Kristen Stewart (Maureen) was filled by dread and fear as she heard the footsteps toward her apartment door. She carried on a conversation with a mysterious texter on her phone without the slightest idea of his or her identity. The texts were threatening and drawing her at the same time. Whoever the texter, was now behind her door. Then fear eventually turned to curiosity, she looked through the peephole; no one was there. As she looks down the floor, she sees a white envelope slipped under her door. She opens it and finds a Crowne Plaza hotel key card.
Instead of her usual Lacoste shirt, she feels daring. Remembering what she texted back, wanting what was forbidden, she wears her client’s designer black ‘dress’. It was more a collection of black straps than an actual dress, exposing a lot of the skin, most especially her breasts and nipples. An overcoat goes on top to cover her body and scoots away in her Peugeot scooter. As soon as she enters the room she receives a text ‘Send me a Picture’. She goes to the full-length mirror, takes off the overcoat and takes a picture of herself. The texter replies, ‘I prefer you like this.’ She takes the covers off the bed, lies in it, caresses her breasts through the dress and touches herself.
PERSONAL SHOPPER starring Kristen Stewart and directed by Olivier Assayas is just one of many enticing movies in the 22nd French Film Festival running from June 9-17, 2017 at the Greenbelt 3 Cinemas and the Bonifacio High Street Cinemas. The fest includes Pinoy films NAKAW, MA’ROSA & ON THE JOB on June 12 at Greenbelt.
Having won Cannes Best Director for Olivier Assayas, PERSONAL SHOPPER is one of the most anticipated screenings in the fest. Pinoy fans can watch it for the reasonable fee of only P100.
Lacoste Timeless, The Film
Kristen Stewart fans will find a more sophisticated, if not a sexier version of the TWILIGHT star. The journey of self discovery is not easy to visualize much less portray. This is one role where Stewart has shown her evolution as an actress from her earlier roles. Especially since being a ‘personal shopper’ can be degrading at times. The job is a cross between a stylist, personal assistant and errand girl to a fashion icon Kyra Gellman played by Nora von Waldstätten.
Stewart in real life as a Hollywood star supposedly has armies of personal shoppers. Kristen was also cast in LIZZIE to be released later this year, set in 1892 based on the real life of Lizzie Borden (played by Chloe Sevigny) accused of murdering her own parents with an axe. Stewart also has Sci-Fi flick UNDERWATER which will be released in 2018.
An interesting choice by writer/ director Assayas is to not have Stewart speak a word of French (except for bonjour), which may be surprising since it is set in the heart of Paris. This gives an impression of arrogance because her role in Maureen was supposed to have lived there for at least 2 years. Everyone from jewelers to designers would speak English to her while everyone else spoke French, except for other American characters.
This gave the impression the Americans had this small world or club amongst themselves. And perhaps also allow other foreigners, viewers to not be so intimidated with their ignorance or weakness in French, when visiting the City of Lights. In the Philippines, it’s a given that tourists can easily survive with English. There are expats who’ve lived here for decades without learning Filipino because they can get away with it.
PERSONAL SHOPPER’s story begins with Maureen having to deal with the death of her twin brother Lewis. The two are bonded together in many ways, one of which is their ability to sense ‘spirits’. As kids they make a pact to contact the other, give a sign from the after life if one of them passes away. So there’s a very strong element of mysticism in the movie. Neither of them were religious or brought up in a particular faith so, even Maureen as an adult was still unsure of the existence of an afterlife. She’s unsure of what she sees sometimes as spirits or souls or whatever beings.
That’s where the brilliance of Olivier Assayas comes in. He takes us on that journey of self discovery of finding out what Maureen comes to believe about the afterlife and even herself. The movie touches on a lot of things like fine art, fashion and psychics without losing the humanity in the story. In this sense, it is totally different from a Hollywood film where you can pigeonhole them into genres, such as horror, sexual thriller or drama. It has all of that in an unlikely mix much like real life in other words it’s very French.
The trio of Kristen Stewart, Nora Von Waldstatten and Lars Eidinger has worked with Olivier Assayas in CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA in 2014. The lead star of that critically acclaimed film is Juliet Binoche. For PERSONAL SHOPPER, Nora is best cast in the role of Kyra Gellman (pronounced Keera), a wealthy fashion icon, who on occasion can be a bitchy boss. Maureen would occasionally Google Kyra’s pictures so she could see the clothes she picked up for her high profile boss. Designer Karl Lagerfeld has a cameo as Kyra’s pal in a fashion event.
Nora does have that convincing aristocratic air. In real life she has Austrian noble blood as descendant of Baroness Von Waldstatten who was the influential patroness of Mozart.
