The movie was part of the MMMF and landed second.
It’s somehow a great movie but it was lacking a lot of things. It works on a plan whether on what Emilio Aguinaldo did and what he did to become the first President of country. The attempts of the movie was epic, it’s like you didn’t knew that was coming and anything. There are movies that are related to this like ‘Asiong Salonga’ but in El Presidente it’s more excited than Asiong. El Presidente is a movie that will reflect to kids of this generation because, I don’t know how many kids are interested about the First Philippine Republic, but this movie will bring them to being from ‘ngur-ngur’ to being a bit interested about the Philippine Government. I believe in this movie, it depends on which side you’ll go with if it is Aguinaldo or the other one.
It’s at this lack that I guess I can make a jab at Jeorge Estregan’s portrayal of Aguinaldo. I understand his acting limitations, and, he couldn’t register that much facial expressions. Aguinaldo here is a wooden character, idealized as the best leader. There’s more time spent dressing him up in different costumes, and there are so many “photo-op” moments, where at times the movie actually goes into stills, rather than any time spent exploring his character, seeing what makes him tick.
First off, the film is loose with its history. It draws mostly from Aguinaldo’s memoir, but that is only one perspective, and an obviously biased one at that. (This might be a chance too to consider how memoirs, autobiographies and the like might influence the rewriting of our history and national memory, and how a film such as this, with its wide scope and its ability to reach such a large readership would also influence national memory.) Sure, every historical work is an undertaking that is inevitably colored with bias. I just feel like it would have been a deeper film if it had taken the time to consider these things.
Then there’s a battle scene in reaction to that dialogue. After the battle scene we’ll get another with dudes at a table spewing expository dialogue. And then another battle scene. And so on. There are some other scenes snuck in, but a large part of the flick operates thus. Now, I’m not knocking the battle scenes. These were directed and photographed beautifully, and with great flair. There’s an intensity to them that I love. But then they got too repetitious, and I could not get a sense of escalation, a sense of how these were contributing to the overall war effort. Suffice to say that in individual scenes you got a lot of brilliance, but the bigger picture seemed lacking. For example, there’s a scene where we watch Aguinaldo going through a seizure. What it does for the narrative, I don’t know. It has him writhing and suffering for what seems a full minute. But it isn’t over yet. We get some more scenes around it that feel like any of them could have been endings. And so we have this prolonged denouement that takes over the last 10 minutes or so of the film. Also a heavy-handed apparition who provides a cheesy end interpretation. El Presidente is flawed. Individual scenes and sequences can be gripping, but the overall film suffers from sprawl and lack of a narrative drive. And my expression now isn’t what it’s like when I did this before, realized it needed more scenes to complete the movie rather than giving stills and not the full story, But right now, I wasn’t impressed by the movie, I was looking for more but nothing happened, all the scenes that I was thinking that would be there wasn’t. They didn’t show everything you will look for in a Presidential background, movie. It didn’t go as expected and now I’m disagreeing on my positive thoughts before. Where I said, it was a great movie! It’s exciting! And now it’s all lacking!