Asie Expo launches VOD website

Since November 2011, Asie Expo has launched a video on demand (VOD) website specializing on indie asian cinema. Each month, four to ten new films may be viewed via http://tv.asiexpo.com/. One to two short films may also be viewed for free.
For the month of February, the short film “Puwang” may be viewed along with other great independent Filipino films. Click to view the list of films

Groundbreaking independent films compete for Cinemalaya 2006

MANILA, JULY 7, 2006 (MALAYA) EIGHTEEN new independent digital films will compete in the 2006 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition on July 17 to 23 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Eight films will be battling each other in the full length category. These are “Ang Huling Araw ng Linggo” by Nick Joseph Olanka; “Batad: Sa Paang Palay” by Vic Acedillo, Jr. and Benji Garcia; “Donsol” by Adolfo Alix, Jr.; “In Da Red Corner” by Dado C. Lumibao and Bong Ramos; “Mudraks” by Arah Jell G. Badayos; “Rotonda” by Ron Bryant; “Saan Nagtatago si Happiness” by Florida M. Bautista and Rea Florido; and “Tulad ng Dati” by Michael Sandejas.

Ten films will compete in the short film category. These are “10:25 ng Gabi” by Reggie Gulle, “Gee-Gee at Waterina” by J. Dennis C. Teodosio and Mariami Tanangco, “Kwarto” by Jose Emmanuel C. Taylo, “Labada” by Raz dela Torre, “No Passport Needed” by Jeanne Lim and Pepe Diokno, “Orasyon” by Rommel Tolentino, “Parang Pelikula” by Hubert Tibi, “Putot” by Jeck Cogama, “Puwang” by Anna Isabelle Matutina and “Sa Silaw” by Reinzi L. Balao.

The eight finalists in the full-length category were selected from a short list of 15 semi-finalists and chosen out of a total of 232 entries submitted to the full-length category of the 2006 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition. They were chosen by the Cinemalaya Selection Committee composed of Nestor U. Torre, Ma. Marta Ines Dayrit, Robbie Tan, Jeffrey Jeturian and Armando Lao. Each of the eight finalists in the full-length category received a P500,000 seed grant from the Cinemalaya Foundation Inc., as investment for the production. The Best Full-length Feature Film receive a grant of P200,000 and the Balanghai Trophy during the awarding ceremonies of Cinemalaya on July 23 at the CCP.

The ten finalists in the short film category were selected by a committee composed of Emily Abrera, Socorro “Sockie” Fernandez, Juaniyo Arcellana, Antonio Jose “Butch” Perez and Narciso “Jun” Reyes. They were selected from a total of 108 entries submitted to the short film category. The best short film will receive a grant of P 100,000, plus a Balanghai trophy at the awarding ceremonies of Cinemalaya on July 23 at the CCP.

Cinemalaya is a competitive film festival that aims to discover, encourage, and honor the cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers and seeks to invigorate the Philippine film industry by developing a new breed of Filipino filmmakers. It is held in two categories, short and full length, and features all original works in digital format.

Cinemalaya 2006 will also be highlighted by the Cinemalaya Film Congress on July 20 to 21 at the CCP Little Theater. The theme of the Congress will be “Back to the Future: The State and Prospects of the Independent Film.” The Film Congress will explore the various issues and aspects of independent filmmaking in the Philippines as it looks back to the recent past to map out directions into its future.

Cinemalaya 2006 also features film exhibitions, seminars, and other film-related events. The festival will move over to the UP Film Institute in Diliman on August 7 to 10.

Seven short films

Roundup
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:16:00 06/15/2008

MANILA, Philippines – Ongoing until June 17 at the Robinsons Galleria IndieSine are the screening of the following short films under the “Katorse Shorts” program:

“Ang Kapalaran ni Virgin Mario” by Ogi Sugatan stars Yul Servo and Forsyth Cordero as gay lovers who experience the most joyful of mysteries.

“Ambulancia” by Richard Legaspi stars Alan Paule and Nor Domingo in a story about an ambulance driver’s belief that a dying patient can be saved by running over stray animals on the streets.

“Manyika” by John Wong stars Bor Ocampo and Sheenly Vee Gener in a tale of talking teddies, an impatient miss and a misunderstood lover.

“Puwang” by Anna Isabelle Matutina stars Elmo Redrico, Roence Santos, Bon Reyes and Lorena Landicho in a look into a family on the verge of falling apart in the face of impending death.

“Dead Letter” by Grace Orbon stars Gamaliel Nicolas and Edel del Llarte in a tale about a young man’s journey into the world of writing.

“Lababo” by Seymour Barros Sanchez stars Nerissa Icot, Virnie Tolentino and Stephen Patrick Moore in a story of two women who fall in love with the same soldier.

“Walong Linggo” by Anna Isabelle Matutina stars Jaymee Joaquin and Joey Santos in a story about a young man who sits alone in a cafe every Sunday morning and suddenly finds himself falling in love with a stranger.

Asie Expo : 13ème Festival Cinémas et Cultures d’Asie

le 05-11-2007

La 13ème édition édition du Festival Cinémas et Cultures d’Asie aura lieu cette semaine à Lyon, du 6 au 11 novembre…

Cette édition 2007 comportera 50 courts et long-métrages provenant de 12 pays (dont 10 premières internationales ou européennes et 20 inédits et avant-premières).
Le Vietnam, invité d’honnuer du festival, sera représenté par un panorama de 10 films, une table ronde et le lancement du premier livre/DVD sur le cinéma vietnamien en langue française. A l’occasion du 60ème anniversaire de l’indépendance de l’Inde, plusieurs films concernant cette période seront également projetés.

Du côté des courts-métrages, en plus d’une sélection dédiée au nouveau cinéma asiatique, une nouvelle compétition sera lancée, la “Short Battle Royale”, où seront confrontées les meilleures écoles d’Asie.

Comme chaque année, le cinéma d’animation sera présent sur le festival avec plusieurs films en compétition, et pour la 2ème année consécutive la présentation par “Toei Animation” de ses dernières productions Ga-nimé.

