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‘Heneral Luna’ is Philippines’s entry to Oscars 2016

John Arcilla stars as Antonio Luna in the film ‘Heneral Luna.’

MANILA, Philippines - Heneral Luna has just been chosen as the Philippines’ official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of next year’s Oscars.

Directed by Jerrold Tarog, the historical biopic with John Arcilla playing the titular role as Gen. Antonio Luna, has been reaping rave reviews for its unblinking depiction of Luna’s vital role in Philippine history somewhat contrary to the accounts in Philippine history books.

Asked for a reaction regarding the latest development, Arcilla said that it’s a “self-recognition” for the country that it’s capable of making films like Heneral Luna. “The support and reaction of the people who have seen the film speaks for itself. It’s proof that Pinoys have realized that they deserve good films.”

“I’m happy for us Filipinos,” he said, “and I’m happy for Antonio Luna because we were able to shed life on his story 120 years after his death.”

In an earlier interview, Arcilla said that the film — set during the Philippine-American war — covers the period from the time Gen. Luna was assigned to be the head of the revolutionary army as general in the Philippines to his assassination. Arcilla said that the film producers and cast members like himself are ready for the long and intense Oscar campaign ahead so that they can make the final cut.  

Heneral Luna is now showing in cinemas on its second week. Last week, an online clamor erupted following news that the number of theaters playing the film was reduced to 41 after it opened last Sept. 9 in 101 cinemas.

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Arcilla happily noted that thanks to word of mouth and wellspring of support online, more theaters have now accommodated the film, now numbering to 70 nationwide.        

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