Friday, June 22, 2012
Written and directed by Archie Delmundo
Produced by Eightfold Path Cinema Production
Friday, April 6, 2012
Based on the story and screenplay by Emmanuel Dela Cruz.
Adapted for stage by Archie Del Mundo . Jaclyn is an aging prostitute who is hired by a group of friends for Nyoy , the group's birthday boy and only virgin. When they discover that Jaclyn isn't actually the mid-twenties hottie she described herself to be, they diss her and head out to the nearest bar to catch younger girls for the birthday boy. Nyoy who seems to have something more in his mind, wanders from the bar and back to Jaclyn. Jaclyn and Nyoy develop a bond that we later discover, is something more than friendship.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Doing the right thing for one's family provides the impetus for the goings on in Mammoth, a magnificent tale of turmoil now lighting up screens at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Made from filmmakers based in Scandinavia this English language film is smart from start to finish. Director/writer Lukas Moodysson winds up the tension and never lets up as folks intertwine from different cultures.
Consider Mammoth to be in the same league as other recent classics like Traffic, Crash and Babel. Similarities come due to the intertwining nature of the characters and plot. And that immigrant experience plays a pivotal role also in the story as we see our central characters take up shop in both New York and the Philippines with a few exotic hot spots thrown nicely into the mix.
Lifestyle means everything to many folks. New York residents Leo and Ellen Vidales seem to have it all. Luxury suits their image as Leo is a rich entrepreneur of sorts while wife Ellen is a doctor. Being busy is an understatement so these parents need to have a maid to look after their daughter. Part of the family is Gloria who hails from the Philippines.
Contrast the standard of living of most people who live in the Philippines with the rich jet set in New York and you can almost sense the tensions that may develop - not to mention the jealousies. Moodysson does a brilliant job showing the different life styles in both areas and into the mix provides room for all the main characters to grow.
Better casting could not be found. Gael Garcia Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien) does a great job as a man at a crossroads trying to wrestle with his conscience while Michelle Williams' rendering of a doctor and mom is equally scintillating. Shots at the hospital look very authentic and are intense as are the emotions Mrs. Vidales has to grapple with, often bottled up from within.
Maybe the best way to describe this film is through the character of the maid. Marife Necesito shines bright as a nanny with problems at home and a desire to make money for those she's left behind. Turmoil rages within her soul as she's left her children behind which many immigrants can relate to. And those mid-life crises moments are also well revealed in this intriguing 125 minute movie.
Big business and all its ethics also are explored in this sensational movie that examines one family and how its employees and co-workers can impact others a world away. Must see entertainment for those who care about families and friends, Mammoth is a brilliantly written portrait of modern relationships and the lengths some people will go to find that dream existence. Oh, and let's not forget all the child actors who are mesmerizing. Pay attention to the presence of Sophie Nyweide who will steal your hearts as the "American" child whose fondness for learning strikes a pretty eventful cord.
Running for almost eleven hours and twelve years in the making,Evolution of a Filipino Family(2004), which many consider to be Lav Diaz’s greatest work, is kamikaze filmmaking of the highest order. Mixing film and digital formats (which might be an economic decision), splicing the real with the surreal and weaving together documentary and fiction, Diaz concocts a glorious and flamboyantly self-reflexive film that slips seamlessly from one mode of discourse into another. The film’s central character is Ray (Elryan De Vera), a child found on the street by the mentally ill Hilda (Marife Necisito) and who goes on to live with another family of gold diggers. One could argue that Ray is the stand in for a whole generation of Filipinos abandoned by their “parents” and left stranded (Diaz himself calls Ray as the Filipino soul). Also central to the film is Hilda’s brother Kadyo (Pen Medina), who helps the resistance fighters by stealing ammunition from dead soldiers of the military. Interspersed among the sequences that drive this fiction are newsreels depicting rallies and riots against the then-existing Ferdinand Marcos regime, interviews of the legendary filmmaker Lino Brocka explaining political film movement during the Marcos rule and footage of artists reciting sappy, exaggerated and hilarious radio serials that everyone in the fictional world seems to be hooked to. Evolution of a Filipino Family is, as the title hints, a document – one that studies and critiques a whole era and suggests what’s to be done.
Diaz shoots almost exclusively in medium shots (to avoid any sort of manipulation, he says) and some of his compositions carry the air of evocatively rendered still life paintings. His soundtrack is even more remarkable and he edits it in such a manner that fiction regularly overflows into reality. Diaz throws in everything he’s got into this film. Examining a number of topics including commercialism versus art, the class struggle, art versus reality and the inseparability of past and present, Diaz creates a dense and incisive film that seems to announce once and for all what Diaz’s cinema is all about. At heart, Evolution of a Filipino Family is a film about resistance – political and cinematic. While Kadyo and the farmer army he works for exhibit their resistance by taking up arms against the military, Lino Brocka and his cohorts manifest theirs in cinematic terms. The link is very important, as Diaz himself has pointed out, since it is through the machinery of cinematic propaganda that the Marcos regime (as any totalitarian regime would) had reinforced its position among the Filipinos. If Hesus the Revolutionary set a fantastical revolutionary movement in the near future, this film uses the one that took place for real in the past. Diaz’s intention is not just to capture the spirit of the age, but, as in the previous film, to use this piece of history to study the present and understand the state of affairs.
The ancient Greeks invented and defined the term apropos of our everyday fate. Agony. Ours is one born out of a myriad of cataclysms – both natural and auto-inflicted. Lav Diaz’s Agonistes, an admitted work-in-progress but already fully formed, meditates on the Filipino’s most pressing worldly struggle, his struggle to break out of material poverty and the non-material consequences of poverty. Hints, however, point to a more eschatological theme – the centrality or the simultaneity of the spiritual struggle.
Directing from his own script, Diaz transposes the ancient term agonistes to latter-day Philippines. He singles out the classic strugglers of contemporary times, the working-class men and the peasants, to shoulder grinding poverty. In truth, it can be said that the agonist has been a favorite fixture of Diaz’s other films: Heremias is both agonized and anguished, so is Hamin in Death in the Land of Encantos, tortured and demented at once. Epic but individual in scope, mythological and biblical in character, Diaz’s stories are veritable stories of struggles, sagas of agony.
Produced by: Astral Production.