Wednesday, August 01, 2007


English Translation: Who's Free?

Pardon the pun (Thanks to Raya for the lovely picture; his blog also has essays on the fallacy of the film festival worth reading: here and here). It delighted me to see the usually empty spaces of the Cultural Center of the Philippines full of people, idly chatting about the films they just saw in the Cinemalaya Film Festival. It shows promise that alongside the so-called independence in filmmaking, there is also a burgeoning reception to these films (at least from the new generation). Now that there's reception, what's next? Do we sit idly and wait for the so-called independent movement to fizzle and become the mainstream? That's what I fear, and that's why I invite everyone to talk about the films you've seen (mainstream, independent, Hollywood, foreign) in whatever way you can (feminist, homosexual, Marxist, personal readings are most welcome; educate yourself with what's readily unavailable in our shores (through Cinamanila, or those series of screenings, DVDs (legit or not)): a blog is free, access to the internet is cheap, your contribution to Philippine cinema is invaluable). Now that Philippine cinema is supposedly free, it is the audience's turn to be liberated from pre-conceived notions on how to read cinema (read: mere exercise for the eyes).

I thought that the following conversation is an interesting discussion, and I am inviting online lurkers to take part in the discourse. Feel free to take part in the discussion. I am copying the bulk of the discussion here, but one may read everything in my thoughts on Jim Libiran's Tribu (2007):


Kid, you got what it takes to be a critic... Like Oggs said, everybody's a critic... I just don't think that, Oggs, you are. Your righteous criticisms in some of your films are so outstandingly in denial beyond cinematic comparison. You approach it with a verbalistic observation, or atleast I think it is, towards a merely non-idealistic art. Altman, Spielberg, Lee, Zwick, Macinzski, Stolav, Chung, Rosario, Rodriguez, Polate, Teranitti, Pussini, and Howard... are only a handful of the greatests... they are not Directors...they are Filmmakers... Big difference...what's my point Oggs? My point is what Kid was trying to say...there's merely no comparison between any of them.. They have their own style like a volcano has its own. The late Bob Altman had a different brush like of Libiran's, but ..they are both artists. Artists at their own peds.

Kid's point was to merely circumcise the "critic" that can easily be based on your observation and wonderment on how it is easy for some (Oggs) and hard for others (Kid) to relay such a "critique". I hate to say it, but though Libiran's Tribu didn't fully capture my attention for its uniqueness, it gave me a passion for what filmmakers do..."painting a canvass". And that he did very successfully.

Oggs, not to dote on an issue of personal being, but you seem to be a very intelligent person, however, the past 14 movie film critiques that you have novelized seem to have been too disected. How do you watch a movie? Isn't it just as simple as "watching" it? I feel that you overly extend your arm too far in that cookie jar. What's in front of you is the palette? Don't think too hard. You can't enjoy a piece that way.. Or hell, maybe you are enjoying it that way you do.. So be it... To each his own.

Kid's comments are to submerge a feeling of distaste to what he or she might think are not tooinformedbeings... A compassion towards the filmmaker's hard work.. Yes, we get that. Yes, he/she thinks that the blood, sweat, and tears, are not easily absolved.. but should be chizzled to our member. We feel it, but understanding it is another.

First, Cinemalaya is not a film festival. It is merely a week of screenings. A film festival is not Cinemalaya, Cinamanila, nor Manila Film's pure egotist market fest. A film festival is where filmmakers are... As a jury member myself to two reputable film festivals, how I only wish that these so called events were different... for the sake of the young filmmakers who would like to be the Filmmakers of the future... A Filipino I am... A Filipino I quote... Second, Tribu does deserve a prize. Can't compare it to any other works because it is merely an entitiy of its any other films... Third and last, Tribu can't be any better than what it is... if it were different...then it wouldn't be Tribu now would it?

The Philippines have two idealistic societies; those of power and those of not.. How you define that power is all up to you.. Oggs, absorb both and this whole thing will eventually make sense to you.


