3rd World Hero

  • 93'
  • Philippines
  • 1999
The Philippines national hero is Dr. José Rizal, author of the anti?colonial/anti?clerical novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which helped inspire and foment the overthrow of Spain's rule in the islands. But Rizal did not live to see the revolution: he faced a Spanish firing squad in 1896. Now his face is on the coinage and his books are part of the core curriculum in Filipino schools.Silent for too long, the great Mike de Leon returned to the fray with this deconstruction of Rizal's reputation. The film takes nothing for granted, least of all the heroism; it is framed as a cross between an investigation and an essay. Two smart young guys read everything they can find by and about Rizal, then interview the key players: the mother, the brother and sisters, the mistress (wife?), the crafty Jesuit who claims that Rizal re?embraced the church just before the end, and finally Rizal himself. Their questions focus, naturally enough, on specific controversies in Rizal's life (did he believe in revolution, did he return to the church?), but the film broadens out to ask larger questions about heroism, developing countries and post?colonial struggles. Unfailingly witty and thoroughly engrossing, this is a third world film like no other. Tony Rayns
Mike de Leon
Country of production
Festival Edition
IFFR 2003
Original title
Bayaning 3rd World
English, Tagalog
Cinema Artists Philippines, Miguel P. De Leon
Cinema Artists Philippines
Clodualdo del Mundo Jr., Mike de Leon