Enigmatic character Ingo is played by German actor Lars Eidinger. He is a respected and admired theater and TV actor with a long list of credits to his name. To this end he was recently made a jury member of the 66th International Berlin Film Fest. He is also an established musician and DJ. He has scored several films and worked as music producer of other artists as well. His wife Ulrike Eidinger happens to be a famous opera singer.
All in all we should take advantage of the opportunity to watch PERSONAL SHOPPER and many other impressive movies in the French film festival. These are gems we would not be able to see otherwise.
For the film line up and screening schedule visit:
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Written and photographed
By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
France has a long history of supporting Filipino artists and filmmakers. This year the short film NAKAW by Noel Escondo and Arvin Belarmino will be part of the 22nd French Film Festival. The fest will run from June 9-17, 2017 at the Ayala Malls cinemas in Greenbelt 3 and the Bonifacio High Street Central Square Cinemas.
Audiences can get the best contemporary French cinema for the reasonable fee of only P100 pesos. June 12, Independence Day, however, is a special date set aside for Filipino cinema. For the first time ever, the French Film Festival will dedicate one weekend for free public outdoor screenings at Circuit Makati on June 17 and 18, 2017.
Prestigious titles include Cannes awardees: MA’ ROSA, directed by Brillante Mendoza (Main Competition, Best Actress Award, 2016); ON THE JOB, directed by Erik Matti (Director’s Fortnight, 2013); and ANINO by Raymond Red (Short Film Corner, Palme d’Or for Best Short Film, 2000).
2017 has seen a resurgence of talent in the short film format for Filipinos. Apart from NAKAW Cannes included 3 other Filipinos in the Short Film Corner: LOVE REMEMBERS by Ralston Jover – starring OJ Mariano and Mercedes Cabral, AYO AYO by Reena Dunque and BLOOD AND INK (Dugo At Tinta) by Jill Damatac. (from ManilaTimes.net)
While Carlo Francisco Manatad’s short film, JODILERKS DELA CRUZ, EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH is an entry in the festival’s 56th Semaine De La Critique (International Critics’ Week) a precursor to Cannes Film fest.
NAKAW is an intriguing 7-minute short film that was shot in one continuous take without cuts. Filmmaker Arvin Bleramino describes it as “a social realism crime film. It’s about a boy who snatched a woman’s purse. 5 lives were changed because of what happened.” NAKAW will also be a part of this year’s CINEMALAYA Film fest.
Alfred Hitchcock made the one take technique famous in the classic ROPE. In the full-length movie he was able to conceal the cuts when the camera would go through doors. A lot of filmmakers have tried to duplicate the feat since then. Most recently rapper Gloc 9’s music video HOY also employed this technique:
NAKAW was shot in a hidden slum area in Cavite. Belarmino had experienced filmmaking using the 2-camera set up before. The one continuous take fascinated and challenged him and his co director. Asked what he wanted audiences to take away from it he said, “We were able to magnify what’s happening in the slum areas. Its like nandun ka talaga sa eksena.” Executive Producer Patsy Ferrer added, “Its also getting people excited about short films. Giving short films an importance as a medium because we always see full length, when it comes to indie. Pero short film di masyado na papansin.”
The French Embassy’s Charge D’Affaires Laurent Legodec made note of another important and related event, “Brillante Mendoza was chosen by the French agency (Institut Francais) to be a mentor to the young filmmakers from all over the world as part of La Fabrique Cinema, a film production workshop that was held earlier this month. This is also a sign that what we are doing is important, that what we are able to reinforce our exchanges and cultural dialogue between France, the Philippines and the rest of the world.”
Legodec continued, “Philippine cinema stands out in the region. France is proud to be a very strong partner in developing this sector in the country. In fact there are many, many opportunities for France and the Philippines to work closer together, not just in film and culture but also in trade, the sciences, education, infrastructure, transport, sustainable energy and so on and so forth.”
In fact our country has immediately reaped from the partnership. Carlo Francisco Manatad who participated in Cannes with short film, JODILERKS DELA CRUZ, EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH, was himself a participant of the La Fabrique Cinema workshop the previous year.
The 22nd French Film Festival in Manila is presented by the Embassy of France to the Philippines, Institut Francais, the Alliance Francaise de Manille and de Cebu, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Ayala Malls, Central Square, Circuit Makati and the SSI Group Inc, and with the support of Peugeot Philippines, Delsey, Marithe Francois Girbaud, Paris Delice, Le Cellier, Don Papa, Monin, ThinkBIT, Cignal and media partners Expat Newspaper, the ABS CBN News Channel, Rogue Manila, L’Officiel Manila, Art Plus Magazine and Manilascope.
