Telling Fiction based on Facts: The History from a Prosthetic Memory in Heneral Luna

Philippines, ID LLCE2016-295;       Telling Fiction based on Facts: The History from a Prosthetic Memory in “Heneral Luna” (2015) explores the potential of the film Heneral Luna to serve as a new form of history by using memory as the framework of the study. From the film’s opening sequence, claiming that it is just a fiction based on facts, this study has its interest in analyzing whether new memories regarding the life of General Antonio Luna and his role in Philippine history are formed from the subjects of the research, who are 50 liberal arts students from the University of Santo Tomas.

To ground the study, the researchers used Prosthetic Memory Theory, proposed by Alison Landsberg, to analyze how technologies of mass culture, in this case, film, creates memories that even if inaccurate, fosters a link between the spectator and an era he did not live in. The researchers assume that as a result of the experience brought about by the film, prosthetic memories are produced.

After subjecting 50 liberal arts students of the University to watching the film Heneral Luna, the researchers found that most of them relied on the film in answering statements in the questionnaires, making the film the dominant source of memory for them. More importantly, the researchers also found that the film Heneral Luna produces memories that increase the change in historical understanding of the 50 liberal arts students from the University of Santo Tomas regarding the life and role of Gen. Antonio Luna in Philippine history.

Keywords: cinematic memory, historical fiction film, historical film, memory, Prosthetic Memory