Jose Rizal, a film released in June 1998 which was directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, was one of the highly acclaimed movies in the country. Despite the horrible historical inaccuracies pointed out by critics, this award-winning movie gathered numerous awards and nominations on different awarding bodies such as the 1998 Metro Manila Film Festival, 1999 FAMAS Awards, 1999 Gawad Urian Awards and 1999 Star Awards for Movies. It was also one of the most expensive films in the history of the Philippine movie industry with a record-breaking 80 million pesos budget.
The film seemed like a compressed overview of the key moments of Rizal’s life which greatly contributed in making him a hero. Major events of his life depicted in the movie included his childhood education, studies abroad, his efforts to gain freedom through writing, his imprisonment and death.
A remarkable event during his childhood that was shown in the movie and popularly known to Filipinos was the story of the young moth. During one of his study sessions with his mother, Rizal’s inquisitive mind came into motion. He asked his mother about the behavior of the young moth who kept getting closer to the lamp. The moth was attracted to the light and was advised by its mother to stay away from it but the moth did not heed its mother’s advice resulting to its death. Rizal’s was told by his mother to remember the story of the moth and the lesson learned from it. Many people regarded this incident as a prophecy of Rizal’s death.
With years of studying abroad, Rizal saw the relevance of a nation’s freedom. This led him to dynamically seek for political and social reforms for the Filipinos and inspired him to write two controversial novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which resulted to his own demise. With his exceptional contribution to our country’s independence, he was chosen as our National Hero.
The Jose Rizal film was released during the Centennial Celebration of our Philippine freedom and it made us appreciate more on the sacrifices made by our heroes. It also served as a reminder for all of us on the significance of freedom and the importance of keeping it.