READ: Heneral Luna Director Says, “There Is No Modern Day Heneral Luna”

Heneral luna photo

As the national elections are coming closer, more and more think pieces are appearing to support or oppose candidates.

Some posts going around social media compare their presidential candidates to General Antonio Luna, a key leader during the Philippine Revolutionary Army during the Philippine-American War. He became a figure in pop culture when Jerrold Tarog released the film Heneral Luna to critical acclaim. According to netizens, like Luna, their candidates are willing to put himself or herself on the line for his or her country.

But Tarog disagrees. In a Facebook post, Tarog says that there is no modern day Heneral Luna, and that the film and its producer is not affiliated with any political candidate. In the post, he says:

There is no modern day Heneral Luna amongst the candidates running for public office today. Antonio Luna lived in a different time under different circumstances. The only thing similar between then and now is our culture of betrayal and divisiveness, which is what the film Heneral Luna emphasized. Before we even started shooting the movie in 2014, it was easy to imagine people comparing Luna to their favorite candidate once campaign season began in 2016. But the idea of picking the best traits of a movie hero and attaching it to a real person you believe in is part of a sickness that’s been with us for a long time.
We still think we need saviors. We see a movie hero who inspires us, we want that guy to run our lives for us. We want one person who will promise us that we can sit down and relax because he or she will take care of everything. There is no such person in real life. You may see Heneral Luna’s positive traits in your candidate but that is what psychologists call confirmation bias. You ignore the rest of the data because you want something to be true. Remember that Antonio Luna failed miserably not simply because of his fellow Filipinos but also because of himself. He had tragic flaws that made his failure almost inevitable, and we’re not just talking about his puñetas.
Are you willing to attach Luna’s failures to your candidate as well? Because they’re in the movie too. They’re also part of history. You can’t just pick the virtues. If not, then you can’t say someone is a modern day Heneral Luna. There shouldn’t be one in the first place.
Because if you’re still looking for a hero outside of yourself, we continue to fail as a nation.
Your candidates will never be your saviors. They are just people who will succeed in some places and fail in others. No one can magically transform this ailing country under a deadline. Whoever you choose to support, remember that the job of cleaning up this country falls on your hands as well. Your leaders are there to inspire you. Your public officials are there to serve you. You don’t get to vote a hero and watch as he/she fixes everything. Nobody gets to sit down and relax. This is not a movie.
In HENERAL LUNA, there are no heroes and villains, only people with agendas. That was as far as we went in aiming for realistic characters. But in real life, we urge you to think hard about your agenda. Who do you want to show to the rest of the world as your choice, your example of a good Filipino?

Which candidate represents your ideals, not just your wishes?

And how are you going to be useful to society after the election?
Do you agree with the post? Share your thoughts below!