MANILA — John Arcilla laughs at how people address him now as “Father Heneral”, with the release of his much-awaited title role movie “Suarez, The Healing Priest” for the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
According to early feedback from previews of the movie, it’s another potential best actor award-winning performance for Arcilla, more famous for his acclaimed 2015 “Heneral Luna” opus.
“Wow pang best actor ba? Whew, mahirap maniguro,” Arcilla told ABS-CBN News during his noon break Thursday on the set of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” in Malvar, Batangas.
The actor already considers a big personal achievement that he was chosen to portray Fr. Fernando Suarez who led a fruitful but controversial Catholic healing ministry.
“Pero kung karapat-dapat ako ma-consider na best actor, hindi lang ako ang magiging masaya kung ‘di mismong si Father Suarez. Kung anoman ang ginawa ko ay iniaalay ko sa kanya!” he said.
Among the most touching scenes of Arcilla were his character’s interaction with a young child and beggar woman he healed; and how he played out the controversies that hounded Suarez’s ministry.
Arcilla was able to finish the movie before Suarez passed on at 53 years old last February 2020. Suarez also oversaw the recording of its theme song, “Yakapin Mo Ako” with director-composer Joven Tan.
Suarez is also featured in the finale of the movie, reciting his prayers, which Tan said is a powerful image from beyond that can heal movie-viewers.
Arcilla also believes in the miracle of prayers. “Lalo na ngayong pandemya kung saan kailangan ng matibay na faith, so I think our film is very timely. I believe our film can heal. People’s faith will heal them. It may lead to physical and emotional healing. ‘Yung healing, hindi lang sakit sa katawan. Minsan nga ‘yung mga anxiety pa ang pinanggagalingan ng mga sakit sa altapresyon o sa puso,” he said.
Arcilla also spoke of his own personal transformation doing the movie. “Lalong lumalim ang aking pagmamahal at paggalang sa mga taong naninindigan para sa kanilang pananampalataya. Bumalik ang aking paggalang at pananampalataya sa doktrinang aking kinagisnan,” he said.
That epiphany alone already makes Arcilla a winner.
Aside from Arcilla, the movie stars Jin Macapagal as the young Father Suarez, Marlo Mortel, Troy Montero, Rita Avila, Jairus Aquino, Alice Dixson, Dante Rivero and other artists.
Advanced online ticket selling for “Suarez, The Healing Priest” will start December 7, midnight at www.upstream.ph
Arcilla also made a personal appeal to the public to support the online showing for the first time of the MMFF which will showcase nine other movies.
“Sana ma-encourage ang lahat na i-patronize ang ganitong platform. Sana ma-boost pa ang audience natin, suportahan natin ang pelikulang Pilipino!” he said.
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