The society of respected film critics that hands out the annual Gawad Urian in cinematic excellence

Reviews

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Porno: Mistulang Arsenal ng Postkolonya-Lismong Lumabnaw na

Ni Benilda S. Santos

Mula pa sa salitang Griyego—pornographos—ang pornograpiya na mula naman sa isina-Ingles na pornography. Tinutukoy nito ang mga antigong sulatin na tungkol sa buhay ng mga babaeng nangalakal ng kanilang katawan, at kasama na rin ang tungkol sa buhay ng kanilang mga tagatangkilik na dinulutan nila ng kasiyahan. Sa Porno na pelikula ni Alix, wala na ang anyong sulatin. Nasa anyong DVD na ang marami sa materyal na pornograpiko, at bagaman kontrabando, inilalako pa rin nang patago kapag may nanghuhuling pulis, at nang hayagan naman kapag wala. Samakatwid, anumang bagay na hayag na hayag sa anumang materyal na mapaglulunsaran ng pornograpiya sa Porno ay ang pagiging sadyang laganap nito. Lubhang pangmasa na ang porno (maraming DVD nito kahit sa labas lamang ng Mercury Drugstore sa gabi), demokratiko ang murang-murang renta sa mga nagsulputang internet café (at nakakabit na rin dito ang cottage industry ng cybersex na pang-pedophile). Ano pa’t maituturing na isang kakatwang sitio ng bayan ang anumang umiinog sa porno. At ito ang natatanging layon ng Porno ni Alix: ang maglarawan ng isang quasi sosyolohikal/antropolohikal na pag-unawa sa paglaganap ng porno upang maipakita kung paano ito nagiging isang uri ng currency, produkto, o paraan ng pamumuhay sa pagtutulak ng espasyong okupado ng mababa-babang-panggitnang-uri.Read more

Porno: Nag-Uumapaw na Sex sa Bangkaroteng Mundo

Ni Rolando B. Tolentino

Magkakasalikop na buhay sa isang bangkaroteng lipunan ang sinasambit ng pelikulang Porno. At ang nagtatahi sa mga buhay ay ang marahas at komersyal na spero ng sex at entertainment. Sa sperong ito nagkakaroon ng virtual at angat na tunay na buhay ang mga tauhan: gun-for-hire mula sa preso, porn dubber, at transgender na performer. Epektibo ang pagganap nina Yul Servo, Rosanna Roces, Angel Aquino, at Carlo Aquino; maging ang sinematograpiya, editing, at direksyon.

Ang referensiya ng pagsasabuhay o karanasan sa buhay ng mga tauhan ay ang integral na element ng fantasya, o ang paglinang sa aktwal at historikal na buhay at karanasan sa poder ng imahinaryo: ang fantasya ng pag-asa. Pag-asa na bubuti (pa) ang buhay, pag-asa na ang kinabukasan ay maganda na, pag-asa na liligaya (rin).

Umaasa dahil sa kawalan at kabangkarotehan ng kasalukuyan, na nakaangkla sa kawalan at kabangkarotehan ng mabahang nakaraan. Umaasa rin dahil may hibla at labi ng humanidad sa buhay na tumutukoy sa subersibong potensyalidad, hindi ng said na nakaraan at kasalukuyan, kundi ng isang bukas na iba naman. Read more

OTJ (On The Job): In the Underbelly of Service, Honor and Justice

By Mike Rapatan

Erik Matti’s OTJ (On the Job) is a kinetic incursion to the underbelly of Philippine politics and the police system. Through the persistent yet doomed forays of NBI agent Atty. Francis Coronel Jr. (Piolo Pascual) into the murky depths of syndicated crime, Matti plunges the audience into the moral morass that lawmakers and lawbreakers dwell in. Matti’s montage title sequence where clips of the national government’s anti-corruption campaign intercut with gory tabloid street violence reports seems to establish a clear contrast between law and disorder. But as the film hurtles to its dismal end, Matti steers us to the conclusion that disorder is the law.Read more

Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan: Pagharap Sa Hangganan ng Lahat ng May Sinag at Saysay ng Buhay

Ni Benilda S. Santos

Sa dulo ng mahigit sa apat na oras na pag-ikot ng pelikulang Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan, paglabas ni Fabian (Sid Lucero) sa silid ng kapatid na babae pagkaraang halayin niya ito, at pagkalipas ng wari hindi na magsasarang huling eksena ng pagkakadukmo ng lalaki sa isang tabi ng kasukalan hindi kalayuan sa masinop, malinis, at maaliwalas na tahanan ng angkang Viduya sa Laoag, at matapos niyang isunod at umugin hanggang sa maputulan ng hininga ang asong tagabantay ng malawak na lupain ng mga magulang, naagnas na nang tuluyan ang nalalabi niyang pagsisikap na ipunin sa sentido ang isang identidad at pagkakakilanlan na bibigkis sana sa kanyang hatol, bait, at muni.

Paano nauwi sa trahedya ang isang katulad ni Fabian na kay laki ng pag-asang magkaroon ng buhay na kung tawagin ay may “magandang hinaharap”? Ayon nga sa karaniwang pansin, “nasa kanya naman ang lahat.” Read more

Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti: The Narrow Road to Perdition and Redemption

By Tito Genova Valiente

“Bilang tagapagtaguyod ng realismo sa pelikula, ang pangaral ay wala sa estetika ni de Guzman.”—Bienvenido Lumbera reviewing Mes de Guzman’s Diablo

What Bienvenido Lumbera, a member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino and National Artist, is saying is that as a purveyor of a kind of cinematic realism, being didactic is not part of Mes de Guzman’s aesthetics. The film Diablo from last year won the Gawad Urian for Best Screenplay and established de Guzman as a major voice of Philippine cinema, indie or not. Read more