Robin Padilla’s serious take on Philippine history

THESE days, Robin Padilla is going about town telling everyone he is the present-day disciple of the nation’s less glorified hero, Andres Bonifacio. He tells everyone as well that he is a member of a modern-day KKK, the organization Bonifacio founded during the Spanish times in his wanting to liberate the Filipinos from the stranglehold of the Spaniards.

Padilla, in fact, is playing Bonifacio in a movie based upon his life. He says, he was taken to the project when it was broached to him by director Enzo Williams who is known for making “indie” films because he saw in the director the same passion he has in making positive changes in the society.

A hero’s  tale: Robin Padilla is Andres Bonifacio in Bonifacio:
Ang Unang Pangulo
Andres Bonifacio, for Padilla and Williams, is an icon, yet only a handful truly knows the real story behind the legendary man that led a country to a revolution.

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo will be screened during the entire run of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival beginning Thursday, Christmas Day, and Padilla and Williams promise that the audience will begin to see Bonifacio in a different light.

The life of Bonifacio is seen through the eyes of a young man, played by Daniel Padilla.

Padilla points out that this is not your typical historical movie. In Filipino, the star explains, “The film is not a biopic. It’s a fresh, exciting look at Bonifacio’s story with an aim to reveal the real events that led to the tragic demise of the hero. Often misrepresented in history and pop culture, this film hopes to enlighten its audience on who Bonifacio really is.”

Padilla, an ardent and passionate supporter of Bonifacio’s ideals, shared his reason for taking on this massive project. “In this film, we’re going to right the wrong,” he says.

“It is sad that we do not know as much about our country and our national heroes.”

For Padilla, this movie, with its uncompromising view of history, is a revolution in itself.

Williams is a graduate of the Los Angeles City College, a popular school offering film courses. Like Padilla, he is passionate about Bonifacio. To make his vision come to life, he assembled the best talents in the film industry, cinematographer Carlo Mendoza, production designer Roy Lachica, musical scorer Von de Guzman, and Hollywood stunt director Sonny Sison.

In order to tell the hero’s extraordinary story in a way that has never been done before, he also decided to shoot the entire film using an ARRI Alexa camera with anamorphic lenses and a complete ARRI Raw post-production workflow, the state-of-the-art filmmaking tool and editing process used by major Hollywood movies. The film is the first in the Philippines to use this technology. This revolutionary technique lends a breathtaking and stylish flair to the movie.

The film’s cast is also made up of the country’s brightest young stars, seasoned movie and indie actors. Vina Morales plays Bonifacio’s wife, Oriang.

Morales considers this film her most challenging to date. “This is my first time to do a historical movie [...] the best movie I’ve ever made. And I couldn’t be more proud that I’m part of a project such as this,” she says.

For Padilla and Morales, this movie is a legacy that they can leave behind to their children and the future generation—a theme that resonates throughout the movie. Daniel Padilla, Jasmine Curtis Smith, RJ Padilla, and Eddie Garcia symbolize the film’s link to the youth of today.

Joem Bascon, Junjun Quintana, Cholo Barretto, Isabel Oli, RJ Padilla, Richard Quan, Ping Medina, Isko Moreno, Rommel Padilla, Dennis Marasigan, and Jericho Rosales (as Jose Rizal) complete the cast.

Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo is a movie that all Filipinos should watch, whether you’re a Rizalist or not, leftist or rightist. It is time we revisit history not for ourselves but for genrations after us.

Robin Padilla shares that we owe it to ourselves to see a movie that truly depicts us as a nation. He adds, “We’ve waited a long time for a more sensible movie. I think this is it!”

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