Jose Rizal | Chicago Reader

Jose Rizal

Framing this 1998 narrative are scenes showing Jose Rizal (Cesar Montano)—whose execution in 1896 influenced the revolution for independence in the Philippines—in prison awaiting trial for treason and writing novels that expose the Spanish government and clergy. Minor characters—women who loved him, anonymous guards—look on as events unfold, and the kaleidoscopic perspective enhances this semirealist portrait, which includes dramatizations of scenes from Rizal's fiction that contrast his ambivalence about violence as a revolutionary tool with the certainty of one of his characters that it's necessary. A hyperactive camera comes to rest during contemplative close-ups that suggest more about his concerns for his nation, his family, and himself than a last-minute confrontation with his alter ago. Directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya.

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