"Nothing can combine better judgement than just a simple scroll from a pencil and a fold from a paper."-Jurassa Hasmin "Power"- 1967

Oggs Cruz:

Thanks for that piece of education, Rich (which shook me to my core),

I am aware of the vast differences between all filmmakers, or directors when do directors graduate to become filmmakers; is this a canonical concept; a cinematic sanctification?). As for comparisons, I use them as measurements, as gauges, as points in this vast cinematic history. I don’t claim my comparisons are objective or academic (sometimes I re-read my writings, and I cringe as to the mistakes I’ve made in the past); these are hunches (you may refer to them as intellectual masturbation), wherein a cinematic image turns on a stimulus that instantly refers to that point of cinematic history, as known to me. I agree with you that a filmmaker and a film is unique; and I also agree that to change a film to subscribe to anybody’s wishes is to completely modify the film (but this brings in to mind the very contemporary concept of director’s cuts, producer’s cuts, and many more --- are these different films; which film is whose?).

I look at films as pieces of literature --- all open to criticism, interpretation, interpolation, and discussion. My “reviews” are open to immense criticism (overextending my arm too far in that cookie jar, as you’ve said), I look at each and every detail and subscribe meaning, fault, praise to those observations (the same way I excite myself over words authors choose in writing their books --- despite the fact that these words may not be the author’s but the proofreader’s). Is that a fault, to some yes; but to me, it isn’t (it’s as overly reaching as feminist, psychoanalytic or Marxist reading). I’m turning the films I watch into a personal experience; addressing some moments I enjoy or hated with interpretations and probably rationalizations. We’re human because we think; Sorry, I don’t subscribe to the philosophy of merely watching movies --- like paintings which tell stories despite its perpetual immobility, films are evolving (the same way trash films of the past are given their due in the present).

Let me make this clear. I enjoyed Tribu. I was angry when Jim Libiran told the story about CCP and the Tondo rappers. I admire how Libiran turned Tondo into a sprawling landscape where day and night are vastly different. I used Altman as a point of reference because of Libiran’s ability to merge stories that flow with the film’s narrative (half-hearted because I’m sure Altman wasn’t the inspiration; probably from his own experiences and made literary by his workshops with Bing Lao). Meirelles, I used, because it just reminded me of that film and it does tread similarly to City of God --- whether it be intentional or not, is not a matter of concern.

So why did it seem that I disliked the movie; because of how it culminated. And that’s where I agree to your point that if it ended differently, it wouldn’t be the Tribu that is admired for “its grand and graphic depiction of contemporary Tondo, its raw passion and searing violence, its terrible social conditions and conflicting social mores, and its people’s coruscating embrace of both sacred and the profane, the filial and the tribal, the tender and the vicious.” To me, it’s sensationalizing… to some, it’s realistic. It’s really a matter of perception, not of taste (I don’t subscribe to tastes). If the film ended differently, would it be better; maybe, maybe not. Again, it doesn’t matter. Thousands loved the film for what it is, who am I to judge.

I take offense, however, to your statement that I am not a critic. First, I never claimed I was. I do not get paid, I am not published, I do not get invited to become jury members of film festivals (prestigious or not). But to completely nullify my aspirations is as hurtful as the one you accuse me of (of putting aside the blood, sweat, and tears of the filmmaker). I welcome people to comment in my blog (I never thought about screening comments) because I want to invite discussion to the films (or movies) and because I believe everyone is well-suited to become a critic (all you need is a brain, paper and a pen (or a computer) --- as your quotation states). Are my writings perfect? No. I have no grand delusions for them to be portals of cinematic knowledge (heck, I am not the best in the field I decided to be in (law), what more, for a hobby). However, it is not only cinema that is being revolutionized by the digital age. It is also film writing; some bloggers are happy with I LOVE OUIJA! ANG GANDA NI JUDAY!, while some would reach further interpretations. Can you fault us? I don’t think so.

In any case, thank you very much for your comment, which I highly respect. I don’t know if this will make sense to you, but it makes sense to me.

I end with this quote which addresses the new kind of criticism that evolved with the age of the computer (something I subscribe to); seriously, when the world has been shrunk to the size of a laptop and cultures are becoming more apparent to the everyday person, there will be new ways of appreciating art and film (we don’t just watch them, we think them, we live them, we breath them):

“In short, we’re living in a transitional period where enormous paradigmatic shifts should be engendering new concepts, new terms, and new kinds of analysis, evaluation, and measurement, not to mention new kinds of political and social formations, as well as new forms of etiquette. But in most cases they aren’t doing any of those things. We’re stuck with vocabularies and patterns of thinking that are still tied to the ways we were watching movies half a century ago.”
--- Jonathan Rosenbaum

Lastly, isn't referring to a film as best, comparing? As jury member to two festivals, how do you decide which wins? I'm just curious.


