Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Moral (Marilou Diaz-Abaya, 1982)


(Available on iTunes and KTX.PH

(Warning: narrative and plot twists discussed in explicit detail)

Marilou Diaz-Abaya's Moral (1982) bends stereotypes from the start, beginning where most romantic comedies end, with a marriage. Maritess (Anna Marin) is in the process of being wedded to (welded to?) Dodo (Ronald Bregendahl) when Joey (Lorna Tolentino) stumbles late into the church, fumbles her way to a seat, giggles at inappropriate moments; Kathy (Gina Alajar) sings a heartfelt song but--isn't she off-key? When the ceremonies end it's not bride and groom running out from under a shower of flung rice but bride and friend and friend and friend--Maritess and Joey and Kathy and Sylvia (Sandy Andolong) linked arm to arm, camera retreating before them as they march into the world.  

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Trese (animated TV series)

Super natural

Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo's supernatural horror comic Trese (Thirteen) has finally been realized on the small screen and by Netflix no less--which is a bit of a mixed blessing.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The good of 2002

The good of 2002

One of my New Year's resolution is to start on a positive note, and as much as possible mention only the good of last year, so this may be a short article. Let's see how it goes--

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Ishmael Bernal, a partial retrospective

Call Him Ishmael

THERE IS A SCENE IN MANILA BY NIGHT, where Charito Solis' Virgie confronts William Martinez's Alex about his drugtaking. What follows is a storm of maternal fury, unmatched by any other in an already turbulent film. She slaps him mauls him rains blows on his back and head; she throws things--knickknacks, heavy objects, anything and everything detachable and ready at hand. In glorious slow motion, she smashes a drawer on his skull, wood splinters flying like exploded shrapnel. The scene feels like it has gone too long; you're reminded of a Buster Keaton film where everything is flying around in a tornado and Keaton is the still, rooted center in the storm. Manila has pushed past the point of drama to absurdity, is well on its way past absurdity into a kind of comic horror.