October 15, Thursday
Before You Know It – 2 p.m.
Gas – 4:30 p.m.
The Viceroys – 7 p.m.
Smalltown, Italy – 9:30 p.m.

October 16, Friday
The Fever – 2 p.m.
Mater Natura – 4:30 p.m.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage – 7 p.m.
The Heretic – 9:30 p.m.

October 17, Saturday
One Out of Two – 2 p.m.
What I’m Doing Here – 4:30 p.m.
The True Legend of Tony Vilar – 7 p.m.
Gas – 9:30 p.m.

October 18, Sunday
Caravaggio – 2 p.m.
The True Legend of Tony Vilar – 4:30 p.m.
Mater Natura – 7 p.m.
The Destination – 9:30 p.m.

October 19, Monday
The Heretic – 2 p.m.
The Fever – 4:30 p.m.
One Out of Two – 7 p.m.
What I’m Doing Here – 9:30 p.m.

October 20, Tuesday
Smalltown, Italy – 2 p.m.
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage – 4:30 p.m.
Caravaggio – 7 p.m.
Before You Know It – 9:30 p.m.

October 21, Wednesday
The Destination – 2 p.m.
The Fever – 4:30 p.m.
What I’m Doing Here – 7 p.m.
The Viceroys – 9:30 p.m.

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote an entry about a tribute-benefit concert for Susan Fernandez.  And now, 365 days after that night of real music, the renowned Nightingale of the Philippine Left succumbed to ovarian cancer at the Medical City in Pasig.

I really don’t know her personally. All I know is that her songs, especially the Metro Pop award-winning song “Babae Ka”, contributed alot to the consciousness of the Filipino people during the so-called glory days of the Philippine progressive movement.

For more information about Susan, check http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/entertainment/07/02/09/singer-susan-fernandez-dies or simply Google her name.

Shangri-La Plaza
Eiga Sai 2009 Screening Schedule

July 2 (Thu)
7:00 PM
ALWAYS – Sunset on Third Street

July 3 (Fri)
2:00 PM
Tony Takitani

4:30 PM
Turn Over

7:00 PM
Kamome Diner

July 4 (Sat)
2:00 PM
Memories of Tomorrow

4:30 PM
ALWAYS – Sunset on Third Street

7:00 PM
Memories of Matsuko

July 5 (Sun)
2:00 PM
Memories of Tomorrow

4:30 PM
Mind Game

7:00 PM
Memories of Matsuko

July 6 (Mon)
2:00 PM
The Milkwoman

4:30 PM
Mind Game

7:00 PM
Turn Over

July 7 (Tue)
2:00 PM
Turn Over

4:30 PM
Kamome Diner

7:00 PM
ALWAYS – Sunset on Third Street

July 8 (Wed)
2:00 PM
The Milkwoman

4:30 PM
Tony Takitani

7:00 PM
Mind Game

July 9 (Thu)
2:00 PM
Turn Over

4:30 PM
Memories of Tomorrow

7:00 PM
ALWAYS – Sunset on Third Street

July 10 (Fri)
2:00 PM
The Milkwoman

4:30 PM
Memories of Matsuko

7:00 PM
Tony Takitani

July 11 (Sat)
2:00 PM
Kamome Diner

4:30 PM
Tony Takitani

7:00 PM
Memories of Tomorrow

July 12 (Sun)
2:00 PM
Mind Game

4:30 PM
ALWAYS – Sunset on Third Street

7:00 PM
Memories of Matsuko

UP Film Institute
Eiga Sai 2009 Screening Schedule

Aug 14 (Fri)
12:30 PM
ALWAYS – Sunset on Third Street

3:00 PM
Tony Takitani

Aug 15 (Sat)
4:00 PM
Memories of Tomorrow

6:30 PM
Memories of Matsuko

Aug 17 (Mon)
4:00 PM
Mind Game

6:30 PM
The Milkwoman

Aug 18 (Tue)
4:00 PM
Tony Takitani

6:30 PM
Turn Over

Aug 19 (Wed)
4:00 PM
Kamome Diner

6:30 PM
Memories of Tomorrow

Aug 20 (Thu)
4:00 PM
Memories of Matsuko

6:30 PM
Kamome Diner

for provincial (Baguio, Cebu & Davao) screenings, please check: http://www.jfmo.org.ph/events_eigasai09-schedule.html

The 14th French Film Festival here in Manila is now on-going and here’s the screening schedule:

June 5, Friday
Home – 7:30 p.m.

June 6, Saturday
Un Secret- 12:30 p.m.
Ca Brûle – 3:00 p.m.
Jean de la Fontaine – 5:30 p.m.
Van Gogh – 8:00 p.m.

June 7, Sunday
Home – 12:30 p.m.
Marie-Jo et Ses Deux Amours – 3:00 p.m.
Flandres – 5:30 p.m.
Ma Saison Preferee – 8:00 p.m.

June 8, Monday
Van Gogh – 12:30pm
Flandres – 3:30 p.m.
Ca Brûle – 5:30 p.m.
Zim et Co – 8:00 p.m.

June 9, Tuesday
Zim et Co – 12:30pm
Marie-Jo et Ses Deux Amours – 3:00 p.m.
Flandres – 5:30 p.m.
Jean de la Fontaine – 8:00 p.m.

June 10, Wednesday
Ca Brûle – 12:30pm
Home – 3:00 p.m.
Van Gogh – 5:30 p.m.
Un Secret – 8:30 p.m.

June 11, Thursday
Dix-Sept Fois Cecile Cassard – 12:30pm
400 coups – 3:00 p.m.
L’esquive – 5:30 p.m.
La Pianiste – 8:00 p.m.

June 12, Friday
Sabongero – 3:00 p.m.
Serbis – 5:30 p.m.
Independencia – 8:00 p.m.

June 13, Saturday
Ridicule – 12:30 p.m.
Dix-Sept Fois Cecile Cassard – 3:00 p.m.
L ‘Esquive – 5:30 p.m.
Flandres – 8:00 p.m.

June 14, Sunday
Un Secret – 12:30pm
Jean de la Fontaine – 3:00 p.m.
Les Quatre Cent Coups – 5:30 p.m.
Van Gogh – 8:00 p.m.

Months ago, I was about to write a blog entry for Francis Magalona to encourage readers to support his fight against leukemia. But as I research about him, I stumbled upon his request that his battle not be made too public and his family’s privacy be respected. So I decided not to proceed then.

Until the time to write a tribute came. Francism once wrote on his blog that, “I guess if we just loved our country so much we would be willing to die for it. I would. But a dead me is a useless me. I am more useful alive…”. I beg to disagree though. I believe that any dead person who lived a life relevant to society serves as an inspiration for everyone to be just like him. And the Master Rapper is one of those.

Arguably, Francism’s musical career boom started when he popularized rap music in the Philippines through the nationalistic tune of “Mga Kababayan” in 1990. This moralist approach, a broader definition of nationalism, to Philippine society fits my generation well that time. I was in grade school then. His songs, album after album, became more mature as he ventures into other social approaches; from Ito ang Gusto Ko’s direct action to Nilamon ng Sistema’s social realism.

And then high school days came, Francism is still there. And he is one of those who never succumbed to the artificial war of hiphop and metal. I know a lot of the former teenagers of that time knows what I’m talking about. Despite being in such a situation, the Man from Manila dared to unite the music of the two factions. He set-up the Psychedelic Posse for the hip-hop kids and the Kannabiz Band (I don’t know if this was eventually the Hardware Syndrome during the mid-90’s) for the children of metal. His wife Pia’s Evil Step-Sisters, then, added the soul flavor to his music.

It is with his daring and no non-sense attitude that Francism gained the respect of Filipino musicians from Masta Plann to The Dawn, from APO Hiking Society to Joey de Leon. No wonder that, time and again, he was being invited by a lot of artists to be a guest on their albums and shows. The Eraserhead-song Superproxy is one of the most famous of these.

Even after the Eraserheads’ break-up in 2002, the Master Rapper remained true to his unifying ideals. He resisted the temptation of taking sides and continued to collaborate with each of the Philippine Fab Four individually.

And when Ely Buendia had a heart attack in 2007, he is the first celebrity to publicly raise the call of Eraserhead unity. His now-popular blog entry is supposedly the opening sentence of my blog when I learned of his leukemia and this is how it goes:

“Fast forward to right now, 9:58 am, Jan. 9, a lot of what if’s scenarios pop in my head. What if the E-heads members are back, like long-lost blood brothers? What if ‘the most significant OPM band of Pinoy Rock’ would be in one room, what would happen?… Para sa akin panahon na para mag-reunite ang E-heads. Sugod na mga kapatid…rock & roll na hanggang umaga.” 

One of the most difficult things to measure is how anyone influenced society. We really don’t know if Francism’s earlier patriotic tunes influenced the massive mobilizations against the US Bases that led to its ejection in September 1991. We really don’t know how his blog entry made the Eraserheads’ forget about their differences and give reunification a chance. Well, there are no meters nor celsius for influence measurement.

Surely though, we have someone to thank for the influential music he gave us.

Francis M is dead. Long live Francis M!

1. The movie was graded an A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, the highest score possible.

2. Critics and filmmakers around the world (France, United States, India, China and Singapore) took turns in praising this motion picture and showcasing it as part of their own International Film Festivals.

3. High caliber character actors like Ronnie Lazaro, Joel Torre and Jojit Lorenzo accepted the roles with little exposure and dialogue given to them. Seemingly a testament to their faith in the movie’s quality.

4. Cuyonon actors were trained and hired to add authenticity to the film. All of the actors and even the major players in the crew has Cuyonon buddies to guide them as they film every scene.

5. Dante Nico Garcia is an authentic local of Cuyo Island who studied in UP and became Judy Ann Santos’s friend during her Mara Clara days. Dante grabs this rare opportunity to save the dying Cuyonon language. This is also his birthday gift to Judy Ann.

6. This movie made Judy Ann Santos transcend her soap opera image.

7. The film’s cinematography is simply superb. It is a visual candy that provides us an opportunity to know that the Philippines’ environmental beauty is beyond Boracay and Mayon.

8. Aside from the beauty of the island, Cuyonon’s rare culture was made public in the film.

9. It is seldom that a film that shows some tragedy would also be labeled by a lot of people as a feel-good movie.

10. This film is a saving grace for a dying local movie industry marred by traditional conservatism, censorship, dirty politics and commercialism.

The album cover of Circus, Eraserheads’ second album, said, “It is the trip not the destination.” Now, after the concert, albeit cut short, of the Philippines’ Fab Four, I must say, “It is the crowd, not the performers.”

Way before the organizers finalized the details of the concert, not a few people heard me rave that I will never miss that concert and the reason is not really because I idolize the Eraserheads but because I deem them as an influence not just to me but to my generation; the MTV Generation.

I won’t dwell on the reunion concert being cut short due to Ely’s alleged heart attack nor on the apparent commercialization of the event. My verbal rants about the organizers’ seeming conclusion that the happy-go-luckies of that generation have turned into 5-digit in 15 days-yuppies are enough.

I was there, of course,  to enjoy Eraserheads’ music. But more than that, I want to enjoy it with a crowd that I grew up with and, I should say, got high with. This is an audience that does not need growl music (with apologies to Slapshock’s fans) to scream. This is a generation appreciative of the simple honesties (and lies) of daily life as Eraserheads’ songs’ lyrics reflect.

The sad part though is that I failed to see close friends from high school. There are a lot of possibilities why I did not see them. First, it is hard to find a few specific faces in a 60,000-strong crowd. Second, most of us never saw each other for a decade or so and their faces could be really different by now. Another possible reason is that they are either too busy or too broke to watch the concert. Possibilities are infinite why I never saw my high school buddies.

Still, as I expected, I found a lot of friends there. Good thing that I decided to go there alone to prevent me from being bonded to a single group. One of the firsts I saw is my boss heating his ass on the Global City grounds. It is the first time I saw him in such a light, in a MTV Generation-kind of way. I also got to meet old faces from PLM, UP Diliman and UP Manila including Rhia Diomampo, my first Editor-in-Chief in AP before. Some others like former UP Student Regent Terry Ridon simply sent a text message asking if I too was there. They are singing their hearts out as well.

Thanks to Buddy Zabala, Marcus Adoro, Raymond Marasigan and Ely Buendia for reuniting this crowd. I’m still thinking if there are other ways (an instant pancit canton-eating contest?) to reassemble this generation . It seems that other bands are either too political (Yano), too heavy (Wolfgang) or too deep (Rivermaya–the original line-up) to really gather that audience again. 

And, of course, thanks a lot Eraserheads for including Shake yer Head in your first set. Eventhough it seems that some members of the crowd, I assume those from other generations, do not know the song.

Go not placidly amidst the noise and haste as you may be marked down for dead air. Avoid quiet and passive persons as they may worsen your insomnia. Walk a mile. Your life does not revolve around your workstation. Speak glowingly of the better customers; and heed well their advice, as you will learn to love them as the irate ones call.

Know what to do – and when, and, also, be wary of that annoying echo that sometimes gives some clue whenever you are being monitored. Consider that two wrongs never make a right, but that three may do if only for the joy of being petiks. Whenever possible, put people on hold. Be comforted, that in the face of all irritation and disillusionment, and despite the changing fortunes of time, there are always some incentives due to power hours and good metrics.

Remember the times that your biological clock is still normal. Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle, and mutilate. Whatever makes you fit. Know thyself. If you need help, avail of a supervisor. Exercise caution in your daily affairs, especially with those closest to you… That Avaya on your left, for instance. Be assured that floorwalking through the seas of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet. Fall not in love, therefore, as the promiscuous culture of the industry may make you jaded. Gracefully surrender the things of day life: the birds, clean air, the sun, Philippine Daily Inquirer- and let not the sands of time get in your lunch. Hire people of blind obedience. For a good time, call 09167706376, ask for Primo. Take heart in the deepening gloom that the pantry is finally serving sensible food. And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot, it could only be worse in Sprint.

Therefore, make peace with your god, whatever you perceive him to be: your arrogant account manager or a machine meant to withdraw money from. With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal, the industry , cross your fingers, is here to stay. Apir!

*My apologies to Max Ehrmann and the National Lampoon

I have always been a fan of Marvel and not of DC Comics. It seems though that The Dark Knight is better than any other superhero movie, from Stan Lee and otherwise.

TDK is not the usual pop-corn-for-kids adventure film. Not a superhero-whips-the-villain’s-ass action flick either. With all its intelligence and wit, you’ll enjoy TDK not because of its special effects or the characters’ costumes but because of the script and the performance of the actors.

To be honest, I don’t remember any good thing about past Batman movies and some of them I didn’t even bothered to watch. So expect no comparison here.

Without knowing that it was Heath Ledger, TDK caught my interest before when its trailer showed Joker. I actually thought that I should be waiting for a sequel of The Crow. I only knew that it was Heath Ledger when the screening date is already near and movie news websites are already buzzing about Ledger’s possible posthumous Oscar.

When I saw the film, though his co-nominees are also factors, I do think that Ledger really deserves such. Especially after I read the effort he did since the film’s pre-shooting.

Back to TDK, one thing I would like to assert is that I never saw this really as a superhero film. Batman is presented here more of an anti-hero. The title itself suggests that the title role is dark. The movie actually presented a possible “White Knight” in the person of District Attorney Harvey Dent.

