from inquirer.net by Rito Asilo:
Alas, noble intentions donâ€™t a great film make. Meilyâ€™s latest production isnâ€™t the seamless movie itâ€™s touted to beâ€”though the filmmakerâ€™s valiant effort to tell the Baler siegeâ€™s unique story deserves moviegoersâ€™ support.
After all, the public needs to realize thereâ€™s more to the annual â€œfamily-orientedâ€ film festival than loud and livid rib-ticklers and freaky monsters that continually get resurrected in various shapes and sizes year after yearâ€”after year.
from clickthecity – Epic Fail by Philbert Ortiz Dy
Baler is a tremendous disappointment for me. Itâ€™s almost inconceivable that a cast like that combined with director Mark Meily and a proper budget could produce such a subpar picture, but there you go. In the end, the money couldnâ€™t make this horrible script any better, giving us a picture that looks good, but just sounds and feels terrible. The ambition is admirable, but the final product is decidedly less so.
Lifestyle journalist Josh AviÃ±ante emailed me his review of the movie. He is also a historian and offers his comments regarding the often debated “miscasting” issue in the movie:
I must say that we are certainly getting closer to the true picture of the Philippine Revolution. There was a time when a Filipino soldier had to be barefoot, poorly clothed and very Indio looking. According to our history books, it’s the other way around. Officers of the Philippine Republican Army were composed mostly of graduates of Ateneo, UST, Letran and other schools reserved for the affluent in Philippine society. A considerable number of Filipino officers were Creoles such as Col. Sityar, Col. Leyba or Major Manuel Quezon. As such, I find it unnecessary to tan our mestizo actors just to make them look “Filipino” or Indio. Andres Bonifacio himself was a Spanish Mestizo. This justifies the choice of Joel Torre and Leo Martinez as commanding officers of the Philippine Republican Army that attacked Baler. It is equally alright to choose another Mestizo in the person of Philip Salvador to play as one of the leaders of the revolution.
When it comes to Anne Curtis, is it necessary to have a dark beauty for a Filipina character? The Philippines has the highest concentration of Eurasians in Asia due in part to Hispanization. Also, we must remember that the movie is set during Spanish colonial rule when there were far more Mestizas than today. It is alright to choose a Mestiza to play the character of a Filipina!
During the Philippine Revolution, the Spanish Army was filled with Filipinos while the Philippine Republican Army had many former Spanish soldiers in them. Colonel Sityar, the head of the Academia Militar of Aguinaldo’s army was a former officer of the Spanish Army. Same with Major Segovia although he turncoated to the American side and aided in the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo. The Philippine Revolution was more like a civil war between the Reactionaries (government) and Liberals (revolutionaries) rather than a war between skin colors. As such, the setting of the movie is close to reality with Filipinos serving in the Spanish Army in the person of Celso (Jericho Rosales) and Lope (Mark Bautista).
What I am skeptic about is the choice of Mestizos to play the role of Spaniards. For us Filipinos they may seem white but to the international movie audience, are they Caucasian-looking enough? I could barely distinguish between the Spanish and Filipino soldiers at the beginning of the movie. The only Caucasian-looking Spanish soldier was one blonde guy and for a real westerner, that guy isn’t even blonde but brunette!
Over all, I think the movie was a success. Rating it from 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, I give it a 9.
QUALITY FILIPINO FILMS LIKE BALER SHOULD BE SUPPORTED – ANGARA (Senate Press Release)
Senator Edgardo J. Angara today said that Baler, being a quality Filipino film which is rated A by the Cinema Evaluation Board and is endorsed by the Department of Education (DepEd) and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), is set to make waves in ’08 Metro Manila Film Festival.
“The quality and depth of this film is being recognized by various institutions, which are all pitching in to inform the public that Baler is worth watching and supporting. Baler is rated A by the Cinema Evaluation Board and is being endorsed by DepEd and NCCA,” said Angara who is the favorite son of Baler.
from Screensucked blog:
As a film fan, I can say that Baler is already the best movie in the film festival– the craftsmanship is definitely there. There were nice shots of the Baler town in its rural glory and the acting of Jericho Rosales and Anne Curtis is commendable. Even the supporting cast of Philip Salvador, Carlo Aquino, Rio Locsin, Nikki Bacolod and Mark Bautista had strong performances in the film.
Although there were a number of glitches in the film, I still could say that I enjoyed it for its historical value and its narrative.
A lot of genre films are missing in Philippine Cinema. Period films are a great means to make more people aware of our history and what was going on in our country at a certain time in history. Yet, the challenges are very very big! The budget is big too.
Given its limited budget and lack of Spanish (or at least Spanish-looking) actors, I daresay that Baler is a good movie in its own right.
from the blackshama’s blog:
No te olvideras is the the whole message of historical -romances- in- war movies like Mark Meily’s Baler (VIVA films). It seems that every decade there is a big budgeted Pinoy Spanish era movie. Ten years ago we had Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Rizal (GMA Films). So those who saw it then can’t help but compare Baler with Rizal. But that is where the comparison ends. Rizal is a hagiography with certain liberties taken while Baler is a love story with extreme liberties taken. Now one wag who happens to be gay once said on ANC TV when asked which is the most notable film of the last 30 years “Rizal is the most beautiful ugly movie made!” (Bernal’s Himala was the best movie ever) I’m sure this movie critic cum wag will say the same thing if not worse!
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- How to Get to Baler - May 1, 2015
- Aurora Day 2015 Events - February 4, 2015
- Christmas @ The Capitol - December 9, 2014
- Google Earth – Baler 2014 - December 7, 2014
- Jose Johann Bitancor – 2nd Solo Exhibition - December 4, 2014
- Aurora NGP Week Photo Contest - December 3, 2014
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