Movie Review: Jose Rizal by Marilou Diaz- Abaya

In the film Jose Rizal by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, many facts about the life and the last days of Dr. Jose Rizal was presented. However, many inconsistencies according to history were depicted in the movie. The inconsistencies, I think are to enrich and to give the movie more substance as it progresses. These inconsistencies were; the friend of Dr. Jose Rizal that visits him in his cell, Simoun died because of a gunshot, the writing of another ending for his novel El Filibusterismo, and the night on the eve of the last day of Dr. Jose Rizal were not spent with the Jesuits who persuaded him to retract.

First, the friend of Dr. Jose Rizal that visits him is his cell. The series of visits that his friend did was emphasized on the first half of the film and was shown to wake Dr. Jose Rizal in the day of his execution in Bagumbayan. This scene cannot be possible because only authorized and selected people can visit Dr. Jose Rizal in his cell, for example his lawyer Luis Taviel de Andrade. Second, Simoun died because of a gunshot. In the movie, this scene was depicted while Simoun was running from the guardia civil and they eventually shot him.

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According to the novel El Filibusterismo of Dr. Jose Rizal, Simoun died because he poisoned himself to prevent the guardia civil in catching him alive. Third, the writing of another ending for the novel El Filibusterismo. In the movie it was shown that Dr. Jose Rizal was hallucinating and he saw the character he created, Simoun appealing to him about his works, and telling Dr. Jose Rizal of how he should have ended the novel. Which lead to Dr. Jose Rizal in reflecting to himself and wrote another climax of his novel El Filibusterismo.

This is inconsistent with history because there and it is obvious that is something made up for the viewers to be more interested in the film. Fourth and the last one, the eve of the last day of Dr. Jose Rizal were not spent with the Jesuits who persuaded him to retract. The film showed that Dr. Jose Rizal was alone on the night of the eve of his last day where his retraction took place. He was only writing on the night before his last day and slept peacefully. Despite of many inconsistencies, the film provided accurate information about the life and the last moments of Dr. Jose Rizal, that helped the viewers in understanding Dr. Jose Rizal. B. The film presented many facts about Dr. Jose Rizal and his works Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. The film was able to portray what exactly Dr. Jose Rizal tries convey in his works. Though the movie has many inconsistencies according to history, it is only a way to substantiate and to make the film interesting. The giving of life of the two novels of Dr. Jose Rizal supplemented the idea of how Dr. Jose Rizal perceives change in the Philippines by reform.

The novels showed that words are enough to awaken the hearts of every Filipino, to fight for change and freedom of his beloved country. By showing different scenes from the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, it elaborates the idea of reform that Dr. Jose Rizal wishes. The film also showed the childhood and the education of Dr. Jose Rizal. It shows Dr. Jose Rizal studying in Ateneo de Municipal, University of Santo Tomas and Unibersidad Central de Madrid, which many people do not know and do not understand. Another aspect of the film that helped in understanding Dr. Jose Rizal was the flashbacks of his exile in Dapitan, which depicted how he spent his years in exile and how he showed that he was innocent by not accepting the aide of the Katipuneros to help him escape. It helped the viewers to understand and link the facts that Dr. Jose Rizal presented in the trial to prove his innocence. The film elaborated Dr. Jose Rizal’s life in Europe, how he manages to live and study there, what is the state of the Filipinos in Spain, and how he struggled in Europe just to finish and publish Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.

Dr. Jose Rizal’s break with Marcelo H. del Pilar was also showed. It explains that Marcelo H. del Pilar sees La Solidaridad as a private publication rather than a national publication for the Philippines, which led to Dr. Jose Rizal in walking out and made his decision to return to the Philippines to continue his works here. These aspects of the film, helps the viewers to understand how Dr. Jose Rizal fought for our freedom by being selfless, and striving to pursue his works even if it was dangerous for him.

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Movie Review: Jose Rizal by Marilou Diaz- Abaya. (2017, Jan 29). Retrieved from