Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cinemalaya 6: Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio

I always take time to support independent filmmakers in their quest to revive the art of Philippine movies via the annual festival called the Cinemalaya. On its sixth year, Cinemalaya continues its tradition of excellence by featuring a number of independent films shown all around the CCP grounds from Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo to the Little Theater. This year, aside from the feature full-length films category, Cinemalaya introduces its Directors' showcase, wherein veteran filmmakers like Joel Lamangan and Mario O'Hara show their directing expertise by having their own feature films in the festival.

Last Monday, I watched one of the films in the director's showcase category. "Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio" was a Mario O'Hara creation, which was lead by Alfred Vargas as the national hero, Andres Bonifacio. The movie showed how our great Supremo suffered from the hands of his fellow Katipuneros in a mock trila that lasted for only a few days. The movie centered its plot in the trial proper, where Andres and his brother Procopio underwent a short and lopsided process for inciting to rebellion against the newly established Revolutionary Government of Emilio Aguinaldo. There were some scenes which artistically connected the trial to the famous Filipino play "Ibong Adarna."

It was good to see another movie which featured one of our Filipino heroes. Because we know that the story is based on true events of the last days of Bonifacio, we can easily connect with the film, making it a no-brainer for its viewer appeal. The analogy of the trial with Ibong Adarna gave the movie its natural depth, making it a true independent film masterpiece. Alfred Vargas has now turned from a starlet into a more serious actor. His portrayal of the Great Plebian accentuated his improved acting career, by naturally showing the audience the heavy burden that he is carrying with his non-verbal actions. There were a few dragging instances, but these were necessary to be faithful with the actual trial, which was based on actual accounts and stories.

It's a must-see for all Filipinos so that they can be informed that even as early as the 1800s, politics has already hovered the land. One of its victims, unfortunately, is a person that initiated the Philippines' liberation from the Spanish oppressors. The film excellently exhibited the country's biggest irony, wherein the very person who wanted freedom and equality amongst his people became the number one victim of oppression and injustice in the hands of the people he personally recruited. While people are dying in the streets of Cavite for trying to fight it out against the Spaniards, high-ranking generals perform a trial with its very own men.

The film not only gave us a glimpse of history, but it also made us think about how we have been as Filipinos. Even in the time of our national heroes, they are faced with not just external challenges, but also with internal problems that further divided us as a nation. Even in the early days of a revolutionary government, there has been bickering, oppression, power-grabbing, injustice.

I hope that now, as we try to build a new nation, we try to put a stop on how we have been for hundreds of years now, but instead we try our best to march together towards a better, brighter Philippines. We may have differences in belief, but what will make us move forward is how we set aside those differences and work together as one nation.

Let us learn from the Katipunan's number one mistake: They failed the first attempt in revolting against the Spaniards because the other Katipuneros were late. In our struggle for development, let us all be prompt and early, eager to face the challenges of tomorrow.

Thanks to Mr. Mario O'Hara for contributing yet another epic.

Mabuhay ang Indipendiyenteng Pelikulang Pilipino!

Cinemalaya 6 runs until July 18, 2010, Sunday.

Feature Films of Cinemalaya 6
The ladies with Janvier Daily, who portrayed the role of Procopio Bonifacio

One down. More to go?!

I hope the rain stops so I can go watch again. Typhoon Basyang, wrong timing!


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