Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral

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Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral[1] (Literal translation: Goyo: The Young General), also known simply as Goyo,[2] is a 2018 Philippine historical epic film starring Paulo Avelino as the titular "Boy General", Gregorio del Pilar, who died during the historic Battle of Tirad Pass in the Philippine–American War. It was written, directed, edited, and scored by Jerrold Tarog, and is a sequel to the 2015 film Heneral Luna, which chronicled Antonio Luna's life.[2] Additional members of the ensemble cast include Carlo Aquino, Mon Confiado, Epy Quizon, Gwen Zamora, Empress Schuck, Alvin Anson, and Rafa Siguion-Reyna. It was released on September 5, 2018.

Plot

Following the assassination of General Antonio Luna, the task of purging Luna's loyalists in the Philippine Army falls on General Gregorio "Goyo" del Pilar, a young, brash general and a favorite of President Emilio Aguinaldo. During a five-month break from combat, del Pilar and his unit, including his older brother Julian and his best friend Vicente Enriquez, capture Angel Bernal, the younger brother of Luna's former aides-de-camp, Manuel and José. They soon locate Manuel hiding with merchant Don Mariano Nable José and torture him into joining del Pilar's military personnel. When Manuel refuses, they kill him. Meanwhile, Joven Hernando, who now works for his uncle, is assigned to be del Pilar's photographer.

While the Philippine Army relaxes and the American forces prepare for a second attack, General José Alejandrino, a Luna ally spared from the purge, meets with Apolinario Mabini, who has since resigned from Aguinaldo's cabinet after the death of Luna. Mabini implores Alejandrino to find out the real cause of Luna's death. Meanwhile, Aguinaldo joins del Pilar in Bulacan and promotes him to Major-General of Pangasinan, while del Pilar begins to court Remedios, the elusive daughter of Don Mariano. During this time, Aguinaldo meets Mabini and offers him the post of Chief Justice, to which Mabini reluctantly accepts.

Alejandrino travels to Manila to negotiate with General Elwell Otis and General Arthur MacArthur Jr., who reject his proposal. Soon after, hostilities resume and the Filipino side is caught off-guard. Aguinaldo orders the march of the Army to Pozorrubio to meet with General Manuel Tinio and organize a fighting force. However, Tinio's defeat by the Americans, forces Aguinaldo to retreat further north. The arduous march escorting Aguinaldo and his family through the western mountainous terrain of the Cordilleras, daily American attacks and ongoing tensions between soldiers of Luna's old unit take a toll on del Pilar, weakens their defenses against American forces attacking their rearguard and captures Aguinaldo's mother and son.

The group soon arrive at Mount Tirad and del Pilar devises a delaying strategy to buy Aguinaldo time to escape. Together with former Luna Sharpshooter Lieutenant García, fortified trenches were dug along the route of the mountain. The following day, the Americans quickly capture a town at the foot of the mountain but are initially unable to penetrate the defenses. With the aid of their Tingguian Igorot guide, the 500 or so Americans, mostly of the 33rd Volunteer Infantry Regiment under Major Peyton C. March, find the secret path leading to the top of the mountain behind the trenches and flank the Filipinos who are quickly overrun. Del Pilar, inspired by a vision induced by his PTSD, resolves to finish the fight, but is shot and killed by an American sniper. As a result, his army's morale breaks and the defenders quickly surrender while Aguinaldo fled. Joven and Kiko, Garcia's son, also flee, but Joven falls off a cliff after an encounter with an American soldier. The Americans strip del Pilar of his uniform and belongings and crudely bury him at Mount Tirad.

Aguinaldo is captured by the Americans in Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901, effectively ending the war. Held as a prisoner of war in Malacañang Palace, he is visited by his former aide-de-camp Manuel Quezon. Quezon surrenders to the Americans upon orders of his superior, General Tomás Mascardo, and visits Aguinaldo to verify his capture and consults Aguinaldo whether Mascardo should surrender. Aguinaldo tells Quezon that the decision for Mascardo to surrender is up to Mascardo himself.

Mabini is captured by the Americans and exiled to Guam where he pens his own narrative of the war entitled La Revolución Filipina (The Philippine Revolution). His writings point to Aguinaldo's failure as an ineffective leader of the Philippines. General Alejandrino's position is also overrun. Remedios receives a letter from del Pilar.

In a series of mid-credit scenes, Joven is rescued by Kiko and Eduardo Rusca, Luna's former aide; Aguinaldo in 1935 and his running mate, Raymundo Melliza, watch as his presidential campaign posters are replaced by those of Quezon, while an older Eduardo Rusca and Joven Hernando drive by in a car, only slightly acknowledging Aguinaldo with a small salute.

