“Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli” has been chosen as the closing film of the 2016 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.
The highly anticipated historical drama will have its gala premiere at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines on August 13, Saturday, on the eve of the festival’s awarding ceremony.
“I am proud to join this year’s Cinemalaya with my latest work because this festival is close to my heart,” says the film’s director, Gil Portes, who at 70 is enjoying a career renaissance that started in 2010 when his black comedy “Two Funerals” won five major awards at the festival.
Produced by T-Rex Entertainment and written by Enrique Ramos, “Hermano Puli” stars Aljur Abrenica in the title role of the almost forgotten early 19th century preacher from Lucban, Quezon, who led a movement for equality and religious freedom against the Spanish colonial government half a century before the martyrdom of Rizal, Bonifacio, and Luna.
The film celebrates the heroism of the young Filipinos of the past who shed their blood for the freedoms we all enjoy today. Like Rizal and Bonifacio after him, Apolinario de la Cruz, better known as Hermano Puli, was a young man who dared to question the inequities of the Spanish era.
He was only 18 when he founded the Cofradia de San Jose, a religious brotherhood that spread like wildfire among his fellow native Filipinos throughout Southern Tagalog. He was either just 27 or 28 when he was condemned as a heretic and executed by the colonial government.
At 26, Aljur is just the right age to portray the most challenging role of his young career. He is joined in the cast by other fine young actors like Louise de los Reyes, Enzo Pineda, Markki Stroem, Kiko Matos, Vin Abrenica, Ross Pesigan, and – in his acting debut – his youngest brother Allen Abrenica.
To impart the film’s message of heroism to today’s youth, “Hermano Puli” has launched a nationwide campus tour of a forum on heroism called “Bayani Ba ‘To?” The tour kicked off on to a rousing success on July 9 at the Angeles University Foundation, where it enjoyed a 1,300-strong audience of enthusiastic college students.
It will cover 40 colleges nationwide and wrap up in mid-September leading up to the movie’s commercial run in September.
“Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli” also stars Menggie Cobarrubias, Stella Canete-Mendoza, Alvin Fortuna, Sue Prado, Abel Estanislao, Simon Ibarra, Jun Nayra, Diva Montelaba, and Elora Espano.
For social media engagement, you may follow film on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and use the hashtags #HermanoPuli, #Mangahas, and #MangahasUmibig.