By simply "watching" them Oggs. "Watchiing" them... That is a feat in itself.

In the decade that I've been in this industry...the film industry that is...the more a critic dissects a rubinized movie to its core, the more it becomes trash.. It's not a good feeling when one takes offense..? Does it? But we carry a jargon that often is mistaken for rape in beliefs. That my friend is what you need to understand. I think that your mental masturbation is quite an o.c.d. for leaving an open policy in your blog. You love to love it. You love to hate it. Hey, some people love porn. You.... love this. To each his own. One last thing, Jonathan Rosenbaum became the windy city's critic because of a painted canvas that he could never finish... and that my friend is to each his own.

Oggs Cruz:

First and foremost, may I know who the person is behind “rich?” That way, I
may know to whom I owe this re-education.

I pay deference to your experience, but not exactly to your way of thinking:

- Further clarifications, you say you simply “watch” movies. What happens afterwards? When it’s time to deliberate with your co-jury members who among the filmmakers deserve the top prize, what do you contribute? How do you watch films (it simple enjoyment, technical marvel)? More interestingly, what do you make of films, such as those by Bela Tarr, Lav Diaz, Tsai Ming-liang, etc., which if simply watched, wouldn’t amount to anything. Don’t tell me you just “watched” Lynch’s films, or Cronenberg’s horrors. I’m sorry, films aren’t simply watched. The best films are those which invite discourse; invite interaction with the audience --- which is also why a film festival is not merely a bunch of screenings, or as you wish that it is a communion of filmmakers and filmmaker-wannabes. A film festival is for everyone who wants to partake in film; whether you are a filmmaker, an aspirant, a writer, or like me, an over-thinking blogger. Belittle my experience, but when I over-think films, I find gems in trash and I find trash in conceived gems (case in point: Roger Corman’s films as opposed to Paul Haggis’ Crash).

- Your whole point is that we love different things, that there are so many schools of thought existing, and that we should be bound to respect differences and
uniqueness. I ask you this: why dismiss this writer as not a critic, or in your words… “I just don't think that, Oggs, you are.” Is it because my writings are righteous (as you say), overreaching (as you say), I approach it with a verbalistic observation (as you say). Again, mere differences in schools of thought; one can’t be judgmental with somebody else’s opinion. Criticism is simply that: forwarding an opinion.

- You put filmmakers in a pedestal; but what are films, are they simply watched, simply enjoyed. You make differences between filmmakers and directors. One thing I’ve noticed: those who canonized these filmmakers are the ones who don’t simply watch their films; they overthink, find symbolisms and relate it to their
respective fields --- that is art, and my friend, film is art --- not a mere show.

- You bring up Jonathan Rosenbaum’s history; how he became Chicago’s critic (which I don’t quite get; he became Chicago’s critic because of his failures?). That’s beside the point. My point is: there’s so much to film writing than mere watching and enjoyment. The quote I gave you simply puts into perspective my way of thinking: that there are many discourses in film (and not only the filmmakers, which you give undivided importance to: half of filmmaking belongs to the audience, to those who process the films and make them their own by relating it to personal experiences). I am not part of the industry, as you speak (and I do not hope to be part of it, if it means sacrificing my personal beliefs for mere enjoyment), but I hope I am part of the burgeoning film culture (which includes both filmmakers, film lovers, and everyone in between) that the internet is sparking. Film is democracy; the filmmaker doesn’t have a definite say as to what his films mean once he releases it to the public. Film isn’t merely consumed, it is experienced (and that’s how criticism should be; a remuneration of film as assessed by the critic’s own experiences, beliefs, and knowledge).

- I repeat… the independent revolution does not merely belong to the filmmakers. It belongs to everyone who loves film. Now that our filmmakers are unbound from the commercialism of the dying Philippine cinema, they are beginning to make films that matter, that aren’t simply “watched.” That’s when the audience needs to be unshackled from the bamboozlement the proliferation of Hollywood films has given us.


Anonymous said...

