Saturday, April 12, 2014


Wirdo lang, nakita ko tong video na ito tapos naalala ko lahat ng sinasabi ng mga tao sa twing may mangyayaring ganito.

"Ingat ka".

Nakakapagtaka. Kanino ako magiingat? Sa "masasamang loob " daw.

Na tila ba talagang mas nangaghahari talaga ang "masasama".

Na tila ba, tanggap na ng lahat na natural ang maging masama. Para lang yang kapag sinabihang mag-ingat sa gubat,o sa paglalakad sa bangin, delikado.

Para bang hindi na tayo panatag at kailangan na lang mag-ingat palagi, kahit sa sariling pamamahay at kahit natutulog.

Monday, January 27, 2014

All in the Family

On Uchōten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family) (and partly, on mythology and reading)

I've been on this practice on seeing things not from beyond but from within the surface and context for a while now whenever I watch something. I just stopped assuming what's beyond the narrative because it becomes ridiculous most of the time. Of course, I'm not to say that whatever my interpretation might be on a certain work is the actual meaning of it, it is only a reading, like how some academic old men would say. And, no, I didn't grew up, I never matured, though I really hope I would, I'm just trying how these old men do things and see if I could get something out of it. You could say that I'm a very gullible child.

To start off with this practice on writing, I'll read this series that I have recently finished.

One thing I've noticed on Uchoten Kazoku (Trans: The Eccentric Family) is it's reference to the father figure in the story. The flow of the narrative itself always find its way back to the father, the affected people's past in relation with the father's fate, and what have they become after.

It is told thru the perspective of Yasaburo, one of the children of Shimogamo Tanuki (Raccoon Dog) family which was once a great family helmed by their father's legacy, Souichiro, who has become legendary after he saved a Tengu (a mythical dog in Japanese legend, sometimes also considered a god) then becomes a nise-emon (head of the Tanuki population) later on before facing his fate on a hotpot one christmas party held by a group of humans called the Friday Fellows.

Everything was set as if diversity of identities were a natural state of things: Humans, Tanukis and Tengus are allowed to live together provided that they are to occupy a certain space allotted for them by some ancient law. Though, this doesn't really prohibit them to interact with each other, as the story suggests, the world go round through these interactions. Among the three creatures co-existing, the Tanukis seems to be on the marginalized side: often saw as idiots by the mystically superior Tengus who can fly and can control elements, and was threatened to be eaten by humans during christmas or new year. It isn't surprising that the Tanukis band up and form some sort of coalition and choose a leader to protect and mediate with these other entities.

Set in the season of the election of the new Nise-emon, we see Shimogamo's eldest sibling face the challenge of being elected, being in constant change of words and violence between his uncle, Soun Ebisugawa, and their families. Making each other's predicament quite chaotic as the narrative flows. What makes me interested is that, among these contant exchange of violence and words is an ongoing story-telling of what Souichiro was and what really has happened to him. Like a detective story. More accurately, he's not present but lives within the discourse, as one of my professors would say.

Beyond entertainment, Uchoten Kazoku doesn't really say something new, it just made class conflict more obvious, which is kind of impressive. The use of mythical creatures to make a clear (hyperreal even) distinction of the diversity of society itself and how are we really affect each other's lives. In the mix of the Tanuki Politics, the Tengus' pride and the greed of humans, it is only befitting that it would end in a chaotic manner. Violence seem to solve and protect what each and every one of them creatures hold dear.

Interesting turning point in the narrative is Yasaburo's fondness of Benten (or Satomi Suzuki), a human trained to be a tengu by Professor Akadama (or Yakushibo Nyoigatake), an influential but often drunk Tengu. It might even be an infatuation. Benten also happen to be a part of the Friday fellows: this and his fondness of her affect every action and turn of course that Yasaburo has taken during each and every conflict. Yasaburo became what the father never was, someone to overcome Benten's gaze. In this manner, each and every children of the Shimogamo tried to fill in what the father has left off.