Cast

Other members of the ensemble cast are Christopher Aronson, RK Bagatsing, Carlo Cruz, Jason Dewey, Bret Jackson, Ethan Salvador, Lorenz Martinez, Karl Medina, Stephanie Sol, and Markki Stroem.[2]

Production

Plans for a sequel to Jerrold Tarog's Heneral Luna went underway after its critical and commercial success.[3] Tarog envisioned the sequel as being about Gregorio del Pilar, a young General who, like Heneral Lunas titular protagonist Antonio Luna, was among the Filipino historical figures during the Philippine–American War. Accordingly, Paulo Avelino, who played Del Pilar in Luna, came aboard to reprise his role.[3]

Tarog's research for Goyo involved studying biographies authored by Teodoro Kalaw as well as crossing the Tirad Pass.[4] Tarog again incorporated several prominent Filipino figures including the likes of Apolinario Mabini and Emilio Aguinaldo, aiming for a scope larger than what was present in Heneral Luna. Tarog co-wrote the film's screenplay with Rody Vera, who has said he had thoroughly studied Luna "to understand the flow of the conversations and other details unique to each character".[4]

Goyo entered pre-production in January 2017.[5] To prepare his scenes, Avelino underwent horseback riding lessons in March 2017.[4] Tarog projected a 50-day film shoot,[6] which began in May 2017.[7] The complete ensemble cast was also revealed in a photo taken during the May shoot, including the likes of Mon Confiado as Emilio Aguinaldo, Epy Quizon as Apolinario Mabini, Benjamin Alves as Manuel L. Quezon, Leo Martinez as Pedro Paterno, and Alvin Anson as José Alejandrino, reprising their roles from Heneral Luna.[8] Filming was completed on November 27, 2017, lasting 60 days.[9] The production cost for the film is said to be triple the budget of Luna.[10]

Release

On February 15, 2017, a 20-minute short film entitled Angelito was exclusively released during the theatrical premiere of I'm Drunk, I Love You to serve as a prelude to Goyo and to intertwine both the sequel and Heneral Luna.[11] The film's teaser trailer was released on September 9, 2017.[12] In May 2018, it was announced that the film would be released on September 5, 2018.[13]

The film was made available on DVD on December 16, 2018.[14] It also began streaming on Netflix starting January 26, 2019.[15]

Reception

Critical reception

The film received praise for its acting, cinematography, music, and set design,[10][16] which Zach Yonzon in Spot.PH highlighted as "some of the best in Philippine cinema".[17] Yonzon also gave it a score of 3 out of 5, considering Goyo to be "masterfully done" though somewhat preposterously made.[17] Writing for the Philippine edition of Esquire, Miguel Escobar called the film captivating: "It's a slow burn through the first half, but it's never boring and always beautiful."[16] Film critic Fred Hawson called it "subdued but powerful" and gave a score of 9 out of 10.[10]

Accolades

List of accolades
Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
2019 Entertainment Editors' Choice Awards (The EDDYS)[18]
Best Picture Goyo
Best Director Jerrold Tarrog
Best Screenplay Jerrold Tarog and Rody Vera
Best Cinematography Pong Ignacio
Best Visual Effects Blackburst, Inc.
Best Musical Scoring Jerrold Tarog
Best Production Design Roy Lachica
Best Editing Jerrold Tarog
Best Original Theme Song Susi by Ben&Ben

Sequel

It was reported that the sequel to Goyo would be about President Manuel L. Quezon, with Benjamin Alves set to reprise his role as Quezon.[19] However, director Jerrold Tarog's work on the sequel was postponed after Star Cinema hired him in 2018 to direct Darna. Tarog has said he would proceed with writing the script for the Quezon film by the time filming for Darna is completed.[20] It will be a comedy, and as of 2020, it is still in the process of being written by Tarog and collaborator Rody Vera.[21]

References

  1. Goyo: The Boy General now streaming (January 29, 2019).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Who will join Paulo Avelino in Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral?", Philippine Entertainment Portal, May 18, 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Watch: After Heneral Luna, a movie on Gregorio del Pilar is in the works, Paulo Avelino to star", Rappler, October 29, 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Goyo begins", Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 11, 2017. 
  5. "Look: Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral is in pre-production", We The Pvblic, January 16, 2017. 
  6. Cabato, Regine. "Bliss director hopes audiences reflect on abuse", CNN Philippines, May 11, 2017. 
  7. Tarog, Jerrold [@JerroldTarog] (July 10, 2017). "'Goyo' begins entertainment.inquirer.net/233852/goyo-begins … @inquirerdotnet (Technically, we've been shooting since May but okay)" (Tweet). Retrieved August 22, 2017 – via Twitter.
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named spotph
  9. Yonzon, Zach (August 31, 2018). "Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral Is a Slow But Masterful Follow-Up to Heneral Luna". Spot.PH. Summit Media. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Hawson, Fred (August 31, 2018). Movie review: Subdued but powerful 'Goyo' delivers timely message.
  11. "Gregorio del Pilar short film to hit theaters with I'm Drunk I Love You", ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs, February 7, 2017. 
  12. "WATCH: First teaser for Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral will give you goosebumps", ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs, September 9, 2017. 
  13. "'Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral' now has a release date", May 2, 2018. 
  14. Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (en).
  15. 'Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral' comes to Netflix in January (December 26, 2018).
  16. 16.0 16.1 'Goyo' is a Somber Sequel That is a Spectacular Indictment of Idolatry (August 31, 2018).
  17. 17.0 17.1 Yonzon, Zach (August 31, 2018). Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral Is a Slow But Masterful Follow-Up to Heneral Luna. Summit Media.
  18. "FULL LIST: Winners, Eddys Awards 2019", Rappler, July 15, 2019. 
  19. Deveza, Reyma (August 25, 2018). Benjamin Alves to play Manuel L. Quezon in upcoming movie.
  20. News, Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBN. After Darna flies, Quezon film in ‘Heneral Luna’ series to start rolling.
  21. Quezon film in 'Heneral' trilogy will be a comedy, says director. ABS-CBN News (9 April 2020). Retrieved 26 April 2021.