Class of 1996 Columbia University School of Law..passed NYS Bar 1997.Three year stint with Jacoby & Meyers firm..while school academe at The New School. Directed 4 tv commercials for Chef Boyardee and Johnson & Johnson. First short film 2000, "Levitan"..three thereafter ..."Tango"..."Jesse Six"..& "Rape". Produced 8 tv episodes for NBC. Became legal counsel for two main North American and Australian networks. NYSCPS directing for film and Television post grad degree..Taught Film History for Chafey College in Southern California for night courses. Started working for Miramax and then eventually as a Jury member for Weinstein Company's Tribeca Film Festival... then off to Sundance Film Festival...then proceeded to The MIlano Film Festival...started doing consultancy work for Big Foot Productions in Cebu just a few years back...Now, I have my own film company in Manila, New York, Miami, Toronto, and Los Angeles..we produce "films" and have our own Entertainment Law Firm to protect our rights. I am in the process of reaching out to the young filmmakers in the Philippines and help them get their projects off the ground and expedite their dreams...two of the short films that I had helped grow to its fruition was in "CINeMALAYA". Both filmmakers...UP grads.. Six more films will be coming out.. all pro-bono. What do I get?.. a satisfaction of negating what's right and what's wrong in Philippine Cinema. What else do I get? Nothing. Kinda like what you're getting by needing for you to know who I am. C'mon Oggs, "watching" a film is not literal.. It's more vast than your computation. I don't need to elaborate. It seems that you are doing that already. Good luck with the Law kid. You've got moxie.

Anonymous said...

Oggs, huh??

Noel Vera said...

Huh. Bit confusing, this, oggs. Commented in your old post, but you seem to be linking this one. Should I copy the comments over here?

Anonymous said...

rich didn't answer oggs' most important questions.

-how does one simply "watch"?
-how do jurors deliberate without analysis?

i'm curious. someone please explain.

Oggs Cruz said...

Thanks rich, tai, noel, and masturmind (I assume you're jade?),

Noel, just wanted to open up the discussion to anyone who won't be able to find the discussion under the Tribu posts, You can copy and paste your comments here, or I can do it for you. Thanks.

Tai, I assume the huh is "what's the point of this post?" I just wanted to further the discussion. We've been talking about the "new Philippine cinema," while neglecting the fact that there's no literature regarding that cinema. Part of the problem regarding Philippine cinema is that we pride ourself of a vast film culture, but where are they now? They're rotting in an un-airconditioned room. Also, there's no literature regarding these vast cinematic culture (except for a few written by Noel Vera, and a few other critics and historians). Do we want that to happen with this so-called resurgence of Philippine cinema?

Rich, I only have admiration for your accomplishments and your advocacy. Congratulations for putting into fruition those two short films (I assume its Ang Tagapagligtas and Misteryo ng Hapis). I am aware that you don't simply "watch" films, but you kept on pushing the term --- what is to "watch" for you? I hope I still got moxie when I need it.

Masturmind, I do hope rich answers those questions and a few others I've thrown. We're all here to learn after all. If you're Jade, congratulations!

Oggs Cruz said...

Oh, and I'm getting something by knowing the people I communicate with in my blog. I don't like offering things (such as ideas, opinions, etc.) to the public in the guise of anonymity. Transparency is something I uphold, and since you've at least shed some light as to your identity (a name behind the e-nick would suffice but since I was given a resume, thank you --- in any case, I'd love to know more about your work, especially the IPL part since I want to research on something involving film archiving --- your law firm's name would suffice), Thank you.

One more question:

Since you get the satisfaction of what's wrong and what's right in Philippine cinema, what is wrong and what is right?

dodo dayao said...

Came into this a little late, oggs but I'll chime in more when I find the time ,specially on your main point about there being no ongoing and rampant literature on film in the country, but I've been through the whole brouhaha over at your Tribu post and it's all WTF to me at the moment.

So you presumably wrote a wrong review? Huh? Sort of like a Buddhist Pope, that. No such thing and all.

One thing, though.

Once we start to factor in the blood, sweat and tears an artist puts into his art as a criteria for processing the work, then it becomes impossible and it does the artist, I think, a disservice. No artist wants a sympathy win. Besides, once the work is done and out there it really is none of the artist's business anymore. His agenda becomes just one person's opinion and imposing it in a discourse can be quire the buzzkill.

Anonymous said...

And where are we now in this prolonged one-sided masturbation? So many films, so little time.

Noel Vera said...

From your Tribu post:

Yo, oggs, only have this to say: you show great patience trying to sort out and make sense of their comments; have a hard time, myself. Stick to your guns; I think you have a point. Films are made to be compared (Filipino to foreign, and vice versa); Cinemalaya is a screening of films--which is what a festival is, actually; all filmmmakers are directors, in my opine not all directors are filmmakers (if you ask me for a strict definition I'd be hard put setlling on one--but, I submit it would be tough for anyone who realizes what the real issues are).

