Monday, November 21, 2022

Itim (The Rites of May, Mike de Leon, 1976)


Mike de Leon's scarily assured debut Itim (The Rites of May, 1976) is about the ache of memory, the weight of religious faith, the slow poison of male entitlement in a patriarchy. Naturally, it's a ghost story. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Mike De Leon

The thin line between genius and sanity

Easy to call Mike de Leon one of the greatest if not the greatest Filipino filmmaker; he's done only a handful of films (nine features and three shorts), but every one displays an amazingly high level of technical proficiency. In terms of sound design, cinematography, and editing, his films sound and look and flow better than almost any other; it may be argued that De Leon has never made a bad film-- that his batting average runs a near-perfect 95 or even 100%.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Ibong Adarna (The Adarna Bird, Manuel Conde and Vicente Salumbides, 1941)


What Filipino hasn't heard of the Ibong Adarna, the magical bird whose sweet singing puts the unwary listener to sleep and whose droppings turn said listener into stone? Narcisa 'Dona Sisang' de Leon (grandmother of filmmaker Mike de Leon) certainly did, and knew just how much Filipinos loved the story-- so much so that she was willing to risk money on a lavish (for Filipinos anyway) film adaptation. She was right too-- the production was a hit, the first Filipino film to gross over a million pesos. 

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Filipino horrors: Bahay na Pula (Red House), Matangtubig (Town in a Lake), Ma, Pagbabalat ng Ahas (Reptilia in Suburbia)

Cabinet of charcuteries

For my latest podcast (thanks to Karl Kaefer of Deviant Legion Network) I had to bone up on the best and the rest of recent Filipino horror. Could not catch everything, but what I did catch--