Thursday, December 13, 2012

Philippine Cinema in the 1980's (David Aggabao, 2012)

A five part, just-a-hair-over-an-hour-long documentary on '80s Filipino cinema, done by students as final requirement for a University of the Philippines (UP) film class.

Don't agree with everything in it--the assertion that nothing really new came out of the '80s mainstream films, for example. I submit that there was plenty of surrealism and experimentation on visual narrative in films like Bed Sins, Himala, Kakabakaba Ka Ba? and Temptation Island (funny Joey Gosiengfiao and Elwood Perez don't even get a mention here), and that the dark, decadent look of films like Scorpio Nights, Batch '81 and Bagong Hari exceeded anything you saw in the '70s. And the emphasis on Orapronobis--it's a good film, one of the best of the decade, but there were more pointed attacks on authority (Bagong Hari, Kisapmata and Scorpio Nights come to mind) and braver films (Sister Stella L) even from Brocka himself (Bayan Ko, which was released during the far more dangerous times of the Marcos administration).

To be fair I made a mistake too--when I declare Salome to be the greatest Filipino erotic film ever made, I meant Init sa Magdamag. And yes, I considered Scorpio Nights for the title--in my opine Init did more, and with zero nudity. 

Overall it's well done, I thought; there are two authorities interviewed (Professor Joni Guiterrez of the UP Film Center, and Doctor Arminda Santiago, of the UP College of Mass Communications) to balance out my eccentric if not demented opinions, and titles to fill in cracks in the information provided. Not a comprehensive work, I guess, but a good start at one, and for all my lack of objective distance, I'd recommend a look. 


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