You're doing good, oggs; I don't think these people have made much of a case, actually.

Oh, and the Rosenbaum references--well, I can't be sure what he's hinting at either, but I suspect he's suggesting Rosenbaum's a failed filmmaker, which is your standard silly charge against film critics (why judge films when you can't even make one?). To which Pauline Kael had the classic reply (freely paraphrased): "You don't need to know how to cook an egg to be able to tell if the egg's rotten."

Oh, and one thing I wish we Filipinos would cultivate in our culture is the ability to, if not actually accept of criticism, at least recognize its place in the world. One reason I believe Filipino films (and possibly the nation in general) have been mired in the backwaters for so long is this aversion to intelligent and reasoned criticism.

The best thing Jim can do with your piece, oggs (and reading over it I can't say it doesn't state its reasons, or fails to come up with some basis for comparison, or even totally demolishes the picture--it's a mixed review that's careful to point out what it believes are good points and what it believes are bad) is to at least consider what you have to say and keep your ideas in mind till his next film--which I trust you'll see and write about as well. That's how this whole thing works--or is supposed to work, anyway.

And that's all he said...

Oggs Cruz said...

Thanks Dodo, Raya, and Noel,

Dodo, your words are golden. About the literature bit, I believe it's the unpopular and unacknowledged half of our battle to revive our cinematic past. What happens after rescuing our classics? Is that the end? I don't think so --- it should be seen and enjoyed, perpetuated in our national culture (through literature).

Noel, thank you very much for your words. Jim is a sport (through the series of emails I exchanged with him).

Raya, I honestly do not now where we are now in this mental masturbation. I think we're in the middle of a tug-of-war between blind adherence to the so-called revolution and taking the step further by dissecting the works and the filmmakers produced under the revolution. We're unable to move forward because we're stuck in reverence and thanksgiving to the so-called revolutionaries, to those brave enough to have their voices heard through digital cinema. I do hope we can stop masturbating, and start piercing the hymen of this new cinema (forgive the machismo-laden metaphor, hehe).

To masturmind and the rest of those lurking, here's a nice write-up on how to "watch" cinema. It's not gospel truth, but it's a great guideline (written by Matt Riviera of Australia):

Anonymous said...

Lads and/or Ladies, I believe that elaborating on what and how the term "watching" meant has become an intricate cactus in the Mojave. Go back and further read my thread and understand what "watching" was meant to be. It's not Homer sitting on a lazy couch with a remote on one hand and a Duff's beer on the other. C'mon, if we're all above 18 yrs of age here, we know as well as any Tom, Dick, and Harry that that verb meant much more. I look for "honesty" and "realism" in a film, might it be The Matrix or American Psycho. Yes, I revel in intricately dissecting a film, but...within its limits. If a film needs to push you further to absorb what it was suppose to be, then that simplicity and realism is no longer there. Listen, everyone has their own opinion in looking at films, but in my own realm, "what you see, is what you get". It's a film, not an analysis on Hitler's demise during the war. If a film asks for one to reach over for what you are existentially getting, then that film is better off as a novel and should be booked with Dr. Phil. It's a film. Yes, the parody, character analysis, plot, technical aspect, hell..even the music....I look into all that when judging a film...but only to the film's limits. No less. I don't just watch them watch them.. The term "watch" is the nutshell. Inside, its more. But the common glue is realism and simplicity. Get my attention with that and you're a shoe-in.

A film festival is not just "a screening of films".. If it is, then they should use a different term for all of them. A film festival is a market for filmmakers. It is a venue for them to grow, not by just watching films, but to find opportunities for their works of art. There should be Distributors, both foreign and local, Producers, Screenwriters, Industry Icons, yes....FILM CRITICS, both foreign and local, Film Companies, workshops, new product presentations. These are opportunities that all, and I mean ALL festivals in this country lacks. The respect for the bottom of that totem pole. A hand to reach down and pull them up. What we got is an ego fest. With students too busy chatting away during screenings and others looking for that limelight to be in. Then at the end of the day's last screening, CCP becomes almost like a graveyard. Lights are off, doors locked, and Manong Security Guards roam the area with a smoke at hand. As if there wasn't even any "festival". Why is our Philippine Cinema dying? Because of this... I like how Oggs termed it, "CINOMALAYA". That's just exactly what it was. A big question. That's not what a film festival is all about. If that's how its used here, then I apologize for the criticism. But I look back at one of the nights of CINEMALAYA and remember a young enthusiastic, yet hungry for knowledge man from St. Benilde College in search for answers to his questions to catapult his film project..but it is unfortunate that not a single one could help him that evening to fulfill his queries... nor the next day. The attention of the event was focused on something else. That young man is only a small fraction of the demographics in this country whose dreams are impeded by something more powerful than a camera....ego of the other forces. It's disheartining and pathetic to be a voyeur to it. That enthusiastic and hungry for knowledge young man...he now freelances with me.

