Yeah yeah, not another blog from me. Sorry ka na lang. This is what I want to do these days, e. Bakit ba?
This site is actually inspired by my former film school student who said in his own film review site that he wished more people would write about films in this country, especially local films. He went so far as wising that there should again be a film journal magazine here in Manila, much like what appeared briefly during the early to mid-2000s. But since print is rather costly and a headache to run, creating a blog is the next best thing. I agree with him. He’s a bright kid; I hope he does well in the future.
A departed young film critic also said the same things, and pointed out something I found quite intriguing — that there are two able-bodied film award-giving bodies in the country and yet the brains behind the bodies are not actively writing film criticism, their supposed premiere “job.” How could they, when they are busier doing other things? Or maybe being a critic is not their foremost preoccupation anyway. And you know, if I am in my biatch mode, I truly wonder how they got in, when most of them have not even tried making a film, and then they start talking about technicals in-depth. But that’s just me being a biatch.
With that point, I happen to agree with Sir Paul McCartney, the legendary Beatles man, when he said that only musicians or writers who understand how to create music are the only credible music reviewers for him. Quite a snobbish thing to say, but for films, that doesn’t mean writing film reviews merely as “talking shop,” that we in the film business are just the ones talking about films and all that. The beauty of this medium is that it is open for everybody, and everybody has access to it if they want to access it, and the job of a proper film reviewer — one who understands and has experienced making films — is to share that filmmaking experience, speculate about a film’s filmmaking experience, and share that with the rest of the readers without talking down to them like uppity academic film reviewers do, you know what I mean? Writing film reviews as if we are just sharing our love for this art form, sharing to them what you think as if they want to learn and appreciate the film they saw both onscreen and behind the scene. Something like that. And writing reviews as if you are talking to the filmmakers, too, suggesting things that could have fared better or commending things that went so well in their works. That’s what I want to do here.
This also means writing like a fan, a lover of movies, an avowed cineaste, because I’ve notice that most academic film reviews and discourses are such frigid jots that leaves me wondering whether the writers felt any emotions at all while watching the films they’re critiquing. Literary theory also has a term for that: the reader response theory, which takes into account the readers or in this case the viewers. Where do viewers come from, what are their biases and all, that they channel into their film-watching experience. And this part is full of the “I can relate” or “the story is universal” mode of reviews, because what we are talking about here now is the content of the film, the messages and themes, and how all these relate to you as a living, thinking, lusting human being. So if you find yourself outside of that Paul McCartney category of reviewers, then this one is your category, and for me, both are really valid. Before learning how to make films, we all are fans of watching films first and foremost, and I also want to incorporate that here in my writings.
Alas, this kind of writing doesn’t get one published anywhere in the country. Academic journals won’t hear of such things; they are allergic to the absence of anal retentive style of creating source citations and the practice of theorizing your own theories without referencing to someone else’s theorizing (and yet they want original content, ha. Alanis, kanta: isn’t it ironic…). True in-depth critical reviews are shunned by industry professionals and producers or directors will ban you from their movie premieres because they only see you as “negative” (and I have colleagues who were victims of such practices, poor them). Lifestyle publications won’t publish you because all they want to read from you is fluff praise releases of these films. So what’s a film critic to do? Give out awards?
Ewan. Magulo. Malabo. Basta ako, I will critique these films the way I know how and the way I want to. Enjoy it if you want to, hate it if you want to. It’s a free country after all, last time I checked.