Making a historical film is always a tough endeavor. What makes it even more challenging is its subject happens to be a controversial figure in history. And one of these is the El Presidente which was became one of the entries in Metro Manila Film Festival 2012 directed by Mark Meily. He crafts a tale centering about Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the First Philippine Republic. This general, politician, and revolutionary leader lived a long, grim, and gainful life from the time of the Philippines’ revolution against the Spanish colonial rule to the American and Japanese. Jeorge “ER” Estregan plays the lead role with Cesar Montano as Andres Bonifacio. In this film, the story touches on the revolutionary encounters, as well as the many issues, that took place during Aguinaldo’s time. It also explores his inner struggles as a husband, a member of the working class, a war leader, and a politician.
It boasts a grand production highlighted by sophisticated cinematography and set pieces. Compared to many other Filipino epic and historical pictures that fall short on their technical ventures, this film gets high marks in its period and action sequences. Even with some inconsistencies and softness lingering in a couple of scenes, many shots still offer that “WOW” factor for the viewers. And most importantly, the production is still able to live up to the emotional investment such a historical offering needs to promote a sense of nationalism. Clearly, “El Presidente” is not a perfect film. But in the end, it still shines as a passionate attempt to contribute something valuable for Philippine cinema. This is somehow helps put a man where he belongs in the annals of history, while also inciting a form of curiosity and a sense of patriotism to its intended viewers. It also provokes the audience to have a more open mind on heroism. Even though this person finds himself makes mistake, for others, or even for the entire country, it still allows certain realizations on how a human being becomes capable of great things.
The movie EL PRESIDENTE is based on the life of General Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the Philippine Republic. It aims to present a comprehensive narration of his life, achievements and even some controversial issues about him such as his relationship or conflict with other Filipino hero, Andres Bonifacio. At first I’m not interested in watching because I thought it would be boring for us teenagers to watch that kind of movie. But I realized that it would be nice for me as a student or should I say it would be a helpful reference for me to know about the life of Gen.Emilio Aguinaldo and how the first Philippine President fights for our freedom.