GomBurZa: MMFF Movie Review

GomBurZa MMFF Movie Review: Inspiring Historical Drama

"GomBurZa" stands in stark contrast to recent historical films that achieved immense success. While those films focused on the more flamboyant and mythical aspects of our local heroes, "GomBurZa" portrays a serious and realistic narrative. The difference is profound; both sets of films inspire appreciation for our heritage and culture, but "GomBurZa" distinguishes itself by depicting its heroes as simple, relatable individuals, forging a down-to-earth connection that amplifies its impact and drama.

Fueling the flames of liberalism, Father José Burgos (Cedrick Juan) earned a notorious reputation among the Spanish friars. What began as a movement against secular priests and friars gradually evolved into the definition of a people and their nation - Los Filipinos. Fearing further uprisings, the friars and Governor-General conspired to thwart Burgos, along with other priests embracing liberalist ideas like Father Mariano Gomes (Dante Rivero) and Jacinto Zamora (Enchong Dee), aiming to instill fear and obedience among the natives.

In recalling our history lessons, we remember GomBurZa as three martyr priests whose execution by garrote was witnessed by Jose Rizal, profoundly inspiring him to dedicate his second novel, "El Filibusterismo," in their honor. The film "GomBurZa" authentically portrays the priests' impactful yet incomplete role in history. Its strongest elements lie in Cedrick Juan's career-defining portrayal of Father Burgos, serving as the film's heart and soul with his poignant yet resilient portrayal. While Dante Rivero delivered commendably as Father Gomes, Enchong Dee's portrayal lacked the material to stand out against the other leads. Additionally, the film's production value and cinematography effectively transported us to late 1800s Manila, despite minor shortcomings in costumes and makeup in some scenes.

However, a significant contention arises from the film's heavy focus on Father José Burgos. The limited attention given to the other two priests fails to showcase their contributions to the secular cause or their local communities. While the rationale behind this presentation is understandable (Father Gomes embodying unwavering faith and Father Zamora as an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time), it almost renders the film as solely about "Burgos," minimizing the impact of the collective GomBurZa narrative. Nevertheless, "GomBurZa" remains an astounding experience despite its flaws. It provides a profound and plausible context to our history, one that inspires at the right scenes and at the perfect times, and ultimately resonating even in our vastly different modern-day circumstances.

Rating: 4 reels

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