Oggs, in the old tradition of film critics, such as Jonathan Rosenbaum, who by the way was never a failed filmmaker, but simply was haunted with being pigeon holed in the industry,.. to each his own. He once said in an interview;

"I don't believe that anyone knows what most people want, including most people, because to speak about such a thing without any consideration of what the actual choices are is being disingenuous".

The unfinished canvas that I pertain to is his continuous love-hate feeling towards Hollywood.. And that's what makes him an interesting critic. A good one?...well, to each his own.

Oggs, you know where that film culture is in the Philippine Cinema? It went to the tv sets. They're higher regard for tv has over shadowed what was called the Philippine cinema. "So many films, so little time". I think its more.."So many films...what now?" All these local films that we love and hate, where are they? Oh yeah, I forgot..OUIJA is out in 100 theatres. Forgive my French, but that makes me fucking laugh. Not because I hate the movie. I haven't even seen it.. But because it's the only local film that's being highly promoted. Whatever happened to all those movies that were a part of "CINOMALAYA"? I remember the days in the late 70's when the movie house in ALI MALL in Cubao would show one foreign film and the rest PINOY! Where is that Philippine Cinema? Don't know lads and ladies.

What is wrong...the lack of respect, which comes to lack of education about films and their wrongly allocation of focus into television. What is right? These incredible filmmakers that are fighting that water dam that's impeding their way and are continuously making the poor man's project..indie films.

No artist should get a sympathy win. No one. And I never said nor even believe that one should. I could care less if a blind director made the film. However, once the work is done, it is still the filmmaker's "business" all the way to its fruition. What's that fruition? As long as he/she is alive. That is their "child". No one should ever take that away from them. Eternally. Yes, everyone may impose an opinion, critic, or what have you, but a filmmaker's film, will always be a filmmaker's business. Just be prepared to face the crowd with it. Simple as that.

I only wish that a "perfect world" existed....only for a moment, so that we may peruse in our minds what and how much of an artist each and every one of us are. There are a plethora of filmmakers out here in our country. If you are capable of guiding them to a proper path, so be it. It could revive that Philippine Cinema that once thrive.

I believe my work here is done. Oggs, don't know you nor do I wish to know further of you (no offense)... but I truly believe that you still have moxie and you always will. Let's hang on to this transparency that you uphold for what it is. It might lead to complications for more than what we will both expect. You've got flow. You've got spunk. Allow yourself to open up simplier for what it is. Then I truly believe that from there, you'll be one helluva lawyer.

As for film archiving, check out Tribeca Film Festival's and Toronto Film Festival's sight. You'll get more info there and they always look for new young breed like you, local or foreign. Who knows, you might "bump" into me in the information highway.

As for my work...I'm in the works of directing a couple of shorts and one feature here in our good country of ours. I'm also producing or I should say helping out some students from a few colleges in getting their projects off the ground. All shot on location in Vigan, Bicol, Laguna, and Batangas.

For the record, I respect all critics, opinions, inputs, that has been said in your blog Oggs. Like anyone in any debacle, you are in heat during it, but if you're a wise man, all is soothing at the end. Kudos to you. And keep on watching those movies. See yah 'round.


Anonymous said...

Seriously Rich, hit me with your info. I'd love to work for you. I admire your passion for films and the true art of it. I guess less is more.

Anonymous said...

what's your site Rich? Which Schools are your filmmakers from? I'd like to offer my services and help make a difference in this dying industry.

Oggs Cruz said...

