Jose Rizal (film)

From Wikipilipinas
Jump to navigation Jump to search

To read this article in Filipino, see this.

José Rizal is a 1998 Filipino biographical film of the Filipino patriot José Rizal, directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya and starring Cesar Montano as José Rizal.

At the time of its release, it was the most expensive film in the history of Filipino cinema with a budget of over P80 million. The film was an official entry to the 1998 Metro Manila Film Festival.


José Rizal is imprisoned in Fort Santiago during the Spanish colonial period. Meanwhile, in Balintawak, Andrés Bonifacio and his fellow secret organization, the Katipunan, commence their uprising against the tyrannical Spanish rule by tearing their cédula as a sign of revolt.

Soon, a first lieutenant of the Artillery, Luis Taviel de Andrade, visits Rizal. Taviel de Andrade does not waste time and carefully studies Rizal's case. In just a short period of time, Rizal and Taviel capture each other's sympathy and eventually became friends while meeting in Rizal's cell in Fort Santiago. Taviel is even able to celebrate Christmas with Rizal in his cell.

After Christmas, Rizal is sent to the Real Audiencia, the colonial court of appeal, to hear the trial against him. Soon after, the magistrates decided to condemn him under firing squad on the 30th of the morning in Luneta.

The night before his execution, Rizal hallucinates, seeing his alter ego—protagonist, Crisostomo "Simoun" Ibarra, from his second book, El Filibusterismo, tempting him to change the climax of the novel.

On the morning of his execution, his kin receives a small alcohol stove (not a gas lamp as commonly portrayed) from his cell containing the last poem "Mi último adiós". Stopping at the place of execution facing the rising sun, Rizal requests to face the firing squad, but is denied. Calmly, he then requests to have his head spared from bullets instead and the captain agrees. At the moment the shooting squad points at his back, he utters his final words: Consummatum est ("It is done").

In the events following Rizal's execution, members of the Katipunan begin their armed uprising, completely catching the Spanish forces off guard, seizing their mounts, munitions and rifles. After that, the organization captures a church and the members execute the friars in an act of vengeance. Later that night, Bonifacio and his top generals meet in their headquarters to plan a new offensive seeking to capture ten towns in a duration of one week from the Spaniards. As Bonifacio continues speaking, the camera pans to Rizal's picture at the wall of his headquarters before revealing Rizal's hat which sat by the shores of Manila Bay, concluding with the text of events that transpired after his death.


Main cast

Rizal's family

The Spaniards

The Dominicans

The Jesuits

  • Chiqui Xerxes-Burgos as Father José Villaclara, S.J.
  • Shelby Payne as Father Estanislao March, S.J.
  • Minco Fábregas as Father Francisco de Paula Sanchez, S.J.

The Filipinos

The Filipino propagandists

Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo characters

Other characters

  • Jesús Díaz as ophthalmology professor in Spain
  • Karl Meyer as Belgian printer
  • LJ Moreno as Josephine Bracken's companion



In 1994, there were efforts to produce a Hollywood feature film based on the life of José Rizal lead by director Cirio H. Santiago, then the head of the Film Development Foundation of the Philippines, with the approval of President Fidel V. Ramos. Actors who were reportedly considered for the project included Andy Garcia as Rizal, Winona Ryder as Josephine Bracken, and Sharon Cuneta as Leonor Rivera, with Jonathan Demme as director, though the project did not come to fruition.[1]


The series was released onto DVD-format and VCD-format by GMA Records Home Video and distributed by Viva Video.


The film has been screened and ran in competition in different film festivals worldwide and included in the Official Selection for Panorama in the Berlin International Film Festival (1998). It also won 2nd runner-up in the Audience Award of the Toronto Filmfest and the Chicago International Film Festival.Template:Citation needed


  1. Japitana, Norma. "Andy Garcia, Winona Ryder may star in Rizal pic", Manila Standard, Kamahalan Publishing Corp., June 8, 1994, p. 19.