Friday, April 24, 2009

Cannes 2009

Hear ye, hear ye, the official line up of Cannes 2009 is up for grabs. Loads of heavyweight shit. Pretty impressive lineup huh. Where else can you find Tarantino, Lee, Campion, Almodovar, and a familiar posse of Haneke, Loach, Noe, Lou Ye, Chan-Wook, To, Ming-liang, Coixet, Von Trier, and Alain Resnais! and Mendoza strikes yet again, whew, gosh, did I already mention the entire oeuvre? That's how promising it looks. But the unfortunate remains, I have to beg off from attending the coverage of the premiere. I know it sucks, especially if delude yourself. Ha! Anyway, the Pinoy indie scene is on a rampage. Martin and Alix also makes an appearance in Un Certain Regard and Special Screenings.

The complete line up:
  • Pedro Almodovar - Broken Embraces
  • Andrea Arnold - Fish Tank
  • Jacques Audiard - Un Prophete
  • Marco Bellocchio – Vincere
  • Jane Campion - Bright Star
  • Xavier Giannoli – A L’Origine
  • Isabel Coixet – Map of the Sounds of Tokyo
  • Michael Haneke - The White Ribbon
  • Ang Lee – Taking Woodstock
  • Ken Loach – Looking for Eric
  • Lou Ye - Spring Fever
  • Brillante Mendoza – Kinatay
  • Gaspar Noe – Enter The Void
  • Park Chan-Wook – Thirst
  • Alain Resnais – Les Herbes Folles
  • Elia Suleiman – The Time That Remains
  • Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds
  • Johnnie To – Vengeance
  • Tsai Ming-liang – Face
  • Lars Von Trier – Antichrist
The poster by the way is taken from Michaelangelo Antonioni's 1960 film L'Avventura.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book binge.

Back to the dull daily drudgery. Wait, was that an alliteration? Does that even count? Coz I'm hounded by figures of speech for weeks now. It's like guilt. Counting the official LOA yesterday and the extended 2-day stay in Manila, I was out of the office for 10 days. If my official 1 day trip had been scheduled earlier, I could have planned for a trip to the North, which I have silently longed for the past couple of years. But then, I had spent whatever was intended for that trip on my brother’s graduation, so the longed-for trip was remotely possible unless I start an early Holy Week sojourn and self-flagellation. And so I just gallivanted the polluted, labyrinthine metropolis and tripped on the MRT courtesy of the humongous ass of Mr. Ginormico. I was stuck at home during the long break and surprised myself with an unquenchable gusto for reading. Well, not that I read less, in fact, I read everyday, even managing a single or two pages of my current reading despite exhaustion or self-imposed sluggishness. But Holy Thursday, I just grabbed the remainders of a hardbound I was reading and just read like nuts. When it becomes monotonous and I feel a certain kind of stupor that can only be attributed to hours of reading, I will start on another book, then repeat the process until I end up book-hopping with Smith (Zadie), Perrotta, Niffeneger, Yates, DeLillo, Ellis. Even at the airport, while waiting on the packed flight to Davao, avoiding the unavoidable traffic that would have mounted to unbelievable proportions, I had three hours idling away with Tom Perrotta. Surprising also that I haven’t spent the time catching up on the bootleg films I’ve amassed for the previous month, which was the more likely thing I would’ve done. Along with watching tons of films, I could live on an everyday book binge. It's one of those things that I know I can do for the rest of my life, every single day, and not regret about it, if only it is possible. Well it technically you can do that, cross off every single title in the list of 1001 books to read before you die, which I found an online version of (I just dunno if it's the same one as that voluminous version I found at NBS). If only life was book-simple and as always fascinating and adventuresome as reading. But then it isn't. And so we settle for the more interesting lives of distressed men, young and old, the enchanting women, lustful and devious, the loonies, misfits of this generation and bygone eras, even hobbits, elves and giants-as if we too have lived theirs.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Death and his friends.

I don't want a battle from beginning to end
I don't want a cycle of recycled revenge
I don't wanna follow death all of his friends.

-Coldplay, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, 2008

It's Easter and I'm talking about death. Christ resurrected today so I really should be talking about life or renewal, or anything like it but I'm not really capable of such. And I think I've run out of things to say about life for the moment, especially since I always equate it with suffering and perpetual struggle. Before I fell asleep last night, which was Black Saturday, this Coldplay song was the last one I heard on the mp3 player. It can be pretty vague, the meaning. But that last line may as well be fear, I dunno. Death, after all is as inescapable as life, or so the phenomenology stuff we've managed to get ourselves into in our collegiate philosophical discourses would make us believe. The first cry of the then unborn signifies the inevitability of its final breath. Death is like life's partner easily put. This month, about 5 immediate family members of my colleagues died, mostly because of some illness. Last Monday, an aunt of a friend whom I briefly met in Manila died of a chopper crash. That's too much death in a month I would say. The office ought to be blessed or exorcised with whatever demons or curse it has, again I say. Because this silly idea of a death pattern perpetrated by the Final Destination series has again to me occurred. FD was kind of influential because after seeing the first installment, morbid thoughts on ways one dies occur to me regularly. While in transit, I'll imagine a monstrous vehicular accident and bloodbath. Walking on streets, I get a feeling of worn-out sharp debris like GI sheets or metal tubes bludgeoning the unmindful passersby. And blood, blood like geysers out of decapitated limbs courtesy of The Bride. Then came the sometimes funny and insignificant ways people die at the start of every Six Feet Under episode made me feel like shit sometimes. The fascination over death turns into it being a normalcy, a kind of everyday happening, deduced into a newspaper headline or an exclusive TV report. A statistic that becomes significant over time decorated with all kinds of analyses. But how do we discount the loss, the pain, the anguish, the years? Who am I really kidding with a veneer of bravery?

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a f—king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f—king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f—k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f—king junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f—ked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

Renton, Trainspotting