Thanks Rich,

Here's a question for thought (not necessarily address to you Rich):

1) What are the limits of a film?
- Again, there are two aspects to a film, filmmaking and filmviewing. Let's put this into a familiar perspective --- Maximo Oliveros is well-loved in our country, but how will it translate to viewers who are unaware of the filmmaker's limits to his film? Does it mean that crossing past the so-called limits of a film make a critic's perception inutile?
- How do we analyze films meants for commercial consumption? Again, the limits of those films are well within their ability to rake in cash for their makes; does that mean they are absolved from analysis? Does it mean that Hollywood fare like Zack Snyder's 300, or most of the Metro Manila Film Fest films, immune to being viewed in a larger canvass?
- The main point is: who defines these limits? is a film really different from a treatise or a novel?

2) Films have been described (and I paraphrase) by Eisenstein to Godard, as not merely art, but closer to language (for communication). Communication is always two-way; from the filmmaker to his audience, and the audience to the film.

3) For Rich, since there's a clamour from volunteers and those who desire your help, I hope you can put information and how to contact you. Don't worry about me, I respect your decision of being a benevolent mysterious commenter here, but for the rest who want to get a hold of you, do provide an email address at least.

Go forth, and make your thoughts heard.

Noel Vera said...

Lemme rephrase that.

Oggs, let's just cut through the bullshit. Rich can go link on your site if you like, and more power to his supportive activities, and I appreciate his clarifying some nebulous statements made. But you write what you want, when you want, about who you want to choose for subject matter or target practice, whatever. Don't worry who you're offending--frankly, if you're not offending anyone, then you're useless, might as well join some film studio or distribution company's marketing arm.


Anonymous said...

I think that most can pre determine what is a movie's limit. Maximo is a good example Oggs. I like your thoughts about the comparison of communication. Noel, I don't think anyone in the blog was offended. Where are you coming from? I believe that Oggs is doing what you are suggesting already. Write whatever he wants.

Oggs Cruz said...

Thank you very much Noel,


Unknown said...

My love for Phil. cinema started during my childhood days, until now my biggest dream is to have an archive where all people from walks of life can watch the legacies left by Gerry de Leon, Lamberto Avellana, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal. But sad to say, this wont happen. Its my first time to watch in three consecutive days at the CCP inspite of my personal and domestic problems, its true cinema is one of the greatest escapism.

Criticisms good or bad are still criticisms, opinions are neither right or wrong. Philippine cinema is heading again to a good start, the harvest of films at the recent Cinemalaya can prove that. Oggs I dont write as good as you, but keep up the good work.

Oggs Cruz said...

Thanks Ronald,

Go forth and multiply, hehe. Seriously, we need more people like you.

bimbiw said...

Hey Rich!If you were behind Misteryo sa Hapis and Tagapagligtas,dude, you are not doing a great job helping Pinoy cinema.

Oggs Cruz said...

Hi Ed,

He (or she) neither confirmed or denied involvement with Misteryo sa Hapis and Tagapagligtas. He just said that he helped put into fruition two Cinemalaya short films, made by UP students, which would narrow it down to those two (plus a few others, but who are much older graduates of the state university). I'll reserve my comments on the two films, when I start doing my piece on the shorts (but my favorites are Rolyo and Nineball, good call from the jury).

Anonymous said...

I admire Rolyo's lyrical simplicity and Nineball's tasteless and hysterical but honest humour. Gabon is another UPFI entry which I liked more over Misteryo and Tagapagligtas.


Oggs Cruz said...

Alvin Yapan was my professor back in my Ateneo days, had a chat with him in Cinemalaya and he humbly said that they were just playing around with the cameras. Rolyo is crude, and you know its made by a first-time filmmaker, but you can tell that the guy behind the film knows what he's doing, has a writer's touch since there's structure in the exercise, and above all, there's a potent power in his storytelling, none of which is present in Misteryo or Tagapagligtas' beautiful images.

Nineball know what it wanted to be, and was successful at that. Another crudely made film that works very well.

Gabon is touching. Emman has a way of prolonging moments of intense emotions (the best part of Sarong Banggi was the part where Jaclyn Jose was crying amidst the Manila Bay dawn) and half of Gabon is that. I didn't get the frequent changes in texture in the beginning (black and white, etc --- is there a political subtext there or something, I really don't get it), but it is quite a sensitive work.

Doble Vista is interesting. The filmmakers have rhythm and style, they just need to find their own voices. At least they admitted references to Godard and Gondry; but Doble Vista is more Wong Kar-wai than French (the plot is practically In the Mood for Love condensed in 20 minutes).

bimbiw said...