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PhilFrance: Feel French! Celebrates 70 Years of Franco Philippine Friendship
The French Film Festival is part of PhilFrance: Feel French, a festival to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and the Philippines this year. Throughout 2017 the Embassy of France to the Philippines, together with its partners, will organize a series of events that will give the Filipino public an opportunity to ‘feel France’ in everyday life. The line up includes the following events:
–Fete Dela Musique (June 17 at the A Venue Mall Parking Lot and June 23 at Puerto real in Intramuros Manila)
–Revel Unraveled French Classical Music Concert (June 22 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines)
–Tour de Manille a cycling event that coincides with the Tour de France (July 9 at the North Park, SM By the Bay)
–Bon Appetit: A French food market in Manila ( September 22 to 24 at Central Square, Bonifacio High Street)
–A job fair and employability forum for the underprivileged youth (September)
–French Volunteerism Day (October)
–A series of conferences on architecture and urbanism, agriculture and social sciences
–Networking events, business meetings and start-up programs involving the French business community
For more information log on to:
I have to confess I am one of many who didn’t give Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas a chance, at least initially. My excuse is that his namesake is my childhood idol. Isiah Lord Thomas III of the Detroit Pistons was a back-to-back champion, twelve time all-star and hall of famer who was also known as the Smiling Assassin. ‘Lord’ is also considered one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players of all time easily the best Detroit Piston ever.
No matter how unfair or even illogical the comparison, there was this feeling that the current Isaiah more popularly known as I.T. would never be as good as the ‘original’. While ‘Lord’ was already considered small at 6’1”, I.T. is even smaller at 5’9”. In a league where NBA guards are 6’4” and even more athletically gifted and fast – John Wall or super shooters like Steph Curry there’s not a lot of fans or pundits who could expect him to excel.
(Unilever Phil tapped Steph Curry to endorse Rexona in basketball crazy Philippines)
But that’s exactly what he did. These days especially with the dramatic Boston win over the Washington Wizards in Game 7 and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, I.T. is finally getting the attention and respect he deserves.
He averaged 29 points per game this season, but what’s even more impressive is when he scores. He averages 10.1 pts in the 4th quarter. From boston.com: Thomas is averaging more points in the fourth quarter than any NBA player in at least 20 years.
If he continues his 4thQ excellence he could be the most clutch point guard to ever play the game. This season he also made ALL NBA second team displacing the likes of Chris Paul and Damien Lillard. ALL NBA first team guards were MVP rivals Russell Westbrook who averaged a triple double and James Harden. (courtesy of the STARTERS)
I.T’s father James Thomas, was a long time L.A. native and Laker fan, moved to Tacoma, Washington. He made a bet with a friend with his son’s name on the line, sure that the Lakers would beat the Pistons in the finals (1989). But the birth came several months earlier than the finals and by then decided to go with it. His mother, Tina Baldtrip, insisted on the biblical spelling and adding an ‘a’, from the Pistons’ Hall of Famer’s version. Thus he was born Isaiah Jamar Thomas. He also adopted the same nickname Zeke apart from ‘Big Head’.
He took Lord’s number 11 which he used for his high school stint. His mom Tina arranged for IT to meet Isiah Thomas when he was scouting for the Knicks in University of Washington. After the Piston Great gave him an inspiring talk, the two became text mates.
One of the big influences in his game is Allen Iverson. You can see this when he uses his quickness and crossovers. They met for the first time before the start of this season. A.I. pointing at IT, “This is what makes me happy to be me. Little killers grow up to be real killers. This is it right here, this is the future”, quoted from the preseason docu BOOK OF ISAIAH.
I.T. had a stellar collegiate career in University of Washington earning the PAC-10 Freshman of the Year and ALL PAC 10 in his sophomore and junior years. In spite of this the Sacramento Kings picked him in the second round, 60th overall.
Best Record in the East
Since 2016 after being traded from Phoenix to Boston, I.T. was putting up the numbers worthy of a ‘star’ or at least enough to be the Celtics’ leader. THIS was also a break out season for I.T. making his second ALL-STAR appearance. More importantly, the Celtics were winning. Still no one actually believed they could steal the number one record in the East from the mighty Cavs. And yet they manage to do so down the wire. It came down to the last 5 games or so of the season but the Celts manage to get a 53-20 record bettering the Cavs’ 51-31.
Celtics vs Bulls and sister Chyna’s Death
Since Boston was able to garner the best regular season record in the East, most people thought they’d easily win the first round series against the Bulls. Chicago had been in disarray; Rajon Rondo had difficulty adjusting to his new team, Dwyane Wade was also not as dominant as he used to be. But then on April 15, the night before Game 1 of the series, there was tragic news for I.T. Chyna Thomas his half sister (shared the same dad James Thomas), died in a car accident near their hometown of Tacoma, Washington.
