Tuesday, February 28, 2006

hating the word compromise so what have i gotten out of this momentary reprieve?i will update it as soon as i get more pictures that will describe the nuances of what i aspire for. if you're clueless as to what this is about, well let's just say that it's one of the few more representable compromises i am forced to consider as i try to make something of the inexplicable losses in my life. i am trying to get used to the word compromise since it seems the only natural thing to do when one grows old and loses faith for all those things that should matter. everyone around me who matter hates me for exploiting that word. i feel cruel ascribing everything to it, but what else can you call the sad sad things we do because we are left with hollow choices? the funny thing about this wallpaper, it isn't even a compromise, it's still an unrealized dream. i never imagined myself making compromises even in the loadful of things--material or immaterial--i long for

Monday, February 20, 2006

reflections after in the cut

i feel i cheated myself by not watching this movie in the theater when i had the chance. by far, this is the sexiest movie i've seen this year. well now that i think about it more, this is probably the first really sexy movie i've seen in a really long time.So many great asses on parade jane campion does an excellent job masking a simple crime mystery into something dark and complex. i loved the idea of franny (meg ryan) jotting down poetry culled from the city, how only she would read into simple words meant for selling things, and transform them into more morbid (or passionate depending on how your moods help you deal with ambiguity) personal descriptions of that seething hunger inside her. she's a literature professor, a very prudent one experiencing an awakening of sorts. i especially loved the camera work, how the soft and sharp focuses play in one frame and the warm colors extracting warmth out of a dark and dreary city like new york.

the day after watching this film, i spent an entire afternoon looking for poetry in the dreary city where i live. the four hours i spent hopping from one mrt station to the next, and from one mall to another helped me rationalize why i find manila so loathesome. it's such an uninspiring city. it's bad enough that the sights that behold me are so drab, its even worse to look for words and find only generic english phrases that echo a capitalist-businesslike sensibility. i envy franny. she's able to hop on the subway and find textured verbal imagery on posters, billboards even t-shirts. i am only able to find impersonalized power-driven statements that blatantly lie to sell a commodity. local tradition is gone and replaced by the smothering generic english of capitalists.

it also doesn't help that i am situated in a supposedly expansive part of the city. i live near the quezon memorial circle, study in the university of the philippines, work in the ateneo. the surroundings of the ateneo is just too artificial, the well-kept grass and highly stylized plant plots are too sterile, too constrictingly antiseptic, too predicatbly boring. there are no surprises in the landscape, just some self-conscious foliage trying its damn best to mimic the ivy leage environs of american schools which could have worked if not for the stupid combination of all of ateneo's structures: the millenium-styled church which really looks pretentious, the cheap school halls from the 60's which failed to capture the style of that era, the unfortunate brick buildings, the disastrous bliss-and-mass-housing-looking complexes, the vast parking spaces, they all clash. there is no coherence, no order. on the opposite end is u.p. which is wild, untamed, forest-like. it's creepy at night, and dingy by day. it's too exotic for its own good considering the vastness and height and depth and scope of the school's magnificent architecture which are all lost because there simply isn't enough money to keep things in order. in between is the qcmc, which is half as horrible as ateneo and half as wasted as u.p. the nice thing about this area is that it is perhaps the metro's real multi-cultural centers since different activities converge here. there are health buffs running amock at almost any time of the day, religious groups, student groups, dance troupes, prostitutes, gay men, restaurants, families, tiangges with the enterprising lot of tinderas and tinderos, political rallies, art activities, horses, roller skates and a whole lot more going in this area. unfortunately, the uncompartmentalized and erratic behavior of people who come and go is a bit too much for the park to handle. a lot of things need to be compartmentalized in this park in order for the spaces to breathe and provide an unconscious structure to the people who stay so that they don't scatter themselves and their garbage too much. then there's the problem of the elliptical road's converging traffic. this area is supposed to be the brightest spot in quezon city, but what i see is a fishbowl to contain the metro's smog and pollution. if i inhabit one of the best parts of the metro, then why am i so dissatisfied?

other movies

i was bored with lost in translation. this racist egotistic movie of ms. copolla doesn't deserve all the attention its getting. despite that, the last two weeks have been very rewarding with the movies thrown my way. 21 grams was great, it told a simple story but used fantastic editing work to change the conventional syntax of what could have been a typical melodrama. naomi watts, sean penn and benicio del torro were really superb and it seems they have out-acted everyone in the supposedly great movies this year including mystic river. i have yet to see in america. romance, a french art film with an american porn star (i forgot his name but i did remember seeing him in a lot of porn movies), has been mind boggling. it was discussed as a feminist movie in class, but i read it more as a coming-of-age lesbian movie. milan was cute, and so was woody allen's anything else.

