Theme Of Self-reflection And Critical Thinking In The Film Goyo
In conflict or in war, it is necessary to never forget who you are and what are you fighting for. The film is a continuation of Jerrold Tarog’s film, Heneral Luna. The setting took place at Pangasinan during the Philippine-American war. The film follows the death of Gen. Antonio Luna and Gen. del Pilar killing those who are still loyal to their assassinated General under the President Aguinaldo’s command. The great eagle of Bulacan, Gregorio del Pilar is portrayed as a hero—fearless and everyone’s sweetheart. At the age of 23, he liberated Bulacan in his command. Falling into the liking of President Emilio Aguinaldo, he was loved and idolized by many, making him climb the higher ranks faster. The film also presents his reputation of being a womanizer, focusing on his past lover, Felicidad and the present, Remedios.
The subtle sarcasm and comedy in the film were also included for more entertainment. The film focused on the struggle of the boy general fighting for his nation’s liberty while resolving self-conflict. Poetic imagery of an Eagle as Goyo is presented to visualize his identity. An idol for a hero or a principled-man for a hero—this was the one of the film’s theme was presenting. One of its promising scenes was Manuel, a former military aid of Luna, was tortured to join Del Pilar’s military, yet he declined, remaining loyal to the assassinated General. Goyo insisted that they’re fighting for the same cause—their nation’s liberty. Surprisingly, a bleeding Manuel distinguished that Gregorio is fighting for the cause of his Idol, while they are fighting for their principle. This scene was the turning point of Gregorio pondering his actions and recollecting some of his memories from an encounter with the Americans. It was the fear of Gregorio del Pilar losing his self to the hands of the enemy, his morals and principle subject to fragility.
Although he was always affirmed by his brother to never forget his identity, the gloom and puzzled emotion of Luna is present. He prides himself as the fear of death is at dawn. Second to this was the search for an answer who killed Luna was answered by Emilio Aguinaldo implying that it was him or Luna. Moreover, the letters by Joven Hernando, Del Pilar’s official photographer, still boils down to the question do we have heroes with opportunistic ideals or someone with principle? Even hiring him as a photographer to document their endeavor in the midst of war speaks volume of how heroes are portrayed. It is made evident when the film presents the heroes like a God, organizing a feast and conducting a play to glorify their heroes. Remedios’ letter to Gregorio states that she would like a man whom she can embrace rather than admiring him above like an eagle flying high in the sky. The film is very reflective to what’s the revolution is all about, was the leaders strong to uphold its moral or would it crumble just like the American thought it would be. It was Mabini who stated that the revolution could have been triumphant if it weren’t badly led. Just as the heroes the film presents, there was never a triumph, to begin with. The idolatry and the struggle of Goyo as youth puts the film in a gloomy state. In the view of the director, Jerrold Tarog sees the film like an elegy, it is to mourn for the revolution. The film was not as bright as its previous film, Heneral Luna.
The coloring of the film is distinct from the previous and the emotion conveyed is rather grey. Tarog further emphasizes that Goyo is contemplative than the previous film which showcases vulgarity and anger. He then endorses that the film can be a subject of introspection for the youth such as the main actor was struggling with himself internally. He also states that the film can be a window to self-reflection and critical thinking, heroes should be understood in a way that they are not put in a pedestal or even praised without recognizing their flaws as leaders and heroes. Seemingly, Goyo embodies the youth who must question and not just be complacent. An example of this is a scene from the film wherein Joven is asking why we are worshipping someone without a doubt? This line is a great knock to our minds that we should strive to be critical. In conclusion, the film does not fail to embody its argument. We should be critical of how we view our heroes. We should recognize their faults as leaders and not just praised them blindly. The director, with a tireless amount of research naming Teodoro Kalaw and other recommended books as his sources were able to stitch a story and present in a very historical and reflective film. Alvin Campomanes, a historian stated that the danger of one’s inability to do full research is viewing it as biased.
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