Movie Review: GOMBURZA's fateful past mirrors Filipinos' present predicaments


It has been said time and again that history repeats itself as long as people remain blind to the lessons of the past. If we look back on the situations our heroes and martyrs fought and died for more than a century ago, we will see apparent parallelisms in the same context of oppression, false information, propaganda, and red-tagging that are still prevalent to this day. 
In the upcoming 49th Metro Manila Film Festival, which opens on Christmas Day in cinemas nationwide, one movie brings us back to the dark chapter of the country's history when Filipinos were abused and treated as second-class citizens in their own homeland.

Directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Pepe Lorenzo Diokno, GomBurZa is a poignant and gripping exploration of the untold story of the martyred Filipino priests Fathers Mariano Gomes, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora whose collective sacrifice fueled the flame of the revolution during the Spanish colonial era. 

In the recently held special screening for the movie with the media and members of the cast, the film was highly applauded for its gripping storytelling, cinematic excellence, and the moving portrayal of some of the most important characters in the nation's history. 
Cedrick Juan as Padre Jose Burgos

The film seamlessly blends historical accuracy with cinematic artistry, presenting a compelling narrative that transports the audience to 19th century Philippines, where the struggle for independence and justice was at its peak. GomBurZa serves as a powerful shorthand for the three brave priests who dared to challenge the oppressive Spanish regime and sparked a movement that would eventually lead to the Philippine Revolution. 

The cinematography of GomBurZa is nothing short of breathtaking. The visuals evoke the era's ambiance, capturing both the grandeur of the Spanish colonial period and the grittiness of the revolting Filipino masses. It creates a visual feast that immerses the audience in the film's rich historical tapestry. 

Enchong Dee as Padre Jacinto Zamora

The heart of GomBurZa lies in the stellar performances of the cast. Each actor breathes life into their respective historical characters, with Dante Rivero, Cedrick Juan, and Enchong Dee delivering standout performances as Fathers Gomes, Burgos, and Zamora, respectively. Their portrayal of the priests' unwavering dedication to justice and freedom is both moving and inspiring.

The screenplay, written with meticulous attention to historical detail by playwright and theater actor Rodolfo "Rody" Vera, effectively conveys the complex socio-political landscape of 19th-century Philippines. The script beautifully captures the intellectual fervor of the period, delving into the intellectual pursuits of the three priests and their advocacy for social reforms, making the film not just a historical drama but also an intellectual journey.
Dante Rivero as Padre Mariano Gomes

The film's pacing is deliberate, allowing the audience to absorb the weight of the historical events and appreciate the nuances of the characters' struggles. The director skillfully navigates between intense confrontations, dramatic outbursts, and quiet moments of contemplation, creating a narrative rhythm that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish.

GomBurZa is not just a historical drama; it is a call to remembrance and reflection. As the film unfolds, it prompts viewers to question the relevance of the struggles faced by the three priests in today's context. The parallels between the colonial oppression of the past and contemporary socio-political issues are subtly woven into the narrative, inviting the audience to draw connections between history and the present.
The film features the special participation of
Piolo Pascual as Padre Pedro Pelaez

This historical biopic is a cinematic triumph that pays homage to the unsung heroes of Philippine history. It serves as both a history lesson and a reminder of the enduring spirit of those who fought for justice and freedom. This film is a must-watch for anyone seeking to understand the roots of the Philippine Revolution and the indomitable spirit of the Filipino people.
GomBurZa is an official entry to the
49th Metro Manila Film Festival,
opening in cinemas nationwide
on December 25, 2023.

Previous Post Next Post