LES INVITES DU FESTIVAL

Australie
Tess Do, maître de conférence

France
Emmanuelle Baude, monteuse Ateliers Varan
Antoine Coppola, réalisateur
Ghyslaine Fizet, Editions Montparnasse
Claude Grunspan, réalisatrice
Philippe Picquier, éditeur
Marie-Claire Quiquemelle, réalisatrice

Indonésie
Richard Oh, réalisateur

Japon
Hanazawa Masato, producteur
Toda Hiroshi, réalisateur
Yamaguchi Akira, Toei Animation
Yamamoto Yoko, production design

Singapour
Han Yew-kwang, réalisateur

Vietnam
Do Duy Anh, Bureau du Cinéma
Duong Tuong, poète
Nguyen Ha Phong, réalisateur
Nguyen Ngoc Giao, journaliste

LES FILMS

Première Mondiale : film montré pour la première fois au monde
Première Internationale : film montré pour la première fois en dehors de son pays d’origine
Première Européenne : film montré pour la première fois en Europe
Première Française : film montré pour la première fois en France
Avant-Première : sortie prévue en salles (en principe dans l’année)
Inédit : film jamais sorti en salles en France
Grand Classique : film culte à voir et à revoir

JPC : compétition jeune public
NAC : New Asian Cinema (courts, moyens et longs métrages en compétition)
AC : films d’animation en compétition
C : en compétition

18 Grams of love, de Han Yew-kwang (première mondiale/C/JPC)
Singapour , 2007 , 1h25
Quand deux amis de longue date doutent des sentiments de leurs épouses, ils se retrouvent et, en maris jaloux qu’ils sont, imaginent tout et n’importe quoi. Pour mettre un terme à leurs obsessions, les deux compagnons de déroute prennent une décision judicieuse : tester leurs femmes.
9 Novembre 2007 à 20h00 – CNP Odéon (en présence du réalisateur)

Blind Mountain, de Li Yang (Inédit/Film de cloture)
Chine , 2007 , 1h42 , VOSTF
Une jeune femme de la ville est kidnappée et vendue à une famille de paysans dans les montagnes du Nord. Sa résistance à travers rebellions et ruses, symbole de la lutte des femmes en Chine.
11 novembre à 20h30 – UGC Astoria

Bose, le héros oublié de Shyam Benegal (Inédit)
Inde , 2005 , 3h44 , VOSTF
En désaccord avec Gandhi, Bose fit le choix controversé de s’allier à l’Allemagne et au Japon pendant la seconde Guerre Mondiale pour obtenir l’indépendance de l’Inde.
6 novembre à 14h – Cinéma Opéra

Le Destin, de Dao Duy Phuc (Inédit)
Vietnam , 2006 , 1h33 , VOSTF
Dans les années 70, Linh, chauffeur de camion dans l’armée, transporte des marchandises à travers les bombardements. Dernier de sa lignée décimée par la guerre, il est obsédé par son souhait d’avoir un enfant.
8 novembre à 17h15 – Cinéma Opéra

Détective Conan : la quatorzième cible de Kenji Kodama (première française)
Japon , 1998 , 1h39 , VOSTF
Une série d’agressions suivant une logique mathématique implacable. Le petit détective Conan enquête…
Le deuxième film des aventures de l’un des personnages de dessin animé les plus populaires au Japon.
8 novembre à 22h10 – Cinéma Opéra

Don, de Farhan Akhar (première française)
Inde , 2006 , 2h51 , VOSTF
Vijay est le sosie parfait de Don, impitoyable leader d’un puissant groupe de crime organisé, ce que l’inspecteur DeSilva compte bien exploiter pour faire tomber tout le gang.
10 novembre à 22h – CNP Odéon

Driving with my wife’s lovers, de Kim Tai-sik (première française/film d’inauguration)
Corée du Sud , 2006 , 1h32 , VOSTF
La femme de Tae-han a une liaison avec un chauffeur de taxi. Il décide de solliciter ce dernier pour une course dans le but de se venger mais rien ne se passe comme prévu.
6 novembre 2007 à 20h30 – CNP Odeon

Ghandi my father, de Feroz Abbas Khan (première française/C/JPC)
Inde , 2007 , 2h14 , VOSTF
Alors que Gandhi avocat en Afrique du Sud, lutte contre les lois racistes, son fils aîné Harilal s’efforce de rendre son père fier de lui. Mais celui-ci l’empêche de faire des études de droit en Angleterre, en faveur de ses idéaux et de son principe de générosité envers les autres.
Le Mahatma Gandhi peut transformer l’âme d’un peuple, mais il ne peut sauver l’âme de son fils.
10 novembre à 14h – Le Zola

Gao Rang (Riz Grillé) de Claude Grunspan (inédit)
France/Vietnam , 2001 , 52′ , VOSTF
Que sait-on des caméramen nord-vietnamiens qui faisaient oeuvre de propagande pour la libération de leur pays ?
Gao Rang, illustré de leurs images, redonne la parole à ces hommes qui ont bricolé leurs films dans les marécages dès 1947
10 novembre à 11h – Cinéma Opéra (en présence de la réalisatrice)

Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex : les 11 individuels, de Kenji Kamiyama (première européenne/AC)
Japon , 2005 , 2h41 , VOSTF
Dans un Japon futuriste, la différence entre les hommes et les créatures cybernétiques est de plus en plus floue. Le concept d’humanité devient lui-même abstrait. De cette nouvelle société naissent des problèmes inédits. Ceux-ci forment le quotidien de la Section 9 commandée par Togusa, et dont les principaux éléments sont Bato et Motoko Kusanagi.
8 novembre à 19h15 – Cinéma Opéra

Hazard, de Sono Sion (première française/NAC)
Japon , 2006 , 1h43 , VOSTF
Shin est étudiant, habite au Japon et le bonheur apparent de ses contemporains ne cache que peu l’ennui auquel sa vie semble destinée. Mais un jour, déambulant dans la bibliothèque de son université, il tombe sur un livre intriguant dont une page évoque les dangers de New York. Il s’envole aussi sec vers le Nouveau Monde. Certes dérouté, Shin se sent surtout vivant pour la première fois…
9 novembre à 22h15 – Cinéma Opéra

L’Histoire de Pao, de Ngo Quang Hai (Inédit)
Vietnam , 2006 , 1h38 , VOSTF
A la mort de celle qui l’a élevée, la jeune Pao décide de partir à la recherche de sa mère et de ses origines.
A travers les somptueux paysages du Nord Vietnam, son périple s’apparentera à un magnifique voyage initiatique.
8 novembre à 20h30 – Pathé

Le Journal d’une jeune Nord-Coréenne, de Jang In-ak (avant-première/C/JPC)
Corée du Nord , 2006 , 1h31 , VOSTF
Su-ryeon, adolescente nord-coréenne, vit à la campagne. Son père, chercheur, absorbé par un important projet scientifique, est souvent absent. Sa mère passe la plupart de ses soirées dans la traduction d’ouvrages pour son mari, et sa soeur, joueuse professionnelle de football, est rarement à la maison. La jeune fille se plaint d’un quotidien qu’elle juge morne, et rêve d’habiter un bel immeuble. Ce climat de tensions, le cancer de sa mère et une importante découverte de son père vont la bouleverser.
7 novembre à 21h – CNP Terreaux (en présence d’un spécialiste du cinéma nord-coréen

