118 years of independence—what a major feat for our country, made possible by our forefathers who fought a long and hard battle to enable us to enjoy everything that we do today. You might argue that this is not the Philippines they envisioned, what with the corruption, poverty, and disorganization, among other pressing concerns, but no matter all the problems, Independence Day is still a day when we should stop to appreciate (because let's be honest, we don't do tihs every day, while it would be great if we could) the blood, sweat, and tears our ancestors sacrificed in order for the Philippines to be what it is today.
And since Independence Day falls on a Sunday, this gives you more leeway to brush up on your knowledge about Philippine independence through movies that depict what really went down generations ago:
1. Jose Rizal
Leading the list of must-watch films for Independence Day would be this Marilou Diaz-Abaya classic featuring Cesar Montano as Jose Rizal. The critically-acclaimed movie gives us an overview of Rizal’s life, from his younger days to his execution in Luneta, along with elements from his novels.
2. Bayaning Third World
In this Mike de Leon-directed movie, you'll get to see Rizal's life and works examined on a larger scale, including his alleged retraction against the Catholic Church.
3. Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio
If you want to understand the power struggle in Philippine politics, this Mario O’Hara-directed film is a must-watch, as it depicts the clash between Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary government and Andres Bonifacio’s Katipunan in their efforts to free the country from Spanish rule.
4. El Presidente
Topbilled by ER Ejercito, El Presidente sheds light on Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo’s efforts to unite the country, from the time of the 1896 Revolution up to his final days in the 1960s. While this does not talk that much about significant events, this movie is apt for those who want to understand Aguinaldo’s personal life and struggles.
5. Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo
There are many what ifs in our history, and Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo thoroughly explores one of these: What if Bonifacio was our country's first true president? Robin Padilla plays the title orle, while nephew Daniel serves as the narrator in the current day setting featuring students who are looking back on historical events.
6. Heneral Luna
The phenomenal success of this Jerrold Tarog movie stems from the fact that fast forward to today, the Philippines still faces issues similar to the concerns raised by General Antonio Luna during the Philippine-American War. It may be laden with lots of profanity (a characteristic of the hot-headed Luna), but its brilliance is incomparable.
ALSO READ: Hot Stuff: Heneral Luna Director Jerrold Tarog Gives All of Us Something to Really Think About
Banner photograph screengrabbed from Heneral Luna trailer.