Friday, February 11, 2011

Cinematic Date with Alexis

February is not only about cupids and cut-out hearts. February is Arts Month. And I'm thrilled when Sir Ricky de Ungria informed us that Davao is one of the sponsors of the Philippine International Arts Festival (PIAF). The third Cinema Rehiyon showcases different indie films from all over the country. And I'm looking forward to watch movies made by Mindanaoans.

Yesterday, I had my rest day. and what's the best way to have a ME, MYSELF and I time? By 1:30pm, I'm off for a movie date. Cinema 6 at Gaisano Mall is already closed. The movie already starting. Good thing Chi was there.:)
It was already the narrative of Lola Candida (the director's grandmother) on the Equifrilibricum World Religion's founder Dr. Hilario Camino Moncado. Ang Panagtagpo Sa Akong Mga Apohan (The Day My Grandmothers Met) documents the perspective of the female Moncadista members. it's a visual journey of narratives-- of looking at Limao and Babak Island and the rich history of the Moncadistas. Some may say it's a cult. Universal Religion is what they profess.

Malaya Camporedondo with her sleeping baby.

(backstory: When I entered the cinema, I stood just near the entrance first. A Madonna with a pixie cut and her child is standing also. The baby's trying to hold me. I took his/ her (not sure of the baby's sex)hand coo with this adorable baby.Only to find out it's the director herself. hehe and her partner Kabunyan de Guia (for reel and real! )

Next short film is Sherad Anthony Sanchez' Balangay. Sanchez is the multi-awarded director of Huling Balyan ng Buhi. Balangay tackles Ata- Manobo's displacement due to military and NPAs clash in Davao del Norte. While it has several serious matters to discuss- displacement, peace situation, poverty and intervention from NGOs, the prolonged silence narrative made the audience very uncomfortable. I don't know if that is one of the director's goal, but it is effective in making the audience raise question. What is the relevance of the collective memories and personalities as if they're floating in scenes? The movie is very aural. The silence? We are not used to it. it makes us unsettled. Homelessness. Poverty. and Cracking up (craziness). Davao old airport provides a very good backdrop on this. BUt some scenes are quite dragging. The media person provided comic relief but has become irritating. A character nurse (?)/ saleslady's role is blurry; a character that comes in and ends with no explanation. Sherad respects everyone's opinion on his supposedly "secret" movie. He respects every audience experience. Including dozing off while watching this. :)

Halaw's Sheron Dayoc, Zurich Chan of Boca and their staff, crew and actors/ actresses

Boca's expensive actress! The main tease.

Comes next are two short films.
I love Boca (Mouth) by Zurich Chan. Charlemangne Alejandro's working his ass as a letter/ catalogue sender. A chain smoker with no direction until he found The One who will change his life forever. Short yet very cinematic. And yeah hearing Chavacano on the big screen is just sweet. It reminds me of Pedro Almodóvar.

Un Diutay Mundo (Small World)by Ana Carlyn Lim's is a sad story of Kafka locked in his room. She wanted to share his story but she was silenced even before she wrote about this nine-year old boy. Quite sad and brutal way to end it.

The day's feast is Halaw (way of the Sea). Sheron Dayoc and his team has great eyes for details. No wonder this film is making rounds in various international film festivals. :) The young child played by Arnalyn Ismael is a breather. Natural child actress. She reminds me of another indie film child Rebecca Lusterio. Halaw chronicles the lives of Filipinos who crosses Sabah in search of greener pasture and good life. Unemployment. Prostitution. Women and child trafficking. Smuggling.the central government that is not felt in the island provinces. To whom should they rely? Lives that intertwined. Recruiters and boatmen, the villagers from nearby islands that thrives on this business. An open secret that nobody dares to ask.

I really wanted to watch Sheika and Limbunan but the organizers begged us to give chance to the waiting students (there's a long line outside!). I had my share of the light and besides stomach is already growling. And Korean food is waiting with my pre- valentine dinner dates! :)

P.S. You might ask who is Alexis. Alexis Tioseco is one young movie critic and a strong advocate of Philippine independent film making. Him discussing film to Carlos J. Caparas will remain in my memory. He is a good listener and forms solid ideas about the topic. He explains well despite Caparas' lack of listening and comprehension ability.

But he had gone too soon. It's his 30th birthday today. I know he'll be delighted to see indie films thriving. Winning awards here and abroad. But he hopes for more avenue for the local populace to appreciate indie films. And Cinema Rehiyon is just one of the ways of bringing cinema diversity. Don't worry Alexis. What you believe in will continue. I hope you're here to witness it. again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALEXIS!



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