Khan Kluay, de Kompin Kemgumnird (inédit/AC)
Thaïlande , 2006 , 1h33 , VOSTF
Khan Kluay, un éléphanteau, grandit au fin fond de la jungle. Son insatiable curiosité le pousse à quitter son troupeau à la recherche de son père disparu. Au cours de sa quête parsemée d’embûches, il rencontre de nombreux personnages, autres membres du règne animal dont certains deviennent ses amis. Son aventure le conduit également à faire face aux Hommes et à découvrir la relation particulière que les siens entretiennent avec eux. L’éléphant adulte qu’il deviendra apprendra ainsi qu’elles sont multiples et pas toujours harmonieuses.
10 novembre à 14h – Cinéma Opéra

The Lost Suitcase, de Richard Oh (première européenne/NAC)
Indonésie , 2006 , 2h13 , VOSTF
Yahya est un modeste employé de bureau, gagnant à peine de quoi subvenir à ses besoins et ceux de sa femme. Sa vie bascule le jour où il découvre par hasard une mallette que tout son entourage soupçonne de contenir le butin d’un braquage de banque commis la veille. Mais l’honnêteté de Yahya est sans faille : il refuse d’ouvrir la mallette et s’efforce de retrouver son propriétaire.
9 novembre à 19h30 – Cinéma Opéra (en présence du réalisateur

Nehru, de Shyam Benegal et Yuri Aldokhin (Inédit)
Inde , 1984 , 2h50 , VOSTF
La vie et l’engagement du disciple de Gandhi, Premier Ministre de l’Inde nouvellement indépendante, Nehru. Par un grand réalisateur indien contemporain, en trois parties.
8 novembre à 14h – Cinéma Opéra

The Rebel, de Truc Charlie Nguyen (première européenne/C)
Vietnam , 2007 , 1h43 , VOSTF
Au début du siècle, Cuong, un officier au service de l’occupant français, voit sa vision du monde basculer le jour où il se trouve obligé d’abattre un jeune rebelle lors d’un attentat. Ses questions trouveront naturellement leurs réponses lorsqu’il s’éprendra d’une prisonnière, fille d’un célèbre chef rebelle. Une fois passé dans l’autre camp, il découvre la réalité de l’occupation et décide de combattre ses anciens patrons.
10 novembre à 16h – Cinéma Opéra

Rêves de Singe, de Julien Gaurichon (Inédit)
Chine/France , 2005 , 56′ , VOSTF
Revivez la magie oubliée des Studios d’Art de Shanghai, un des plus importants studios d’animation au monde à la fin des années 50. Témoignage enchanteur d’un art brisé par la politique et la production en série.
11 novembre à 15h30 – Cinéma Opéra (en présence de Marie Claire Quiquemelle, auteur)

Rêves d’Ouvrières (+ La Terrasse + Bonsoir M. Chu), de Tran Phuong Thao (Inédit)
Vietnam , 2006 , 52′ , VOSTF
Des filles de la campagne se pressent tous les matins dans la zone industrielle japonaise de Hanoi pour trouver du travail. Les contradictions et les espoirs du Vietnam d’aujourd’hui, vus à travers des yeux de femmes.
Précédé de 2 courts-métrages : – La terrasse de Phong Ha Nguyen (en présence du réalisateur)
(12′)
Une histoire entre père et fils. Premier court métrage d’un réalisateur talentueux.
– Bonsoir M. Chu de Stéphanie Lansaque & François Leroy (dessin animé)
(15′)
Dans tout le Vietnam, on s’apprête à célébrer Trung Nguyen, la fête des âmes errantes. Cette nuit-là, à la lueur des lampions, Hai et Duong Lê promèneront une dernière fois leur carpe et leur oiseau avant de leur rendre la liberté.
7 novembre à 20h15 – Cinéma Opéra (en présence des producteurs de “Rêves d’ouvrières” et du réalisateur de “La terrasse”)

Sky in December, de Hiroshi Toda (première européenne/NAC)
Japon , 2007 , 1h22 , VOSTF
Autour de Zenko, le vieux diseur de bonne aventure qui travaille au coin de la rue, gravitent un certain nombre de personnages dont les vies s’entrecroisent.
10 novembre à 20h15 – Cinéma Opéra (en présence du réalisateur)

Super Bike, de Lee Myung-hoon (première mondiale/NAC/JPC)
Corée du Sud , 2007 , 1h13 , VOSTF
Super Bicyclette défend les innocents contre les voyous, à grands coups de guidon ou de pneu en pleine figure… Mais tout bascule le jour où Super Bicyclette tombe amoureux d’une jeune pickpocket. Tandis qu’il essaie de la ramener sur le droit chemin, celle-ci se lie avec un boxeur en perte de vitesse, lui-même voleur à ses heures perdues.
9 novembre à 22h – CNP Odéon

Time Between Dog and Wolf, de Jeon Soo-il (Inédit)
Corée du Sud , 2005 , 1h50 , VOSTF
Séparations, retrouvailles et rencontres, entre Corée du Sud et Corée du Nord. Road movie en forme de quête existentielle, réalisé avec sensibilité et douceur.
6 novembre à 20h15 – Cinéma Opéra

Train to Pakistan, de Pamela Rooks (Inédit)
Inde , 1997 , 1h50 , VOSTF
1947, l’Inde est en passe d’obtenir son indépendance. Un train chargé de cadavres en provenance du Pakistan déclenche la guerre civile dans une petite ville du Nord.
7 novembre à 18h – Cinéma Opéra

Vents chauds, de M. S. Sathyu (Inédit)
Inde , 1973 , 2h20 , VOSTF
Une famille musulmane se voit peu à peu contrainte, sous la pression des réfugiés, d’abandonner la terre de ses racines pour rejoindre le Pakistan nouvellement formé.
Précédé du court métrage Kaash (19’)
9 novembre à 14h – Cinéma Opéra

Veyil de Vasantha Balan (Inédit)
Inde , 2006 , 2h42 , VOSTF
Le petit Murugesan est fasciné par le cinéma. Un jour, humilié par son père, il s’enfuit et trouve refuge chez un projectionniste.
20 ans plus tard, Murugesan revient au foyer.
11 novembre à 19h – Cinéma Opéra

