On Sid & Aya (Not a Love Story)

It is precisely the parenthetical reminder in the title that compels me to pay closer attention to Irene Villamor’s Sid & Aya (Not A Love Story). The textual framing calls attention to itself. It is gimmicky, sure, but it is also an unveiling of directorial intent and an invitation for the viewers to examine what exactly makes this movie not a love story.

From this examination stems what I deem to be the film’s ambition. Sid & Aya centers on the familiar Rich Boy Poor Girl coupling, but it swerves around the typical trajectory from Meet-cute to Happily Ever After. The film instead parses a familiar premise and plays around the tried-and-tested formula of the cross-class romance genre [1].

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MMFF 2018 Trailer Reviews

It’s that time of the year again. It’s Metro Manila Film Festival. Again.

Much has been said about the MMFF. To expound on how shitty and commercialized this festival has become is to just preach to the choir at this point.

But I wonder if this year’s festival would earn just as much as last year’s, considering the failed economic policies that plagued the Philippines in 2018. The enactment of TRAIN Law and the rising inflation have greatly affected the typical MMFF market, and the people with money to spare are too disillusioned (or too high brow) to watch Vice Ganda deliver the same tired jokes over and over again.

(Un)fortunately I don’t have access to any of the Magic 8 movies. Still I watched the trailers and I wrote some notes too.

Now let’s begin the killing. Charot.

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Bedflix and Chill

I had a wisdom tooth removed a few weeks ago, so I also had a fuckton of free time to do absolutely nothing. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t exercise, and I couldn’t go outside lest the world discovers my sore, swollen face worthy of a Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho feature (“Kilalanin natin si Jolens, mga kapuso, ang babaeng kalahati pisngi, kalahati noo!”).

I was stuck in bed the entire time so I plopped the laptop on my chest and did my favorite slacker hobby: I watched movies.

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Pagtoma at Pag-ibig: Mga muni-muni ukol sa I’m Drunk, I Love You

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Nauuso yata ang mga pelikulang lunsaran ng mga personal na danas at hanash ng mga batang direktor. Cinema as self-expression, ika nga, at ang layunin ay ang maantig ang puso ng madla dahil unibersal naman ang tamis at alat at pait ng naunsyaming pag-ibig.

Sa ganitong framework ko nakikita ang I’m Drunk, I Love You ni JP Habac. Hindi kailangan ng extensive research upang mabuo ang kwento nina Carson at Dio, matalik na magkaibigan ngunit palihim na iniibig ng babae ang lalaki.

May sariling vibe ang IDILY kahit gasgas na ang premise nito. May road trip at indie hymns na nakasalansan sa naratibo at may mga eksena ring pang-music video ang hitsura at haba. Cool at hip, pero hindi pretensyoso. Swak ang aesthetics ng pelikula sa panlasa ng target demographic nito: ang nakababatang bahagi ng populasyon na may prebilehiyong tumuntong sa kolehiyo at magwaldas ng pera sa beer.

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On Filipino science fiction

Early this morning I watched the trailer for an upcoming Filipino science fiction movie called Instalado. Directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, the film explores the idea of a future in which knowledge can be purchased and installed on anyone willing to pay the cost. The protagonist is Victor, a young farmer hoping for a better life for his family, and the narrative follows his quest to be an “instalado” or an “insta” despite his limited means.

The film is an entry to TOFARM Film Festival, a two-year old fest that specifically aims to “uplift the farmers [and their] personal development.” Set in a country whose economy is still arguably hinged on agriculture, Instalado boasts of a premise that is both significant and potentially radical.

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Review: Wasabi (2001)

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Gerard Krawczyk’s Wasabi, to put it simply, is forgettable. It has its funny moments, but its use of tired slapstick cliches that exaggerate action sequences and make fun of dim characters can be both tiring and annoying—-usually both and at the same time.

The plot kicks off when police officer Hubert Florentini learns that his Japanese ex-girlfriend is dead and that they have a teenage daughter together. This discovery brings Florentini to Japan where he uncovers the mysterious death of his ex and tries to establish a relationship with his newfound daughter.

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Review: Breathless (1960)

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A little bit of historical context is needed to fully appreciate Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. This has been my third viewing of the film and, thanks to the fact that it is also one of the most celebrated products of the French New Wave, I am now more equipped to see the film beyond the literal sense.

One thing that bothered me the first time I saw it was the brush-the-lip gesture Michel (Jean Paul Belmondo) kept doing all throughout the movie. Apparently it was a nod to Hollywood actor Humphrey Bogart who is vital to the development of the protagonist’s character. Michel, a man on the run for shooting a police officer, is trying to emulate the charisma and bad-assery of Bogart known for his roles in iconic movies such as Casablanca.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 5.34.42 PMHumphrey Bogart | Screenshot

Without recognizing who Bogart is and the fact that he’s American while Michel is obviously French, one could get easily lost in the cultural significance of Breathless. It was made following a pact between France and the US which opened the French market for American products including cultural creations such as movies. Breathless, then, becomes not only a demonstration of technical innovation in film-making but also an exploration of a nation’s identity during the early stages of American cultural imperialism.

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