It was a few days shy from being the first feature film to be released in the Philippines, but it was the first to be produced in the country. La Vida de Jose Rizal portrays the life of National Hero Jose Rizal in a silent film format. This 1912 feature film meticulously follows Rizal’s birth, career in Europe, all the way to his imprisonment and exile in Fort Santiago. To think that a movie this nationalistic would be produced by a Filipino, it was actually a team of American film makers who did. During their time, anything Rizal related would’ve been a hit because the man was practically glorified by Filipinos. This was a great opportunity for theatre owner, Edward Gross, who competed against another theatre owner to create the first Rizal film. The film’s producer, Harry Brown, had developed a fascination and admiration for the national hero himself. Together, along with a few other members, they founded the Rizalina Photoplay Company and made a Rizal film that spanned 22 scenes.
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