Vivre dans la Peur, de Bui Thac Chuyen (Inédit)
Vietnam , 2005 , 1h50 , VOSTF
Peu après la fin de la guerre, Tai subvient aux besoins de sa famille au péril de sa vie : il ramasse avec une fascination morbide les bombes et les mines des anciens champs de bataille.
9 novembre à 17h – Cinéma Opéra

Yobi, the Five-Tailed Fox (avant première/AC/JPC)
Corée du Sud , 2006 , 1h25 , VOSTF
La petite Yobi est un esprit-renard (kumiho) qui vit seule dans les montagnes jusqu’au jour où un vaisseau spatial extra-terrestre y fait un atterrissage d’urgence. Depuis lors, elle vit avec les yoyos, qui tentent désespérément de reconstruire leur vaisseau afin de retourner sur leur planète. Un siècle s’est écoulé et Yobi a maintenant 10 ans en équivalent humain. Yobi est de plus en plus attirée par cet univers nouveau pour elle. Mais le monde des humains recèle de nombreux dangers…
11 novembre à 14h – CNP Terreaux (en présence du distributeur)

You and Me, de Ma Liwen (première française)
Chine , 2005 , 1h26 , VOSTF
Xiaoma, étudiante fraîchement débarquée à Pékin, loue une petite chambre en ville. La vieille dame qui l’héberge n’est pas facile à vivre. Mais de disputes en confidences, les deux femmes vont s’apprivoiser
11 novembre à 17h – Cinéma Opéra

SEANCES SPECIALES

ASIAN NEW WAVE

Trois moyens métrages de la nouvelle génération de réalisateurs asiatiques.
Philippines, Taiwan, Thailande , 1h27 , VOSTF (première européenne)
· Puwang de Anna Isabelle Matutina, Philippines (2006)
Un patriarche vit ses derniers instants dans une chambre d’hôpital. Ses enfants, tiraillés entre leurs situations personnelles et leurs relations avec leur père, font de leur mieux pour l’accompagner.
· Tsu, de Pramote Sangsorn, Thaïlande (2006)
Une plage thaïlandaise après le tsunami. Dans ce cadre dont la beauté contraste avec la douleur des souvenirs, est-il possible d’oublier ?
· It Seems To Rain, de Tsai Chen-Shu, Taiwan (2007)
Les problèmes de coupe de cheveux de ces adolescents sont-ils les plus graves auxquels ils doivent faire face ?
6 novembre à 18h15 – Cinéma Opéra

BEST OF COURTS METRAGES (première européenne/C)

Les courts métrages sont souvent injustement lésés pas la distribution. Ils sont pourtant d’une importance capitale dans le paysage cinématographique, occasion pour de futurs talents de faire leurs armes avant le passage à des productions souvent plus lourdes et parfois plus institutionnelles. Une raison parmi de multiples autres de regarder de plus près notre Best of courts métrages, afin de découvrir peut être les génies de demain.
11 novembre à 13h30 – Cinéma Opéra

CONTES URBAINS (première européenne)

Thriller, horreur ou humour : trois moyens métrages (Thief, So close, Numbers) dont les réalisateurs font de la ville leur terrain de jeu.
Chine/Taïwan , 2007 , 1h26 , VOSTF
6 novembre à 22h30 – Cinéma Opéra

GANIME TOEI ANIMATION (première internationale/AC)

En 2006, TOEI Animation fêtait ses 50 ans d’existence en lançant un concept original d’animation : le “ga-nimé”. Ce nouveau format offre une grande liberté au réalisateur qui mêle à sa guise l’image, le texte et la musique pour exprimer sa créativité et créer une atmosphère unique.
Deux films d’animation : The Dunwich Horror, et, The Bird Song, le dernier chef-d’oeuvre de Yoshitaka Amano.
10 novembre à 18h15 – Cinéma Opéra

INEDITS DE L’ANIMATION CHINOISE (Inédit)

Huit courts-métrages, chef d’oeuvres de l’animation chinoise. Huit petites histoires initiatiques à la fois drôles et simples. Leur graphisme et leur philosophie mises en scènes dégagent fraîcheur, simplicité et esthetisme :
· Les Singes vont à La pêche, de Shen Zhuwei
· Le Grelot du Faon, de Tang Cheng & Wu Qiang
· La Petite Hirondelle, de Zhang Songlin & Pu Jiaxiang
· Le Parapluie, de Yan Shanchun
· Quête, de Zhang Zhiyi
· À La Poursuite de la Souris, de Hu Jinquing
· Combat de Coq, de Hu Jinquing
· Le Renard des Neiges, de Hu Jinquing
7 novembre à 16h, et 11 novembre à 22h10 – Cinéma Opéra

· Les aventures de San Mao
Le plus célèbre des orphelins chinois en six épisodes réalisés en 1958 et 1984 à l’aide de deux techniques artistiques : le dessin animé et le maniement des poupées, particulièrement délicat et dégageant un pouvoir d’émotion étonnant.
Chine , 1h12 , VOST – 1958 & 1984
7 novembre à 14h, et 11 novembre à 11h – Cinéma Opéra

L’ANIMATION COREENNE (première européenne/AC)

L’autre pays de l’animation. En collaboration avec Indiestory.

· Walking In The Rainy Day, de Choi Hyun-myeong (2006)
· Hello Mr. Goo Ro Bae de Park Mi-kyoung, Lee Hyun-sil, Lee Gun-woo, Heo Joon-seok (2006)
· An Artistic Presentation Of Metaphysical Butterfly Effect, de Park Ki-wan (2005)
· The Hell (Two Kinds Of Life), de Yeon Sang-ho (2006)
· Reunion, de Park Jung-kyu (2006)
7 novembre à 22h15 – Cinéma Opéra

SHORT BATTLE ROYALE (première internationale/C)

Cette compétition oppose les écoles de cinéma d’Asie les plus renommées, représentées par les films de leurs élèves. A l’issue de plusieurs phases de sélection, les deux finalistes se retrouvent face à face lors d’une séance à l’issue de laquelle le public désigne le vainqueur.

