Wednesday, March 23, 2011

#499: I Come With The Rain (Tran Anh Hung, 2009)

I think this is a bad film to start off from someone who has yet to see Scent of Green Papaya. I Come With The Rain was partly shot in Diwalwal, Compostela Valley province in Mindanao, Philippines – roughly around 4-5 hours (with the terrain in Diwalwal) from the city where I live. Everyone I know was excited to see this when news exploded that Josh Hartnett was flying here on to Diwalwal - a gold mine area - to shoot. But so far the film has ended in bootleg havens of the city, with the mass of Josh fanatics even unaware of its existence.

It was painful to sit through it. I think it was trying to be too serious with its battered protagonist and this psychological thriller that the entire mood can’t even get close too. Josh Hartnett trots across Asia (also visits Hong Kong) to track down a millionaire’s son only to find he is some sort of “messiah” or something to that extent, while he gets over his personal demons (and such creepy demonic recollections). There are some visual highlights but the pseudo-Christian symbolisms smacks right at you in the face I’m actually considering taking off that pseudo prefix. It does refer to Christian symbolisms clumsily. Hartnett, in exploring this character, reaches for something there, but I think it’s really a mess, that he ends up groping in the dark.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The 500 Film Challenge: Another Year (Mike Leigh, 2010)

I assure you that the film to start off the challenge wasn’t deliberately chosen at all, unintentional really. But to make pure coincidence interesting in this whole challenge, Mike Leigh’s ode to old age and aging, Another Year, is a gunshot that signals another year of film watching. Hope I can make it to another year of… 500 films?!?

On one hand, Another Year is slightly related to his Happy-go-Lucky. I can only speculate the Poppy would grow into Mary. While we peer into the lonely souls that visit and temporarily seek shelter into Tom and Gerri’s (yeah, how comically named right?) companionship – the openly unapologetic Ken and the subtly imposing but kindhearted Mary – we can only sigh in what might have been their revelries of youth. (I think it’s even hinted in the unappreciated, and I should say pretty much of the film is underappreciated, musical score.) Again, Leigh’s acute observation of the nuances of daily lives exudes in the words that come out of somewhat uninteresting, commonplace characters, in quick sharp stabs and quiet mumbles. Much has been said of the terrific Lesley Manville as Mary, holding her own till the end refusing to break down, but literally the closing shot, lingers on her face and we are also weighed down with this inescapable melancholy, whether it be the thought of aging, dying alone or the terrifying thought that we are unloved and uncared for.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

I am ready for my close-up.

And I am ready for this challenge. I am up for it, I think I am. It's possible, but the odds are somewhat insurmountable. But I would like to be unassuming. Dahil malay mo, I might actually clinch this. That would be the greatest. This is what I call the height of cinephilia. Responding to the challenge is not much daunting as it is exciting; not really with the possibility of finishing it, but being in the moment, being in the zone, with a bunch of people who're also up for it. I've been thinking about this idea since probably after graduation when I got the chance to watch as many films as possible due the "advent of technology" coupled with the ever-burgeoning cost of commodities - ano na lang ang luxury, di ba? A former colleague who I have almost the same wavelength with in film, said he's willing to spend 2,000 pesos for ordering the Lou Ye's Summer Palace DVD in Amazon because damn if he doesn't get it. But I don't call it luxury, I call it a staple, just like Filipinos cannot live without rice.

In fact, I'm so gung-ho at that moment when I responded to the challenge, that I asked Ad if I can just put my own introductory photo. If this is going to be the only film challenge I'm ever gonna embark on, Antoine Doinel should be up there staring aimlessly and mercilessly, reminding me every time why I am in this whole ambitiousness in the first place.

So here it is. 500 films. One year. Versus 500 persistent preoccupations. Game on.

As a requirement to the challenge I'm posting the rules below (copied from The 500 Film Challenge): (Heads up as well the one who first dared, Princess.)

1 | Accept the dare by making a comment on this post or you can email me: Anyone with a blog is eligible.

2 | Make an introductory post using the beautiful Anna Karina picture above explaining the project. Link all the participants of the project in the post as shown below (scroll down).

3 | Start watching 500 films and write about each one of them. Short films, feature films and extra-long films are accepted. Miniseries are allowed i.e. Carlos (2010), The Decalogue (1988) but major series are not. As long as you watched them after you accepted the dare its okay. So you cannot include films you watched before you have officially accepted the dare.

4 | You cannot repeat a film. Of course, duh!

5 | The first one to finish the project will have a special prize (to be announced before the year ends).


1.) Princess Kinoc (
2.) Jay-R Trinidad (
3.) Adrian Mendizabal (
4.) Epoy Deyto (
5.) Dodo Dayao (
6.) Clem Malubay (
7.) Carl Joseph Papa (
8.) Nilhenwen (
9.) Etchie Pingol (
10.) Sani Ajero (
11.) Paolo Barazon (
12.) NiƱa Domingo (
13.) Jay Rosas (
14.) Minamic (
15.) Katie Yockey (
16.) Vince Dawes (
17.) Whammy Alcazaren (

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