José Rizal is a 1998 award winning Filipino film biopic directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya.
It was GMA Films’ entry to the 1998 Metro Manila Film Festival. It is touted as one of the biggest films ever made in the history of Philippine cinema with a record-breaking P80-million budget despite the fact that historical films are often notorious flops during that time. GMA’s faith was rewarded. Released on Christmas Day, the movie packed theaters and swept awards ceremonies.
The movie depicts the life of the Philippine national hero José Rizal, who was played by Cesar Montano.
Accused of treason, Dr. José Rizal (Cesar Montano) awaits trial and meets with his government-appointed counsel, Luis Taviel de Andrade (Jaime Fabregas).
The two build the case and arguments for the defense as significant events in the central figure’s life prior to his incarceration unfold. Upon hearing his life story, Taviel begins to realize that the accused is not only innocent but exhibits in fact all the qualities of an ordinary man. When the mock trial unreels, Taviel is all set to act as the prime advocate for his client as Rizal himself is about to give an earth-moving speech to defend his honor and address his countrymen.
Meanwhile, the Spanish authorities have worked out the vast political machinery to ensure a guilty verdict. A revolution awaits in the wings. Blood is shed when the Katipunan, founded by Andres Bonifacio (Gardo Versoza), attacks the Spaniards.
My entry (Filipino movie) for TCP this week.