In Game 1, I.T. came out to a rousing ovation from Boston fans who appreciated their star point guard suiting up in spite of his personal loss. Dwyane Wade however, overcame the effects of father time by scoring 26 points, 11 Rebounds and 8 assists to lead the Bulls to a 106-102 win. In Game 2 Jimmy Butler and Wade both had 22pts while Rondo came alive with 14 assists for the Bulls domination: 111-97 of the Celtics. At that point fans and sports analysts started writing them off, saying they were better in the regular season than post.
I.T. by then had flown to Tacoma for his sister’s funeral and was joined by teammates. Most notably Avery Bradley who was his friend since high school. Rondo also injured his hand in Game 2. In Chicago, the Celtics seemed to get things together. Al Horford had a monster game 18 points 8 rebounds. I.T. had a strong second half with a total of 18 pts 9 assists for a Boston win 104-87 in Game 3. Celtics never looked back since then closing out the series 4-2 in Game 6.
Second Round Underdogs
Although Boston had a deeper bench, almost everyone picked the Wizards in this series. The firepower of what may be the best backcourt in the Eastern conference of John Wall and Bradley Beal would be just too much to handle for any team. And even when the series was tied at 3 a piece with each home team winning- game 7 at the TD Garden, Boston was still the underdogs. Stephen A. Smith (of ESPN) and even former Celtic guard Eddie House still chose the Wizards during a guesting at radio show The Herd.
The odds were certainly stacked against Boston even if they had home court advantage. In my mind became one of the most dramatic Playoffs Series in recent years. Yes, even more dramatic than the Cavs overcoming Warriors’ 3-1 lead in the finals last year.
It’s WAR not the Playoffs
The Boston vs Washington series was tough, physical and old school. This isn’t a competition, its war. People were getting hurt. This harkens to before the hand check rule and flagrant fouls. Although Boston won Game 1 (123-111), I.T. got an inadvertent elbow from Otto Porter knocking one front tooth out cleanly. Two more were damaged but still had to be pulled out. In spite of losing the tooth, he still managed to score 33 points. He had to endure 10 hours of dental surgery in between games.
Game 2 Miracle
Game 2 was one of those nights of destiny, where adversity becomes the fuel for an extraordinary performance. As IF the physical challenges weren’t enough Game 2 was on the birthday of Chyna Thomas, May 2. If she didn’t pass away, 2 weeks before she’d be 23 years old. This was one of those games that would be talked about long after. John Wall was unstoppable scoring 40 points and 13 assists.
The TD Garden fell to a hush when I.T. slammed his face on the hard court knowing his teeth had been knocked out the previous game. But the custom mouth guard did its job protecting his teeth although he was still experiencing some pain. But I.T. showed how clutch he really is exploding for 19 points in the 4th Q. He added another crucial 10 points in overtime for 53 points total. It was a magical Celtics win 129-119. I.T. dedicated the game to his sister but also shared in the interview that he was better able to deal with her loss in the arena with his friends and teammates than outside, realizing she was gone.
In Game 3 the series would move to Washington’s Verizon Center where they got a boost from their fans. The increasing physicality though would come to a head with Wizards Kelly Oubre’s takedown of Celts Kelly Olynyk after 2 tough screens. Olynyk on the slomos looked like he gave a body check, knocking Oubre down twice. They still appeared to be a legal pick and roll. But by the second time he did it, Oubre had enough and shoved Olynyk to the floor and also hitting the ref in the process. Oubre was immediately ejected from the game but the Wizards still won 116-89.
Wall & Beal show
The team with the home court would win: Game 4 Wizards (121-102), Game 5 Boston (123-101). Game 6 was a show of strength from the Wizards’ backcourt.
Bradley Beal topped all scorers with 33 points. But it was John Wall’s clutch 3 pointer with 3.5 seconds to go that sealed the 92-91 win. After making the last second basket Wall leapt to the scorer’s table screaming, “Not in my house, not in my house!” Thumping his chest as fans went crazy. He finished with 26 points and 8 assists.
Unlikely Heroes in Game 7
Throughout the first half it was an epic battle between John Wall, Bradley Beal and Isaiah Thomas. Each were answering jumpers, treys and lay ups until the 4th quarter when an unlikely hero emerged in Kelly Olynyk. As the defense grew tighter around I.T sometimes triple teaming him, especially on the inside, he had to pass off. He was finding a completely open Olynyk who buried trey after trey. As his confidence grew he would beat Gortat off the dribble for a lay-up. In the end he scored 16 of his 29 points in the 4th quarter as Boston wins the series 115-105.
After the game I.T. was asked about their chances against defending champs Cleveland Cavaliers. He answered, “They didn’t give us a chance in this series. They didn’t give us a chance when we were down 2-0 in the Chicago series. We got the number one seed they didn’t give us a chance. They don’t ever give us a chance and we just keep going. We don’t care what others say.”
