blogger, Non-Film Oriented, Poems

Dear Woman

 

karlene-4

You are strong and vulnerable, as the world cannot often accept that one can be susceptible to pain and yet stand firmly on the ground.

You are weak and funny, yet you put the most fearless mask around.

You are a Chamelon; you accept challenges as they are and accept that change is inevitable. It will always be inevitable. In every risk, there’s always something to gain. Something to learn.

There will be monsters in your head, as would anyone that you would encounter in your lifetime. Look beyond what is physical, stick to what you firmly believe in and you will be alright.

You are the maker of this house, but you too can provide for your own home.

Never chase after a boy, for a man will stay by your side and help you with all your dreams and all your fears. A boy would only look at you face to face, and will use your kind spirit for his own strengths and leave.

Do what is right, but accept that you will often make mistakes. Choose your battles, for if you know what is right not only will you win but you will be at your happiest self.

Accept that not everything will be okay. When there is sadness, comes joy.

Build yourself up to be the best that you can be: without comparison, but with grace. Show yourself that you are the champion of your own, the rest of the world will follow suit.

Dear Woman, you are kind, you are beautiful, you are the greatest listener of your soul. Don’t you ever forget that.

 

*Image courtesy of Incognito Photoworks. Visit his page here.

 

Movies

This Uncertain Feeling: The End of Love (2015) Review

Directed by Eric Hsu (Hsu Li Da)

Screenplay by Eric Hsu (Hsu Li Da)

What is it that we know about love?

This is the question that begs to be known in Hsu Li Da’s second feature film The End of Love. We follow the lives of four contemporary couples at the beginning and or at the brink of their love lives. The key here is simplicity. One looks at The End of Love and it becomes an immediate favourite for its stylish honesty.

THE END OF LOVE (2015)

The film starts off with a man and a woman, whose meeting fits well for the film’s first and last scenes. She lingers a look with what seems to beg for answers (as we are), his on the other hand are filled by a profound look of contemplation. The kind of characters that we find in The End of Love are nothing like the usual ensemble cast of characters trying to explain what love is, which is usually portrayed through various gimmicks and pretentious styles. These characters are real, and each story unfolds naturally like we’ve all met these characters before.

THE END OF LOVE (2015)

An old man meeting his childhood crush at an elderly home; a troubled married couple whose misplaced feelings about their marriage makes them desperate for having a baby; a millennial couple with different priorities: one fighting for his community as an activist, the other working as a bar-girl to sustain the economic status of their relationship; and a student falling in love with his former teacher.

Hsu writes the screenplay as raw and as metaphysical as it could be. During the first few scenes, the married woman discusses briefly her trip to the doctor. The husband invites her for a shower, and she coldly answers “We’re not young anymore”, the same line to be used by the husband as a representation for both of their selfishness and insecurity towards their marriage.

The film’s slow, unhindered scenes offer subtle representations of social issues, death, love, and family. Is this the end of love? One must ask. And oftentimes the question and its answers are always present for us to find out. I find that the ending was left open; perhaps Hsu unknowingly left it there for us to find versions of our own.

This review first appeared on Film Police Reviews.

Indie, IndieFilipino, Movies, The 500 Film Challenge

Notes on ‘Taklub’ (2015)

Lou Veloso’s character in Brillante Mendoza’s film that’s been making waves in both local and international film circuits for almost over a year now is only a blithe example of how experience can get you a remarkable performance. Whether it’s to present how unimaginable a situation is for a small character as his ‘Mang Renato’ in Taklub or how his portrayal can manage to swim along the brilliance of Nora Aunor.

I still stand on what I wrote on Film Police. I still think that Lou Veloso shines more than Ms Aunor, although I admire how she stayed true to the character, without overpowering her co-stars Julio Diaz and Aaron Rivera and Mr. Veloso. There’s just something about the whole performance that at some point did not make me want to believe in what she was [selling] to me. She exudes that matriarchal empathy that the film needs as much as we need our mothers most when times are rough. There are several episodes of personal tragedies faced during Typhoon Haiyan which were featured in local dramas, and Taklub offers it in a grander scale.

