08 July 2010


Brazilians celebrate 32 RP movies

Funded by Centro Cultural Banco de Brazil

There’s more to the Philippine connection to this South American country than Brazilian-Japanese hunks Akihiro, Daniel and Fabio.

A retrospective of 32 Philippine films is currently ongoing in Rio de Janeiro, until July 15. The showcase goes to Brasilia on July 13 (until Aug. 1). Its first edition, in São Paolo, concluded on June 27.

Entitled “Discovering Filipino Cinema,” the retrospective was organized by young filmmakers/film buffs Raphael Mesquita and Leonardo Levis of Blum Filmes, with the support of Centro Cultural Banco de Brazil.

In an exclusive e-mail interview, Levis explained his fascination with RP cinema.

“Raphael and I have been following world cinema... reading international magazines and analyzing the programs of different festivals,” Levis related “In the last few years, we noticed a ‘boom’ in Philippine cinema, a subject we were unfamiliar with at the time.”

Soon enough, he said, “we became acquainted with the works of Brillante Mendoza, Raya Martin and Lav Diaz.”

They were eager to watch and absorb more, Levis recalled. “I wanted to see the newcomers, along with the ‘influential’ classics.”

They thought the best way to do this was to mount the three-city event.

“I was positively impressed,” he said of the films in the lineup.

He was “shocked” by Lino Brocka’s “Insiang” and Ishmael Bernal’s “City After Dark.” “I came to understand the importance of these classics vis-à-vis the new digital cinema. For instance, Brocka’s politics is actualized in the works of Mendoza and Diaz.”

He described the new Philippine cinema as “not always digital, but always personal.”

There is a need to reconsider the concept of a new wave in RP cinema, he pointed out. “Each filmmaker has his own definitive style — making the films [in the retro] different but similar at the same time.”

He is heartened by the digital revolution in the Philippines.

“It’s significant because it offers an escape from the restrictive commercialism of the movie industry,” he noted. “Filmmakers are allowed to make personal and experimental films, contributing not only to Philippine cinema but to world cinema in general. The Philippines is among the most advanced countries today in terms of fighting industry rules.”


Audience response to the Filipino retro, their debut project under Blum Filmes, has been encouraging, Levis said. “Brazilians are reacting very well to this unknown cinema. They’re asking how the reality and style of Filipino cinema can be related to that of Brazil’s.”

The retro also serves to highlight the two countries’ commonalities. “We share social values and ‘Third World’ dilemmas. But in Filipino movies, political and historical issues are turned into aesthetic and personal ones, while in Brazilian cinema, stories are a lot more self-centered.”

Next project for Blum Filmes is a retro of 40 John Ford films, the “biggest in Brazil.”

There are no immediate plans for a follow-up to the RP panorama, he said. “But I really wish that, with this showcase, Filipino movies will reach Brazil more often, making retrospectives like this less necessary.”

....repost from INQ7.net...

By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:09:00 07/08/2010

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