Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Cinemalaya Cinco Opens with Alix and Martin's Manila

Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila, July 17,2009 - The Philippine Film Festival Cinemalaya opened with the premiere of Adolf Alix Jr and Raya Martin's Manila - a film based on the characters created by Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal.

Manila's cast include: Piolo Pascual who also co-produced the film, Rosana Roces, William Martinez, Jay Manalo, Assunta de Rossi, Anita Linda, Jiro Manio and several others.

Cinemalaya will run from July 17 tll July 26 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Ticket Prices and additional information:

Regular Screening Price: 100 pesos
Student Price: 50 pesos
Day Pass (Good for 5 screenings per day): 300 Pesos
Festival Pass: 1000 pesos Good for all screenings
Congress Pass:

1. students: Special 2 days pass 250 pesos
2. non-students: 2 days package 500 pesos
3. non-students: 1 day package 300 pesos

Senior Citizens get 20% off Regular Screening Price
(Note: Group Discount Available for bulk ticket buyers

For more information call the CCP Box Office at 832 3704 and Tiicketworld at 891-9999.

You can also go to:

Cinemalaya or Getzmo!?

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Pepe Diokno's Engkwentro

Bring bonamine, meclizine or ginger - Especially if you are about forty years old.

Pepe Diokno's film is a very brave film. Not because it seems to alludes to assasination or what people call salvaging but it does. Not because the characters in rhe film looks and feels familiar to what we see from time to time in the pages of our newspapers but it does.

The film has a story to tell like all movies and also has a message.

Diokno and ensemble tells us the story a young petty criminal and his brother. A day in their lives - from sunrise to sunset. It is a grim and violent world that is shown to us.

Felix Rocco plays the lead character in the film and its not his day today. He is running away a death sentence has been imposed on him. His only brother who they send to school has gone astray - not only plsying hokey but has joined a rival gang. And then he has to contend with a home without a mother - who has left to work in Manila - leaving them to the care a parapelagic father who also has a drug habit.

Its not a pretty picture. Add to this sound and images shown frequently but only briefly from the radio and television sets of the squatter colony. A very bleak and dark story.

The cinematography is edgy and shakey. Similar to films like Cloverfield and the Blair Witch Project. It adds bristtles and a great degree of jaggedness to film. Although it also induces vertigo to a number of viewers - me included.

Engkwentro with its jerky camera movements and up front brutality not only causes vertigo but also begs the question about justice in our world and the price of law and order. Its not black or white really but it is valid question. And perhaps that is why it is a brave film.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Review: Manila

Manila: Directed by Adolfo Alix, Jr. and Raya Martin. Cast: Piolo Pascual, Rossana Roces; Assunta de Rossi; Jay Manalo; Anita Linda; Jiro Manio; Marissa Delgado; William Martinez; Iza Calzado, et al.

The film is a homage of sorts to directors Ishmael Bernal and Lino Brocka. Different elements and characters from the movies of these directors in particular and mainly from Manila By Night/City After Dark by Bernal and Jaguar by Lino Brocka.

In a sense the movie is a three stories in a movie a film Tryptich of Bernal and Brocka's work. The original meaning of a Tryptich was a set of three panels or compartments side by side. Indeed the film had that feel to it.

The first panel drawn from Manila by Night/City After Dark - focused on the story of the drug addict's, Pascual, journey through the city. Shot in black and white. One is almost tempted to think that his is in a way another homage to a Brocka film: Manila sa Kuko ng Liwanag - its first shot were in black and white. Although it would seem that black and white film making is best seen in the works of Mike De Leon - who incidentally was the producer and cinematographer of Manila sa Kuko ng Liwanag. And the second panel also drawn from Manila by Night. This time from the story of the nurse, with Izza Calzado as the nurse. This shot in what seemed to be in shades of blues - similar to a cross processed slide film giving it a dreamy touch. This also doubles as the midway credits roll. Finally, the third is the color rendition of Jaguar - again with Pascual playing the main role first played by Philip Salvador.

Old fans of the film will probably be interested in seeing the film to see how the ensemble re-tooled these classic films. Its not as powerful as the original but it is an interesting romp.From the old film one cannot forget the impact of Charito Solis' penchant for being clean or attempting to be clean. An alcohol bottle always handy to clean the hands. This is probably what was missing in the film. Films from these eras carried with it strong iconic messages that linger in the mind - Solis obsession to cleanliness in City After Dark and Philip Salvador's plight in Jaguar or even Bembol Roco's face and fate at the end of Manila sa Kuko ng Liwanag.

Again, it is an interesting film ... well more than an interesting film. But if you do make sure to watch City After Dark, Manila sa Kuko ng Liwanag and (hopefully) Jaguar.