Bayaning 3rd World (3rd World Hero): Movie Review

We often compartmentalize our national heroes to be perfect and infallible much like the superheroes we see nowadays on the big screen. We tend to forget that these people are as human as we are. "Bayaning 3rd World" humanizes our national hero José Rizal in ways we have never imagined. While it is a mockumentary and one that is part fantasy, the film is actually the most relatable and most believable we have seen Rizal in any medium we have encountered even. More importantly, even after two decades since its release, the film is still relevant especially more in this day and age of social media and fake news.
Two filmmakers (Ricky Davao and Cris Villanueva) aspire to create a film on the life of José Rizal. But they have an issue - they do not know the spin their film needs to be unique from all the films before. One of them suggests to focus on his supposed retraction of his views against the Roman Catholic Church and his writings before his death. They do this by conducting imaginary interviews on key individuals in the life of Rizal. This includes his mother Teodora Alonso, his siblings, his wife Josephine Bracken, and the Jesuit priest who witnessed the retraction and eventually Rizal (Joel Torre) himself.
"Bayaning 3rd World" is such a unique film that it really hits hard. It has a very specific style that might be off-putting for some and there's really no central and significant conflict to hang onto. The film will let you think and question more than it give answers by the time the credits roll. And it cuts and jumps from scene to scene abruptly at times. But beyond that, the film was memorable even outstanding. The monochromatic style pops and rightfully fits into its theme and motif. But crucially, it hits the bullseye with its content. The film will make you realize that being a national hero or even a significant person in history is rarely planned. It is by circumstance that these heroes eventually find themselves in. Rizal was never perfect and he was just a regular person like the rest of us. We will never get the real story in everything and does it really matter if he retracted or not given his overall influence in our history and society? We believe what we want to believe - it's up to every individual person to carefully judge their own truths and convictions. Significantly, the film will make you think and reflect about your own life and own preconceived convictions.
Rating: 4 reels

Why you should watch it:
- a very unique and alternative take on the life and story of José Rizal

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- there's no central conflict that audiences can grasp on
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