thank god for vacations. i spent tuesday night and the wee hours of the morning after with film classmates and our teacher talking about a lot of things that i normally can't talk about with other people. it's nice to be part of a bunch where you actually belong and don't feel like the weirdo just because you have ideas that run contrary to the gamut of popular beliefs. somehow the world becomes more bearable with them. i woke up at 4 pm then went out again last night to watch morny's play which was funny because he gets to play a white man. we always tease him negro, but in this play he gets to be the white boy shouting at the nigger. it was so surreal. the night cap was just as fun as we stuffed ourselves full. the play was three hours long, so dinner had to wait until 10 p.m. and now, with a sore back from a 3 hour sleep, droopy eyes and a lot of unfinished crap for work, i can safely say that i'm o.k.

Monday, February 13, 2006

on the cuti cut class today. i had a report, i obviously had no time to do it, so i'm here, resuscitating my blog, changing colors, writing something deliberatley long. how the hell did i ever get this busy? the last three weeks just passed by like a tornado, and i am so tempted to give in to the madness. the oscars passed by so silently, which lord of the rings predictably swept, and there were no surprises. jing got married, and perhaps the biggest agitation i have felt so far this year was being forced to read scripture in front of a crowd of 400 in historic barasoain. the last time i read the bible was in 4th year college for my theology classes, and that was almost a decade ago! the ceremony was quiet and very subdued, and i got to witness the entire matrimonial hoopla from the front since i had to sit beside the altar and look at the crowd's disinterested faces. of course that meant having to control my eyebrows whenever the priest said something feudal. and believe me, there were a lot of feudal things mentioned in that mass than the entire bible and the 2000 years worth of scholarship on it combined. the thing i hated most was "masuwerte ka jing, dahil may lalaking nagmahal sa iyo." it was said thrice, in such an incriminating tone, and i could feel my body hair rise in agitation the third time he reminded my friend how lucky she was to find a man to love her and that her life's destiny depended solely on the man she would attach herself to. i thought i was the only one who noticed it, but there were lots of feminists in that ceremony, including filipino feminism's grand poet-esses benilda santos and rebecca anonuevo, lots of writers, colleagues and friends who basked in semiotics at least once in their lives, and a whole throng of the urbane who shaped their intellectual consciousness through the help of cultural studies. and that was the rhetoric in most of the tables i jumped to during the reception. marriage and religion are such feudal devices, but this priest was really something else. i felt i was caught in a 14th century period movie. good thing, jing and gil were radiant and totally oblivious to what the priest was saying, and that was a joy to see. they made each other happy. knowing that made trip to the podium worthwhile, that's my gift right there. i could safely say how happy the couple was during the entire ceremony because i saw their faces the entire time. it was also nice to see a lot of old friends from the pubroom and the literatti again. though i must admit, it all looked so sex and the city, seeing the contrast between the bulakenos who were so simple and loud, and that herd of misfits from manila who all looked so carrie bradshaw.the brightest spot of the week had to be love actually.i just melted the entire time after being forced to digest one sap-filled romantic narrative after another. it would have been sickeningly redundant if not for the fine performances of the entire cast. laura linney's moment (sarah) with her brother michael, mark's subversively desperate saccharine christmas greeting to juliet, and karen's discovery of her husband's affair through a christmas gift was what i remember the most. somehow, i loved the idea of being able to conceptualize love as a negotiation between the ideals we are accustomed to and those that we can only afford. sad, but our ideals are killing me. i can never live up to them. so when i watch something that deconstructs a grand narrative like romance, i have no choice but to warm up to it, even if it is sappy. plus the timing can never be better: it was after jing's wedding! so what negotiations have i made lately? for one, i have given up hope on some people whom i've held with high regard, without necessarily losing love for them, or for the things and decisions they make which i fail to understand. and i have learned to love maybe a little more openly a bunch of new friends whom i never imagined could be my friends. i hate to admit it, but going to film school has been one really good decision, not for the massochistic reasons of doing more things, but for the simple reason of finding compassionate souls who brim with ideas and realities the world supresses. i feel i've gone home. unfortunately, this home is just temporary. i dread the inevitable nostalgia of parting ways two or three years from now. oh, and another birthday passed. another birthday, and i don't feel like i've grown any older or wiser or more optimistic of the years ahead. if you believe in fortunes and destiny, then that would probably explain best why i am in a morose state right now. john tells me that i am at the end of a cycle. i'm in my winter phase. and i am hoping that is true since i am looking forward to spring.