that may somehow harm to the whole story.  I have to start to the most obvious that I have noticed.

There are too many flashbacks.  These flashbacks confused me once in a while and sometimes I am already confused if the scenes are still in Spain or in the Philippines.  This is a movie that I have to repeat to watch again after the first time to clearly understand the sequences of flashbacks. Confusion in these flashbacks can make a viewer to stare at the screen and be befuddled.  But flashbacks are essential in the movie since the story is actually happening in the final days of Jose Rizal.  In the opening scene, Jose Rizal was in prison narrating his life from being a child until being a grown up man – the story started here, then flashbacks were brought together and told the entire story of the movie.  The movie is very long, too many flashbacks could be tiring to follow but I have to say it is a must and it is worth to watch that almost three hours long movie to know the history that reading in the books could be more difficult.


There is a boring scene in the movie when Jose Rizal delivered the honorary speech to the expatriate Filipinos in Madrid.  That scene of speech was very long.  Specially if you cannot understand the speech in Spanish, every long speech that we hear in political speech, school program, thanksgiving party, birthday party and many more are boring.

Although the movie is a biography of a real person, I think showing of Jose Rizal in a sensual scene created negative impression to the viewers young or old.  It put the hero in bad light.  It maybe really happened but I think it is redundant to include in the story since as a Filipino, we preserve our conservatism especially when it comes to sex.  We always believe in the purity and refinement of old times were our parents valued them.  We always have an impression that our great-great grand parents had lived in a very conservative ways wherein they valued the culture of “no touch” in a relationship that men could not even touch the tip of the lady’s fingers .  We always believe that sex during those times is so sacred and so there should no pre-marital sex.  But showing the scene of Jose Rizal and Leonor Rivera in a romantic moment, we can conclude that these things have already been happening during those old times.  And the revelation of Jose Rizal’s died baby to his girl friend Josephine Bracken is really a surprise because all the while we know that in the very strict conservative culture of our country, to have pre-marital baby is completely a great disgrace and shame not only in the name of Jose Rizal but also to the Filipino people.  Yes, Jose Rizal was not a teen ager and yes maybe Josephine was not a Filipina but thinking that our national hero had a pre-marital sex is disgrace to our Filipinism that small children should not watch them in this movie.   And it can change the impression of the youth today.  It can change how they will look up Jose Rizal as a national hero, that Jose Rizal is no difference from youth of today who explore sexual escapade’ while still unmarried, that Jose Rizal was not that ideal and deserved to become the national hero.  Although it is not supposed a criteria to be named hero but this gives a negative impression.  There is a hearsay that our National Hero was really a womanizer but you would not want to know that your hero actually was a very kinky man.  Although the movie is about the life of the national hero that every student must watch but these scenes are not appropriate to young audience like elementary students.

Another disturbing scene to me is the appearance of the characters of Simoun from his novel El Filibusterismo in the last night of Jose Rizal.  This either made my impression a change in the history or a psychological imbalance has happened to Jose Rizal.  The scene is violent.  Blood is shed when the Katipunan attacked the Spaniards and Father Rodriguez who order the execution of Jose Rizal.  Although the result was so cinematic because it successfully showed the intended revolutionary plot of the Filipino against the Spaniard colony but the scene of appearing a fictitious character made somehow a little bit weird in terms of looking for a realistic story, that in this case it must be a real story because the movie was a biography film.  But later, I understood and justified it that Rizal's novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo can be told in parallel with his life story because these novels are Jose Rizal himself.  And on the other hand, it made me understand that maybe people can really experience hallucination during the final days or the dying days.

Overall, I like the movie and I can recommend the movie to those who are interested in world history.  I can also recommend the movie to those who want to see a top-notch production of a movie.  The movie is great but is it not appropriate for children age twelve (12) and below because of the violence, sexual scenes and complexity of the presentation because of editing (of flashbacks), languages and sensitivity of the story.


C. CONCLUSION

Jose Rizal The Movie is for every Filipino.  Jose Rizal is a Filipino, he is our fellow citizen and if Jose Rizal is a Filipino, I strongly agree that every one of us can be like Jose Rizal because there is blood like Jose Rizal that flows in each of us.  Will there be new Jose Rizal to come up in our modern days?

Although the movie was shown in 1998 with a theme of an 1898 plot, the movie is still timely today due to current political issue in our country but the question is if there is still like Jose Rizal who is selfless to stand up for the country.  When Jose Rizal said that the youth is the hope of our nation, I feel partly sad because in our times today, very seldom you can see the like of Jose Rizal.  Let us roam around by starting in the street of Manila.   You see the out of school children, the child labour like sampaguita-cigarette and candy vendors, and the so called rugby boys.  At night, there are still children in the street, some are having nonsense gathering of storytelling until the midnight while a class tomorrow is waiting.  Values nowadays are missing.  How can we say that the youth is the hope of our nation? 

I asked myself, is this youth are the successor of Rizal?  I would want to hope, I would want to believe that there is still hope.  What I look to the youth of today are youth that have no interest in social, economic, environment and national issue, that they would rather choose to spend time to talk entertainment, gadgets and intimate relationships.  But I still want to believe that every one of us can be like Jose Rizal because there is blood like Jose Rizal that flows in each of our veins.  The spirit of volunteerism is an in-born character of a Filipino that has shown repeatedly in many occasions but it is just saddening to vividly see it mostly when there is catastrophe like the Bohol earthquake, the super typhoon Yolanda, etc.

Like the movie, we can make a change in the world that we want to change.   Jose Rizal was not an elected just to help the country but he has done great.  We too can do it because Jose Rizal is alive in every Filipino.  Maybe his personalities could not be found in a single person but every one of us could have at least one of his characters.  The doctors to the barrio, the police, teachers, metro aids and garbage collector, driver, tailor and dressmaker, servants, overseas contract workers, farmers, fishermen, postman, carpenter, architects and engineers, businessmen, lawyers, merchants, pilots, writers, employees, the child labour, actress and singer, from barangay tanod to the president of the republic– all of them are Jose Rizal who wanted to serve the country through their noble jobs.  They are great like someone-like Francisco Dagohoy, Miguel Malvar, Graciano Lopez-Jaena, Melchora Aquino, Macario Sakay, Emilio Jacinto, Antonio and Juan Luna, Marcelo and Gregorio del Pilar, Lapu-lapu, Andres Bonifacio, Felipe San Agoncillo, Jose Abad Santos, Apolinario Mabini, the Gomburza and Emilio Aguinaldo.
Jose Rizal is the past and present of the freed and independent Luzon, Visaya and Mindanao.  Rizal is the same you because you too can be the same to become hero since we have the same blood that flows in us.  We have one purpose like Jose Rizal who wanted to live freedom and peace.  The courage and dignity, we too wanted these and we need to go beyond what the yesterday have done.  The movie said we could have mistakes because no one in this world is perfect but what matter most is how we leave the earth that we will be best remembered when we have gone.




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