Thursday, December 30, 2004

Aishite Imasu, 2004

=++part 2++=

I saw a very familiar face in the crowds as we were streaming out of the moviehouse. A bit disoriented from the blinding lights (and my piss poor eyesight), I almost didn't recognized my friend from way way back (who prefers to be not named in public blogs but for convenience purposes, let's name him T).

I had to say my goodbyes to the folks and catch up with T. He was with this guy who was wearing glasses and was walking with a slight limp - later I found out that he was the professor of my younger sister. Armed with money to buy tickets, popcorn, pizza, buckets of Earth and Sky iced tea- and an open mind- we headed out to conquer the other movie houses.

We saw Mano Po 3, Aishite Imasu and Sigaw (in that order).

In ThailandMano Po 3 for me is definitely a step up from the previous incarnations. (and yes, I equate my devotion to Vilma Santos to my devotion to that little known actress, Nicole Kidman. Kidmanian at Vilmanian po ako. There the truth is out.) The "dynastic" structures that makes character development suffer had been thrown out the window and in effect the main cast were significantly fleshed out this time around. I love the scene where Vilma was accosted by her mother in law, along with 5 other Lotus-Feet-look alikes, and she uttered the infamous "Walang batas na nagbabawal sa pagbibigay ng pagmamahal sa dalawang lalaki." And in Mandarin/Fookien [with matching naglalagablab na mga mata] "Binibigyan ko kayo ng limang minuto para magsilabas dito, at sa pagdating ng limang minuto at nandito pa kayo, YOU'LL SEE THE WORST IN ME."

back at you.Sigaw is another surprising step up from the mire that is the Horror genre in the industry. Where before the scare factor was dependent on how many gremlin permutations you can fit in a single shot, this time its more in the character interactions. This movie did not even rely on any special effects, other than voice distortion, the superb acting and a few camera tricks. Overall, a fine piece of work.

Aishite Imasu, 1941. There is a reason why I saved this for last. And the reason is, this was the best Filipino movie I've seen for quite a while. Its like a cat stalking in the shadows. You know a cat is there but you don't know how sharp its claws are; Thats the best metaphor I can come up with this movie. I watched this purely on a whim and I was pleasantly surprised at what I got out of it. It's a period film but everything is done with such level of polish that you'd stop and think if this came from the same industry that produced all those asinine flicks. A stellar cast, matched with stellar performances. Under the Nihonggi SunThis even made me symphatize with the Japanese. It made me ask, what if we sided with them in their Imperial War? That the only reason why they did those cruel things is that there are uprisings against them. That the Americans do not really care about us, just the money they make of the land, why should we side with them? That the Japanese are human too, and not just some costumed monkeys who go around bayonetting people. And most importantly of all, it gave me the sense that People Like Me have been around since the dawn of time. They are there, just lurking in the quagmires of untold history. Some were unsung heroes that had contributed to the creation of the reality that we have right now. Its not just a question of identity but of worth.

Must sees. Go.



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