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KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

 

“This Is Not a Film Movement” is the name of an anthology that a few years ago sought to depict the status quo of Filipino independent cinema. But even if they do not want to see themselves as a coherent group, there is no question that Filipino cinema has experienced an amazing renaissance over the past ten years. Directors such as Brillante Mendoza, Lav Diaz or Raya Martin emancipated themselves from the country's popular cinema, which was trapped in the cliché corset, and directed their films towards an international (festival) audience. At the same time, New Filipino Cinema remains deeply committed to the present and the history of its country of origin, in the choice of its material as well as in its often aesthetically radical cinematic means. The film series KINEMATOGRAFIE HEUTE: PHILIPPINEN, curated by Lukas Foerster, brings together some of the central works of this new Filipino independent cinema and additionally presents supposed ancillary works that are suitable for depicting the extraordinary range of this still lively film culture.

 

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Engkwentro
Clash
PHI 2009, R: Pepe Diokno, B: Pepe Diokno, Bianca Balbuena, Nicholas Varela, Felix Roco, Jerry Gracio, K: Emman Pascual, D: Celso Ad. Castillo, Felix Roco, Daniel Medrana, Zyrus Desamparado, Eda Nolan, 60 ’DigiBeta, OmeU

From a logistical point of view, the film is a masterpiece: In the immediate vicinity of the real slums of a Philippine metropolis, Pepe Diokno recreated 2,000 square meters of artificial slums for his debut feature film. This gigantic set became necessary because the film only consists of a handful of long tracking shots that were amalgamated into a single, apparently uncut, shot in the digital post-production. The plot is as abstract as the setting is artificial: a man on the run with dark, mysterious powers on his heels - and an agile digital camera that climbs over roofs with him, penetrates into houses that are always a bit too narrow. The soundtrack provides the political clarification of this unique experiment, which combines harsh social realism breathlessly but never thoughtlessly with didactic, almost Brechtian agitprop: one hears the monologue of a politician about the meaning and purpose of death squads, which with state toleration in the slums Go manhunt. (lf)
Introduction: Lukas Foerster

on 7/8/2013 at 8 p.m.

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

chassis
PHI 2010, R / B: Adolfo Alix Jr., K: Gabriel Bagnas, D: Angeli Bayani, Rustica Carpio, Kimberly Fulgar, Lemuel Pelayo, Jodi Sta. Maria, Evelyn Vargas, 73 ’Blu-ray, OV with english st

If the New Filipino Cinema is a cinema of the insistence of concrete spaces, then it is chassis one of his quintessential works. Almost the entire film takes place on the parking lot of a transport company. The place that gets the Philippine economy going is also a precarious place to live. The families of the truck drivers live on the premises, directly under the trucks; there are two or three square meters of cardboard on the floor, a hammock is set up, next to it a few clothes and maybe a canister of water and at most two or three other things. The women defend themselves against their impoverishment and above all try to keep them away from their own bodies - despite prostitution as additional income and blackmailed sex with the guards. The main character Nora takes care of her daughter's school career, she tinkers her angel wings and hopes for a long time to be able to send her on an excursion. An elegant, small film in which nothing is assertion, which derives all of its dynamism directly from the tensions of its setting. Shot in atmospheric black and white, which perfectly brings out the contrasts between the pale glistening of the day scenes and the blocks of sooty metal and darkly illuminated skin in the night scenes. (lf)

on August 8th, 2013 at 8 p.m.

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Big boy
PHI 2011, R / B: Shireen Seno, K: Gym Lumbera, Shireen Seno, D: Ian Lomongo, Pamela Miras, 89 ’Beta SP, OVEU

One of the great discoveries of the last few years, a film that links autobiographical fragments and collective imagination in a unique way: Big boy tells a bizarre episode from the provinces about a boy who is "stretched" by his parents with adventurous methods so that he can be used as a poster boy can be used for their fish oil business, because this fish oil is said to have a growth-promoting effect. Shireen Seno, the young director of the film, dissolves the frightening story into disparate memory fragments that are only partially compatible with one another, into splinters of an always semi-fictional past and into quasi-documentary impressions of a premodern, but by no means innocent village life on the island of Mindoro. The film was shot on the old amateur film format Super8, which has long been forgotten in terms of media history. Even after being transferred to digital format, the images retain an enchanting fragility that resists any nostalgic closure. (lf)

on 8/9/2013 at 9 p.m.
on 8/10/2013 at 7 p.m.


KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Independencia
PHI 2009, R: Raya Martin, B: Raya Martin, Ramon Sarmiento, K: Jeanne Lapoirie, D: Sid Lucero, Alessandra de Rossi, Tetchie Agbayani, Mika Aguilos, 77 ’35 mm, OmeU

Independencia, the most beautiful film by Raya Martin, perhaps the most daring director in contemporary Filipino cinema, lavishly recreates historical film aesthetics, but does not end up with the pastiche that has been forgotten about history, but with a form that also communicates its absurd historicity. The aesthetic model is the classic Hollywood cinema of the early sound film era. Independencia is entirely shot in a small studio, complete with painted backgrounds and dramatic lighting effects; the fantasy of a window that never existed, of a world that largely consists of paper mache and painted cardboard. The film takes place in the first years of the 20th century during the Philippine-American colonial war. The story is divided into two sections and is interrupted by a faux newsreel that emulates a colonialist view of the Philippines. In the first section of the film, a mother and her son flee to a mountainous rainforest region in the face of the American invasion. They are soon joined by a young woman who has been raped by American soldiers. In the second half of the film, the mother has died, the stranger has given birth to a child, the soldiers are moving closer and a ghost appears during a great thunderstorm sequence. (lf) Before the film is shown, Cecilia Valenti, Fabian Tietke, Nikolaus Perneczky and Lukas Foerster present the anthology they have jointly edited Traces of a third cinema (transcript, 2013), which was made following a series of films of the same name in the Zeughauskino in June 2010.

on 8/10/2013 at 9 p.m.

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Siglo ng pagluluwal
Century of Birthing
PHI 2011, R / B / K: Lav Diaz, D: Angel Aquino, Angeli Bayani, Soliman Cruz, Perry Dizon, Modesta, 360 ’DigiBeta, OmeU

A monster of a film, by no means just because of its almost modest running time of six hours by Lav-Diaz standards; actually at least: three monsters from one film. First of all, there is the director, who is desperate to complete his latest film, repeatedly runs the same scenes on his computer screen and, in the face of this scrolling, falls into a crisis of meaning. Then in this film in the film there is a woman who has just left the monastery because she wants to get to know herself and, above all, her sexuality. And finally a journalist who wants to report on a sect that is dangerous to the public and who soon turns out to be the biggest monster of all. The three levels soon rub against each other, but not in the sense of a postmodern puzzle game, but in the sense of a schizophrenia that blocks images, that interrupts image production, fragments, short-circuits with itself, which produce false beginnings and incoherent connections. At the end of the day there is the realization that it is not fighting or defamation, but only the consistent working through of such schizophrenia that can provide a contemporary “embodiment of history” (Bert Rebhandl). (lf)

on August 11, 2013 at 4 p.m.

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Ang ninanais
Refrains Happen Like Revolutions in a Song
PHI 2010, R / B: John Torres, K: Martha Atienza, Oscar Nava, Sherad Anthony Sanchez, John Torres, D: Ciriaco Gibraltar, Tope Grabato, Che Villanueva, 120 ’DigiBeta, OmeU

The film with perhaps the most beautiful title in recent Filipino cinema is a cine poem soaked in mystery, haunted by the ghosts of the colonial past and yet light as a feather, playfully staged. John Torres - a director whose films seem to be oriented towards video art, but who nevertheless remain dependent on the cinema disposition, has three stories, partly at the time of the wars of liberation against the Spanish and American colonizers, partly even further, pointing to a mystical past - sometimes walking next to each other, sometimes blurring into each other. It's about revolutions shifted into the imagination, about love that can only be acted out in dreams and about the mere pleasure in telling stories. The film once said: “Do not look for us in history or in books written by victors. They are exact and precise; we are uneventful and in between. Do not look for our story in myths, apparitions, legends filling the gaps. They are bridges; we stretch and fall. Listen to our faces; don't take our words. Our romance lies at the timbre of our voices. " (lf)

on 8/14/2013 at 8 p.m.
on August 18, 2013 at 6.30 p.m.


KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Kano: An American and His Harem
PHI 2010, R / B: Monster Jimenez, K: Jay Abello, Ike Avellana, Corinne De San Jose, 80 ’DigiBeta, OmeU

After the Vietnam War, the US soldier Victor Pearson was transferred to the Philippines. What he originally planned to do there remains his secret. At least he did not return to the United States, but took a wife in his adopted home. And then another. And then a third, and then many, many others. Pearson, called (Ameri-) Kano after his origins in the Philippines, builds up a harem and not only that: entire family groups seem to be dependent on his dollars. However, allegations of rape soon surfaced. Directly from the internally torn Philippine reality comes a story that no fictional film would have allowed itself to construct: it simply would not have been taken from it. The documentarist Monster Jimenez develops this grotesque, courageous treatise on postcolonial power imbalances and patriarchally organized sexual morality calmly, through everyday observations and patient, impartial interviews with both the women and with Pearson himself. (Lf)

on August 16, 2013 at 7 p.m.

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Manoro
PHI 2006, R / K: Brillante Mendoza, B: Ralson Jover, D: Jonalyn Ablong, Edgar Ablong, Carol Ablong, 75 ’OmeU

As a permanent guest at the major European film festivals, Brillante Mendoza is the most visible and successful director of the New Filipino Cinema. In addition to his more spectacular films such as the dark police violence drama Kinatay, the smaller-format films from his early work are particularly worth rediscovering. In Manoro, Mendoza's most beautiful film, his patient camera accompanies the village teacher Jonalyn, who, almost a child herself, roams through her neighborhood - far apart villages in the remote, almost forgotten province - teaching her students the alphabet and everyone she meets, urges political participation. Soon there will be a national election, the relevance of which the rural population cannot easily recognize for good reasons, since the slogans developed in the cities have little to do with their lives. A documentary-inspired, non-professional, consistently decelerated “running film” that engages skin and hair with its protagonist and her attempt at democratization on foot. (lf)

on August 16, 2013 at 9 p.m.

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Imburnal
Sewer
PHI 2008, R / B: Sherad Anthony Sanchez, K: Jose Bagqane Fiola, Joel Geolamen, Mark Limbaga, John Torres, D: Brian Monterola, Jelieta Mariveles-Ruca, Allen Lumanog, Lawrence Garrido, Elvis Zerna, Dianne Zipagan, 212 ' HDV, OV with english st

In the slums of Davao City, the largest city in Mindanao, the southernmost archipelago of the Philippine Archipelago, one of the central films of the New Philippine Cinema was made, the ultimate neo-slum epic, a phenomenologically inspired trip that makes no distinction between inner and outer Reality. For three and a half hours, Sherad Anthony Sanchez ’camera hangs out with a group of boys and girls; in their poor dwellings, but above all on the river bank and especially in filthy drainpipes, around which the youth, who are not only dependent on a global scale, organize their existence. The approaches to narratives that Sanchez creates around Allen and Joe, two of the youngest slackers, are literally inundated by the reality of the slums: by the dead time that a life in poverty produces, but also by erotic and psychedelic experiences of their own ; of experiences, in the face of which the regular dramaturgy of the classic cinema narrative is just as lost as the social reformist didactic perspective with which the Filipino auteur cinema of the past looked at the poor of the country. (lf)

on August 17th, 2013 at 7.30 p.m.

