Cesar Montano, who recently bagged an award for playing Andres Bonifacio in the Emilio Aguinaldo bio pic “El Presidente,” has challenged filmmakers to make a movie, this time, from the viewpoint of the country’s revolutionary hero.
Reacting to comments that “El Presidente” favored Aguinaldo and depicted Bonifacio as the villain, Montano defended its director and writer Mark Meily by saying: “Let’s first look into how he came up with the story. He says he based everything on books and other documents written about Aguinaldo.”
Montano told the Inquirer: “Most of those documents were written at the time of Aguinaldo’s rule. It was possible that anyone caught saying things against him at that time was executed. I think it would be interesting to know Bonifacio’s story, based on tales by the members of Magdiwang or the Supremo’s living relatives.”
Magdiwang is one of two factions in the revolutionary group Katipunan, which Bonifacio founded. At the time of the Spanish-Filipino war, Magdiwang supported Bonifacio in his rift with Aguinaldo.
Montano said a movie about Bonifacio would give younger generations a different perspective of history. “We owe it to them to tell the Supremo’s side of the story,” he stressed. “El Presidente” was an entry to the recently concluded 38th Metro Manila Film Festival.
Moving on …
The 50-year-old actor has since started shooting another bio pic, this time, on Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim. Montano is the writer and director of “The Turning Cradle,” which tells Lim’s story from the time he was left by his mother on the steps of the Hospicio de San Jose in 1930, to his rise as a decorated police officer in the late 1960s.
Montano based his film on the Nick Joaquin book “May Langit din ang Mahirap.”
He began filming on Nov. 26, with Melissa Ricks playing Lim’s wife, Amalia. The film is scheduled for nationwide screening on Feb. 27.
The actor-director said the biggest challenge was to find a location that would best depict Manila in the 1960s. He added that he made sure “The Turning Cradle” would be totally different from three previous Lim bio pics.
“I was very aware of those. I worked hard on this script. We want to tell a story that will give the audience a glimpse of things that happened in Lim’s life as a young boy that shaped who he is today, why he is dubbed as the man with a heart of steel and an iron fist. Hopefully, viewers will find the answer in this movie,” Montano said.
“The Turning Cradle” also features Tirso Cruz III, Nonie Buencamino, Jackie Lou Blanco, Marc Abaya, Alvin Anson, Alwin Uytingco and Gloria Romero.