'Citizen Jake' bravely crosses the borders of political cinema

May 22, 2018
citizen jake mike de leon movie

'Citizen Jake' opened with Jake Herrera (Atom Araullo) talking to the audience, narrating the necessary expositions about his character. He has a story to tell, and not everything will be real, as revealed by him, with the aid of the manipulative technicals of cinema. This film knows that it is artificial, and the story could be one, but one thing's for sure, the sentiments are not.

citizen jake mike de leon movie

Jake is an independent journalist, a son of a wealthy, corrupt senator (Teroy Guzman).  His stance over what he thinks is right or wrong has no limitation, even having the grudges to report about the wrong conduct of his father in his blog. What he holds on is what he believe to be moral. It could be noted that this fictional person is the very personification of its director Mike De Leon.

citizen jake mike de leon movie

'Citzen Jake' is political cinema, or the general art of cinema for that matter, as it should be: as a medium whose purpose is not only to inform, but contribute to a much-larger discourse. But it seems this film wanted to be more, to start a revolution in this day and age. The film, in its limited narrative scope, has a lot of things to say that should be impossible to compress over its two-hour plus running time. It is about patriarchy, political imbalance, journalistic merits, and the boundaries of cinema. It bravely crosses the borders of political cinema with its congested ideologies. Make sense when you have a filmmaker like de Leon who had kept silent since his 'Bayaning Third World (2000).'

citizen jake mike de leon movie

What took him almost 18 years to make a new film will be a mystery. But the timing of his comeback couldn't be more fitting, given the political circus and nightmares of the Philippines. For the last few years, we had Treb Montreras II's 'Respeto,' Mikhail Red's 'Neomanila,' Brillante Mendoza's 'Ma'Rosa,' and very soon, Lav Diaz's anti-musical musical 'The Season of the Devil' which demonstrates our very state as a country. Jake Herrera noted that the achievements of what 'Citizen Jake' could become is something that can only be accomplished by the medium of film. Art is powerful enough to be a force of influence and become a mirror of our reality as well as our innate lies.

citizen jake mike de leon movie

'Citizen Jake' is a mirror of both. So much so, it crossover one another with its meta nature. This is not Mike de Leon's finest work, but it's a brave contribution to the never-ending discussion of the human struggle. 

'Citizen Jake' opens May 23, 2018 in cinemas nationwide from Solar Pictures. The film is rated R-13 by the MTRCB.

citizen jake mike de leon movie

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