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Cameroon Love Letter (for Solo Piano)
PHI / CAM 2010, R / K: Khavn, B: Khavn, Kris Lacaba, Daryll Delgado, Pocholo Goitia, Sasha Martinez, D: Jose Dalisay Jr., Gertrjan Zuilhof, Lourd de Veyra, 70 ’OmeU

The Filipino new wave was world cinema right from the start. Khavn's film, polyglot in the best sense of the word, draws the conclusions from this and combines a poignant, multiple asymmetrical love story, which perhaps never was, with melancholy piano sounds and documentary recordings from Cameroon. The starting point is two love letters: one written, female, non-Western, in text clusters rhythmically distributed over the picture; a spoken, masculine, western, a deep, sad, uniform voice, almost like a prayer. A relationship has come to an end, the two letters approach her from different sides and yet never quite find each other. Even the images, which Khavn puts under the barely dialogue-like dialogue, gently but firmly resist the romantic over-shaping, insist on their autonomy, like the little bird that wrests itself from the child's hands stretched towards the camera and flies to freedom. (lf)

on 8/18/2013 at 9 p.m.
on 8/22/2013 at 8 p.m.


KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Ang pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros
The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros
PHI 2005, R: Auraeus Solito, B: Michiko Yamamoto, K: Nap Jamir, D: Nathan Lopez, Soliman Cruz, J.R. Valentin, Neil Ryan Sese, Ping Medina, Bodjie Pascua, 100 ’DigiBeta, OmeU

One of the first films of the New Philippine Wave that caused a stir internationally: a gay film noir from the narrow streets of the poor district of Manila. In his clique, the young Maxi is a little (drag) star, but he is exploited - also emotionally - by his older brother and father, two stupid petty criminals. The acquaintance and the one-sided flirtation with the policeman Victor promise a way out of the economic-cultural-sexual periphery. But the Filipino present, in which you can only rely on its ability to disappoint you again and again, has other plans for this hopeful young man. However, The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros is not aiming at sheer cynicism; Auraeus Solito's directing and acting (an astonishing discovery: the young Nathan Lopez in the title role) are far too lively for that. Even if reality does not play along for the time being: Once the emotional balance is fundamentally out of balance, a return to cramped (hetero) normality is simply no longer possible. (lf)

on 08/20/2013 at 8 p.m.

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Himpapawid
Manila Skies
PHI / USA 2009, R / B / K: Raymond Red, D: Raul Arellano, John Arcilla, Ronnie Lazaro, Soliman Cruz, Karlo Altomonte, Raul Morit, 104 ’OmeU

On the basis of a newspaper report, Raymond Red, a veteran of Filipino independent cinema, made an astonishing comeback with an abysmal, headstrong thriller that completely pulled the ground away from both its protagonist and its audience several times. Manila Skies follows the cramped loader Raul, who rushes through life with a rigid, slightly manic look, who quits his job for the vague chance of earning more money abroad. And when one difficulty after another piles up in front of him, he makes two fatal decisions one after the other. The film oscillates between different genres and pitches with playful ease. Exactly observed naturalistic passages, in which Raul argues with passers-by about absurd little things, for example, or complains to his drinking companions sitting around in front of his house day in and day out, are next to abrupt, almost surreal-looking jumps in action. (lf)

on August 23, 2013 at 9 p.m.

KINEMATOGRAPHY TODAY: PHILIPPINES

Florentina Hubaldo, CTE
PHI 2012, R / B / K: Lav Diaz, D: Hazel Orencio, Kristine Kintana, Noel Sto. Domingo, Willy Fernandez, Joel Ferrer, Dante Perez, 360 ’DigiBeta, OmeU

On the mirror film, broken several times Century of Birthing Lav Diaz follows six hours of emotional emergency in the Philippine province. Florentina Hubaldo, For the time being, CTE is a comparatively straightforward piece of time-based terror cinema that unfolds on two levels: On the one hand, it is about the title character Florentina, a helpless girl who is tortured, beaten and prostituted by her father until she finally seeks its way out and successfully sets off into the distant, in its turn not easily manageable big city life; on the other hand, about her daughter, who, years later, lives in a country house, seriously ill, sheltering some adventurers who are on the trail of a treasure that is clearly seen as a pure projection, as an image of the hopelessness of a life that is not only suspended on a global scale is legible. Florentina's birthplace has meanwhile become a ruin, actually a haunted house and it is precisely at this ruin that the treasure is suspected. Almost all of them draw the wrong conclusions from history, from the personal one they suffered as well as from the unprocessed, supra-personal history; all the more important the one woman who then, at least once, draws the right conclusion from the story. (lf)

on August 25, 2013 at 4 p.m.