Sunday, July 15, 2012

Trapped: Something About Filipino Cinemas

Filipino cinema as of late, actually, for a long time now, is crap. It really is crap and I'm ashamed to face the world knowing that crap movies are released in our country. Its congested with repeated themes and cycles of previously half-baked successful movies, a collage of fantasy films stitched together, and predictable, uninspiring, lazy, comedy romance films.

I understand why the industry milks success. It's strictly business. Well, at least international films try to add a few twists here and there. Filipino cinemas have the same shit over and over again. It is sickening and I vomit how people craze over these things again and again. Well, most likely it's about the cute couples and their cheesy punchlines. Which can be cute indeed, but if the same shit is released every month. Please, someone shoot them.

There are other formulas as well, but rarely used, and those that are used were basically remakes or parodies of previous remakes, so, personally, still shit. The worst ones are the excessive drama - crying here, crying there, excessive crying and screaming in TV, in films, in reality shows, in game shows - what the fuck is it with the damn fetish about crying? And I'm not even going to touch the subject about the recent fantasy films - no matter how we're starting to have somewhat passable CGI effects. It is still shit. The latest one I was forced to watch was basically, "The Mummy", "Clash of the Titans", and a few other stuff I can't remember, all meshed up together for the most fantastic shit ever. Oh, and there was this superhero film that had an almost mirrored scene from Spider-Man 2. It was laughable and painful to watch at the same time.

But that's not to say the country hasn't produced some okay fantasy films, which I'll probably talk about sometime in the future. The recent ones really do suck and many people dig it.

Anyway, to move the discussion forward. In today's issue of Manila Bulletin, there was a featured article about a girl named Jessica, who survived an earthquake around 1990. As I read the article, I can imagine Jessica, a mere grade school kid, taking a math exam when the earthquake struck, the teacher abandoned them, and as the children escaped, the staircase collapsed, and everything turned for the worst.

Jessica had crawled over the corpses of her classmates with a stabbed wound from a nail in her thigh. There were seven of them, and they prayed the rosary until help arrived. Her father, along with other panicked, fear-stricken men and women, didn't give up from digging the ruins, and every time a body was found, Jess' father was bracing for the worst. Eventually, the surviving children were saved. Those that weren't saved, one can only imagine the pain for the parents.

I read that article and I found it to be an astonishing tale of horror and survival. I felt the children's fear, the parents' fear, and the hope of both sides that everything will be all right, and the grief for those that were lost. I think of 127 Hours and I thought, this story could be made into an effective biographical survivor drama film. I believe it should be made into a film, the story is amazing and inspiring and tells us to keep fighting and not lose hope.

Filipino cinemas have always been about taking people away from their problems - a moment or relief from reality, a chance to laugh and giggle and blush like idiots - and even I find that sickening, the people doesn't and I'll just shrug, say something obscene and be done with it. But what good is it to keep on hiding behind false curtains? That moment of relief is too good that once it is over, the moment of pain returns and well, you get the point.

For once, we need a quality story inspired by a true story. Jess' survival is a great example. I believe the local cinema needs this change, instead of playing it safe.

Art it may not be. But it can deliver the same emotional value of fear, sadness, and joy all at the same time.

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