Saturday, February 05, 2011

Evolution of a Filipino Film Lover

Lav Diaz's Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (Evolution of a Filipino Family)

Evolution of a Filipino Film Lover
by Francis Joseph A. Cruz

I’m sure it did not happen deliberately, like a well-hatched plan from an expertly crafted heist film. And unlike dear Alexis Tioseco’s important pronouncements about film criticism, that it be fueled not by anything else but love, my almost accidental foray into film writing was borne out of frustration and a tinge of subtle rebellion.

Bullied by my traditional parents who thought anything relating to film can hardly be a career, I jumped from my graduation with an almost useless degree in psychology to law, where I spent most of my time reading about other people’s woes dehumanised into pieces of statutory provisions and their repercussions, and the rest of my time watching movies, and recording my reactions to them in a blog, mostly for my fragile memory’s sake than anything else. What I considered as mechanical routine turned into the most delicate of loves when I experienced suffering for film. See, in the Philippines, film has always been synonymous with enjoyment and escapism. Shying from the most pressing of real national concerns, commercial films delight in tackling the fleeting-like teenage romances or kitschy fantasies.

However, Lav Diaz’s Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino (Evolution of a Filipino Family, 2004), seen in my university’s film theater with the director running to and from his post-production house to deliver the DVDs and effectively turning the 10 hour-and-so running time of the film into a half-day event, woke me up. The physical pain of resisting sleep, hunger, and thirst, compounded by the emotional and spiritual pain of what Diaz had so eloquently communicated in his film affected me like no other film. It opened me to a family of Filipino filmmakers who are working outside the capitalist instructions of the businessmen governing the mainstream. It allowed me to transcend the selfish beginnings of simply writing about films for my requirements, and to start doing it for those who are open to see films beyond their more popular reasons of existence.

I opt to persist, notwithstanding the understandably love-hate relationship I have with the filmmakers whose products I love and adore so dearly that I cannot simply treat them with forgiving dishonesty, notwithstanding that writing is never lucrative and never materially rewarding, notwithstanding that most of my countrymen are more interested in the private affairs of actors and actresses than the merits of their work, notwithstanding the fact that the government has remained paranoid with its outdated censorship laws and film support programs, notwithstanding the fact that masterpieces have disappeared because of neglect and lack of information. I opt to persist - not notwithstanding, but because of what I enumerated above.

My participation in the Berlinale Talent Press is for me a validation that there is a lot more that needs to be done, to be written about, with regards the thing I love the most. I am simply humbled to have this experience as part of my continuing evolution as a Filipino film lover whose utmost goal is to propagate this seemingly insignificant love for a seemingly insignificant art form to as many countrymen as I possibly can.

(First published here. Read more in the Berlinale Talent Press website)


Anonymous said...

hello sir, paumanhin kung off-topic. Naghahanap po ako ng mga pelikulang Filipino na may eksena sa tren (bukod sa bakbakan scenes ah haha). May maimumungkahi ba kayo? Salamat! :)

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous, ang unang naalala ko iyong Wangbu starring Jay Manalo and Joyce Jimenez. Hindi ako sigurado dito pero may palabas din si Mark Anthony Fernandez na sa riles ang kaganapan, Biyaheng Langit ata ang title, kasama si Joyce Jimenez (Maaari na ba nating tawagin siyang Riles Queen?).
Si Ditsi Carolino may documentary din tungkol sa riles. Pero oo nga pala ang tanong mo pala tren at hindi riles. Ang naalala ko na lang ay ang My Amnesia Girl at isang parte ng Shake Rattle and Roll.

Noel Vera said...

Good one, oggs. Your situation sounds familiar, too--I majored in Legal Management, in Ateneo. Only I never went on to take the bar.

Oggs Cruz said...

Thanks Noel, It's so hard to write about how you got into film when you're limited by the number of words.

There's still time to get that law degree and take the bar. :)

Anonymous said...

Time to slay Berlin, Oggs!

Oggs Cruz said...

Maraming salamat, Chard. Yung deal natin, ha!

Sam said...

Higit sa Lahat (1955), starring Rogelio dela Rosa and Emma Alegre... May isang eksena doon na sumakay sa tren sina Roberto (dela Rosa)...