One of the films about Rizal that I highly recommend is the one made by the Filipino director Mike de Leon entitled “Bayaning Third World" (1999). Award-winning in its own right, it is unfortunate that the film did not have much impact in the Philippines when it was shown, given that it remains controversial. Good thing that the entire film is uploaded online for our consumption. It’s the story of two film directors debating on the issue of the supposed retraction of Rizal’s writings and his return to the Catholic church.
Did Rizal renounce what he had written, and did he return to the Catholic church before he was executed? Mike de Leon masterfully lifts the essence of old documents and presents it on screen, by presenting to the viewers the (conflicting) witness of Josephine Bracken, Rizal’s family, Padre Balaguer and Rizal himself.
The conclusion of the film still rings true.
"Kung totoo ngang nagmula mismo sa kalooban ni Rizal ang pagtalikod sa lahat ng kanyang isinulat, walang dudang isa siyang duwag.
Pero iba ang sinasabi ng kanyang mga nobela, mga tula, mga liham at deklarasyon tungkol sa kanyang paninindigan at pag-iisip.
At makikita mong hindi dapat magduda.”
The last half of the film is here.