Detroit Bad Boys
While I.T. is inevitably compared to the Detroit Pistons great Isiah Thomas, Olynyk also draws comparison to another ‘Bad Boy’- Bill Laimbeer. He too is a 7 foot white guy who has the ability to shoot a 3ptr. Laimbeer was once called the most hated player in the NBA, because of his flopping and knew how to use the rules to his advantage. Although Olynyk has not gotten as tough a reputation, he also had a dangerous play with Kevin Love, both grabbing a loose ball. The Cavs attributed Kevin’s shoulder being dislocated to Olynyk’s rough play.
But just like the Detroit Bad Boys, this Celtic team is gritty, tough and physical with a lot of unlikely heroes. Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, are both great at defense and offense. Avery Bradley’s consistent outside shooting complements I.T.’s game. Al Horford’s scoring can only improve with more experience in the post season. Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier are good young players they can bank on in the coming years. Maybe they’ll win a championship or two just like the Detroit Bad Boys.
Conclusion-Future Looks Green
Whether or not the Boston Celtics win the series against the Lebron led Cavaliers is almost immaterial. Losing the series to the defending champs does not diminish their accomplishments. This has been an incredible year, where they have definitely overachieved. People will look back on this Playoff run and see this is when they made the world take notice.
What we’ve seen from Isaiah is that he has proven he is among the elite. He has helped make the Boston Celtics one of the top four teams in the league. GM Danny Ainge has a lot to smile about too when they drew the top pick in the upcoming draft.
While there have been many great works and artists in previous Silent film festival editions such as Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS and Charlie Chaplin, this year is particularly impressive. First time participant Thailand has put forth a film entitled THE OVERTURE. It is based on the life of Royal Musician Sorn Silapabanleng and his son Prasidh Silapabanleng who became National Artist for Music.
Japan on the other hand has 4 comedy short films, 2 of which are from Yasojiro Ozu: WASEI KENKA TOMODACHI and TOKKAN KOZO. Ozu is considered as the tenth greatest director of all time in the 2002 British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound poll of Critics’ top ten directors. Audiences will also be able to catch extremely rare Filipino silent film BRIDES OF SULU for this year’s fest.
These are just some of the legendary artists in a total of 9 different countries participating in the 9th Silent Film Festival held at Shang Cineplex Shang Rila Plaza Mall from August 27-30, 2015. This is the only Silent Film Festival in Asia and is accompanied by top international and Filipino musicians.
For this year The Royal Thai Navy Traditional Ensemble will be providing the soundtrack for THE OVERTURE. The ensemble is often assigned for Royal & state ceremonies. The fest has always had a free entrance on a first come first served basis. So please do check schedules and fall in line at least an hour before screening to increase chances of attending this extraordinary treat.
The 9 countries include [Aug 27] AUSTRIA- THE HANDS OF ORLAC with The Executives Band, [Aug 28] PHILIPPINES-BRIDES OF SULU with Kjwan, JAPAN-PEERLESS PATRIOT, FIGHTING FRIENDS JAPANESE STYLE, A STRAIGHTFORWARD BOY and A BUDDHIST MASS FOR GOEMON ISHIKAWA with Hidden Nikki, [Aug 29] THAILAND-THE OVERTURE with The Royal Thai Navy Traditional Ensemble, GERMANY-SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY with Pierre Oser & Big Jazz Balloon, SPAIN-DON JUAN TENORIO with The Ding Dong Fiel Trio, [Aug 30] FRANCE-THE CRAZY RAY with Ian Lofamia Blues Band and ITALY-THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII with The Dawn, USA- SUNRISE: A SONG OF TWO HUMANS with Razorback.
Thailand- The Overture
The Overture (Hom Rong) while not strictly a silent film is a contemporary piece released in 2004. Having subtitles, color and modern production only adds to the ease of understanding the film for Pinoy viewers of today. The subject of two generations of Thai musicians who influenced the combination of traditional instruments with Western music lends itself to the silent film genre. As The Thai Royal Navy Traditional Ensemble will be flying in to score the film live using: saw duang (string instrument w bow), Grajabpi (lute), ranat ek (xylophone) and taphon (drum).
It also garnered the distinction of becoming the official selection for the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language film. This is apart from winning Best Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor and a host of other awards from the Thai National Film Association Awards, Bangkok Critics Assembly Awards and Star Entertainment Awards.
Sorn Silapabanleng during his time as a famous royal musician earned a title given by King Rama VI as Luang Pradit Phairoh. The title Luang is similar to ‘Sir’ as knighted by the Queen of England in the field of music. Pradit Phairoh translates to ‘inventor of beautiful sounds’.