Everything that had happen led to reliving, remembering, reconstructing, even resurrecting Souichiro. As some old pervert would say: all in the name of the father. (I'll try not to specify any other scene as it would be criminal to spoil too much.)

Though the point of view came clearly from one of the marginalized side, the end won't say much of who won the conflict, or who supposed to win. It stepped out of it's mystical realm and grasped reality that it isn't black and white, conflicts might branch out to more conflict, though the intensity differ probably, depends on the immediate root of the conflict. One thing clear here, is that Yasaburo never really wanted to solve anything, as his character suggest, he's actually a kind of liberal who takes all sides of the game and make use of whatever each and everyone's "good" quality. He's one with no ideological leaning but if threatened, will stand up for the ones he protect. Kind of like the typical person, slash the Tanuki part, who just wants to live in peace. It's actually a kind of thinking that could be deemed as dangerous in the ongoing discourse on class struggles, but aren't the repressed class, who most of them who talk of this discourse, the same way as Yasaburo? When was the last time that I've read of humans being treated not as a subject, an object, or material but a human in a discourse?

Myths often represent what humans lack, but in this case, mythical creatures tried to overexpose human complexity thru their petty conflicts being solved to a showcase of their respective mythical powers. A myth which is very human in essence: eccentric, weird, violent, chaotic and at times, lovely, charming, and kind of cute. This might be why most thinkers often subject humans in a textual treatment: they're too complex to understand; we might as well just read them and speculate. Such are the boundaries of ideology, or might just be, a manifestation of our idiot blood.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lost in Time

Lost in time, as in nawala sa oras.

Sa taas ay dalawang lo-res scan ng mga still na nabili ko sa Cubao Expo nung hinihintay kong magka-tao sa studio ni sir Banal nung miyerkules. Nalaman ko na lang na sa UP pala kami magkaklase after 1 hour. Kamusta naman ang nawala sa oras at nakuha pang magliwaliw sa expo.

Medyo bihira na ako makakita ng mga ganyang stills, dati, meron kami niyan nung lumabas yung Batang X. kaso di ko na alam kung saan napunta. Mas gugustuhin ko sanang poster ng Hesus Rebolusyonaryo na lang ang nabili ko kesa ang mga ito, pero, ok na rin itong kolektibol. Medyo malinis pa at pwede pang ipagyabang ng unti. Haha.

Madalas magkakaroon ka ng impulse na humanap ng mga katulad na memorabilia kung sakaling makahanap ka nito sa isang lugar, tulad nuong lumakas ang impulse ko maghalungkat sa Booksale nang makakita ng Discipline and Punish ni Foucault. Baka bumalik ako sa Expo sa mga susunod na buwan para sa mga ganito, though, mukhang nakita ko na ata lahat ng interesanteng ganito at hindi ko tiyak din kung nadaragdagan ang mga ganito.

Nakatutuwa doon, may mga stills ng pelikulang di ko alam, may mga stills na walang title pero obvious na either Okay Ka Fairy Ko o Oki-Doki-Dok!. Medyo nostalgic. Weird ang Cubao Expo, para siyang pinaghalong nakaraan at kasalukuyan.Para siyang yung mga katulad nitong thrift shops sa may bandang Cubao din kung saan nagbebenta sila ng mga gamit na inayawan ng mga Kano, pero iba ang Expo. May mga shop doon na dedicated lamang sa mga "modern cultural artifacts" na malamang sa malamang sa Pilipinas (o sa Maynila) lang meron, mga lumang album (mapa-vinyl, 8-track, 4-track, o cassette), lumang libro, magazine, kamera, at iba pa. Hindi ganoon kaluma, madalas mula panahon ni Marcos hanggang early 2000's. Interesante yung mga bagay lalo yung mga dyaryo at lumang showbiz magazine, lalo yung mga 90's. Pag binubulatlat ko, feeling ko may mga napagiwanan pa rin ako at hindi alam na tsismis noon. Nakakatuwa rin na nakita ko ulit si Lindsay Custodio, kahit sa picture lang.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Isang maikling pangangamusta ilang oras matapos ang huling pagkikita

