Tuesday ∗ 04 Sep 2012

Cinemalaya 2012: youthful excess & indie on overdrive

been writing about the Cinemalaya 2012 movies i saw, slowly but surely, sitting on them mainly because i saw the winning new breed film “Diablo” last, and i couldn’t quite wrap my head around the fact that it won.

so as i try (very hard) to get a handle on the results of the Cinemalaya Awards, i write about the rest of the films that i saw, hopefully to write about that winning film last, too.

on Ang Nawawala:

“Ang Nawawala” is not brilliant, but it certainly was new, and uncomfortably so. I needed distance from it, I needed the rest of the Cinemalaya films that I saw, to appreciate it for what it actually is: a film that got my exasperation, strapped as I was to my seat, because it was sold to speak of my generation (which is not its fault), and it dared to be unapologetic about this particular social class  —which is all its fault, as it is its bravery.”

on The Animals:

Its daring is in the dirty that is here, and it’s unlike any we’ve seen before, least of all in this year’s Cinemalaya haul.

Because it’s a portrayal of the filthy in youthful abandon that doesn’t point a finger at the usual culprits that are parental neglect or rebellion with a cause. In fact within the universe of the film, everything is rationalized by the mere fact of inexplicability. Why would two teenage boys want to join a fraternity, go through the worst of initiation processes, subject themselves to shame and embarrassment? Why is an intelligent popular girl also a kleptomaniac? Why is she thin, but thinks herself fat? What is the reason for parties put together by rich kids, hyped up via social media, celebrated in the aftermath by photographs to be posted on social media? What is the rationale to this life and times of youthful decadence?

Nothing. There is no rationale. It just is.

on Mga Mumunting Lihim:

And did I mention fun? This might be said as well about the scenes that flashback to when Mariel was still alive and she and the rest of the girls could go drinking and space-brownie-eating, talk about dildos and sex and men. This was in the individual conversations between the girls, where they could reprimand each other, or fall quiet and let another tell her story. The banter here is honest, the dialogue real. This would also be why it was believable, the way these friends handled Mariel’s cancer: they did so without losing their capacity at laughter, within the same conversations, that were quieter and more introspective. 

on Bwakaw:

And this is also what allows for this kind of story to work, where the unraveling is interestingly slow, because it is slow in this space, it is as old and aged as our characters. But too there is the fact of silence, the one that surrounds Rene’s character, not just because he is sad and ready to die, but also because he is gay and alone and lonely. That it is the latter that evolves in the film, even as it is also shown to be secondary to everything else that was unfolding here, is a measure of Lana’s storytelling which is succinct even when the story is larger than life, believable because it is grounded in what’s here. “Bwakaw” is sensitive and funny, where Lana is able to manipulate the expected into being laughable, and absurdity becomes acceptable truth.

Posted in: arts and culture, kultura, pelikula

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