Ont participé cette année : The Film And Television Institute, Inde
The Honk Kong Academy For Performing Arts, Hong Kong
The Limkokwing University, Malaisie
The Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapour
The National Institute Of Design, Inde
The Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapour

Et les deux finalistes :
ASWARA (National Arts, Culture and Heritage Academy), Malaisie
KNUA (Korean National University Of Arts) Corée du Sud

10 novembre à 22h15 – Cinéma Opéra

PROGRAMME COMPLET

Mardi 6 novembre
14h : Bose, le héros oublié – Cinéma Opéra
18h15 : Asian New Wave – Cinéma Opéra
20h15 : Time Between Dog and Wolf – Cinéma Opéra
20h30 : Driving with my Wife’s Lover – CNP Odéon
22h30 : Contes urbains – Cinéma Opéra

Mercredi 7 novembre
14h : San Mao à Shanghai – Cinéma Opéra
16h : Inédits de l’animation chinoise – Cinéma Opéra
18h : Train to Pakistan – Cinéma Opéra
20h15 : Rêves d’Ouvrières (+ La Terrasse + Bonsoir M. Chu) – Cinéma Opéra
21h : Le Journal d’une Jeune Nord-Coréenne – CNP Terreaux
22h15 : L’animation coréenne – Cinéma Opéra

Jeudi 8 novembre
14h : Nehru – Cinéma Opéra
17h15 : Le Destin – Cinéma Opéra
19h15 : Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex : les 11 individuels – Cinéma Opéra
20h30 : L’Histoire de Pao – Pathé
22h10 : Détective Conan : la quatorzième cible – Cinéma Opéra

Vendredi 9 novembre
14h : Vents Chauds – Cinéma Opéra
17h : Vivre dans la Peur – Cinéma Opéra
19h30 : The Lost Suitcase – Cinéma Opéra
20h : 18 Grams of Love – CNP Odéon
22h : Super Bike – CNP Odéon
22h15 : Hazard (+ Oiran Lyrics) – Cinéma Opéra

Samedi 10 novembre
11h : Gao Rang (Riz Grillé) – Cinéma Opéra
14h : Gandhi my father – Le Zola
14h : Khan Kluay – Cinéma Opéra
16h : The Rebel – Cinéma Opéra
18h15 : Ganime Toei Animation – Cinéma Opéra
20h15 : Sky in December – Cinéma Opéra
22h : Don – CNP Odéon
22h15 : Short Battle Royale – Cinéma Opéra

Dimanche 11 novembre
11h : San mao à Shanghai – Cinéma Opéra
13h30 : Best of courts-métrages – Cinéma Opéra
14h : Yobi, the Five-Tailed Fox – CNP Terreaux
15h30 : Rêves de Singe – Cinéma Opéra
17h : You and Me – Cinéma Opéra
19h : Veyil – Cinéma Opéra
20h30 : Blind Mountain – UGC Astoria
22h10 : Inédits de l’animation chinoise

DOCUMENTAIRES (entrée libre)

Acting like a thief de Shashwati Talukdar & Kerim Friedman (première française)
Inde , 2005 , 15′ , VOSTA
Des hommes ont été identifiés comme nés criminels par les Anglais et enfermés dans des camps à Ahmedabad. Après l’Indépendance de l’Inde que sont-ils devenus ? Le théâtre pour lutter contre un siècle d’oppression
9 novembre à 19h – Alliance Française (à la suite de Jana Sanskriti)

Bingo de Noriel Jarito (première mondiale)
Philippines , 2007 , 16′ , VOSTA
La monotonie de la vie rurale aux Philippines. Tout se déroule selon les rythmes de la Vie : naissance, baptême, mariage, mort… Jusqu’au summum de ces rassemblements populaires et religieux !
9 novembre à 13h30 – Université Lyon III Amphi M

Canthorama de Christophe Challange (Inédit)
France , 2006 , 13’06 , VOSTF
En route vers l’extrême sud du Vietnam, à la recherche de la forêt d’U Minh, véritable corne d’abondance soulignée dans les livres de l’écrivain vietnamien Son Nam.
Projection continue du 23 octobre au 10 novembre – Bibliothèque du 4ème

Extras de Shahana Bhattacharya (première française)
Inde , 2007 , 67′ , VOSTA ET VOA
Bollywood : du rêve, des paillettes et la dure réalité du monde du cinéma…
8 novembre à 12h – Maison de l’Orient Méditérrannéen

Jana Sanskriti, la jeune fille en or de Jeanne Dosse (Inédit)
France , 62′ , VOSTF
Aujourd’hui plus de 1 000 paysans indiens ont décidé de ne plus tolérer les maux de la société indienne : patriarcat, corruption… Pour cette lutte, ils se sont trouvés un instrument inattendu : le théâtre.
9 novembre à 19h – Alliance Française (suivi de Acting like a thief)

Le mariage de mon oncle Xuan de Christophe Challange (Inédit)
France , 2004 , 12’44 , VOSTF
De la préparation du mariage de son oncle..
Projection continue du 23 octobre au 10 novembre – Bibliothèque du 4ème

Madheva, ramasseur de cadavres de Asil Rais (première française)
Inde , 2007 , 52′ , VOSTF
L’apparent ordinaire de Madheva révèle un être extraordinaire…
8 novembre à 11h – Maison de l’Orient Méditérrannéen

Mei Mei de Tian Gao (Inédit)
Chine , 2005 , 82′ , VOSTA
Un jeune homme de la province Liaoning se sent plus féminin que masculin depuis qu’il est enfant. Un reportage plein de sensibilité sur les milieux gays, en Chine.
9 novembre à 12h – Université Lyon III Amphi M

My dream de Wang Honghai (Inédit)
Chine , 2007 , 45′ , VOSTA
Film musical et dansé traitant de l’expression et de la performance artistiques chinoises dans le milieu du handicap (sourds, non-voyants…)
Projection continue sur la dalle du hall du 6 au 9 novembre – Université Lyon III Amphi M

Peng Sai une petite fille Miao de Françoise Grenot-Wang & Virginie Seiller (Inédit)
France , 2006 , 13′ , VF
Les difficultés des petites filles de certaines minorités ethniques très pauvres du Sud Ouest de la Chine
Projection continue du 6 au 17 nov. de 11h30 à 17h – Mairie du 1er

Seven Tales from island de Arindam Mitra (première mondiale)
Inde , 2007 , 80′ , VOSTA
Après “Black Friday”, un nouveau reportage sur le crime dans les bas-fonds de Mumbai… A compléter avec la lecture de “Bombay Maximum City” de Suketu Mehta pour prendre la mesure de la démesure de cette mégapole…
5 novembre à 20h – Wall Streer Institute Bellecour

The blood of Yingzhou district de Ruby Yang (première internationale)
Chine , 2006 , 39′ , VOSTA
Une année de vie des enfants dans la province d’Anhui en Chine, qui ont perdu leurs parents du Sida. Les engagements traditionnels de la famille, du village se heurtent à la terreur de la maladie.
7 novembre à 13h – Maison de l’Orient Méditérrannéen

Voyage en Vietnamie de Christophe Challange & Fred Guinot (première française)
France , 2007 , 6’30 , VF
Une tentative de redéfinir un territoire complexe et mouvant : celui du delta du Mékong !
Projection continue du 23 octobre au 10 novembre – Bibliothèque du 4ème

LE MANGA

Comme chaque année, le manga tient une place de choix au sein de la programmation. Outre les trois films inédits en compétition (…) et les Ga-nimé présentés pour la deuxième fois en dehors du Japon par Toei Animation. Le cinéma d’animation s’exportera également hors des murs avec une nouvelle édition de la Japan Touch Convention, le week-end su 17/18 novembre au Centre Culturel de Villeurbanne. Au programme : nombreux stands, concours de jeux vidéos, cosplay et découverte de nombreuses séries animées en avant première.