(not sure if pic is related or not)

8:08. Katatapos lang magwalis ulit sa bahay. Medyo makalat, kamukha pa rin ang bahay kung papaano natin iniwan kanina nung hinatid kita sa opisina mo. Tisyu para sa sipon, bungkos ng sinerox na papel na makapal, mga libro tungkol kay Freud at Lacan, at dalawang 1001 series. Di ko pa rin inaayos ang mga bagay bagay dito. Bukas ang radyo. Morning show sa 89.9. Pinag-iisipan ko ngayon kung papaano ko mapagbibigyang saysay itong mga babasahin sa isyu ng gender at cinema, o di kaya manuod na lang ako ng pinakabagong episode ng Ippo. May klase mamaya. Paunahin ko na lang yung tatlo ko pang kaklase. bahala na mamaya. Ikaw ang mas naaalala ko ngayon. Tulad ng ibang mga araw na ikaw lagi ang mas naiisip ko pag di ka nakikita.

Kausap ko ulit ang sarili ko. Paulit ulit, paano magkakaroon ng saysay ang mga ito nang hindi pilit. Kung papaano mababasa ang mga itinuturing na teksto habang hindi ito itinuturing na teksto. Pero ulit, nawawala ako, ikaw ang naiisip ko.

Unti ka na naman kasi kumain nitong huli. Alam kong dala ng sakit mo, o ng "impeksyon", to be more specific. Di pa naman ganap na sakit. Nag-aalala ako kung nakakain ka na ba, o kung napagod ka ba sa araw mo, o kung natutulog ka ba sa oras. Inom ka ng maraming tubig, ha.

Magpapa-check-up ka pala ngayon sinabi mo. Pasensya ka na kung di ako makakasama ngayon. Pasensya ka na rin kung di ko ginagawa yung mga bagay na dapat kong gawin, tulad ng pagbibigay kahulugan sa ideolohiya at cinema, o sa cinema mismo. Pwede nating sabihing nasa proseso ako, o bahagi ang prokrastasyong ito ng proseso. Pero, you know better, excuse lang ito. Pasensya ka na sa katamaran ko. Na sana sa mga oras na ito, kasama sana kita sa clinic at unang makaririnig kung anong plano ngayon upang lunasan ang karamdaman mo. Makasama sana sa prosesong pagdadaanan mo. Maging bahagi ng kung ano mang maaari mo pang pagdaanan.

Pasensya ka na ulit. Mukhang manonood na lang talaga ako ng Ippo, o ng Kuroko, at ipagdarasal na sana hindi ka na masyado mapagastos at gumaling na agad. Na-miss ko na yung mga pagkain natin ng chichirya ng sabay. Nakalulungkot nitong huli na di ko na makuhang kumain din ng mga dati nating kinatutuwaang kainin, masarap ang isang bag na malaking Chippy, pero mas masarap yung pagkain nun kapag kaagaw ka, at may kasisihan kung magkaubusan.

(ngayon lang, tumugtog yung "Chasing Cars" ng Snow Patrol sa radyo. akalain mo nga naman.)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Para sa iyo, Para sa akin.

Just in case that I actually have readers, I apologize.

For not updating regularly. For not writing well if I do update this blog. Nasukat ko na na hanggang dito na lang siguro malamang yung kaya kong gawin pagdating sa pagsusulat. Gusto ko pa rin, kahit na di talaga ako kagalingan. Wala naman akong alam gawin bukod sa tumunganga at magmahal kundi ang magsulat (at dumaldal pa pala).

Just in case that I actually have readers, here's how's Kawts Kamote is going to be like from this point on.

