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The film started with a scene showing Jose Rizal writing while narrating about Spanish abuses during his time. The film shows how the friars mistreat Filipino women, how they beat children and students when being disciplined and how they drag Filipino workers when they are being punished. In the film, he also narrated how he put himself as a character, Crisostomo Ibarra and Elias, in his novels because like what Ibarra portrays in the novel, he also wants revolution. When his novel was published, he was also criticized by a friend for its dangerous content but Jose Rizal just smiled to him.

A part in the film is about the complaints of the “Katipuneros” who are also sick of the administration of greedy friars and officials. The leader of the “Katipuneros”, Andres Bonifacio, is convincing his frightened members to revolt before the friars deprive their dignity and rights as a person. These “Katipuneros” were inspired by Rizal to fight for what they know is right. Another scene in the film shows the tearing of cedula, symbol of Spanish conquest in the Philippine nation, as the start of their revolution. They are shouting “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas, Mabuhay si Dr. Jose Rizal”.

Paciano, Jose Rizal’s brother, was also tortured to death and forced to tell Jose’s accused criminal activities. In November 1896, Jose Rizal was arrested and put to jail in Fort Santiago. Jose Rizal was forced by the colonel to tell his secret association with the Katipuneros, but unfortunately, Jose knows nothing about it and he just thought that his name was only used to solicit donations. The colonel also mentioned about Jose Rizal’s novel dedicated to Gom-Bur-Za. A flashback happened about Gom-Bur-Za’s death, named after Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora, which was witnessed by his brother, Paciano.

During his stay in the jail, he confessed to the jail servant that education is important but it may benefit or harm you. He narrated to the jail servant his childhood life. The film shows that his mother was the one who first taught him alphabet and prayers. Jose Rizal entered Justiniano Aquino Cruz’ school and there, he was hit by his teacher and was bullied by the teacher’s son, Pedro. In this scene, you will see Jose’s behavior of not running from troubles, like how he wrestled Pedro. Rizal also remembered what his mother told him about the story of the moth. The story of the moth can serve as his lesson not to be much curious about what is happening around him because it may bring him to death. The servant told Jose that his mother was a great teacher and he must follow her advice. When Rizal was sent to Ateneo de Manila, Paciano suggested to Rizal not to use the surname “Mercado” anymore, but instead he will use “Rizal” because it is harmful for him and he may be involved because their family is close to Father Burgos. Jose operated her mother’s growing blindness, but her mother said that if she will only see sadness and cruelty, it is better to be blind for a lifetime.

Another instance in the film is about the conversation of Jose Rizal with Luis Taviel de Andrade, his lawyer. Taviel de Andrade reported to him the accusations of being heretic, filibuster and ungrateful but Jose stresses that he is thankful because he learned from the Spanish schools that people were not treated equally. A flashback about his education in UST, where Filipinos were compared and discriminated by the Spaniards, is also revealed. He also said to Andrade that he is ready to oppose everything that does not tell the truth. Rizal also remembered his participation in the organization “Comradeship”, where they had a rumble with the Spanish students in University of Santo Tomas and he got a big wound in his forehead but luckily, his uncle, Antonio Rivera, cured him. At that time, he also met his cousin and lover, Leonor Rivera. Jose dedicated a poem to Leonor and that is also portrayed in Noli Me Tangere when Maria Clara sang during their picnic.

Again, Paciano advised Jose Rizal to go to Europe to study Medicine and to freely write about the immoral administration of Spanish authorities. In Central University of Madrid, a rally organized by students against the bishops was shown. Rizal is active in class discussions there specifically when he answered and demonstrated to the class all the questions of his professor during his anatomy class. In Madrid, he met his other countrymen who also want freedom from the Spanish Rule and they created a reform movement with Marcelo Del Pilar and Mariano Ponce as its leaders. They formed La Solidaridad in Madrid but friars put copies of newspaper into fire while praying in the Philippines. He also wrote Noli Me Tangere in Madrid but friars prohibit anyone to own a copy of the novel in the Philippines.

Governor General Blanco was replaced by Governor General Polavieja. During the Christmas Eve, Taviel de Andrade shared with him a glass of wine and they sang together happily. He remembered the letter he received from Paciano about force expulsion of his family in their own house; he also received a letter from Leonor Rivera about her fixed marriage with an Englishmen which was also portrayed in his novel when Maria Clara joined the convent.

On December 26, 1896, Rizal was sent to the trial court. Rizal was accused being the soul and the prime mover of rebellion. Rizal explained his side and told that Dr. Pio Valenzuela asked him to join the uprising but Rizal refused to go with them because he know that they are not yet ready to fight the armed Spaniards. Rizal said that liberty is what he only asks for and he does not want to achieve it by revolution but by proper education. The trial was just a trick and they decided to sentence Rizal to death. His mother visited him in the jail and he left a message to her that when he died, he wants his body to be buried with a cross on his grave with his name, date of birth and death. He also had a chance to say goodbye to his sisters; Rizal gave a lamp to them with his last poem.