LES EVENEMENTS

· Performance musicale de Yôko Hama à l’occasion de la sortie de son album.
· Pièce musicale construite pour la fête de la musique de 2008 à Kunminig, présentée en avant première à Lyon.
· Japan Touch #9, le rendez-vous rhône-alpin des passionnés de manga, d’animation et de culture japonaise.
· Ciné Art, animation autour du film « Inédits de l’animation chinoise » avec démonstration de calligraphie chinoise.

LES ATELIERS

Le meilleur moyen de comprendre, d’apprécier, est certainement de pratiquer : treize animations permettront de découvrir les massages indiens thaïs ou chinois, la calligraphie chinoise, les chorégraphies de Bollywood, l’initiation à la prise de vue cinématographique, ou encore le plaisir du goût avec les différentes cuisines.

LES EXPOS

Voyager ne signifie pas forcément de faire le tour du monde.
Ici, un parcours en 10 expositions, allant de la photo à la peinture, dans des lieux stratégiques de la région lyonnaise, permettront de passer de la Chine à l’Inde, du Laos au Japon, pour le plaisir de la découverte.

LES FORUMS – RENCONTRES

Moment privilégiés, ces rencontres sont autant d’occasions d’échanger, de connaître, de découvrir… Puisque rien ne remplacera jamais une vraie discussion, le Festival Cinémas et Cultures d’Asie propose de nombreux vernissages, en présence des artistes, des rencontres avec différents auteurs spécialistes de l’Asie.
Un coup de projecteur sera mis sur le Vietnam, invité d’honneur du festival, avec un forum Fnac, une table ronde, ainsi que la présentation du deuxième ouvrage de la collection Asian Connection, Le cinéma vietnamien.

ASIAN CINE GONES

Découverte des saveurs d’Asie. Tout jeune spectateur aura à la sortie un goûter asiatique offert par Eridan.

Des séances au CNP Terreaux, Cinéma Opéra
· Inédits de l’animation chinoise : huit petites fables ou poésies (à partir de 5 ans)
· San Mao à Shangai précédé de 4 épisodes de San Mao seul dans la vie (à partir de 7 ans)
· Khan Kluay « Un roi éléphant thaï »

ATELIERS ENFANTS

· Initiation à l’origami
· Initiation à la calligraphie japonaise
· Initiation découverte au dessin manga

ANIMATION

Un goûter vietnamien avec une animation (lecture d’album, contes…)

TARIFS

Billetterie Festival (cartes et abonnements internes aux salles non acceptés)
Plein tarif : 7 euros Tarif réduit : 5,50 euros (Demandeurs d’emploi, étudiants, + de 60 ans, adhérents Musique des autres)
Tarif adhérent Asiexpo : 4,00 euros
Film jeune public (-12ans) : 4,00 euros

Places en vente 1h avant chaque séance (PATHE, UGC ASTORIA), 30 mn avant pour les autres salles.

Abonnement
5 films : 25,00 euros
10 films : 40,00 euros

Abonnements non nominatifs (mais non remboursables), pouvant être utilisés par plusieurs personnes durant toute la durée du festival et les deux jours de reprise (12 & 13 novembre)
Abonnements en vente sur place lors de la première projection à laquelle vous assistez.

Pass Permanent
1 personne : 76,00 euros inclut adhésion à Asiexpo
Valable du 6 au 11 et du 12 au 13 novembre 2007. Accès prioritaire à toutes les séances cinéma dans la limite des places disponibles et catalogue du festival offert. Envoyez impérativement avant le 30 octobre par courrier à l’adresse d’Asiexpo vos coordonnées + chèque + 2 photos d’identité.

Adhérent Asiexpo : 60,00 euros inclut adhésion à Asiexpo
Valable du 6 au 11 et du 12 au 13 novembre 2007. Accès prioritaire à toutes les séances cinéma dans la limite des places disponibles et catalogue du festival offert. Envoyez impérativement avant le 30 octobre par courrier à l’adresse d’Asiexpo vos coordonnées + chèque + 2 photos d’identité.

Pour toutes les informations complémentaires (ateliers, expositions, adresses des salles…), je vous invite à vous rendre sur le site d’Asiexpo en suivant ce lien.

*** http://www.hkmania.com/

Finally, A Dedicated Program of Shorts on the Big Screen

By: Rianne Hill Soriano | YEHEY! Contributors
1 July 2008 | 9:12 AM

A selection of 7 short films by the Katorse Writers Group (batch 14 workshoppers of Ricky Lee’s f scriptwriting workshops) graces Robinson’s Galleria’s Indie Sine with “Katorse Shorts,” a selection of 7 short films in a dedicated program normally given to full-length films only. With themes ranging from the romantic to the absurd to the tragic, the program is meant to bring to the consciousness of Filipino audiences that the short film medium is also a cinematic art form that can hold its own.

Overall, the films show strength in concept, story, and treatment amidst the many given limitations for such indie shorts having to cope up with financial and time constraints, lack of technical resources, among others.

The “Katorse Shorts” line-up include:

“Ang Kapalaran ni Virgin Mario” (11 mins.)
By: Ogi Sugatan
Cast: Yul Servo, Forsyth Cordero
Gay lovers, Mario and Jose, experience the most joyful of mysteries.
6th SHORTMOVES International Film Festival, GERMANY
Jakarta Slingshortfest (2006)
International Short Film Festival Detmold “FilmLichter06”

The film is stylized with comic acts about a pregnant male. It puts allegories catering to the kind of audience who are into the more figurative offers. With a theatrical presentation in depths of black, its visual elements merely include the characters and the significant elements supporting the scenes’ requirements. Considering the many kinds of audiences, this short film absurdly renders fleeting emotions within its minimalist surroundings that some might find interesting, some might find wackily droll, and some might find weird.

“Ambulancia” (15 mins)
By: Richard Legaspi
Cast: Alan Paule, Nor Domingo
Ambulancia tells of a painful twist in an ambulance driver’s belief that a dying patient can be saved by running over stray animals on the streets.
In Competition, International Panorama of Film and Video, Patras City Greece 2008
In Competition, NOUSSA International Film Festival, Greece 2008
Winner, Quisumbing Escandor Film Festival, Best Short Narrative 2008
Winner, Grand Prize, Viva-PBO Digitales, Philippines 2008
Official Selection, Asian Film Academy Fellows Night Screening, S. Korea 2007
Official Selection, CineManila International Film Festival 2007

The film’s screenplay is its major strength. Overall, the performances give it justice. The dialogues coincide with the tight pacing. The cuts succeed in building tension to the scenes requiring such. Trying to drive with that careful balance of keeping the twist while letting the main character indulge with the right emotions, a little more depth to how the character delivers the goods for a more solid pain and empathy to his plight, and this film elevates itself further.

“Manyika” (15 mins.)
By: John Wong
Cast: Bor Ocampo, Sheenly Vee Gener
Manyika is a tale of talking teddies, an impatient miss, and a misunderstood lover.
Best Short Film, 2006 Cinemadali Short Film Competition

The film could have been as mushy and overbearing like its stuff toys; and yet, it turns out striking – mainly come climax time. Within its realistic treatment, there is a kind of mystery established in the characterization that makes the film work. The voiceovers could have been lessened a bit and things would just be fine. There are some dragging expositions that could probably be due to limitations in the production. Nevertheless, the film’s touching end creates such an emotional slice of life story.

“Puwang” (25 mins)
By: Anna Isabelle Matutina
Cast: Elmo Redrico, Roence Santos, Bon Reyes, Lorena Landicho
Puwang is a starkly real look into a family on the verge of falling apart in the face of impending death.
2007 Official Selection: Lyon Asian Film Festival, France
2006 Finalist: Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival
2006 Exhibition Film: Cinemanila International Film Festival

As a father-to-his children story and vice-versa, this melodrama about life and living life promotes simple shots while delivering lines with the right emotional baggage at work. Its minimalist production design and cinematography blend well with the story as it carefully stitches issues that has damaged family relationships.

“Dead Letter” (20 mins)
By: Grace Orbon
Cast: Gamaliel Nicolas, Edel del Llarte
A young man’s journey into the world of writing.
In Competition, 3rd Singapore Short Film Festival 2006

Poetic on its own, there is that consistent angst expressed through words uttered by the main character. However, the film still needs further direction in order to solidify its point and effectively bring the linear and abstract aspects of its storytelling requirements effectively into the medium.

“Lababo” (17 mins)
By: Seymour Barros Sanchez
Cast: Nerissa Icot, Virnie Tolentino, Stephen Patrick Moore
Lababo is the story of a young woman and a crazy woman who both fell in love with the same American soldier.
Grand Prize, Viva’s PBO Digitales Short Film Competition 2007
In competition, 48th Bilbao Film Festival in Spain 2006
In exhibition, Internal Affairs 1, Jakarta Slingshortfest 2006
In exhibition, 8th Cinemanila International Film Festival 2006
In competition, 8th International Panorama of Independent Film and Video in Greece

Consistent with its style, the film’s progressive tone is apparent the whole time. Its supposed lines are merely supported by the talking radio announcer serving what voiceovers would normally offer – while also working as good metaphors on how the Philippines tend to seek leftovers from America in various respects. The narrative could have benefited further by utilizing more of the thoughts and emotions of the woman character inside the house waiting for her man’s return. And such could have further enhanced the emotional plunge into the many issues the film presents.

“Walong Linggo” (18 mins)
By: Anna Isabelle Matutina
Cast: Jaymee Joaquin, Joey Santos
A young man who sits alone in a cafe every Sunday morning suddenly finds himself strangely falling in love with a girl he doesn’t know.

The film’s treatment seems to be paying homage to the silent era films where the visuals and music comprise the totality of the film’s technical and audio-visual aspects. It puts the unspoken information through texts like title cards in the opening or closing credits of films of today. And the musical score plays a significant role in establishing the mood for each theme and the emotional needs of its love story.

SAKSAKIN NIYO NA LANG AKO, PLEASE!

Review by Vingel Yago, June 19, 2008

KATORSE SHORTS is a project of The Katorse Writers’ Group, a group of young writer-filmmakers who were part of Ricky Lee’s 14th Scriptwriting Workshop (hence ‘Katorse’). I saw their ad on Philippine Star last Sunday and decided to go watch the series even if Robinson’s Galleria was so way out of my usual route. Thanks to BC for giving me a tip on how to get there from Manila (if you’re anywhere near the Metropolitan Theatre area, wait for a bus that goes to Taytay or Cainta).

I am a huge fan of short films. I always get DVDs of foreign shorts whenever I have the chance to come across some. Anyhoo, here’s the list of shorts featured. These came from their 4th-year anniversary DVD.

Ang Kapalaran ni Virgin Mario by Ogi Sugatan
Ambulancia by Richard Legaspi
Manyika by John Wong
Puwang by Anna Isabelle Matutina
Dead Letter by Grace Orbon
Lababo by Seymour Barros-Sanchez
Walong Linggo by Anna Isabelle Matutina

Truth be told, the only film I didn’t enjoy was Lababo. Paciencia, pero I really have no patience for anything that has a leftist bent. Each to his own.

Ang Kapalaran started the series on a humorous mood. This is a take on the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Concepcion (hence Virgin Mario). The story opened with two men on a bed; lovers, obviously, named Jose and Mario. One of them (Mario; Yul Servo) woke up one day to find himself pregnant. What followed next was too hilarious to even write about. The attempt to abort the child took the most part of the film: Jose (Ricky Orellana?) tried making sungkit the fetus using a wire hanger from all the possible body orifices but to no avail, until a man suddenly appeared in the room telling them to stop and announcing that the second coming was at hand. A joyful mystery indeed.

Ambulancia stars Alan Paule and Nor Domingo. Alan is an ambulance driver and Nor is a medic. The story takes a dig on the belief of ambulance drivers that animals get themselves run over by ambulances to save the dying patient being ferried to hospitals except that on this particular day, Alan didn’t run over a dog but his own daughter (who eventually died to “save” the life of a tetanus patient, a friend of Nor). Coincidences can indeed be chilling.

