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Film on Rizal’s faith

Batas Mauricio .

CHRISTMAS 2018 would be upon all of us all of a sudden once more! The atmosphere is now filling up, once again, with the unmistakable scent of fresh Christmas apples, even as debilitating problems continue to hound the nation and its people as we enter the seventh month of 2018. Allow me therefore to be the first one to greet one and all, Merry Christmas 2018, Happy New Year 2019!

Truth to tell, I was compelled to notice these indicators of annual merry developments in connection with news reports about the Metro Manila Film Festival 2018. Is it not a fact that film festivals highlighting Filipino films nowadays are held every December, during the Christmas season? Indeed, Christmas is just around the corner now. And the new year is just waiting to be ushered in as well.

In the middle of all these, there is one concern, withrespect to the upcoming MMFF 2018, that needs to be addressed: is there any benefit that the citizenry can get from this yearly contest of Filipino films, aside from the comedy and laughter that have become the normal fare of MMFF-approved films–like the movie “Popoy En Jack: Puliscredibles” topbilled by Vic Sotto and Coco Martin?

Or, could it be that the films being allowed to participate in this annual film contest could only deal effectively with just laughter and comedy, since organizers of the event from the Metro Manla Film Festival Executive Committee  no longer have any desire to squeeze filmmakers to produce movies that have historical, spiritual, or socio-cultural, values?

I believe that I cannot be faulted for saying this, since my examination of the standards by which the MMFF judges what films should be included, or excluded, from the annual festival completely disregard any of those relevant values. Consider this: in the grading system employed by MMFF, 80 percent is immediately allocated for mere acting and commercial appeal.

Only 10 percent is devoted by MMFF for historical or cultural or socio-civic content of the films. Then, only 10 percent is allocated for global appeal. With due respect, with this kind of a grading system, it is not difficult to realize that no film producer will ever want to produce movies that would uphold historical or cultural values.

This is why I feel truly sorry that the Metro Manila Film Festival cannot even pay any attention to a movie that is being produced, quite gallantly, by Norbert Mercado. Mr. Mercado is a Filipino writer of full-length novels who gained worldwide recognition for having written 100 complete novels in 216, in the English language, right inside that year.

Mr. Mercado’s film pertains to Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero. The plot revolves around many explosive disclosures about the life of Rizal in Dapitan, Zamboanga in Mindanao, and in other countries. One of the more earth-shaking revelations in the film is about Rizal being a true Christian, who received and accepted Jesus as his God and Savior. In the film, Rizal is going to be shown as the proud owner of a Bible which he regularly read and meditated on.

This bit of information seems to contradict all previous declarations that Rizal cut off his Christian ties, discarding his Christian beliefs, before he was shot in the Luneta. Mr. Mercado promises, however, that this disclosure in the film about Rizal’s faith is supported by the research he made on the matter. Truly, it is a pity that Rizal films like this do not merit the support, much less the attention, of MMFF.




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