Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have yourself an 'Inasiong' Christmas

(For a recap of what happened, please check out this blog post, its sequel, and its second sequel

And just like that, apparently, game over.

Aguiluz had managed to file a court case against the producers of Asiong Salonga. A TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) was issued against the film's December 25 screening. It looked as if Aguiluz's complaints were finally to be taken seriously. 

And they were, to a point--the producers agreed to remove Aguiluz's name from the credits. No print of the director's cut, however, is forthcoming, and the MMFF will be screening the reportedly butchered and tarted-up producer's version. The same version will be sent to film festivals and film markets all over the world; as far as the rest of the world is concerned, the producer's cut is the one and only version of Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story in existence...

And that, apparently, is that. 

It was pointed out in a comment to one of my previous posts that Aguiluz should have expected what happened to him when he dealt with Governor Ejercito--one thinks of the saying "He who sups with the Devil should have a long spoon.

Well--one tries; the thing about the Devil is that he can make things happen for you, or at least that's the well-known motivating detail that accompanies the classic narrative. Yes, you're going to get burned, yes the outcome is never worth the trouble, and yes you only realize this when all has been said and done (or at least that's how the classic narrative goes). But in the real world, if you want to wait for a decent, straightforward producer to hand you the money to do your dream project, you'll never get started--that's the nature of the business. At least Aguiluz dared and nearly succeeded.

The real loser here, of course, is the Filipino people. As far as Philippine cinema is concerned, the action genre is dead; has been for some time. Aguiluz hoped to clear away the hoary cliches, the l, the ridiculous acting tics and gestures that have encrusted the genre like so many barnacles on an outdated sailing vessel; he had hoped to do a radical redesign, and came close to succeeding. 

It may be small comfort to him, but when it comes to filmmakers who have attempted to remake a genre and were undone by their producers, he is in good company (Erich von Stroheim, Orson Welles; Sergei Eisenstein--and that's just including the obvious few).

Maybe someday that director's cut will be seen and, better yet, appreciated. Someday.

Have yourself an 'Inasiong' Christmas, folks. 

(As for the online petition, it may have little to no effect, but I for one would like to be on record as wanting that Director's Cut released in whatever form. I'm not planning to have my signature removed; if anything, I'm proud to keep it there. You can see it in if I remember correctly the number five position on the list...and you're invited to add your own anyway, for principle's sake)

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