Taklub-1

In the recent light of Heneral Luna’s success, let this post be a reminder that Taklub was also screened to local cinemas on September 16th. It would be interesting if people went to watch this one too, then perhaps we can truly confirm that this will continue the change that Philippine Cinema needs.

 

A full-length review of the author is posted under Film Police Reviews. Click here to read more. Photos on this post are taken from the same review.

Books to Movies, The 500 Film Challenge, The Good Stuff

The Quaint Reimagination of ‘Mr Holmes’

MR. HOLMES opens to a soft, glowing view of the English countryside rather than the gloomy mood of Baker Street in London from where the popular detective resides.

The film is based on a novel by Mitch Cullin called ‘A Slight Trick of the Mind’ eighty-eight years after Sherlock’s final appearance in his maker Arthur Conan Doyle’s His Last Bow.

I have a problem with reimagined stories. The ones that are plucked out of the classics and placed in a different setting which could either put them in a far worse situation than they’re supposedly written, or perhaps the writer is trying to borrow a bit of success. After Bill Condon’s stint with the last two Twilight sagas — well, I’m a bit nervous as I even think of those two films.

HOWEVER, from what I’ve seen, there is good intention for Sherlock Holmes in this story.

MOVIE REVIEW: MR HOLMES 2015

Ian McKellen plays the 93 year old Sherlock. Unlike his other roles and the other 70 or more actors who played the literary detective, he looses his charm but the wit is just the same. Perhaps I’m allowed to say that he won the role just right. He permits himself to be just as vulnerable as his character is allowed to be — amidst the imagination and output that his maker, Arthur Conan Doyle, and his dearest friend Dr John Watson has created for fans, in here McKellen allows Sherlock to take himself away from the shadows of the two, hoping to recreate a name for his ‘own’, despite the old age.

The film stays true to Sherlock’s old self: he is a beekeeper during his retirement years, he no longer dons the hat and the pipe (although in the film he claims he detests smoking and that he rarely wears the hat) and proudly claims that it is logic that bounds him as a human, never imagination. Imagination was always Dr Watson, his famed sidekick, was best known for.

Now living in the post-Watson late 1940s era, Mr Holmes is retired, aging, and hoping to win back memories for an old case. He arrives from Japan and as the film bounces back and forth to the old case showing a woman whispering though never uttering a word, to memories of his visit in Japan in search of a plant that would help him regain the strengths of his memory.

He is accompanied by Mrs Munro and her son as he exiles himself with his bees. Laura Linney plays the housekeeper, trying to keep the pace with an accent, although they should’ve just let her be. The boy who plays her son, Milo Parker, wins every scene as he helps Mr Holmes with his bees and with the case.

MOVIE REVIEW: MR HOLMES 2015

As Mr Holmes finds out the true events of his last case, one that involves a Mr and Mrs Thomas Kelmot (played by Hattie Morahan and Patrick Kennedy) he too finds out the reason for meeting the Japanese adviser Matsuda Umezaki, played by Hiroyuki Sanada, which is far more than digging out war zones in search of a mysterious plant.

Mr Holmes unfolds like a true-blue mystery. The elusiveness that was once written about this character is gone, and all we have is a character who’s just as human as we are. Or perhaps that’s just me, getting tired of all these charismatic interpretations here and there. Holmes was never written to be charismatic. As the character says in the film “I have no time for imaginations.”

 

This review originally appears in Film Police, bylines by this blog’s author.

The 500 Film Challenge

The 500 Film Challenge Year Four

Hi everyone! Due to the overwhelming support we’ve recieved for last year’s challenge, I am pleased to announce that this year’s challenge officially begins!

Here are the rules:

1. Watch a film.
2. List them and include a review, a critique, or at least share your ‘experience’ about the film. It doesn’t matter if you suck at writing, as long as you write what the film’s about, what it means to you.
3. Sign-up via this link. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1-Ojrz4O9wO42_9RWwdhV6OZ3mMsMGUOpyWwLz6dnQaQ/viewform
4. Short films, docu or mockumentaries can be accepted into your entries. Unfortunately, anthologies are considered as a single film.
5. A rewatch of a film can be counted as a single entry per day. But kindly indicate the number of times you’ve seen the film.
6. Have fun! Don’t stress yourself if you haven’t been able to complete the challenge. If you do have any suggestions feel free to let me know. 😉

image
Film 66. Leo Carax's The Holy Motors
Uncategorized

Addendum

This is an awkwardly long story. Please tread on lightly.