I will still not update regularly. No surprises. It's really hard to do things other than work when you don't even have that much time to sleep. Mas gusto ko pa rin matulog. Pero gusto ko pa rin magsulat. So, I'll post things. Kahit random shit lang siguro. Will make this an actual blog instead, alam mo ibig sabihin nun. Minsan na lang siguro ang lengthy posts at opinyon. (pwede na rin palang reminder sa sarili itong post na ito.)

Mas madalas na pala ako makakapagpost siguro ng tungkol sa Anime. Mas madali siguro para sa akin yun. Mas madalas naman ako manuod ng Anime, kesa sine. Baka bihira na rin ako makapanuod ng sine, o kung manonood naman ako ng pelikula, baka dito na lang din sa bahay. Marami masyadong mga pangyayari na nagtulak sa akin na maging ganito. Di ko alam kung hanggang kelan. Bukod sa maraming tanong na umiikot sa utak ko ngayon, malaking usapin kung kaya ko pa bang ma-afford ang lifestyle ko last year. Going back to the couch, kumbaga.

Just in case that I actually have readers, maraming salamat.

Either intentionally, or random visitor, salamat pa rin. 2014 na. Nakakatuwa, magli-limang taon ko na palang ginagawa ito. Sana naman kahit papaano, may narating. Salamat.

Siya nga pala, kahit na nakagawa ako ng listahan ko ng top films nuong 2013, di ako magpopost dito ngayong taon, pwede niyo naman siya siguro makita sa paglabas ng resulta ng Pinoy Rebyu at CINEPHILES! poll (mas malamang sa Pinoy Rebyu, di ko alam kung maglalabas ng individual ballots si Adrian ngayon para sa CINEPHILES!). Pasensya na rin kung sakaling meron talagang nag-aabang.

Monday, November 25, 2013

On 2013 Cinema One Originals Festival

All in all, from what I saw of this year's festival, all is good. Though I missed three films this year, which I am hoping to see anytime soon on other venues, what I saw are enough to get me decided that this edition is the best of the year's local festival. 

Here's what I think of the ones I saw, ranked from my least to most favorite of the line-up: 

Angustia - The film is tiring. No matter how it tries to get as visually grotesques as it is, it still made me blink. Though, what I thought of it's message is quite interesting: how religion could've ruined civilizations thru its missions.

Bendor - if the music wasn't there this would've been on another upper part of the list, but no, the music ruined it. It could've worked, everything could've worked without it. Getting down with the film, Bendor opens disturbingly, after the casual talk of the abortionists, we see a lady bleeding after the proceedure failed, and see Vivian Velez' character left the victim in a hospital and ran. This is what makes me interested in this film. On how anyone could just get away from crime. Moving forward on the film, we see other dimensions of her rather than a criminal. The woman and the mother, and how she could always be that way.

Woman of the Ruins - Visuals are great, performances too, but I keep seeing this film as a rehash of Ishmael Bernal's Himala. I wouldn't know if this is intentional, Keith Sicat being dedicated for the past years making 2 documentaries about Ishmael Bernal might have affected the course of the work. Though, the setup itself is quite interesting. I wouldn't mind re-seeing this film for reverification of whatever confusions I have.

Saturday Night Chills - This film has the making of an American indie crime film, which, of course, could result to more killings, death, and all things related. Nothing new could be achieved on watching this: the film is clearly for cinema as entertainment, obvious in it's casting choice. But the film is quite witty enough play around with the elements which makes him probably unwanted to most festival audience. Rather than being seen as a gritty and dark crime film, dialogues would probably suggest that this is actually, a black comedy, only blacker. Also, Matteo Guidicelli, for the win.

