Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Of London Memories and the Mechanics of Liking Someone – The Filipino Way!

One of the things I miss about living in London was the dizzying availability of the different forms of cinema being shown at any given time, from the repertory theatres like Riverside (Hammersmith area) and Everyman (at West Hampstead), to the cinema verite’s screened at the ICA (near The Mall, just a few blocks from Buckingham’s backyard – the very same little theatre that sells alternative films from gender-sensitive movies to racial, environmental and political documentaries that don’t quite make the “commercial” rounds).

I saw my first Andy Warhol films at the BFI (British Film Institute) just at the Right Bank, facing the River Thames. It was a symphony of Joe Dallesandro films (Flesh, Trash, Heat) which, to say the least, shook my sensibilities. I was asking myself, "Do they really show such fims at the BFI???!" They were crude and campy, but amusing. Back then (way before I was even born), they were called “underground movies”. I first saw Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog (all10 films!) from a screening that started at midday til midnight (that made me miss my tube – so I had to get a bus that somehow dropped me in front of Gladstone Park – my street!) - and then again the next day!

Every so often, I would find myself at a Festival of Short Films. And there had been several. This is the land where any kind of movie can be screened (although I have to admit that Pinoy movies are rarely screened anywhere). I felt like a winner when I saw one of the very first movies - Idrissa Ouedraogo's "Issa Le Tisserand" - to have come from the African nation of Burkina Faso at the Institut Francais, where I got a membership for almost 2 years (just so I can watch their regular screenings for free – in the heart of Chelsea/Notting Hill)!

I recently heard from someone that a major cinema critic commented that he doesn’t believe in “shorts” since, “How can you tell a story in 3 minutes?” He may have a point there, but I don’t necessarily agree with him. That’s what makes shorts amazing- their filmmaker’s capability to tell a story in so short a time. And when they do succeed with their narrative, isn’t it nothing less than celebratory?
Here is another short film aptly titled “Gusto Kita, Too”(I Like You, Too) that will be screened this month – May 21st, at the Galleria Indie Sine (Cinema 8):

Text info courtesy of Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Saturday Special:

“Brian and Casey are good-looking young Fil-Ams in San Francisco who find themselves attracted to each other. Following his mother’s suggestion, Brian starts wooing Casey the Pinoy way – by giving her bagoong and danggit, serenading her, and proposing to her in Tagalog.

“But he soon finds out that Casey’s dad prefers a Caucasian boyfriend for his daughter! Will love triumph in the end? Filmmaker Rica Arevalo (Cinemalaya Best Director awardee) directs Brian Reyes and Casey Pascual in the light rom-com short, which will be shown with Will Fredo’s full-length feature, “Sa Pagdapo ng Mariposa” starting May 21 at Robinson’s Indie Sine.”

My take: Feather-light and fancy-free, though the novice actors may seem to be grasping at straws, Brian Reyes has screen presence. He just needs to hone his craft; something that he may have possibly been ambushed to do for this short feature.

Casey Pascual and Brian Reyes hold on tight...

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