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IMPULSES | No 10: Magnifico, Heneral Luna, Joker, and Ender’s Game (Exploring my Top 10 favorite movies)

By Herman M. Lagon

IN THIS series of articles, I’m excited to share my passion for movies by taking you on a journey through my top 10 all-time favorite films. As a dedicated movie lover, I’ve carefully selected these gems from a collection of 200 cherished movies. In the upcoming ten editions of this column, we’ll delve deeply into each of these cinematic treasures, starting today with discussions about “Magnifico,” “Heneral Luna,” “Joker,” and “Ender’s Game.”

These movies hold a special place in my heart because they excel in various aspects like outstanding production quality, gripping storytelling, expertly crafted camera work, emotional musical scores, and performances that truly shine. My hope is that as we explore these films together, you’ll come to appreciate and connect with their remarkable qualities in a similar way.

Let’s begin with “Magnifico” (2003). This film offers a window into rural life in the Philippines, where poverty weighs heavily on the people. Despite the challenging circumstances, Magnifico’s unwavering optimism and selflessness make him a beacon of inspiration for his family and community. It resonates with viewers by highlighting the enduring hope that keeps individuals going even in the most challenging situations, reminding us of the strength of resilience and hope.

On the other hand, “Heneral Luna” (2015) transports us to the turbulent era of the Philippine-American War, where General Antonio Luna emerges as a passionate and brilliant military leader. Luna’s dedication to uniting Filipino forces and resisting American colonization shines a light on the complexities of leadership during times of conflict. The film encourages us to contemplate the sacrifices made by those fighting for their country’s independence and the unwavering patriotism that fuels their determination.

Moving to Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Arthur Fleck in “Joker” (2019), it provides a haunting exploration of mental health and societal neglect. The film delves deep into issues like isolation, mental illness, and the lack of support for vulnerable individuals in society. It serves as a stark reminder of the consequences when society turns a blind eye to those in need. “Joker” challenges us to confront uncomfortable truths about mental health and emphasizes the importance of compassion.

Finally, “Ender’s Game” (2013) takes us on a futuristic adventure where a young strategist named Ender Wiggin is recruited to prepare for a potential alien invasion. The film raises ethical questions about preemptive violence and explores the justifications and consequences of such actions. It also delves into the challenges of leadership placed on young individuals and the moral dilemmas they face. “Ender’s Game” underscores the significance of empathy and understanding, even when facing potential threats from unknown adversaries.

Despite the diversity in their genres, these films share common threads of resilience, hope, leadership, and empathy. “Magnifico” showcases the resilience of those in poverty, “Heneral Luna” celebrates unwavering patriotism, “Joker” explores the consequences of societal neglect, and “Ender’s Game” questions the ethics of preemptive violence. These movies are more than just entertainment; they are thought-provoking narratives that encourage us to reflect on the human experience.

As we embark on this cinematic journey together, I extend an invitation to you to explore these remarkable films with an open heart and an open mind. Let’s celebrate their artistry, their ability to inspire, and their capacity to shed light on the complexities of the human spirit. In a world filled with stories, these movies stand as beacons of storytelling excellence, reminding us of the profound impact of cinema in both entertaining and enlightening our lives.


Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.


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