Blue Bustamante - Another nostalgia takes place here, but lighter this time. The target audience being the kids from the early to mid-90's who enjoyed the company of tagalized Super Sentai tv-shows and Nintendo FamiCom. What seems to be apparent on 2 of Punch Kick's production from this year (one being Hello World!) is their recurrent reference to Japanese Pop Culture, in which I don't really see as something bad. Rather, it what makes them commercially viable. If our commercial theaters are full of stuffs like them, it would have been better. Well, not totally Japanese references, but rather references which would appeal to most rather than repeated depictions of upper class and corporate romance. Cultural references, if used right, could not result to escapism but might help audiences embrace realism more.

Kabisera - I wasn't so sure whether this film really want to do some references on all other films of Joel Torre, but whatever it might be, accidental or not, the way those references are placed are quite brilliant. Kabisera took it's vigor from it's actors. Powerful performances delivered by Torre, Art Acuña and Bing Pimentel. It's thrilling.

Iskalawags - This past years on the festival circuits has been a playground for nostalgia for most filmmakers. Not saying that it is bad, in fact, results get surprising as the months go. Iskalawags is about a man remembering specific events of his childhood and childhood friends: their journeys on menace and watching action films on Betamax of their childhood hero, Jeric Raval (who then appear in the film), then imitating them afterwards. As every remembering goes, this one's bittersweet, it's not always good times. But sure, those scenes when they play are the most wonderful of this film.

Islands - Three simple words which is so hard to say. Why do we always end up this way? Islands dug thru the maybes of love or the (im)possibility of it. One interesting idea told to me by my girlfriend regarding this, is that, it's a film that could be most understood by our generation: the Post-Eraserheads generation. From that scene when the astronaut sang Torete till the technological dilemma of relationships: no matter how we try to keep everyone close to us digitally, it still makes us lonely. Technology, this internet age, makes people more lonely. This loneliness made us more incapable to say those three words. "No man is an island", they say. But aren't we alone most of the time? [cue in Boz Scaggs's We're All Alone]

Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na - Synopsis may suggest that Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na is set on the Marcos era, but other scenes suggests disrespect on time. The film explores political and ideological conflicts here unbounded by time, overlapping cases from the present unto the past. What impresses me the most on this film is the very intriguing question it imposed upon the near end: what really does Gen. Palparan do with all the missing people?

Ang mga Tigmo ng Akong Pagpauli - I think it is quite clear here, that on the recent 2 films of Arnel Mardoquio, he's been presenting problems and questions of the Moro region: some of it are old issues and some are probably new to us people from Luzon, which are still on going and still have not yet solved. This is the kind of realism he used on Ang Paglalakbay ng mga Bituin sa Gabing Madilim: imposing questions. And as the question imposed has been lingering us for these past months, here he is again, asking the same thing and more. If being obvious wouldn't work, maybe riddling us could make us think, Mardoquio tried to ask the questions in rather complex audiovisual representations. Some of them I got on the onset of the screening, some on thinking about it after. From religious fundamentalism to political killings to natural calamities, Mardoquio presented the ills and cries of the Moro people on manner that has never been in done in this country's cinema. 

Philippino Story - Some might dismiss this one as some cliche'd poverty-gay melodrama, but if you actually tried it, something within this film is actually reaching you. I love how the characters are here. We could see an arranged relationship with no committment involved, yet we see them taking care of each other. This made me see goodness again on people. Though near the end is quite sad, I still felt some comfort afterwards.

Ang Alamat ni China Doll - My favorite of the Festival. Partly because of Cesar Montano, but wholly, because it is really good. Alix turned Lav Diaz' exploration of the myth surrounding the international terrorist with Ponds Cold Cream skin, China Doll[see here:], into something uniquely his. Of course, intentionally hinting within the film that the material was originally Diaz' (the placing of Crime and Punishment on the props, not changing the non-linear arrangement which was basically, an early Diaz indicator), but something within this film made it Alix': the actors. As far as most of his films go, it could be observed that Alix has been handling his actors well and is alwas according to what is needed on the scenes: just the right amount of emotions here. As mentioned earlier, the real highlight of this film is probably Cesar Montano and his charater. His performance is just superb.