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12.04.2012

CINEMA ONE 2012: THE LOWDOWN PART I

Anak Araw
Directed and Written by Gym Lumbera

EDSA XXX
Directed and Written by Khavn de la Cruz

Pascalina
Directed and Written by Pam Miras









Anak Araw: Despite its undertow of melancholia, and its fragmented structure, it's not difficult to parse the ethnographic schisms at play here, the yearning for the bucolic and the pull of the urban, schisms that obviously preoccupy Gym. Like Taglish, language is a metaphorical stand-in and its duplicities, not to mention the entropies visited on it, illuminate his own duplicities and entropies.  But where Taglish is the darker, more sombre film, Anak Araw is almost intolerably light-hearted and shot through with whimsy and tenderness. The way the song that plays near the end gives the piece its necessary emotional uplift and at the same time elucidates the conceptual point of everything is quite the feat.

EDSA XXX : It's a film freighted with many things, not least of which is Alexis Tioseco's portentous wish to see it come to fruition, and the irony that the perpetually independent and self-sufficient Khavn's dream project turns out to be his first under a corporate aegis, his first that he doesn't own rights to, acquires a special underlayer of subtext. Khavn's reaction to the emptiness the revolutions we celebrate have come to represent is to laugh at its absurdities and lay in a delightful array of music under it, veering from girl group doo-wop to quasi-flamenco to smoldering swamp-blues. A work-in-progress that is sustained in its current form by the propulsion from the joyous racket it makes and is shaping up to be his most hopeful work yet.

Pascalina: Here are the things you don't notice when seen through the bland prism of the everyday: how your self-absorbed sisters are grotesque harpies,  how distant and arrogant your boyfriend is, how the only person who has the courage to say she loves you is dying and probably a monster. But the opaque sheen that comes from shooting on a Digital Harinezumi not only gives everything  a timbre of often intoxicating ambivalence but stirs the melodrama our eponymous stumblebum is embroiled into a hellish lather, until the soup gets so oppressive, it makes her eventual descent into the secret monstrosity languishing under her well-meaning social deficiency feel more like a transcendence, into a shadow life that's perversely more promising.


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