I can’t believe it’s been that long. And yet, at the same time, I can feel the weight of each day, and three years sounds about right.
My thanks to everyone who greeted and texted us. We ate and ate and ate, because it was also the day that Neva became a full-fledged director for Mary Kay, so aside from our lunch and dinner we had a small handaan at her dad’s in Marikina, where she played with her dog Mittens. And if you read her blog, she’s downplaying it a little. Her deadline to get the directorship was March, but since she reached her quota in February, she gets an all-expenses paid trip to Dallas this July. So go over and congratulate her on her blog, which she’s been updating like a madwoman.
We met up with Quark, Mich, and Chris later that night, and then went to a strip club/brothel named Pegasus. It’s fairly popular, the one on Quezon Avenue? I’d always wanted to go there in high school, but I guess it had to wait until after I graduated college. It was fairly interesting, but that’s for another post.
Also came up with this: if you’re in a relationship, can you imagine something worse than accidentally killing the one you love? Is it worse than hearing that they’ve been raped and murdered, for example? I mean, they’d both be events out of your control, but would it be worse if the death were by your hands, albeit inadvertently? If you can, post a comment. I’m curious what’s worse than that.
Blogger’s been screwing up lately. Not that that’s a surprise to anyone. Neva said they’ve been bought by Google, so that may be one of the reasons. And if it’s not Blogger screwing up, it’s Haloscan. I blame Bush.
I also blame him for the fact that last Tuesday, me and Neva went to two malls looking for Hero only to find out that movies were changed a day early because it was a holiday. Damn, I really wanted to see it a second time. Now it’s only playing in far-away malls like SM City Fairview and Manila. When you’re all set for Hero it’s depressing to be confronted with Treasure Planet and Legend of the Crocodile.
I’m disappointed with this year’s Eiga Sai. The annual free film fest is usually the best of the bunch (and one of the first), with actual themed programming (most of these festivals just get what films are available). Last year or so it was all animated films, etc. This year was intriguing: it’s focused on one director, Kiyoshi Kurosawa. I’d never heard of him prior to the festival, but was intrigued because he was called the “new face of Japanese horror.” And for the country that gave us Ringu, that’s not to be taken lightly. But the thing is, none of these films are horror. The closest is Cure, which made him famous, but it’s a serial killer film. And the rest of the films they selected just aren’t that good. So while he may be a celebrated director (he does about 3 films a year, and will be writing one for Takashi Miike to direct), the 6 movies showing at Eiga Sai this year don’t really cast him in a nice light. All the movies I’ve seen so far have been slow, boring, and with not much happening. Hopefully the last two will prove better, since they sound the most intriguing.
I’ve also been watching the movies alone, which is an experience I’m not used to as much anymore. I mean, I watch movies at home alone all the time, but I haven’t watched a movie in a theater alone in a while. But I used to, a lot, especially in the first 2 years of college, when these embassy-sponsored free film festivals started popping up (usually at Shangri-La Plaza), and the lines would stretch to the parking lot.
This year I’ve noticed some sad things: first, that because the screenings are free you sometimes attract people I’d rather were deterred from going. Like drivers killing time and use the theater as an airconditioned place to sleep in, and noisy squatter schoolkids cutting class who can’t shut the fuck up and giggle and laugh all the damn time. The absolute worst is loner creepy men and women (usually overweight, old, with gray long hair and slippers) who talk out loud when they’re all alone, and just repeat whatever’s happening onscreen. Makes my teeth gnash. I also hate it when gay men are noisy, because it’s obvious they just want the attention; they try so hard to come up with something witty to say, and it’s no accident that their voice is raised so that other people will hear their supposedly-priceless bon mots. The second sad thing I noticed is that if the film’s really quiet, like most Japanese films are, you can actually hear the buses’ horns on Shaw Blvd.
If you have a chance, drop by the Cinema Paraiso exhibit at the NCCA building in Intramuros. There are a lot of interesting things on display, like the original Tiyanak doll, a couple of spooky busts and face masks (one of Dolphy, another of Christopher De Leon) that reminded me of Ring 2, the original handwritten script of Aguila by Eddie Romero, scripts of Ishmael Bernal’s Pagdating Sa Dulo (which won the FAMAS Award that year for best screenplay, I discovered), Peque Gallaga’s Orapronobis, Lino Brocka’s Maynila Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag, Jose Lacaba’s script for Segurista, a hilarious photo-essay on kissing in Philippine cinema, really cool promotional t-shirts for the movies City After Dark, Bagets, Sister Stella L, and Kisapmata, posters for Maynila and Raymond Red’s Pepe, which may be my favorite Pinoy film poster ever. Joey took some fantastic photos with his new camera, so I hope he gets to upload them soon.
It continues to sadden me that our Golden Age of cinema occurred 3 decades ago, and we haven’t come close since. Especially going through the exhibit, I kept thinking, how sad that we can’t even preserve the best films of our country’s history. They’re hardly on home video, and their existing prints are deteriorating. Where are the film restorers/preservation societies? I wish these films would get DVD releases, so that they could be sent to international schools and festivals. I wish that book I saw on Lino Brocka in the exhibit would be back in print, or at least online. I wish we had our version of the Newmarket Press publishing notable shooting scripts with supplementary material. Reprinting posters for schools and film enthusiasts.
What’s worse: that our Golden Age was 30 years ago or that we’re doing nothing to preserve what made it our Golden Age? I really want to see some of these films, but they’re inaccessible. And I live here! Imagine the frustration of people in other countries interested in Philippine movies of the 70s. The ones we could be proud of. Christ, and these are just the 70s! We can’t find clean copies of Pagdating Sa Dulo, for example, Ishmael Bernal’s first film, which was made in the same year as fucking STAR WARS!!! Sorry, I’m getting upset.
May I also note that it really fucking pissed me off to discover that Mike De Leon and Clodualdo Del Mundo’s script for Bayaning Third World was published by La Salle (De Leon’s an Atenean! Christ, he’s got relatives teaching there!).