The film is about Heneral Antonio Luna (John Arcilla) during Philippine-American war. The film depicts how selfishness is the root of all evil and how the Filipinos, especially those in power are fighting with one another rather then the enemy, which are the Americans. We also see how lies and rumors can influence a decision of a person. Power is the main theme in the movie. The film centers around how power is being is played and how it is used to influence and coerce people. Due to the self-interest of the people in power, such as Pedro Paterno and Felipe Buencamino, they would turn their backs to their country and fellowmen for their personal gain. They would even spread lies and rumors about Heneral Luna that would eventually lead to Luna’s murder.
Also, due to President Emilio Agunaldo’s self-interest of remaining into power and not letting Luna steal the power from him and Luna leading dictatorship, which is rumors spread by Paterno and Buencamino, led him into assassinating Luna. Different ideologies play a part in the argument of the Filipinos with one another. They have different views and approaches in handling the situation that they clash. Heneral Luna is seen as a Machiavellian. He is very cunning and he would rather be feared then be loved in order for his army to follow him. He is also keen on discipline. And because of this he is seen as the most brilliant and capable general during that time but he also gained a lot of enemies that did not agree to his way of governing and think that he was mad or a lunatic.
Furthermore, what really struck me the most is how Prime Minister Apolinario Mabini stayed silent about the assassination. He has an idea of what happened to Luna. He saw the bloody machete on one of the Kawit soldiers and he did not say anything during the trial. In addition, the film shows the lack of nationalism of the Filipinos. They were divided and not united. They were more of a maka-bayan rather than a nationalistic due to the fact that they would fight for their bayan with other bayan rather then the Americans, as shown in the scene where in Hen. Tomas Mascardo and Hen. Luna were fighting with another rather than cooperating with one another in the fighting the Americans, which led to the Americans advancing and beginning a battle in Bagbag while the two henerals were in Pampanga.
To assert, this film is great because even though this film is a historical depiction, it is still applicable to the present. Nowadays, we can still see how this kind of politics is still prevalent in the country. First, is how we still have a particularistic culture; where in the individuals is focus more on relationship rather than rules. This is shown when Heneral Luna was talking to Paterno and Buencamino on how they were sided with the Spaniards before and now with the Americans. In today’s politics, political parties members are changing political parties due to “pakikisama” and “utang na loob”. Second, is how selfishness plays a role in politics, where in people would violate the constitution for their personal gains. Third, is how rumors can influence a person’s ideas, decisions, and actions, especially now with the advancement of technology rumors can spread easily and faster. These rumors can lead to propagandas against a person.
Finally, I would really recommend this movie due to it amazing historical depiction of the political system of the Philippines before, the cinematography, and the symbolism. Different symbolisms surround the film like the Philippine flag. At the first part of the film the flag is very clean and as the movie progress we see the flag becoming dirtier until it is burned at the end. This shows how politics is tuning into something bad and continues to violate the constitution. This film should be watch in order to be exposed and to look back into our country’s history. I also believe that the youth today should watch this film in order to be political aware of our country because by watching this film we can learn about the history of our politics and with that we can understand the current situation of our politics and government system.