Concentrated Nonsense (cinema edition)

Cinemanila ’07, pre-fest dispatch
August 6, 2007, 10:18 pm
Filed under: festivals, philippine cinema

Cinemanila banner

Cinemanila begins it’s 9th edition this Wednesday in Gateway Mall in Cubao.
The schedule for the first week is up and online here.

For better or worse, despite its hardships and organizational troubles, Cinemanila is without doubt the most important film festival in the Philippines. It’s the only one, in a pirated DVD-haven country with no Cinematheque to speak of, that cares to bring in quality international cinema in 35mm prints. It’s the festival that I grew up in as a film viewer.

Most of the buzz among the cinephile community this year is about the imminent arrival of the famous former video store clerk (or is he here already?). While it is exciting, it certainly needs no additional push here, so we turn our gaze in other directions related to the festival:

The Digital Lokal Competition is only five films deep this year, but promises to be interesting. Here’s the line-up:
1. Ala Muerte Ala Swerte by Briccio Santos
2. Autohystoria by Raya Martin
3. Juan Baybayin by Roxlee
4. Pain Things by John Red
5. Voices, Tilted Screens and Extended Scenes of Loneliness: Filipinos in High Definition by John Torres

All five will be Philippine Premieres. The only one I’ve seen is Raya’s Autohystoria (whose title is an invented composite of the words automatic, history and hysteria), which I think just might be better than his first-feature Maicling Pelicula Nang Ysang Indio Nacional (A Short Film About the Indio Nacional). It feels like a sin to say it, considering the majestically beautiful 35mm black and white images of Indio Nacional, and the fact that Autohystoria was shot in 2-days with no budget on 24p digital, but so it is. American critic Robert Koehler saw it Buenos Aires, and certainly likes it. John Torres appears up to his old tricks, and will surely to put together something intriguing out of disparate footage, however much he is rushing to meet the festival deadline. Roxlee’s film I know absolutely nothing about; but he’s always worth watching, even when not brilliant. And it will be interesting to see what Briccio and Jon Red come up with…

Love Conquers All
(Love Conquers All, by Tan Chui Mui)

Other titles screening in the first-week that I’ve seen and would say are worth checking out:
Woman on the Beach (Hong Sang-Soo, Korea)
Love Conquers All (Tan Chui Mui, Malaysia)
Leaf on a Pillow (Garin Nugroho, Indonesia)
Love for Share (Nia Dinata, Indonesia)
Village People Radio Show (Amir Muhammad, Malaysia)
Ploy (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Thailand)
The Arsonist (U-Wei Bin Haji Saari, Malaysia)
Paris Je T’aime (Various, France) *at least a few of the films in the omnibus

I haven’t seen but am particularly looking forward to, that appear on the first week’s schedule:
Control (Anton Corbjin, UK)
Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud, Iran/France)
2 Days in Paris (Julie Delpy, USA/France)
Muhksin (Yasmin Ahmad, Malaysia)
The Unseeable (Wisit Sasanatieng, Thailand)
Death Proof (Quentin Tarantino, USA)

as well as this little event on Friday:
1:00PM – 4:00PM | Grindhouse Day
(with Mr. Eddie Romero and Mr. Cirio Santiago)

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi, Alex, thanks for putting me on your blogroll.

Comment by Noel Vera

Most welcome Noel, you surely deserve to be there. Hopefully I can be more faithful in updating this blog. Look forward to trading barbs and sparring with you on local film. Thanks for making that 100 best list, by the way, I’m certain it was a lot of work, and that you put a lot of thought into it. An attempt at starting a canon for local cinema? I certainly look forward to going through it more thoroughly.

Comment by Alexis

Yeah, canon. Complaints about said list should be directed at the management. And I will not be kind.

Comment by Noel Vera

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: