The outside world is not safe. Every room you can enter is a death march waiting for its time, a genocide by the hands of murderers hidden in the streets, one tangible, the other the exact opposite. The people in their homes are looking for ways to satisfy the growing hunger in their stomachs and souls, hoping that some ray of light will hit everyone and lift us out of our misery. We turn to art because people tend to rely on it from the start and find comfort in the comfort of a versatile spectrum of recognizable actions that are drawn into the endless imagination in the hope of achieving one of the following end results, but not only: Catharsis or escape from reality. Usually the last one. The world in its present form is full of toxic waste, both literally and figuratively, and there is nothing wrong with escaping a little to keep the smallest pieces of the world in our pockets. And somewhere the paintings are in motion, a fascinating audiovisual medium that redirects the human experience from the ground up, combining elements from other art forms such as literature, painting, photography and what you have, hoping to create something transformative and transgressive.
Speaking of violations, the local film industry has left nothing to chance to dig into the digital melting pot. Over the years we have seen the filmmakers of our country innovate in form and content and share their stories with the world. Look at Jeta Leiko, who has achieved results that have exceeded all expectations, from Ex Press (2011), a creative overview of Philippine history and politics presented through images and sounds that paradoxically are meaningless and at the same time have no meaning at all, to For My Alien Friend (2019), a sound universe that dares to tell the story of her life and the people around her by communicating through language, as if it were only understood by a stranger. The images shot in the film were never limited to the conventions established by the pioneers, because even they experimented with them in the hope of achieving an effect. Abstract, concrete, tangible, illegible. are only labels that limit the space of cinema, a concept defined by many philosophers as Delese, but which is constantly changing as progress is made. Perhaps the real problem with this closure has never been the production of content, which is possible even with the limitations we all have, but rather the opening up of the emotional realm, so that established concepts can be broken down and recreated.
First of all, the barrier was broken thanks to the unbridled efforts of the Lockdown Cinema Club led by Carl Chavez. Thanks to the humane intention to help displaced film workers by going through false quarantine, efforts to bring short and feature films to the public, despite the potential of piracy, the main enemy of the cinema’s financial aspect, have produced commendable results, as the project has collected more than ₱3 000 000 in donations. One of the other Lockdown Cinema Club tries to read the script live on Facebook Live. Reading live scripts is not new to the film industry, but it has somehow opened the eyes of many people to relive the magic of the films they loved in the past, such as Antoinette Giadaone’s What’s called Tadhana (2014), which marks the return of the two presenters Angelica Panganiban and J. Giovanni, who were the first to see the magic of the past.M. de Guzman as he sailed through the lines, which aroused nostalgia among those who learned to love the story between Mace and Anthony and the summer bathings of 1 Jade Castro : Patayin sa Shokot si Remington (2011), who used a new series of spies to revive the script. The final script of the lecture was striking because each actor used props and lighting to create a cinematic appeal that was greatly enhanced by Teresa Barroso’s glasses. The artists were locked up in their canvases, but they managed to pierce the outer shell and make an exciting presentation of what they had in their arsenal.
As if that weren’t interesting enough, John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, one of the original tandems of the Filipino romantic scene that revitalized the nation, took part in Instagram Live in what John Tawasil called The Real Confusion, a kind of metaphorical performance. In the hands of Dan Villegas (Change of partner, maybe mine, maybe yours) and Antoinette Giadaone (Never without loving you, That thing called Tadhana, Love to the stars and back) everything can be transformed into something romantic, maybe even if her work represents a plant and a pot. Team Love is the first of many more releases of this tandem of directors, through a series of releases they call Unconfined Cinema. In the Post de Villegas Instagram, he mentioned that unlimited cinema was based on the idea of exploring what else cinema could be, and of freeing our stories from the traditional spaces and conceptual boundaries set in the middle of the last century. And although many of them were not enthusiastic about what the Love Team is, the most powerful complaint is that the reality it represents is accepted in the name of art, that its existence creates a future that, although far from perfect, dares to question and undermine what we are all used to.
But what really surprised everyone was the humble creation of one of our local masters, who intertwined past and present, reality and fiction, history and truth, to remind us that our lives today are no different than when technology did not yet flourish on this earth. In the Himalayan Love Diaza: Isang Diyalektikang Ating Panahon, the people of the Philippines are once again at an impasse. It reminds us of our current situation, the global pandemic and all that, and how Elsa’s words reflect this oppressed nation where people turn to miracles for ecstasy, solemnity, calmness. Borders were suddenly emptied and thrown into the void, because the human imagination has never really been connected to anything. We are the ones who set limits on ourselves, and we are the ones who will remove those limits. Just like the people who edited and recorded the short story of Diaz. Just like Elsa, Nimiyah, Sepa and all those in Cupanga who believed in miracles and curses, angels and demons. Diaz could have chosen the same interpretation of Ismail Bernal’s words as his co-director at the Habing Himal. He could have just asked the actor to meet the camera, to look at it as if he wanted to imprint a sense of power. Glenn Close once said about the film that because he is the power of two eyes, he looks into both, and he quoted the words rigged up by Ricky Lee. He could ask all his actors – Agotha Isidro, Noel Sto. Domingo, Hazel Orencio, Shaina Magdayao and so on. – to repeat what has already been done. I don’t think so. He moved on. He took advantage of the actors’ surroundings, their real living conditions, their current state of mind, and helped us reflect on the mercy that the government and the aforementioned assassins who are destroying our streets have caused.
In summary, the film industry continues to thrive despite everything it has and is capable of. And the continuation and preservation of faith depends on the pioneers at work, hoping to break the chains of tradition and convention. The only way for our national cinematography is to venture into the unknown in the hope of the best. There is a blockade, but it should not prevent us from achieving what we want to leave to our brothers. Day after day we continue to live in what many call the new norm. Was that ever really normal in the movie? Especially when norms and standards are constantly being destroyed and violated by those who continue to dance with progress and development? When all this is over, will we all go back to our normal lives and pretend that this new normality, born from the creativity and passion of our artists during the coronavirus, never existed? Or do we continue to learn from the past and the present and move on to another uncertain future? Where exactly are we? Where are we? These are the issues that will remain in the minds of many people one day, when these killers will no longer be able to kill us and spread fear. One thing remains unchanged: We will all rise up to fight, with our resilience and courage, and be carried far and wide into the seas by the winds. And they’ll be ours.
Well, that’s it, then.
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