HUMANIZING HEROES

By Rob Gonzales |September 08,2018 - 08:17 PM

Jerrold Tarog

POWER can be a lot of things. It can mean brute force, evoking fear or control. But in certain individuals, it can also be as subtle as having quiet confidence and inner strength.

Enter Jerrold Tarog, film director, screenwriter, producer, editor, and composer.

Known for the epic blockbuster hit “Heneral Luna,” the director admits that he is still in a daze for his latest film, “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral.”

“I am just happy na natapos namin ‘yung film and we came up with something na our cast and crew are all proud of so masaya na ako na narating na namin ‘yun. As for everything else kung mag succeed man ‘yung pelikula is parang bonus na lang ‘yun para
sa akin,” Jerrold says.

The film, a sequel to “Heneral Luna” begins a day after Luna’s gruesome death upon the orders of President Emilio Aguinaldo (portrayed by Mon Confiado).

It follows the events of the last five months of Gregorio Del Pilar’s life until his death at the Battle of Tirad Pass.

Topbilled by Paulo Avelino, “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral”tells the story of Gregorio del Pilar the fabled boy general who rose to prominence with his wartime exploits, courage, and womanizing, is indeed bigger in scale than its predecessor.

To say that Jerrold is an engaging character is quite the understatement.

Seeing the man from afar his careful stance and method of movement can be quite intimidating, but he was all game when the Play! pool cornered him during the film’s red carpet gala premiere here in Cebu.

His pursuit to passion, this daring for creating films that matter, doing something out of the ordinary.

That is radical revolution.

It’s power.

You’re finally back in Cebu.

I am always happy to be back.

As I said I started here (with the 2007 film “Confessional”) and in a way hindi naman siya full circle because I am still looking forward to doing a lot of things.

So in a way marami pa akong magawa sana.

Masaya ako every time I am here.

How is it seeing the final cut of the film?

I just have this growing concern because a number of projectors being used sa cinemas they’re showing it a little bit dark and I think the movie should be seen na mas maliwanag from the projector dahil kung hindi ay hindi siya ganun ka impactful.

Masaya naman ako na natapos namin ang shooting ng seven months pero this is halos three years in total na project namin.

Heneral Luna” has this underlying theme of about fire and “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” is about
water.

When I said that in one of my interviews, actually ‘yung tone and character niya.

Antonio Luna was this brash and fearless person na wala siyang pakialam kung sino ang makabangga niya and the entire Heneral Luna movie was kind of designed to emphasize that kind of character.

This time ang tema naman ngayon is ’yung introspection, ‘yung pag-iisip and critical thinking so I think mas inward yung process which is why mas tahimik siya compared sa Heneral Luna.

When you see the film do keep that in mind na hindi ito Heneral Luna. This was designed that way na iba ‘yung experience para lang mas malawak compared to Heneral Luna.

How thorough was the research for this film?

‘Yung early research namin include na inakyat talaga namin ‘yung Tirad Pass twice and that was kind of difficult because inaccessible ‘yung base and doon namin na realize na hindi kami pwedeng mag shoot dun and we have to look for another mountain.

It was a matter of reading a lot of books and in time we will be releasing online a reading list, which is like more than 15 books na binasa namin para lang mapalawak ito dahil hindi lang kasi siya kwento ni Gregorio Del Pilar.

In a way para siyang ensemble na pelikula with Goyo at the center so ‘yung mga taong nakapaligid sa kanya sina Mabini sina General Alejandrino lahat sila ay may kanya kanyang libro na isinulat and we have to read that para lang
mapalawak ‘yung mundo.

What was the biggest challenge doing the film?

‘Yung pag recreate ng Battle of Tirad Pass kasi sobrang struggle na mag-akyat ng more than two hundred people up a mountain especially ona rainy season and shooting from different points of view from iba’t ibang hills.

Because we kept moving from different areas of the mountains so hirap na hirap kami dun dahil madalas inulan kami.

And also the logistics of trying to recreate an entire town for it to look like the actual 1899 Dagupan.

I’d like to say na challenge siya to manage a film this big of a scale because as people were saying ito ang pinakamalaking pelikula na nagawa sa industriya.

Musical scoring is always an added highlight in your film. We’re curious why you choose “Bato Sa Buhangin.”

Well, hindi ko rin alam (laughter).

Bahala na ang audience.

Pero I just feel na parang siya ang pinaka appropriate na song para sa movie na ito.

We need something like that na parang suited siya for a mournful na pelikula like this.

The scoring, well it is guitar-based plus orchestra so ‘yun naman talaga ‘yung thing niya na parang ghost track din.

It was all a conscious effort to make something different with the music.

Do you have a favorite scene or highlight in the film?

Seeing the entire Tirad Pass battle.

I always had fun seeing that.

And the market scene of Goyo’s ladies making comparisons to mangoes has the audience giggling.

Well, marami talagang nag react dun (laughter).

Do you feel pressured about how Goyo will be received by the public?

I try not to think about it dahil masisira ang ulo ko (laughter).

I’m just happy na natapos namin ‘yung film and we came up with something na our cast and crew can be proud of.

So masaya na ako na narating na namin ‘yun.

As for everything else kung mag succeed man ‘yung pelikula is parang bonus na lang ‘yun para sa akin.

Did you have this all figured out? That you’d be a filmmaker?

I always wanted to since college and ayun sinwerte naman.

What was that film that inspired you to pursue filmmaking?

Madami actually pero ‘yung nakatulak sa akin were the films from Latin America, Mexico and Spain nung early 2000s.

Back then parang na realize ko na similar naman sa atin ‘yung culture nila and from there I thought na kaya naman nating gumawa ng gaya sa kanila.

What’s your take on the current political climate in relation to what the film is trying to convey?

I let the people decide.

Pero karamihan dun sa sinabi ni Apolinario Mabini those were his actual letters so ‘yung audience na ang bahalang mag figure out kung paano nila mako-connect ‘yun.

What to you is a good film?

Iba-iba siyempre pero para sa akin isa sa masasabi kong maganda ang pelikula is if it leaves you with a lot of questions instead of answers.

Kasi madaling magkwento na binibigay mo na lahat ng mga sagot na may moral lesson siya, na ganun siya ka tidy and para sa akin mas maganda pag when you go out of the theater and you think about the film—kung ano ba talaga ang gusto niyang sabihin.

Mas okey sa akin ‘yung ganun kasi mas may rason pa para panoorin mo ito ulit.

Dream project?

Hopefully matuloy ‘yung Manuel L. Quezon (film).

Lahat naman ng mga ginawa ko I consider them dream projects kasiin the first place I consider myself lucky everytime I get to make a movie.

What message do you want to impart from this movie?

Madami kasing sinasabi ang pelikula so if there’s anything there’s also theidea of ‘yung growing up ni Goyo and accepting his responsibilities.

And also ‘yung idea na tanggapin natin na pumalpak tayo dun sa revolution, kasi we are so used to saying or when we study history parang there’s this sense na parang sobrang gallant ng heroes natin.

Which is they were because they were willing to fight against Spainand America.

But the thing is we also failed.

And part of it is because of our oppressors, but also because of ourselves.

What’s your current state of mind?

Ngayon medyo dazed ako and I am just looking forward to recuperating and resting.

What’s next for you?

I really have no idea. Maybe rest muna.

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