Jose Rizal (1998) – played Jose Rizal; film won 13 awards (1999)
One of Cesar’s greatest performances is the role of Jose Rizal, the Philippine National Hero in the film Jose Rizal in 1998. This film is unprecedented as it portrays Philippine society during Spanish colonization of the Philippines and its relevance up to the present day.
Cesar Montano agreed to scale down his talent fee (reported to be 5 million pesos per movie). He also cancelled everything else on his schedule to concentrate on training for his role. His tutorials involved languages (Rizal spoke Spanish, French, German and Latin), fencing, painting, drawing, sculpture, and other skills that the national hero excelled in. As a result of his hardwork, he received numerous awards from different prestigious award-giving bodies.
It has been screened and ran in competition in different film festivals worldwide and included in the Official Selection for Panorama in the Berlin International Film Festival (1998). It also won 2nd runner-up in the Audience Award of the Toronto Filmfest.