In 2016, a groundbreaking historical biopic, which premiered only late the year before, was put up for contention to be the entry of the Philippines among the nominees for Best Foreign Film at the 88th Academy Awards. It failed to gain a spot, but already it has done well the purpose for which director Jerrold Tarog made it for. “Heneral Luna”, which chronicles the military life and death of Philippine Army General Antonio Luna during the Philippine-American War, brought the historical figure to the forefront of the Filipino pop-culture consciousness. Even better, Jerrold made the film with sequels in mind.
A mid-credits scene in “Heneral Luna” depicts a small detachment of Philippine Revolutionary Army troops being detailed to perform a delaying action against the advancing American forces to allow President Emilio Aguinaldo to escape. This is the springboard for Jerrold Tarog’s planned sequel film “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral”, this one being a biopic of Gregorio del Pilar, the 24-year-old Army general who commanded the above-mentioned men, numbering less than a hundred, in the suicidal Battle of Tirad Pass. As CNN Philippines tells it, a new teaser for the film was released by TBA Studios, scheduling its premiere for September 5.
“Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” stars Paulo Avelino, reprising his minor role from 2015’s “Heneral Luna” wherein it picks up from the aforementioned mid-credits scene. The released teaser however also shows additional scenes highlighting the changed circumstances following the recent death of Antonio Luna in the setting, as seen through the eyes of a soldier who was transferred from Luna’s command to del Pilar’s. Also showcased in the film is the a depiction of the reputation of the youthful general officer as a heartbreak kid, and his difficult and troubled courtship of a lady, Remedios Nable Jose, portrayed by Gwen Zamora.
Being a direct sequel to “Heneral Luna”, “Goyo” in addition to Avelino is also joined by several actors carrying over their parts from the first film. Epy Quizon once again plays the brilliant paralytic statesman Apolinario Mabini, alongside Mon Confiado as President Emilio Aguinaldo, Leo Martinez as Pedro Paterno, and Benjamin Alves as Manuel Quezon. Avelino has noted that his role as “Goyo” del Pilar is one of the most powerful he has ever tackled in his career, requiring him to take lessons in horseback riding, lose weight and gain a natural outdoorsy tan. He hopes the movie will shed more light on Philippine history through del Pilar’s heroic story.
Box office-wise, “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” has reasonably big shoes to fill regarding its predecessor “Heneral Luna”, which earned over P200 million in ticket sales to become the highest-grossing historical biopic in Philippine cinema history.
Photo courtesy of Film Geek Guy