Tuesday, February 06, 2007

This Part of My Life is Called "Watching"

Around one year ago I was reading two books a week. But ever since that bloody TV came into our apartment a book usually stays beside my bed for nearly three weeks. Whereas I use to spend most of my time in the bookstore, now I mostly find my self at the Makati Cinema Square searching for movies in their vast collection of pirated DVDs.

I finally finished Queer as Folk last Friday, all five seasons of endless man-loving. God, I was relieved that all that's over. I was seriously getting dizzy over how gay men supposedly live, which is way too remote from my experiences.

Last Saturday I picked up my sister's copy of the first two seasons of Lost. I've heard what a big hit it is in the US (currently on its third season). Also, my sister is incessantly talking about it. Since I was not watching anything else I decided to go ahead and check it out. The verdict is: it's interesting but not enough to really make me do cartwheels in front of the TV.

The mix of characters is wicked and I'm always curious what their fate would be. But I just got bored with them eventually. Everybody wants to be a hero, so American! I'm annoyed at all the bloody drama. I just wanted to know how they are going to get off the fucking island, if ever they would. But alas that's the point of the series and from what I heard it does not have a resolution yet. The business of the series is to keep you watching it. Which is also the reason why I finished the entire first season last weekend and was still hungry for the second season. Oh well, I know I'm hooked.

Meanwhile, it's bamboo rating again for some of the movies I've watched lately…

Let's start with The Last Temptation of Christ, which is directed by Martin Scorcese (sp?). I was a bit skeptical about the film because what else do I need to know about Jesus anyway? Exactly how many movies does it take for us to know his story? But then I heard it has a different treatment compared with all the rest of the bunch, a rather irreverent angle I should say (thus it is banned in Catholic Philippines). Indeed the film is a complex and fresh take on the life of Jesus, how he was supposedly subjected to the clash of his divine and human sides. For religious people, it can be a challenge to their faith and for skeptics it is also provocative. And for me it is affirmative of my assumptions about Jesus (which I'm not discussing here). So I'm giving this film four of five bamboos.

I couldn't remember the last time I cried while watching a film. Honestly, I couldn't. But The Pursuit of Happyness made me cry a fucking bucket. Will Smith plays this character who is trying to support his son after his wife left him. The movie takes us to the different stages of his struggle to regain a decent life for him and his boy. Of course it's a cliché on one man's triumph over adversity blah blah blah. Thinking about it now, the film is bloody manipulative but still it made my cry so it earns three and a half bamboos.

Last night I watched Water, which is Canada's entry to the Oscars this year and eventually became one of the five nominees for the Best Foreign Language Film category. It's interesting how it is Canada's entry while the movie is set entirely in India and made by Indians. A Canadian film outfit apparently is one of the producers. (I think it's the same case with Scent of Green Papaya, a film set in Vietnam but was tagged as the French entry in the Oscars several years back.)

It has a very heavy subject of a child bride who was widowed when she was eight and had to live in this house for widows (a better option rather than joining her dead husband in his funeral pyre or marrying her husband's brother). It was fucking depressing but is a wonderful eye opener about the treatment of women in a different culture. It also tackles religious fundamentalism, hence a good take-off for a sociological and anthropological discussion. The film is set in 1938 when India was struggling with getting independence from the British. Thus it has a number of references to the political and cultural changes that the country was undergoing at that time. I should say this is one of the most enlightening films I've seen recently, so I'm giving it a five.

Films to watch next: The Painted Veil, Apocalypto, Citizen Kane, and L'enfant.

Photo Credit: (1) Words from Here, (2) Filmforce, (3) Universumfilm.


oohfloorpie said...

It's always good to read what other people think about films.

I saw "Fire" (by the same director as "Water") and I highly recommend it.

Doni said...

Careful with Queer as Folk. While some truths are universal, the portrayal may be culturally conditioned as to not apply to the Pinoy context. :)

This is coming from a Pinoy gay guy, ha. ;)

(Thanks for visiting mg LJ. Yours is insanely interesting, I think.)

kawadjan said...

thanks for dropping by, both of you.

kyle, i'd surely want to see more of the same filmmaker's movies. i heard indeed that he has a series of "Fire", "Water", and "Earth"... or something like that. hope i can find them.

doni, i completely agree with you. even in the US when FAQ was showing on TV they have a disclaimer at the start of the show that it does not wish to represent the gay lifestyle. in the same manner that "sex and the city" does not remotely represent the entire single female experience either. absolutely so, because i think shows are just shows.


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