The entire presentation of Dent, eventually Two-Face, in TDK actually debunks the idea of a superhero, of someone who is “pure” and “white”. For years, Batman, though not a lot of people know, already debunked the idea that “superheroes” got super powers. All Batman has are gadgets, wealth and machinery, remember?

Also, I like the way Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) threatened to leave Bruce Wayne if the mobile tracking computer will be used other than against The Joker. No other post-September 11 franchise Hollywood film made such a declaration of support for civil liberties. Wayne eventually redeemed himself after Fox followed his instruction whenever he is ready to resign.

The Joker’s psychopath-not-for-the-money-criminal is perfect. For me, he represents not the petty thieves who do criminal things due to desperation but the usual mad men in our midst. Those who hunger for more even though they don’t need it anymore. Though the Nolan Brothers may have written this one without such a concept. I can’t help but think that this particular Joker’s character symbolizes capitalist greed.

What balanced the too-dark-villain is the scene where not one among the two ferries’ scores of passengers, not the civilians who hates the criminals nor the convicts who sees they have nothing to lose if they’ll kill the civilians, decided to pull the trigger.

With such, TDK actually presented a good concoction of the real and the ideal, that the world has no rules but in the end, may the better idea win.

One thing that I need to air though is that this movie should have been entitled The Joker for two reasons: since it made me understand the villain’s character more than Batman and obviously Ledger outshone Christian Bale on this one.

Whenever someone talks about sexual relationships, it is somehow understood that it has all the three that I mentioned above.

Especially since most Filipinos were raised in the tradition of the conservative Catholic perspective on sex and relationships, our minds were somehow boxed into thinking that all relationships should be exclusive because it shall commence in marriage.

For years now, I have been a believer of free love. It is the belief that anyone can love (and most of the time, consequently perform sex with) anyone provided that; all parties are at the right age, it is done with consent and it is not incestuous.

Instead of thinking that all three “ingredients” are included, I present the view that those are actually three hierarchical stages of a sexual relationship. Though not necessarily literally, it is comparable to the three Hebrew words for love; Eros (where the word erotic came from), Phileo (the most common love) and Estorge (exclusive love). I won’t include the fourth word Agape (godly love) because of its religious uses.

Actually, looking at my concept closely, it is self-explanatory. All it takes is intellectual and moral honesty to really admit that it is what is truly happening in society. No wonder Friendster actually popularized the term “open relationship” and even trademarked the phrase “it’s complicated.”

Intimacy is simply about acting on your attraction. Everyone is attracted to a lot of people. All of us are infatuated, in a way of another, to other people. But unless we act on those attractions, nothing will happen. The first aim then is mutual intimacy. As a more common term, this is what we call as mutual understanding.

Commitment is the next level. It is actually formalizing that there is actually a relationship going on. It is recognizing the fact that both of you enjoys being with each other and commits that there is, in whatever way, some understanding of expectations and boundaries.

But having some form of commitment is not really being exclusive. Our hypocritical society only imposes that commitment is exclusive to being exclusive. But everyone has a friend who tries to justify having an affair with someone else while being in a commitment, right? Whatever their reason is, we must acknowledge the fact that exclusivity is something that is a notch higher.

I must admit though, in order to protect the usual preys from hustlers, given the Philippine context, all relationship should be considered exclusive unless there is an explicit understanding that it is not. I don’t want my views to be a weapon of the usual suspects for some breach of trust within their relationships. I refuse to use the term “infidelity” because of its moral undertones but that is another story.

In a lot of instances, the rush from plain commitment towards exclusivity is detrimental to the relationship itself. In tagalog, we call it as hinog-sa-pilit and  if it is not just rushed but forced, it will be a shotgun wedding that will produce another “unfaithful” husband/wife.

I must say though that it is still best to be in an exclusive relationship. It is the highest form of love towards another person. It is recognizing the fact that jealousy is not just an emotional thing but also mental torture.

But it is better to be honest and tell your partner that your attraction is not exclusive rather than fooling her/him that she/he is the only one you love.