Monday, November 19, 2007

Andrew Leavold, enthusiast extraordinaire

The incomparable Weng Weng

I first 'met' Andrew (funny how nowadays you can carry on friendships and acquaintances for years without having ever even met the person)--but this blog post might describe the encounter better.

(Yes it's long--Andrew told me it runs for about ten thousand words, and yes I put the whole thing in a single post. If you haven't the time--but I urge you to make time, it's a funny, fascinating document--scroll down to the last few paragraphs when I make my reply to his kilometer-long letter (basically about the point when the italicized text ends)).

Anyway, Mr. Leavold has put up a blog--I think new, and I think a good one: ANDREW LEAVOLD: The Search for Weng Weng in 2008, and right on the blog's front page is this gorgeous painting (Watercolor or oil? Poster color? But what do I know?), which I hope he will forgive me for appropriating outright, without permission (it's a gorgeous painting, Andrew--who did it?).

The blog's not all about Weng Weng (though even if it was, I don't see anything wrong with that); he has this lovely little post about experimental self-taught filmmaker Khavn de la Cruz, of which he had this to say: "To date, Khavn’s output numbers 16 digital features and over 50 shorts. That’s 15 features more than me, I mentally count with shame." He's got a picture of filmmaker Elwood Perez strangling him in a Spanish restaurant (you know Elwood's one of the uh, best-equipped filmmakers in the industry, don't you, Andrew? (actually, I can't believe I even know that)). He's even got a picture with Maria Isabel Lopez (lovely woman, even today; I wouldn't mind trading seats with him at all).

He's got posts on Gerrry De Leon and Eddie Romero's Blood Island trilogy, to which he breaks open the undiluted lime cordial and solemnly intones: "I, a living, breathing creature of the cosmic entity am now ready to enter the realm of those chosen to be allowed to drink of the Mystic Emerald fluids herein offered. I join the Order of Green Blood with an open mind, and through this liquid's powers am now prepared to safely view the unnatural green-blooded ones without fear of contamination."

Now that's an oath I'm ready to take myself, anytime.

I'd wished he'd note that de Leon had directed only the first two of the Blood Island trilogy (the better ones, in effect)...but that's a minor complaint; he does them justice (maybe more than enough justice). He also writes about de Leon's two vampire films--vampire films I've also written about, though obviously without as much relish or naked enthusiasm as he does (he considers them "one of Filipino horror's finest moments").

It's gratifying--if not a little mystifying--to see a seemingly sane Australian critic go gaga over the Philippines' pulp cinema--but you see stranger things up on the Filipino screen, and I suppose he takes his cue, ideals, inspiration from the very oddities he so avidly sees. Not a bad way to waste one's life, I think--if anything, I'm green with envy.


Andrew Leavold said...

Sir, you do me proud!

That's a painting I found on a website (artist unknown) next to a photo collage of Weng's face on Metloaf's body, entitled "A Weng Outta Hell".

Please check out the latest updates: a gallery of lurid Bobby A. Suarez posters, plus photos of me and Dolphy, Weng Weng's brother and Cleo Wong herself!

Long live Philippines cinema, with all its inherent contradictions, absurdities and pleasures, guilty or otherwise...

...and yes, I will fix Gerry's listing, and make note of Celia's diaphanous gown!

Noel Vera said...

Thanks for the source of that painting. It's tres cool.