The story deals with his humble beginnings learning the traditional Thai instrument ranad-ek or wooden xylophone. Later on Sorn’s son Prasidh Silapabanleng would master the piano. The two would collaborate in combining Thai instruments with Western music. Eventually Prasidh would compose symphonies entitled: Siang Tian, Damnoen Sigh, Siamese Suite, and Cherd Nai, all adaptations of Luang Pradit Phairoh’s original works.
According to an article in the Bangkok Post ‘it was Siamese Suite that put Prasidh at the forefront of composers of his time.’ What makes it even more interesting is that the seminal work debuted in Manila. It was the National Symphony Orchestra of the Philippines who had the honor of playing it for the first time and was recorded for Thai audiences back home. The debut was because of an invitation to Prasidh to participate in a UNESCO Music conference held here in 1954.
Japan- Silent Film Comedies
The Japan Foundation on the other hand has concentrated on what may be the best collection of slapstick comedies of the time: Kokushi Muso (PEERLESS PATRIOT) by Mansaku Itami, Ishikawa Goemon No Hoji (A BUDDHIST MASS FOR GOEMON ISHIKAWA) by Torajiro Saito and Yasojiro Ozu’s two comedies: Wasei Kenka Tomodachi (FIGHTING FRIENDS JAPANESE STYLE), Tokkan Kozo (A STRAIGHTFORWARD BOY). The average running time of each short film is 20 minutes.
Director Torajiro Saito is one of the most popular and prolific filmmakers of the era having more than 200 titles to his credit. Japan Foundation director Shuji Takatori noted that his films were so popular all over Japan they were projected countless times and was so in demand most were never returned to the company/studio Shochiku Co, Ltd. For his success in slapstick Saito was called ‘God of Comedy’. Takatori added, “We selected these films in cooperation with the National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo and Shochiku Co, Ltd.”
Yasojiro Ozu is considered not just one of the best directors from the silent era but of all time. Ozu’s TOKYO STORY has appeared several times in the Sight & Sound poll of best films selected by critics and directors. In 2012, it topped the poll of film directors’ choices of “greatest film of all time”.
Ozu is almost like a Van Gogh–like figure whose work was appreciated and recognized only after he had passed away. According to wikipedia: at age 13 used to skip classes to watch screenings like QUO VADIS! and THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII by Mario Casreini.
Incidentally, the Italian film exhibition for this year’s silent film fest is THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII with The Dawn providing the live soundtrack. In the same bio, Ozu at age 17 was kicked out of a dormitory for writing a love letter to a boy. Throughout his life he struggled against some sort of prejudice, was conscripted to becoming a soldier. He passed away at 63 and was buried beside his mother with the epitaph, “Nothingness”.
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Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
I was able to shoot Kris Aquino during the MMFF parade last December 23, 2014 at Roxas Boulevard. Two days later Christmas day, I was able to shoot my high school classmate Rolinda Uy and marveled at the resemblance. She visited my brother George who came home for a holiday with Hazel and the kids.
Here’s to a great FENG SHUI to everyone in 2015!
Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Last October 21, 2014, all I could do was text him a greeting when I remembered it was his birthday. Christopher Daniel C. Lizo is my cousin who is now Metro Pacific Tollways Corp (MPTC) Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. He texted back immediately and invited me to the debut of the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA. It was their very first game in the league, in the storied SMART Araneta Coliseum.
He told me he was so excited with the efforts of MPTC Pres. & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez, in building the team. The NLEX Road Warriors was finally making the transition to the majors after so much success in the Developmental league. PLDT Chairman and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan will also personally make an appearance to watch the debut.
MVP has been the singular moving force developing the SMART Gilas National team, and fulfilling the hopes of a whole nation for the sport of basketball. ALL of them who work for him have had to step up in showing their support for the game we love. CEOs and top level Execs are expected to do double duty as Team Presidents/ Operation Managers for their respective PBA squads. It’s an honor, sacrifice and huge responsibility.
MVP has taken a personal hand in coming up with the coaching staffs of TALK’N TXT, MERALCO and NLEX. MVP met with team execs, MPTC Pres & CEO Ramoncito Fernandez and finalized the NLEX brain trust. Last July, Quinito Henson in his Phil Star column reported, “Six-peat PBA D-League champion coach Boyet Fernandez will pilot N-Lex which has acquired the Air21 franchise. Fernandez, however, will finish the NCAA season with San Beda College before moving back to the PBA where he was once Coach of the Year with Sta. Lucia Realty. His Warriors staff will consist of Adonis Tierra, Jojo Lastimosa, Sandy Arrespacochaga, Mon Celis and Ford Arao with Allan Gregorio as team consultant.”
The PBA game seemed like a world away from our days growing up in Paco. I was the youngest of 5 boys but all of my brothers had been way older. That’s why I was closer to Chris growing up. Chris and I were born just months apart, post Crispa Toyota era. Barely off our toddler years we still took sides, he liked Crispa and I Toyota. We found a common team to cheer for when Great Taste came around with Ricardo Brown, Abe King, Arnie Tuadles, Philip Cezar, Bogs Adornado. The team had remnants from both Toyota and Crispa.