I am more forgiving in terms of technicals as long as these lapses are backed by a solid story and flawless narration. Rolyo's tone and visuals are Lav Diasque - powerful images behind lyrical structures. Yapan is one talent to look forward to after Raya Martin and Sherad Sanchez.

I didn't understand Gabon but I liked it too.

Oggs Cruz said...

Didn't really like Gabon, just admired it for its sensitivity.

Yapan's a brilliant writer too (he won a Palanca for sci-fi short in Tagalog), and a really really nice and approachable guy. I wish him well; I hope the prize that came with his win (the crash course on filmmaking) doesn't mar his sensibilities.

Anonymous said...

I promised myself I won't comment anymore, but I just gotta make something clear for the sake of the filmmaker's involved. I have nothing to do with Misteryo nor Tagpapaligtas. I guess when a term "filmmakers" crosses your paths, you immediately think its the "Director" huh? Oh man... Anyhow, for the record, those two films mentioned I don't have attachments to and I do feel the same sentiments as you do. I give those two young Director's though the highest respect for making what they believe in. Not my cup of tea, but acquired great patterns in the story leveling.

Oggs Cruz said...

Thanks for clearing that up, Rich.

So which two short films were you involved with; and I suppose those two websites are the ones you work for (I'm surprised Akerman can practice law here, which law firm is it tied with? and what's flf, the website isn't working). Again, for the benefit of those here who seek your help, can you be more specific on how to contact you, there's so many filmmakers in need of guidance for the "fruition" of their projects? I don't see the point of depriving those who need it at least a semblance of your real-life identity.

Anonymous said...

O.P. ako. Hindi ko nagustuhan ang Rolyo. Hindi ko din naintindihan kung ano iyong sinasabi niyong power niya sa story telling. Ito ba ay dahil sa kasimplehan ng short feature na ito? Pero sa sobrang simple, parang walang nangyari. Na-Bore ako.

Ganun ba talaga iyon? Bawat image na makita ko dapat isipin ko ng matindi para maapreciate ko? HIndi ba ako nag-iisip ng mabuti kapag nanonood? Mababaw ba ako?

Wala din akong naramdaman habang pinanood ito. Wala ba akong puso?

Ay may naramdaman pala ako at ito ay hiya (wala akong maisip na salita). Nahiya ako dun sa eksena sa McDonald's. Nakaramdam ako ng isang kurot ng pretensyon sa eksenang iyon. Nung sinusulyapan ng dalwang bata ang isa't isa. Naku po. Eeeeek. Napepretentiousan ako.

Hindi pa nakatulong ang hindi gaanong magandang production value nung video.

Siguro ang naidulot lang ng Rolyo sa akin ay magtanong. Bakit? Ano meron dito, at nagustuhan siya ng tao.
OP talaga ako. Pasensya na. Ibang level kayo mag-isip.

Oggs at sa lahat ng mga nagkokomento, Mabuhay ang blog nyo at ang diskusyon na ito. Marami akong nakukuha dito.

Anonymous said...

manong rich,
sana bago ka magmagaling at magpamalas samin ng eloquence mo sa pagsasalita (habang nagpapapogi) sana magbasa ka muna at umintindi ng mga nakasulat! wala namang nagsasabi na ikaw ang filmmaker ng 2 short na nabanggit. ang napaguusapan lang nila ay ang pagiging 'involved' mo sa 2 short film na nakapasok sa cinemalaya (at maniwala ka, malinaw sa mga taong ito ang aspeto ng produksyon sa pelikula - na ang pagiging 'involved' ay pedeng mangahulugan ng madaming bagay). at itong 'alledged' na pagiging 'involved' mo sa 2 short ay galing din sa sarili mong mabahong bibig... basahin mo kasi, kailangan iniispunfeed ka pa e.

late na tong post ko na 'to pero sayang e :D


Anonymous said...

great discussion. i wish i could comment on all the points raised but i don't argue and write as well as you guys do. but keep it up!

i do sympathasize with Ipis Center. some films just make you go "uh, am i stupid or is this film just crap?" but then again, to each his own. some films really have their own niche.

mabuhay kayo.

oh and by the way, someone once told me we don't really have film "critics" in the philippines, just "reviewers". critiques are different from reviews since critiques are more...academic in nature? it actually has a form and a proper structure, or something like that, that you have to study. i'm not sure. maybe you guys would know.


Anonymous said...