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

2011

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Boundary

Transport, Communication Problems

By Tito Genova Valiente

Transport and communication problems—two issues that can, with tongue in cheek, render succinct a film called Boundary.

Benito Bautista’s film rides in a cab with a driver who is so morose you can feel the wayward morality in his eyes. In the taxi is a passenger whose values he displays shimmering like the parol, a Christmas lantern, he buys, we assume, for himself, but, later, gives to the taxi driver who is more surprised than thankful. Indeed, even in the spirit of Filipino Christmas it is not common for someone to buy something expensive and give it to someone who needs more the money than something symbolic.

The circumstances in the film are extraordinary. This is no issue, however, knowing how unpredictable and crazy the taxi drivers in this island are. The arbitrariness of choosing passengers, however, sets the tone of a tale that reeks of the scent of a demented destiny. Well, we like to believe we know where the taxi is going given the air inside, redolent of the Yuletide air and at the same time threatening to crush whatever love and joy are there in the clime outside.Read more

Busong

Katutubo sa Pelikula

Ni Roland B. Tolentino

Ang isang produktibo sa pagpasok ng indie cinema movement ay ang paglalatag ng mga subalterno identidad—tulad ng tirador, gangster, lola ng pinatay at pumatay, at iba pa—at ng historikal na isinantabi, tulad ng katutubo. Nauna nang ginawa ito ni Brillante Mendoza sa Manoro (2006 ), tungkol sa partisipasyon at pagkaetsapwera ng mga Aeta sa eleksyon, at ni Regiben Romana sa Sakay sa Hangin (2011), tungkol sa audiobiswal na meditasyon sa buhay at komunidad ng Talaandig.

Ang kakaibang ginawa ni Auraeus Solito bilang metropolitanisado (at ang kabadingan ay bahagi na rin nito) na Palawanon sa Busong ay habiin ang magkakasalikop na buhay ng mga tagaroon, at nang sa gayon ay makabuo ng isang kolektibong kwento ng pamayanan, ang pagkasantabi’t pananatili nito: isang babaeng sugatan sa paa at hindi makatuntong sa lupa, asawang babae na ang habilin sa kabiyak ay hindi sinunod at binagsakan ng punong ipinagbawal putulin, at ama na inihahabilin ang katutubong dunong sa kanyang batang anak na lalake sa gitna ng modernong pagmamatyag sa dapat at hindi dapat gawin ng katutubo, at ang manggagamot na maghihilom at maghahabi ng kolektibong kwento. Read more

Ka Oryang

Isang Panimulang Pagmumuni-Muni sa Pagsilang ng Estetika ng Kababaihan sa Masining na Rebisyon ng Naratibo ng Kasaysayan ng Bayan

Ni Benilda S. Santos

Sa Sa Ngalan ng Ina: Sandaang Taon ng Tulang Feminista sa Pilipinas 1889-1989 ni Lilia Quindoza Santiago, pambungad ang isang tula, “Ang Tula ni Oriang,” na tinatayang isinulat ni Gregoria de Jesus noong mga huling taon ng ika-19 na dantaon, pagkaraang dakpin si Andres Bonifacio, ang kanyang asawa, at isalang sa ora-oradang paglilitis na nagwakas sa pagbibigay rito ng hatol na kamatayan sa salang pagsusulong ng rebolusyon laban sa nakaluklok na pamahalaan ng panahong iyon.

Sa ganitong konteksto umusbong ang pagtuturing sa kasaysayan bilang bukas sa halip na saradong naratibo ng mga pangyayaring naganap sa loob at labas ng bayan. Kung gayon, binabasa at binibigyan ng interpretasyon ang mga naunang teksto ng nakaraan, at nagagawang buksan ang mga paksang isinara ng nakaraang namamayaning kapangyarihan upang magkalamat o magkapuwang o magka-espasyo doon ang dating hinatulang labas at walang halaga sa kasaysayan.

Filmikong Stilo Sa Kritikal Na Naratibo Ng Kababaihan At Rebolusyon

Ni Roland B. Tolentino

Si Ka Oryang ang kilalang palayaw ni Gregoria de Jesus, asawa ni Andres Bonifacio, na rebolusyonarya na kasama sa naging tungkulin ang maging mensahera—nagtatago ng dokumento’t mensahe sa kanyang damit—pati na rin ang prenteng maiingay na nagkakasiyahang kababaihan kapag may pulong ang Katipunan. Katuwang ni Andres, at nang mahuli, masakdal at mapatay ang magkapatid na Bonifacio, kinulong din si Ka Oryang, ginahasa’t ipinahiya hanggang sa muling makapangasawa kay Julio Nakpil, makabayang musikero.

Ang pelikula ni Sari Dalena, Ka Oryang, ay modernong muling pagsasalaysay ng historikal at mitikal na figura’t kwento ni de Jesus. Pre- at panahon ng batas militar ang sakop ng pagkamulat sa Makibaka’t First Quarter Storm, pakikibaka sa kilusang andergrawnd, pagkahuli’t torture sa kulungan, kasama ng pagdadalantao’t panganganak, hanggang sa paglaya’t kamatayan.Read more

Niño

Emerging and Disappearing Cultures Collide

By Gigi Javier Alfonso

Director Loy Arcenas co-writes the story of Niño with Rody Vera who wrote the screenplay. They have proved to be a creative team together with Lee Briones-Meily and Jay Abello whose cinematography is masterful, Jerrold Tarog with his sensitive scoring and Danny Añonuevo with his meticulous editing. For a first-time director for film coming from theater, Arcenas has successfully hurdled certain odds: the oft-noticed overboard type of acting by theater performers whose large gestures are magnified and appear pretentious on the big screen, and common lack of proficiency in the film language. But in Niño, he has managed to fit into the filmmaker’s mode seamlessly and brilliantly.Read more

Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay

A Horror Queen's Nightmare

By Mike Rapatan

Antoinette Jadaone’s Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay tackles the earnest dream of the film’s eponymous protagonist to win an acting prize for Best Supporting Actress during the 16th AFTAP Silver Screen Awards ceremony. For Lilia Cuntapay, the award is not simply a recognition of her thespic abilities. The award is a validation of and a tribute to her thirty plus years of service and dedication albeit as a bit player to an industry she has come to love.Read more

Bisperas

The Dichotomy of Religious Theorizing and Practice

By Gigi Javier Alfonso

Bisperas is set in the eve of Christmas, making it a national celebration, since almost eighty percent of the population of the Philippines is Catholic. Being the third largest Catholic country in the world, Filipinos are known to have the longest celebration of the Christmas season. Amidst the Asian multi-cultural setting our country is relatively distinct. Bisperas”tries to capture this complexity through a glimpse of the Filipino family in this unique setting.

Family Feud on the Night Before Christmas

By Mike Rapatan

Jeffrey Jeturian’s Bisperas takes a night in the life of the Aguinaldo family led by Ramon (Tirso Cruz III), a lay minister in a local parish church, and Salud (Raquel Villavicencio), his patient and obliging housewife. The film opens with the couple joining a panunuluyan procession on Christmas Eve with their children: the closet gay Mio (Edgar Allan Guzman), the impetuous and straightforward Ara (Julia Clarete), and Diane (Jennifer Sevilla), a balikbayan visiting the country with her daughter Steph (Aryanna Santiago).

A Microcosm of Middle-Class Filipino Family

By Butch Francisco

Bisperas, culled from the Castilian word vispera or eve in English, means the day or night before a special event.

In countries where people know how to feast and celebrate, the eve of any occasion that is part of tradition is always filled with a flurry of activities. In the United States, specifically in New York City, the annual New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square is even beamed on television to millions of viewers all over the world.

In the Philippines, bisperas is an often-used word among fun-loving Filipinos, especially in the provinces where fiestas are still big. And so we see locals who had migrated some place else rushing back home on the eve of a patron saint’s feast to be part of the celebration on the actual day of the festivities.

The two major events in Philippine calendar, of course, are Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. In the film Bisperas, the night before Christmas is used as the setting and time line for this film by Jeffrey Jeturian.Read more

Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa

Cinema As Pain, Politics & Poetry

By Tito Genova Valiente

The triumph of the film, Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, comes from poetry. For lack of a better term, believe me, the optimal praise we can give Yapan’s work is that it has poetry written and sung all over it.

I struggle with that description because the modifier “poetic” has been bandied already for works that are tremulous and fragile. Employed to define the power of film, the same adjective softens and, oftentimes, trivializes a powerful work.

Erotisismo ng Salita at Imahen

Ni Roland Tolentino

Sa indie cinema, madalas ay dalawa lang ang modelo—komersyal na umaalinsunod sa template ng genre at narrative development, na may kalkuladong talas dahil indie cinema nga, at mataas na production value, tulad ng sa komersyal na pelikula; at neorealismo na isang-araw-sa-buhay na may kapasidad makapagbigay ng hayag na panlipunang komentaryo, nanggigitata sa pang-araw-araw na detalye, at open-ended na pagsasara ng naratibo.

May ipinapakilala, marahil ikatlong modelo, si Alvin Yapan sa kanyang Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa, ang literary mode. Sa isang banda, nasa lebel ng abstraksyon at metapisika ito, o may kapasidad na tumalakay sa unibersal at transhistorikal na katotohanan at tema tungkol sa buhay at pag-ibig. Sa kabilang banda, dahil nakaugat ang piniling panitikan sa kulturang Filipino, ito ay nakaangkla sa panlipunan at historikal na kondisyon ng bansa—sa pelikula, ang kontemporaryong bansa.Read more

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank

The Rise and Fall of Eugene Domingo 'Sa Septic Tank'

By Mario A. Hernando

The indie film is going mainstream. From arthouse venues at the malls, the UP Sining Adarna, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines—all of them accommodating only a microscopic share of the movie market even put together, one film invaded over 40 theaters nationwide, a situation made possible by the distribution system of very mainstream Star Cinema which has bought from independent producers Quantum Films, Martinez-Rivera Films, and Straight Shooters Media the rights to the 2011 Cinemalaya hit Ang Babae sa Septic Tank.Read more

Amok

Kulob, Singaw, Sabog o ang Patayan ng Abang Uri

Ni Roland B. Tolentino

Sa Amok, ang magkakasalikop na buhay ng nagbibilyar at nagsusugal, nagbebenta ng barbeque, ukay-ukay at baril, mga pasaherong nag-aabang sa terminal, laos na personalidad at ang kanyang dinehadong transvestite na puta, mga tambay sa kalye’t batang nagbebenta ng sigarilyo, baklang bugaw, magkapatid sa van, galamay na pulis, at iba pang nilalang—mga taong hindi magkakakilala liban sa pagkakatipon sa arbitraryong sandali sa kanto ng EDSA at Pasay Taft—ay tinatahi bilang ordinaryong buhay sa bansang ito.

Kunsabay, hindi ordinaryong abitraryong sandali ang panahon ng pelikula. Ito ay konsumasyon ng matagal-tagal na buhay ng mamamayan, syudad at bansa sa ilalim ng kultura ng impunidad. Walang pakundangan ang karahasan dahil sa sistematiko’t sistemikong kasaysayan ng mga nasa kapangyarihan, at ang pagkatagos nito sa pang-araw-araw na buhay.Read more

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