Basketball was so pervasive in everything we thought and did. We’d play it EVERY free time we had. My brother Noel Bautista was an NBA, PBA, NCAA, UAAP fanatic. We’d talk about match ups and players endlessly. Much of our technical knowledge and debates came from Noel’s influence. He’s now living in Wellington, NZ with wife Hazel. His kids Nigel, Nicole and Brent are all grown up.
We had a hoop installed on our garage roof. Me, Chris his brother Vincent Lizo, my brothers George, Noel, schoolmates, neighbors would play from morning until late into the night. Only George Bautista and Vincent took the game seriously trying out in college and making it to the TEAM B in DLSU. Vincent Lizo was our hope in making it to the PBA, we all had dreams at the time. He dominated in the commercial leagues: PICAA and PBL. Somehow we all lived vicariously through the success of Vince as a player, fulfilling our collective hoop dreams. Vince is now also one of the top executives in EVEREADY and still plays basketball in Alumni Leagues.
Their close friend and teammates in the DLSU squad include Perry Ronquillo, Dong Vergere who later became coaches. Perry won a PBA Championship with Shell. Dong became a coach for UST in the UAAP (who passed away in 2011). Current Archers coach Juno Sauler was also a teammate of theirs. Juno married my other cousin Agnes Apostol.
After graduating and acing the Accounting Board exams Chris worked for one and only one company throughout his career: METROPACIFIC Corporation. Much later after that he was assigned to his current post at the MPTC. Under a shared love for the game together with MPTC Pres. Ramon Fernandez they participated in the Developmental league of the PBA. Chris managed the day-to-day operations of the team, acquiring players, coaching staff while deferring major decisions to Fernandez. Mr. Fernandez has become a mentor and father figure to Chris; he was also the Ninong in his wedding. The NLEX Road Warriors earned 6 titles in the 7 years since the league was established.
Zoom back to 2014 October 21st, Chris’ birthday was an auspicious date to have their debut in the PBA. This is the league where so many of our childhood dreams had come from. We watched countless legendary PBA heroes do battle in this very place SMART ARANETA. Among them a Senator- Sonny Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez namesake ‘The Franchise’, Atoy Co, Abet Guidaben, even to the days of Alvin Patrimonio, Benjie Paras, Allan Caidic and our special idol ‘Skywalker’ Samboy Lim. One of them Jojo Lastimosa is in the coaching staff of NLEX.
Now the NLEX Roadwarriors was a team he helped build. Chris was making his own PBA memories, helping shape current and future PBA legends in its 40th season. I was especially nervous for Chris because, there’s so much at stake. As thankful as I was seeing him in this position a win is necessary validation of all their efforts leading up to that point. They had to make a statement that the NLEX Road Warriors belonged with the best of best players in the country. There was tremendous pressure to win, even if it was a debut.
NLEX is World Class
Before the game, Chris Lizo was able to talk about the transition of NLEX to the big league, “We won 6 out of 7 championships in the D League. Now the PBA is a different level. We want to prove to the management, to the owners that we can do it in the next level as well. What we’re trying to bring in the PBA is the same brand of team that we brought in the D League. We carry the NLEX brand name. NLEX is world class so we want to bring a competitive world-class team in the PBA.”
Theoretically, the developmental league player can go to the PBA. But all players have to go through the daft process and theirs was no exception, “Unfortunately we’re not allowed by the PBA to bring our core team. Our core team had to go to the draft. We did the next best thing which was buy an existing franchise. We bought AIR21, which has good core players including Asi Taulava, Jonas Villanueva, Rico Villanueva, Mac Cardona. We mixed them with our own draft choices. We think we have a good combination of youth and experience.”
Their draft choice of Matt Canuelas, who played for SMART GILAS was traded to TALK’N TXT for KG Canaleta. He believes Canaleta will help NLEX be competitive immediately. There are very specific and some say lofty goals for their debut. “We think we’re going to be competitive. Having said that we’re realistic. There are a lot of strong teams GINEBRA, TALKN’TXT, SAN MIGUEL, PUREFOODS STAR HOTSHOTS. We have an internal target. But we still think that if motivated enough, we work hard enough we can still go to the championship. Going to the finals is not beyond our reach we can still do it.”
PBA: The Best of the Best
With MVP’s top choice for a coach, Chris believes Boyet Fernandez is the right man to take them all the way, “He is defense oriented. Another thing working for him is he played professional basketball. He won a championship as a coach for Sta. Lucia. He gets the best out of players. Whether they’re veterans or rookies he’s able to define the role of each player. To that extent, Boyet has a lot of experience.”
