Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Five Blogs That Make You

In response to being tagged by The Self-Styled Siren, Gibbs Cadiz, and Last Night With Riviera--five blogs that make me think:


1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative
silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

That was that! Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking! It is the first time I am starting something with my blog so I hope it doesn't come back to haunt me.

(Well, leaving out the "duh!" factor--blogs so essential (if you're at all interested in what I find interesting) that you have to include them: Chicago Reader blog (mainly for Jonathan Rosenbaum); Dave Kehr; girish (for practically being at the center of where it's at, filmwise) ; Observations on Film Art (David Bordwell).

Then there are the blogs that add enough color and flavor to the blogverse that I'd definitely miss not having them around to dip in, like a jarful of Halloween treats: Conversations with Ghibli (for the links and for sincerely detailed discussion of all things Ghibli); Elusive Lucidity; The Evening Class; Like Anna Karina's Sweater (partly for the weekly photo quizzes which at times can be fiendishly difficult); Quiet Bubble; Strictly Film School; the Shamus' (aka The Little Round-Headed Boy) Bad for the Glass; and The House Next Door (mainly for the scrappy commentaries in response to the articles), among many others I've probably forgotten or overlooked.

It's a big world out there. To add to the confusion, here are five (okay, six, and two of them have little if any relation to cinema--but I've never been one to follow rules exactly) I'd personally like to spotlight:

1. concentrated nonsense.

Alexis Tioseco's arguably the most intelligent and film-literate film critic residing in the Philippines at the moment; his is one of the rare blogs that paid tribute to the passing of both Edward Yang and Joey Gosiengfiao and keeps tabs on what a Thai film critic has to say about Lav Diaz's Heremias (yes, these links go to his old blog. His new blog can be found in the link above). He also runs Criticine, which I believe is one of the most important websites on Southeast Asian cinema (well, I have a few articles there too so I'm hardly objective--but I stand by my statement).

And sometimes it isn't only about films, or even about ideas. Chris Hall mentioned this site in his blog (not active right now, for some reason), and I've been reading it ever since. Not just for the sex (though yes, that's a good part of why I read it); it's the casual, fluid recording of thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes--by turns intimate and thoughtful and goofy--of a sexually and emotionally aware young woman. Not a sophisticated prose stylist, much less a literate one far as I can tell, but her voice is so distinctly hers I'm fascinated anyway. Like lying in bed right after lovemaking, listening to a modern-day Scheherazade recount her thousand and one days and nights to you, day after day, night after night. Narcissistic, yes; fascinating--that, too, I submit.

3. The Phil Nugent Experience

I've known the guy for somewhere up to seven years (I think), and never even seen his face. We could walk past each other on the streets of New York and never recognize each other, but let me read one paragraph of his distinct voice on paper (or screen, or whatever) and I suspect I will recognize it immediately. Strange situation.

What isn't strange is how compulsively I can toss down his blog posts, like peanuts. They're either sharp political rants (like this takedown of The New York Times), or intense bits of film criticism (like this assessment of Herzog's Rescue Dawn), or simply hilarious humor pieces (like this imagining of what it must be like to listen to President Bush seek advice).

4. Piling-Piling Pelikula (rough translation: Cream-of-the-crop cinema)

Dodo Dayao's thoughts on films usually come in short, paragraph-length increments--which doesn't necessarily mean they're short on thinking, or insight. He's written about everything from Jean-Pierre Melville to The Transformers to Lav Diaz's Hesus Rebolusyunaryo (Jesus the Revolutionary) and done so with a laser-sharp prose and perceptive mind.

5. Pinoy Penman

Jose 'Butch' Dalisay is a wonderful fiction writer, a memorable dramatist (I remember helping stage his play Pagsabog ng Liwanag (rough translation: Burst of Dawn) years ago, back in college), a very good scriptwriter (the late Filipino film critic Augustin Sotto once cited Ina Ka ng Anak Mo (You're the Mother of Your Child, which Butch wrote) as his favorite Lino Brocka film) in roughly that order--and I've barely scratched his resume.

Once in a blue moon he'll write about films, but mostly he'll do a gem of an article, like this one on written tributes to the city of Manila.

6. Sari-Saring Sineng Pinoy (All Kinds of Filipino Films)

If you ever wondered what sites I visit to learn more about Filipino films, this is one of em. Jojo de Vera is a diehard Noranian and avid film enthusiast who has seen more 70s and 80s era Filipino films (and remembers more details about them) than anyone I know; he also singlehandedly discovered the one and only existing copy of Lino Brocka's first significant gay film Tubog sa Ginto (Dipped in Gold, 1972), the discovery and content of which I briefly discuss (begging your indulgence, it's a few paragraphs in the middle of a very long post; that said, I like to think it's a fairly interesting long post).

The blog is written entirely in Tagalog, which is a pity, but if you want an essential site on Philippine cinema, I think this comes closest to being it.


Jojo Devera said...

thanks a lot for the kind words Noel and for introducing me to Max Tessier...

it's indeed a pity that i write in Filipino but i do feel more comfortable in doing so... just for the record i drafted a post in English and i didn't like the way i wrote it... it seemed so impersonal so i'm back to writing my posts in Tagalog...

Noel Vera said...

I thought Max need your help, it was the obvious answer to his questions.

I got you re: your posts. We got to do what we got to do. If I wrote my blog or articles in Tagalog, I'd never have finished anything.

dodo dayao said...

Thanks a lot for the shoutout Noel. Honored to make the cut. ;)