Rizal Sa Dapitan is a 1997 Philippine biographical film directed by Tikoy Aguiluz about the four-year exile of Filipino propagandist and patriot José Rizal in Dapitan, starring Albert Martinez as Rizal and Amanda Page as Josephine Bracken. The screenplay was written by Pete Lacaba.
Rizal Sa Dapitan isn’t necessarily something you would call a “good movie.” It had a lot of promise, between its Pete Lacaba script, cinematography from Romy Vitug and Nap Jamir, direction from Tikoy Aguiluz, and performances from the likes of Albert Martinez and Candy Pangilinan. But it all just didn’t come together, in the end producing a film that lacks the focus and direction to be really good. Nonetheless, it’s a brave and interesting failure, one that you may admire even as you struggle through its excesses.
Rizal Sa Dapitan Movie Plot
The movie is all about José Rizal (Martinez)who was exiled in Dapitan in 1892, and he began adapting to his new home. He helped the local residents by offering free education to all children, befriending his student Jose Asiniero (Hernando), and rendering his services as a doctor, including treating his mother, Doña Teodora Alonzo (Carpio), who visited him with his sisters Maria (Pangilinan) and Narcisa (Dumpit).
The movie takes a look at the life of Rizal in exile. Rizal, after implicated in the rebel movement, was deported to Dapitan in Zamboanga. When the movie starts, we catch Rizal meeting up with the local captain, quickly gaining a measure of rapport. Meanwhile, Father Obach, the local parish priest, makes it quite clear that he’s no fan of Rizal, and he seeks for him to renege on everything he wrote. Rizal, for his part, remains steadfast in his beliefs, in his mind still pushing for the reforms needed to make the Philippines a properly represented colony of the Spanish crown.
For the most part, however, Rizal mostly seems content to live out a quiet existence in the province. He buys himself some land and develops it, building water supply systems and planting trees and crops. When word gets around that Rizal is in town, people seeking eye treatments soon approach him. Rizal then builds a makeshift hospital and runs an eye clinic out of it. And when Rizal learns of the fact that many of the local boys can’t afford to go to school, he starts giving them lessons in science, language, and self-defense in exchange for labor on his land. In no time at all, Rizal becomes a farmer, an engineer, a doctor, and a teacher to the young boys in the province.
Everything’s going well for Rizal, though there are still those who seek to do him harm. Father Obach attacks Rizal from the pulpit, making sure to tell everyone that they can go to hell by merely having contact with the godless Indio. And at one point, he even sends a man to entrap Rizal into saying that he still has ties with the revolution. Obach’s plots don’t work against Rizal, however, the people of Dapitan more than willing to give up heaven for the future of their children, and the agent quickly dispatched by the more-than-able Rizal.
Things only start to get complicated when a woman enters Rizal’s life. The woman, of course, is Josephine Bracken. The young Ms. Bracken accompanies her blind, adopted father George Taufer to see the famous eye doctor of Asia. Rizal and Bracken quickly hit it off, but Bracken’s father gets in the way. It is suggested that Taufer had some designs on his young adopted daughter, but it doesn’t really go much further than that. Taufer and Bracken return to Hong Kong for a bit, and soon enough, Bracken returns on her own to seek a relationship with Rizal.
They seek to get married at the Church, but Father Obach is having none of it. He wants Rizal to sign a retraction first, to say that he was wrong and that he still believed in the infallibility of the Mother Church. Rizal refuses, and the two hold their own personal ceremony, affirming their love to each other without the consent of the Church. Rizal and Bracken consummate their marriage, and Bracken soon becomes pregnant. Obach speaks out against their union from the pulpit, but no one in Dapitan really seems to mind, apart from Rizal’s own family. Rizal’s sister Maria doesn’t trust Josephine, suspecting that she might be another one of the Church’s agents. Rizal confronts Bracken about this, gets angry, and throws her to the ground. Bracken bears a stillborn child, who Rizal tearfully buries on his grounds.
The movie ends with Rizal headed off to Cuba. He had put in a request a year ago to be sent there to practice his medicine, but he’s since found some peace on his land. He’s quickly convinced, however, that he should try to leave as soon as he can, putting all the threats behind him. Rizal burns down his house, and he leaves on a boat. We all know, however, that he doesn’t make it to Cuba.
Rizal Sa Dapitan Movie Cast
Albert Martinez, Amanda Page, Roy Alvarez, Jaime Fabregas, Candy Pangilinan, Tess Dumpit, Rustica Carpio, Noni Buencamino, Carelle Manuela, Soliman Cruz, Junell Hernando, Cris Michelena, Paul Holmes,
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