Photo: Dove of Peace, Pablo Picasso
Friday, June 27, 2008
Photo: Dove of Peace, Pablo Picasso
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The 4th Edition of the much-awaited Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival opens on July 11, 2008 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Here are the synopsis of the ten (10) full-length films:
• 100 by Chris Martinez is about a terminally ill woman’s list of things to do before she dies. With Mylene Dizon, Eugene Domingo, Tessie Tomas, TJ Trinidad, etc.
• Baby Angelo by Joel Ruiz and Abi Aquino shows what happens when an aborted baby is found near a small apartment complex. The lives of some tenants are turned upside down as they are forced to confront the ghosts of the past. With Jojit Lorenzo, Katherine Luna, Ces Quesada, etc.
• Boses by Ellen Ongkeko Marfil is about the friendship that develops between a violin teacher and his student, a mute, abused boy. They discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses by expressing them through violin. With Coke Bolipata, Ricky Davao, Meryll Soriano, Cherry Pie Picache, etc.
• Brutus by Tara Illenberger focuses on two Mangyan kids who are hired by illegal loggers to smuggle logs from the mountains of Mindoro. They discover a world of greed and ideological conflict that plagues the home of their people.
• Concerto by Paul Morales is about a piano concert held toward the end of World War II in a forest outside Davao City. Values are questioned as a family treads the thin line between enmity and friendship with the occupying Japanese troops. With Jay Aquitania, Meryll Soriano, Shamaine Buencamino, Nonoy Froilan, Elijah Castillo, etc.
• Huling Pasada by Paul Sta. Ana and Alvin Yapan effects an instructive confluence of paths between a writer and a taxi driver who becomes a street child’s father figure. With Agot Isidro and Neil Ryan Sese.
• Jay by Francis Xavier Pasion is about two protagonists with the same name — a gay TV producer who documents the case of a gay hate crime victim, also named Jay. Eventually, the producer is drawn to the secret life and love of his subject. With Baron Geisler and Coco Martin.
• My Fake American Accent by Onnah Valera and Ned Trespeces. A workplace comedy that follows the lives of call center agents for six months.
• Namets by Jay Abello follows the ongoing flirtation between Manuel and Lourdes, whose lives revolve around food.
• Ranchero by Michael Christian Cardoz unfolds in a small provincial jail, where Ricardo is about to be released. But a knife is reported missing, and the story takes some unexpected turns. With Gary Lim, Jess Evardone, Daniel Magisa, etc.
Call 551-7930 or 832-3704 for more details.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Anyway, Tuli was a digital work by the indie director Aureus Solito that was shown at the Cinemanila and at Sundance. This was his second film after the celebrated Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros. I am not sure if this film ever had a local commercial run because it received an X rating from the MTRCB for a lesbian kiss, among others. I think the topic was rather risque at best, although it wasn't really the crux of the story. Artfully shot with a little sepia glow to it (or maybe that's just how most Pinoy films are when viewed on DVD), it has a rather engaging narrative. Bravo to the young actors; they really deviated much from their protected-teen images to deliver very endearing and convincing performances.
I thought I'd never ever get to see this Gallaga masterpiece. You know, in my college days, people will only get to see this film by visiting the UP Film Center in Diliman and that alone doesn't even guarantee you a screening. Nestor de Torre brought this along with him during his national speaking tour and that's when my Mom saw it in Xavier University. Now, you can own a legit copy of this obra maestra for only Php 199. So cheap for something so priceless (note the irony in this sentence).
ORO, PLATA, MATA (Gold, Silver, Bad Luck - or something like that; Mata means something else in Spanish actually and it's not "death"!) was filmed in 1982 and set entirely in Negros (where Gallaga hails from). It won in that same year the Gawad Urian for Best Picture, direction, cinematography, production design, musical score and sound. If at all, we only have the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines and the Philippine National Bank (funder?) to thank for this film. It was also shown during the opening night of the first (and last) Manila International Film Festival in 1983 at the Manila Film Center. I loved the performances of the women actors, everyone deserving of an award (if only!). I loved Liza Lorena, most especially. I have always been a huge fan of hers. Too bad she isn't given any substantial roles these days. Gossip says Mitch Valdez regretted doing the topless scene, but hey! That was integral to her role as a liberated, US-educated doctor. Kuh Ledesma's role here is weird. She appears as a diwata. She represents, of course, the innocence (and the destruction thereof) that was inherent in the national character that was left scarred by the war.
My interest in ORO, PLATA, MATA was piqued by my current interest in this Thai soap entitled Four Reigns, which came from a book written by a former Prime Minister about a woman whose life spanned four kings. I was thinking that perhaps there could be a Philippine equivalent, and I think Oro is it. Compared to Four Reigns, however, Oro has so much tension - name it, it has it - and sex and violence and intrigue, something which is sorely lacking in its Thai equivalent (which made me think Four Reigns will never make it to local television). Every Filipino cineaste worth his salt should make Oro, Plata, Mata required viewing.
Lastly, I saw Himala. By now, it was already past mignight but I've been having problems sleeping lately that I didn't even quite notice the time. I have seen this thrice, twice on ABS-CBN and last night on DVD. Yes, you can now own a copy of this precious Bernal for only Php 199! Himala premiered in 1981. Although it didn't get the elusive Urian nod, it won in the 1982 Metro Manila Film Festival (Best Actress, Best Film, Screenplay, etc.) was eventually shown in Chicago and Berlin. The Manunuri, however, made up for its oversight by declaring Bernal the Most Outstanding Filmmaker of the Decade (1971-1980). He also was conferred the National Artist Award albeit posthumously. Himala was also shown, along with Oro, during the opening of the 1983 Manila International Film Festival. I don't need to mention here what this film says about the Filipino, but the need to believe in something is still a quest for so many.