The challenge is huge in being able to translate their success from the D League to the PBA, “You have to look at the competitiveness. D League is a good league but the PBA is the ultimate goal of all players, all teams. You know that this is the cream of the crop, the best of the best, not only in terms of players but also in coaching staff, the support staff. So we’ve dedicated all resources we can to make sure that we’ll be competitive.”
It’s been a long time coming, playing the game we loved since we were kids. We’ve all grown up; Chris has his own family now with beautiful wife Carlene, daughter Andrea and son Andrei. Not all plans have come to fruition. Hoop dreams remain for us, myself, brothers and cousins. Now we can experience it vicariously through Chris who is living the PBA dream.
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“On the 1st of January 1897, at the house of Señor Francisco Pertierra at No.12 Escolta, located in the walled city of Intramuros Manila, the first moving images were projected in the Philippines. A man with a hat, a boxing match, a Japanese dance and a plaza outside the Parisian opera house-these were the early film clips brought and shared by the Spanish people to the Filipinos. Thus began the more than century old love affair of the Philippines with Cinema.” Phil. Film Export Service Office Exec Dir. Jose Miguel Dela Rosa described the first cinematic experience in our country.
Dela Rosa delivered the message during the press conference for PELICULA-PELIKULA, which will run from October 3-13, 2013 at the Greenbelt 3 Cinema. Organized by the Spain-AECID, Instituto Cervantes, Ayala Cinemas, the Film Development Council of the Phil (FDCP) and Manila Contemporary, the fest is now on its 12th edition.
According to Instituto Cervantes Gen. Coordinator Carlos Palomo, “This year the festival will be graced by the presence of Spanish actress Alejandra Lorente and the Argentenian director Gabriel Nesci. And this year for the first time the fest includes Chabacano films. As you know the Chabacano language is the only Spanish based creole in Asia. It has survived for more than 400 years making it one of the oldest creole languages in the world. Thus becoming the best witness of the common past between Philippines and Spain.”
The film fest that has brought not only the best films from Spain and Latin America but also internationally renowned film makers and talents to share and talk about their work, None of this would be possible without the support from sponsors. During his speech Spanish Ambassador Domecq personally thanked all the supporters of the fest that allowed it to be possible, “Allow me to underline that this edition of PELIKULA is presented by the embassy of Spain-AECID, Instituto Cervantes, Ayala Cinemas, the Film Development Council of the Phil (FDCP) and Manila Contemporary. I wish to highlight that PELIKULA is also made possible thanks to the sponsorship and cooperation of Greenbelt, San Miguel Corporation, Qatar Airways, the Embassy of Argentina in cooperation with Maersk Global Service Centers, Cemex, Emperador Distiller, the City Government of Zamboanga, Ayala Museum and the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation. (SPCC). And with special thanks to Centunion Philippines, Ayala Land Premier, Tyler, Alba’s Restaurante Español and the Intercontinental Hotel Manila.”
The Festival will be graced by the presence of foreign filmmakers. On October 3, 7pm, Spanish actress Alejandra Lorente will present her touching short film “Aquel no era yo” (2012) and have an open forum after the screening. On October 7, 7pm, Argentinean director Gabriel Nesci will introduce his feature “Días de vinilo”. This will happen at the Noche del cine argentino, organised in collaboration with the Embassy of Argentina. Director Gabriel Nesci will have a cinema workshop at the School of Arts of St. Benilde-DLSU.
This year’s selection includes Blancanieves, the main winner at the latest Goya Awards. The rest of the line-up shows a list of genres ranging from romance, comedies (Promoción fantasma) to suspense or drama (El artista y la modelo). Among the documentaries, Colgados de un sueño, a film on the time painter Fernando Zobel spent in Spain, is of special interest for the Filipino moviegoer.
The Filipino cinema is also present in this edition. On October 8, at 7pm, director Raya Martin will present his film La última película. This year’s PELÍCULA will also include, for the very first time, Chabacano films alongside Spanish and Latin American titles. “Noche chabacana” is slated for the 9th of October and will feature the best of Chabacano films released within the recent years, to be presented by their directors. This new addition is a project made possible by the collaboration of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the city government of Zamboanga and the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation (SPCC).
Apart from the screenings, talks and forums are also lined up for this occasion. Other special nighttime events are also lined up for PELÍCULA with the participation of “Sacude”, a Spanish company of vertical dance at the Fashion Walk of Greenbelt 5. This is scheduled for October 11, 8pm.
Audience Choice Award
Also not to be missed in every edition of PELÍCULA is the selection of the “Audience Choice” Award. During the 11-day festival, the audience will be given stubs in which they can rate the movies they have seen. For every five movies, members of the audience qualify to join the raffle in which they get a chance to win a round-trip ticket to Spain and other exciting prizes.