Archive for about leaflens

Year of the Lull

Posted in Philippine film industry, sine muni, takilya life with tags , on January 2, 2019 by leaflens

Hello folks! It seems like I skipped a whole year, again, without putting a review out there. I’ve actually been doing that more on my public Instagram account whenever I post mini-reviews of films I see, which also get cross-posted sa public author’s page ko sa FB. You can follow that account if you like: @mx_libay_linsangan_cantor. My FB page is:

The year of the lull was actually not much of a choice. I also didn’t feel like seeing, let along reviewing some Filipino films that came out this year, especially the MMFF. While I don’t think I can catch pa the MMFF these last few January days because I’m stuck in bed with a nasty foot sprain, nakakawalang gana na rin actually manood minsan, mainly because of the chika na nakakapagod na ring sundan dito sa industriyang ito, sa totoo lang, industriyang minsang minahal ko nang lubos.

My film-active contacts have been chatting about these on FB the entire year. Lalo na come festival season. Like itong nangyari sa QC Filmfest, nakakaloka nga namang maghabol ka ng sinehan from one end of the city to another. Ang beef ko pa dun, ‘yung ibang movies nasa labas ng QC! Musta namang sa Robinson’s Galleria ba ‘yun o Megamall? Define QC nga, beh. Kalokang geography-challenged problem ituh. Pero nung nakita ko kung sinu-sino ang mga nagpapatakbo kasi nun, aysus… Hindi na ako nagtaka pa hahahahaha. But I managed to get one screening in, primarily because a former student/thesis advisee had an entry (na tinulungan ko siyang i-workshop ang script niya actually, upon her request). I missed the gala kasi, ‘yung kay Sam Lee, kaya I caught it na lang some other day. Apart from that, wala na yata akong masyadong nakita pa. Pero basta mga dati kong estudyante ang may gawa, I make it a point to watch them. Kahit ‘yung mga ‘yun man lang, mapanood ko. And of course, some of my filmmaker friends’ efforts din, kung meron silang ilalabas. Siyempre support din iyon, ever. The rest? Abangan ko na lang sa Netflix ‘yan hehe.

Ito rin kasing MMFF medyo letdown na ang nagaganap, after a hopeful resurgence. Industriyang bulok versus independent openminded thinking na naman. Like what I’ve been saying time and again, “Same mafia, different decade!” Kelan kaya mababago ang sistema? Okay na sana ‘yung a few years ago na may docu, then we go back again to the usual trash cinema cycle. Sino naman ang gaganahan dun? Although this has been a movie marathon ritual for me and my mom for years now, sayang at di namin magagampanan iyon for the past year’s batch dahil nga sa sprain ko. Gusto ko pa namang habulin ‘yung isa, ‘yung gay film ni Eddie Garcia. Sayang. Abangan ko na lang dun sa mga indie cinema houses na nakikita ko, cropping up in Metro Manila. Kakatuwang may mga ganun na! Bisitahin ko kapag may time, lalo na ‘yung mga nasa QC area, sa Maginhawa yata ‘yung isa saka ‘yung sa Anonas branch nung nasa San Juan na isa. Cool! They rerun the indie films and local films there na na-miss ko sa ka-busy-han ng life. I plan to see more of that there. Sige soon.

Sayang itong industriya natin. Minsan talaga two steps forward na, tapos one step back later, then one forward again, then three backwards naman. Wala rin. I thought one giant leap for cinemakind na ‘yung naganap nung mid-2000s with Cinemalaya, but what did it do now? It just produced a newer brand of mafia-like Kami-Kami Productions na naman, junior edition. Like bow down to their system if you want to make your film kind of peg na naman. And it produces egos with cameras, not artistic filmmakers, na kahit ‘yung mga nauna-unang batch of filmmakers ay nakikita kong nasusuya din sa pinuntahan ng mga fests na ito, once hopeful, now ewan na. Sayang ano.

The other fests were no better din, lalo na ‘yang Cinema One na ‘yan. Pero may mga taon namang umo-okay-okay silang pareho, tapos may year na lalaylay na naman o may kontrobersiya na namang puputok, na may kinawawa na namang mga tao. Haaaaaay crap cinema cycle na naman, digital edition. Nakikimiron na lang naman ako sa sirkulong iyan, kasi nga madalas nakakapagod na ang mga tired old narratives that get rehashed sa kalakaran behind the scenes. Ayoko nang madagdagan pa ang dumarami ko nang uban, sa totoo lang. Hayst.

Kaya stick na lang ako sa panonood at pagrerebyu from a distance. I plan to be more active in this department this 2019. (Sorry kung famous last words-sounding na naman ito hahaha pero pramis, talagang tututs na siya.) I’m actually trying to rehash and streamline my online existence, also to house all of my horcruxes online into a cohesive spot. Been chatting with someone about that last year, so let’s see how that goes later on, hopefully within this first quarter. Also, I’m thinking of creating a pop culture podcast, but that one’s just a dream for now. Let’s see.

Hay, sige cinema, hindi pa naman tayo divorced or anything. Siguro diet lang. Life’s getting too short to waste on bad movies and stuff, kaya focus tayo sa mga mas malaman muna.

And happy new year, folks. See you again soon!


you know you want this. chos.

Posted in takilya life with tags , on October 26, 2009 by leaflens

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.

me directing Lovely Day chidlrens TV show in 2008

me directing Lovely Day chidlren's TV show in 2008

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.

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