How Heneral Luna was extended to be shown in cinemas made us wonder what this was all about aside from another movie about a hero textbooks present objectively. We thought Filipinos in general already slipped to dreaming about predictable and misleading trend of local mainstream romantic movies these days. This one made its way. This one made this far. This already meant something. And it’s big.
For many Ateneans, it was a requirement, yet the majority, if not all, sure made a big sense out of it. Aside from presenting our heroes as naturally flawed humans, it used exaggerations of man’s actions brilliantly relatable to the audience. It is fair to say that our politicians should see the movie as it is, for them hopefully, a wake-up call not to tolerate misdeeds of their fellows. Not that most haven’t been numb already eaten by the system. Not that we haven’t nearly lost faith in a seeming history of traditional politicians. Not that we aren’t sincerely hoping for the best for the better of 2016.
Heneral Luna is not only for our leaders in office or our candidates for the upcoming election. It is for all of us, simply because we see that we can be like Heneral Luna as much as we can be like Emilio Aguinaldo or Apolinario Mabini or Capt. Janolino or Pedro Paterno.
According to how the movie presented characters, we may say that we become the Heneral when we fight for something we believe is more important regardless of others’ approval. We become Emilio Aguinaldo when we lack the willpower. We become Apolinario Mabini when we become an observer than a doer. We become Capt. Janolino when we become calloused to admit our shortcomings and stand for ourselves in a blind and blank defense. We become Pedro Paterno when our pride gets to us faster than our duty of obedience.
Despite character portrayals for our humanness, there is more to what happened to Heneral Luna in our society. Who really is the real Heneral Luna the American generals were pertaining to that we killed before the movie ended?
Heneral Luna is in the leader who we criticize with his ideals and dreams for the nation but who we turn to when we think we can’t handle anymore. Heneral Luna is in the Lumads who were brutally and inhumanely killed for standing up for their rights. Heneral Luna is in those waiting for you to move and do your part for the country. “Negosyo, o kalayaan? Bayan, o sarili? Mamili ka!”
To the person who shouted ‘Pakyu!’ in the cinema when soldiers were shooting Heneral, we thank you for the acknowledgment that we were mad and that we didn’t need to hold a silent grudge for it. You were brave enough for thinking out loud—and that loud. How we can choose to be silent despite seeing injustices done before our own eyes.
The overwhelming support Heneral Luna got from the modern Filipino people meant something big. There is hope for the nation. He would have been proud.