This film has power. I did not feel this 3-hours-movie long. Director Diaz-Abaya described Rizal not only from outside but from his inner side. The plot was very complicated, but still not difficult to follow.
Since I first knew of Rizal in a book of Asian history, I have had a question. Why is Rizal the National Hero, not Aginard, nor Bonifacio? Rizal did little except writing two novels. Why? Watching the movie, I thought I had an answer. Historically, his books and his death triggered the revolution activities. But true reason is, I suppose, that Rizal had a universal view on humanity and freedom. I was impressed by the following two lines: 1) In a Madrid pub, he says "Unless we first learn self-respect, we will not be respected by any other peoples." 2) After having death sentence, his barrister says he is ashamed as a Spanish. Rizal says, "No, we are the same human beings." He was not a perfect man, nor his ideas. But he left something everlasting, that Filipinos can be proud of.
The next question I had was: His death triggered the revolution activities. Was it beyond his will, or did he want it to happen? The night before execution, the ghost of Simoun came out in his room, and urged him to rewrite the story. At last Rizal says "Let me have a rest. To know who I am." Then he rewrites the story so that the lamp explodes to kill many suppressors. So, what Abaya wants to say?
Anyway, it is a very good film. It is the first Philippine film put on a Japanese screen except kinds of film festivals. I hope more Philippine films are shown in Japan, especially Abaya's.
Rizal sa Dapitan was good, the choice of characters was also good, but there should be improvements in the script, cinematography and music. I think the highlights of Rizal’s life was not just only when he was in Dapitan, but during the climax of events before his execution.
If someone will ask me to recommend a good Rizal film, I will say...