About the Movie "Baler"

by Brenton Shields

"Baler" is a 2008 drama that premiered at the 2008 Metro Manila Film Festival. The film focuses on a romance that develops between a Spanish soldier and a Filipina during the siege of Baler, which lasted from October 1898 to June 1899 during the Philippine Revolution.

Plot

"Baler" is a Romeo and Juliet-inspired love story between two people on opposite sides of the siege. A Filipino-Spanish solider, Celso Resurrecion, falls for a beautiful Filipina named Feliza Reyes. The film centers around the siege and the growing romance between the two main characters, which seems destined to be destroyed by the revolution.

Cast

Anne Curtis plays Reyes. Jericho Rosales plays Resurrecion. Phillip Salvador plays Daniel Reyes, the father of Feliza. Other cast members include Andrew Schimmer, Baron Geisler, Ryan Eigenmann, Carlo Aquino, Nikki Bacolod and Mark Bautista. Most of the characters in the film are fictional. However, a few, including Spanish 2nd Lt. Saturnino Martin Cerezo and Filipino Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, were in fact real figures.

Crew

"Baler" is directed by Mark Meily from a screenplay by Roy Iglesias. Vic del Rosario Jr, Erwin Genuino, Hermie Go and June T. Rufino produced the movie. The score is by Vincent de Jesus, with cinematography from Lee Meily. The film mixes several languages to capture authenticity, utilizing the Filipino Tagalog, English and Spanish.

Awards

"Baler" won numerous awards at the 2008 Metro Manila Film Festival. Awards include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Editing.

Historical Context

The siege of Baler was a battle in the Spanish-American war. Filipino revolutionaries attacked a fortified church used by the Spanish in the town of Baler, about 150 miles from the Philippine capital of Manila. Around 50 Spanish soldiers held off hundreds of Filipino rebels for 337 days. In June 1899, the Spanish finally surrendered the church to the revolutionaries after it was discovered that the war had ended.