At the last part of the movie, Rizal is confronted by his conscience and his imagination in the form of Simoun before the day of his execution. He marched to Bagumbayan and before his execution, he requested to spare his head and be shot facing the firing squad but the latter request was denied. Before he was shot, Rizal smiled and said his last words “It is done”. He was shot by many soldiers and a final shot was given by the squad leader. After he was shot, the people shouted for joy. The movie ended with the attack of the “Katipuneros” to the Spanish high officials. Reaction:

The movie “Jose Rizal” is an effective instrument to show what is really the situation of the Philippines during his time. I felt pity for those who are abused by the Spanish friars. I admired Bonifacio for his willingness to
fight for the Filipinos’ rights and privileges. I felt the pain Paciano is experiencing when big nails were inserted to his fingers but at the same time, I was impressed by what Paciano did; when he did not gave up with Rizal even he was tortured to death. He always supports his brother’s plan on revealing the Spanish abuses in the Philippines.

I agree with what Jose Rizal said to the jail servant that education is important but it can benefit or harm you because if you know everything around you, you will be curious and can be involved in some issues. During the flashback of his childhood years, I admired Jose Rizal for being active and excellent in class. In the scene about his mother telling him the story of the moth, I can prove that mothers know best because Rizal’s mother warned him not to be curious about what is happening around him, so we must listen to our mothers’ advices because they know what is best for us and they do not want us to be in danger.

I also agreed with what Rizal’s mother said that she prefers to be blind rather than to see only sadness and cruelty. Of course, who wants to see only sorrow and cruelty especially when your family is involved?

I was happy to see a Spaniard, Luis Taviel de Andrade, to help a Filipino who is against the Spanish authority. Andrade is not biased and he listens to Rizal’s explanations. He is preparing Rizal for possible questions of the complainants. I am proud of Rizal when he said that he is ready to oppose anyone who is not telling the truth; it shows that he stands for his principles in life.

I was surprised when Jose Rizal and his cousin, Leonor Rivera, were having a romantic affair because as I know, Filipinos in that time were very conservative. Knowing that they have just met for the first time, it is really unexpected to see them close enough and almost kissing each other.

I admired Paciano again for being a good and supportive brother to Rizal when he reminded Rizal to study harder and not to disgrace their family as he study in Europe. I also agreed with Paciano’s advice to Rizal to take care of his health because his health and his pen are his only weapons against their enemies. Jose’s intelligence, when he answered correctly and discussed clearly all his professor’s questions during his anatomy class, made me proud as a Filipino.

I felt disappointed during the scene showing the friars burning the copies of La Solidaridad while praying. They are using God’s name even they are doing evil things. Friars, knowing that they are serving in the church, recognize Rizal as a devil. I am disgusted with the scene where one of the friars is forcing the people to respect him by kissing his hand, and he gives an evil look to someone who does not kiss his hand and who just nods at him.

During an event in Europe with his fellowmen, I was impressed with Rizal’s line, “Unless we first learn self-respect, we will not be respected by any other peoples”. It is true that we must first respect ourselves because when other people see that we are respectable and decent, they will also respect us. It is very disappointing to see that there were many injustices shown in the movie like the impeachment of Governor General Blanco just because the friars think that he is not strict with Rizal. Injustice is also shown in the movie when the residents were expelled from their home just because they are questioning about the high tax imposed to them but they do not benefit there.

I did not get the sense of the trial court, when even Taviel de Andrade have not yet supported his client and even Rizal have not yet defended himself, the Spanish authorities have already decided to ensure a guilty verdict and to sentence him to death. Aside from being accused, another tragedy happened to Rizal when he have to say goodbye to his first and only child. On the scene when Simoun appeared to Jose Rizal during his last stay in the prison, I was first confused because I hardly understand their conversation. As Rizal had a final conversation with his lawyer, Taviel de Andrade, before his execution, I felt sad for Taviel when he said that he is ashamed as a Spaniard.

I also felt nervous when the execution of Rizal is about to happen. I think he wants to be shot facing the firing squad because he does not want to be shot at the back like a traitor since he is not even a traitor to his own country. I also think that Rizal died happily since he did everything he can for his country. He did not regret of writing his novels since that became the way to make the Philippines free. I felt sad when after he was shot, the people were shouting for joy as if no one died in front of them.

In general, the movie was great and I did not notice that it was a long movie since I enjoyed watching it. The plot was very complicated and there were so many flashbacks, but it is still not difficult to follow. I admired the casts for delivering their lines well especially when using the Spanish language.

After watching the movie, I am now convinced that Rizal must be the national hero of the Philippines even he fought just using his pen because his execution triggered the revolution activities of the Filipinos especially the “Katipuneros” to fight for the Philippines’ independence. The movie has proven that Filipinos are brave enough to fight the evil Spaniards. The movie tells us to love our nation more than we love ourselves like what Rizal did. However, there is still a question in my mind based on what one of the “Katipuneros” said that Pepe does not want a bloody revolution. Is the way of the “Katipuneros” in fighting the Spanish tyranny is favored by Jose Rizal? I can say that Dr. Jose P. Rizal deserves to be out national hero for his love for his family and for his love in our country. I hope that what happened in the past will never happen again; I want the Philippines to stay free and independent.

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