Goyo: The Boy General in NY, NJ theaters Sept. 21

NEW YORK –  Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (The Boy General), a film that took three years to produce, will finally have its US premiere screening in New York and New Jersey starting Friday, Sept. 21. For many post-war Filipinos, they remember this date as a significant day when Martial Law was declared in 1972 under the authoritarian rule of Ferdinand Marcos. Proclamation 1081 (“Proclaiming a State of Martial Law in the Philippines”) was signed on September 21, 1972, and came into force on September 22.

This Friday, Filipinos in the New York metropolitan area will be reminded of another period in Philippine history about the life of a controversial revolutionary hero Gregorio del Pilar recreated through a grand production design and cinematography.

AMC Loews Kips Bay theater on 570 Second Avenue, New York will showcase this bio-epic movie. Screening starts at 11:50 a.m. 3:15 am, 6:50 pm and 10:20 pm. In New Jersey, AMC Loews Jersey Gardens on 651 Kapkowski Road, Elizabeth, New Jersey will host it starting at 12 noon, followed by a showing at 3:15 pm, 6:35 pm, and 9:45 pm.

Goyo is the next installment following the surprise 2015 blockbuster hit Heneral Luna (released in the US October 2015) by its creators, TBA Studios and director Jerrold Tarog, starring Paulo Avelino, who plays the title role.  Heneral Luna chronicled Revolutionary General Antonio Luna’s life.

General del Pilar (Goyo) is the most trusted ally of Emilio Aguinaldo, the Philippine President, and Commander-in-Chief during the Revolution and War. After five months of relative peace, the U.S. Army begins its final push to crush the Philippine army and capture Aguinaldo. Goyo faces the biggest challenge of his life as he oversees the large caravan of officers, soldiers, and civilians making their perilous escape through the mountains of the Northern region.

The hovering presence of death and failure throughout the journey ultimately calls into question Goyo’s accomplishments and public popularity. The boy general is forced to grow up and ask the only question that matters during times of war: What does it really mean to be a hero?

“For many, Gregorio del Pilar was a true hero of the revolution, but for some, he was nothing more than an arrogant henchman of Revolutionary President Emilio Aguinaldo,” director Tarog said. “Yet his willingness to give up his life reveals a level of determination and perhaps humility that cannot be easily dismissed.” Tarog believed that for someone so young and popular to face death head-on, “Goyo, as del Pilar is known to his friends, deserves to be examined using both a wider and a more intimate lens.”

Director Tarog added:  “Goyo continues an attempt to examine our faults as a people by using the past as a reflection of the present.”

With multiple points of view and the same characteristic freedom to move between historical fact and fiction as in Heneral Luna, “Goyo expounds on themes of maturity and responsibility, contrasts the naivete of youth with the sobriety of adulthood, and attempts to ask questions about our readiness for a task of nation-building.”

Director Tarog asks: “How does one attain honor when facing certain death? What should a man like Goyo hold close to his heart when forced to make the ultimate sacrifice?”

The movie runs 150 minutes in Tagalog with English subtitles. – Ricky Rillera

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