I put on my mask for today. Today was a day for family gatherings. Strange faces that have grown in years, people whom I’ve never met but for some reason their names seem familiar when I ask them. “Hi, I’m Yvette. Your cousin from your mother’s side. Actually, cousin thrice removed.” I had no idea what that meant but I was glad to shake her hand anyway.

I wore black, which was an occasional outfit for me since I lost my mother a decade ago. Bless her soul, and God bless the guy who likes to print t-shirts downtown for always supplying me with the best black shirt with screened photos. But today I wore a black dress. An LBD, as called by my female friends. I lacked the pearls and the coiffed hair on top and the skinny figure to look like Audrey Hepburn, which I think was what a few visiting women were aiming for. I don’t think they’d expect me to talk with all those pearls anyway.

An old woman grabbed hold of my hand as I walked away from the entrance. It was already my sister’s turn to speak to a group of  people. Our aunt had carried a tray of biscuits and cookies and junk food donated by us and my aunt’s children to which a heap of people gathered around her to satisfy their appetite that afternoon.

I decided to sit next to an old colleague of interest. ‘Of interest’ because I only knew them from a seminar at work. I felt lost in the mix of words and arguments here and there. A few years ago I felt embarrassed that I didn’t know too well how to express my own when conversing with them. So, I sat with them for half an hour or so and felt myself drowning in a sea of thoughts. They must have forgotten I was sitting next to one of them until one guy looked to me and told me “And you, how are you feeling?”

I looked back at the man and I realized no one had asked me this the whole time I was here. He sat behind me and this group. I couldn’t help but move a quarter of my body from where I sat so I could look at his face. He was there. No one had told me he was coming.

There were about three people who realized I had been quiet the whole time I sat next to them. But I gestured them to not mind me and I asked the man to follow me outside the funeral parlor. He nodded.

This sounds completely strange and out of what might happen in a more realistic setting. But he did sit behind me, actually behind my former colleagues of interest and was listening intently to their conversations. As we stepped out of the parlor he asked again how I was. A cold chill crept up my nape and I told him I was feeling alright.

“Since I’m at a funeral then you might understand that I was lying. I’m not okay.”
He just nodded and put his palms inside both pockets of his jeans.
I took out a packet of Marlboro lights and asked if he wanted some. He shrugged and looked a bit surprised that I smoked. I lit it up and took a long drag.
“It’s strange to see you here.” he said, under the same charming tone he uses on me over a decade ago.
I struggled to erase the hint of anger from my face. “I expected to see you everyday since.”

Ten years is a long time for waiting. I thought that if given the chance that we would meet, in the middle of the street or as poetic as meeting in the park or a dark alley as you kiss some whore after a night’s work. I thought of these chances that whole decade. In and out. But none of these ever happened, consciously.

Putting yourself in that distant dream for ten years is, the hardest, the saddest thing for me. I’ve walked in and out of that possibility. But there was not a single opportunity.

blogger, Movies, Non-Film Oriented, The 500 Film Challenge

2014 in review

 

2014 was all about losses and wins. A number of things from a dear friend in Christopher Fajardo to a house I lived in for almost half my life, to pets and comedians and brilliant actors and actresses, to my ever failing ability to keep a proper time management to do the things I love.

 

This year was surely a year for valuable relationships. I made sure I had that in tact first.

 

Next year, I do hope to spend much more time at the movies and write about it more.

And yes, I think we do have a winner for the 500 film challenge. And don’t worry, it ain’t me. 🙂

 

This is me, featuring this year's favorite photo app.
This is me, featuring this year’s favorite photo app.

 

In case you’re interested, here’s the stats of my blog this year. Thank you!

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.