The story could use a little tightening. Parang hindi alam ng writer kung kelan niya tatapusin ang pelicula. Short films should have the ability to leave the audience jarred, shocked or somewhere in between (think Pam Miras’ Blood Bank or Raz de la Torre’s Labada or Jeanne Lim-Pepe Diokno’s No Passport Needed; may ooomph ang ending, gets?). Lingering shots can kill the emotional buildup and ends the film on a flat note. Nasasayang ang effort.

Set in Luneta, Manyika has a promising premise: two young meet and become a couple. Every day, the girl receives a stuffed toy from the boyfriend until her room is filled with them. She becomes inis because the boy can’t seem to say that he loves her. Instead, he gives her more stuffed toys. One day, he decided to give her the largest stuffed toy ever and she throws it on the street out of sheer desperation. Boy retrieves it and gets run over. After the internment, girl comes home crying and accidentaly squeezes a toy and it says, “I love you”. Turns out, all the toys will say the same thing when squeezed and the largest of them gives her the boy’s final message: that he did plan to finally say it on the day he gives her this toy. Sigh. Ano ba ito?! So heartbreaking naman. I wish it could have been shot with a better camera though; plus all that ambient noise! Haay.

Puwang is too long to discuss here (they translated the word ‘puwang’ to “space between”; “Space” was enough na sana because the title didn’t mean it to be a literal physical space. Emotional space ito, eh), but I loved the tension brought about by the confluence of events – a dying father, a son who wouldn’t visit, a daughter giving birth, and another daughter who’s torn between giving up and taking care of the father. Kudos to the actors and to the writer. Shots were good, never mind that the father’s poop was (quite literally) in-your-face. Because of this hindi ko na tuloy matandaan ang ending (I swear!).

May ganda naman ang Dead Letter. Medyo nakakainis na nakakalungkot. I think it is pure poetry in motion. It really captured the situation of many struggling writers (the young writer’s script as pambalot ng tinapa was cliche-ish but still the best way to depict things given the circumstances). A little tightening, okay na siya. Definitely not for all audiences dahil sa heavy drama. Anyway, kudos to writer and director Grace Orbon! (Was this part of the Cinemalaya Shorts A last year? Because that was what I didn’t get to watch.)

Lababo. An advise to the UM Film Society: keep writing, keep watching, keep observing, keep making films.

I liked Walong Linggo because it’s a fine, smooth ending to the series akin to a mug of hot coffee and chocolate cookies after a long day. I guess the official synopsis describes it best: A young man who sits alone in a café every Sunday morning suddenly finds himself strangely falling in love with a girl he doesn’t know. As he tries to get to know her, he is hindered by insecurity and fear of rejection, thus prolonging the much-awaited introduction. Cute concept by writer-director Anne Matutina. Actors Joey Santos and Jaymee Joaquin were very, very good. Mababaw ba ako to like this story? Maybe the simplest can actually be the most likeable.

http://adobonatinglahat.blogspot.com/2008/06/saksakin-niyo-na-lang-ako-please.html

‘Katorse Shorts’: The long and short of it

This may have come a tad bit too late since the last screening of Katorse Shorts finished a few hours ago. But thank god for Ramil Gulle! Not a lot of people pay attention to shorts (no, I am not going to start ranting about it again), and for someone to write a full review on all the shorts is more than we could ask for.

I met Ramil once since he’s the brother of an old colleague (Reggie Gulle, another filmmaker/editor), but I doubt he remembers me. So we are very grateful for this very generous and honest review. I do wish I could talk to him to answer his questions/complaints on Puwang, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. Films should be able to speak for themselves.

Again, thanks to all those who supported our short films!

‘Katorse Shorts’: The long and short of it
By RAMIL DIGAL GULLE
abs-cbnNEWS.com

Watching “Katorse Shorts”, an omnibus of short films produced by the Katorse Writers’ Group, “a group of young writer-filmmakers who were part of Ricky Lee’s 14th Scriptwriting Workshop”—as they describe themselves—one realizes how many films would have been better had they been shorter.

The most successful shorts in this omnibus prove that you don’t need to take so much time putting your story across–and specifically I’m thinking about Richard Legaspi’s “Ambulansya”, one of the seven short films in the omnibus.

Too bad I learned about “Katorse Shorts” only last Friday. I watched it on Saturday and by the time you read this review, you’ll only have Tuesday, June 17, to catch this compendium of independent short films before Robinson Galleria’s Indie Sine pulls it out.

Still, the effort you’ll put in catching this collection of short films on its last day, as well as the P101 that you’ll pay for a ticket, will be more than worth it.

There are seven short films by six of these “writer-filmmakers” in the collection and it’s a pity that the Indie Sine theater wasn’t as packed as, say, any of the recent Hollywood or local blockbusters.

The best thing about short films like these is that they are freed of many of the usual considerations that are necessary for more commercial fare. As a result, you get a film viewing experience that actually stimulates the more important parts of your brain.

“When Love Begins” vs “Manyika”

In the Joey Reyes opus “When Love Begins” has a scene where Anne Curtis flashes a butt-cheek from out her bikini-bottom as she runs off to the beach in Boracay. Try to guess which part of your brain was buzzing when you saw that scene, huh?

And look at the pairing between Aga Muhlach and Anne Curtis: two impossibly gorgeous people in a seaside paradise setting, with both location and plot conspiring to have them either wear a) anatomy-revealing beachwear or b) fashionable outfits for an evening dinner.

As a potent piece of fantasy and visual allure, “When Love Begins” is luscious and lusty, slick and saccharine to the max. Now what was the story about, again? Oh, yeah, two people struggling toward long-term commitment.

Well, the short film “Manyika (Doll)” in “Katorse Shorts” has characters with the same problem. However, it is set in Luneta Park. The most striking thing about the lovers in “Manyika” is how ordinary they look. These aren’t movie romantic leads, obviously.

The characters, in fact, dress, act and look every bit as ordinary as actual Luneta couples. The guy struggles with commitment and has a weird habit of giving the girl a stuffed toy at the end of every date.

She gets nearly one stuffed toy a day, several a week, and her room is filled with them. He struggles to explain to her why he does it, and fails.

She struggles to commit herself to the relationship, but can’t stand the reality that they never go anywhere except Luneta, and she keeps getting stuffed toys from him. Worse, he could never bring himself to tell her “I love you.”

One night, he gives her the biggest stuffed toy ever–she’s so fed up that she throws it away. What happens next? Watch and find out.

Directed by John Wong, “Manyika” won Best Short Film at the 2006 Cinemadali Short Film Competition and was part of the official selection for the Gawad CCP para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Bidyo.

Sacrificial dogs

The short film “Ambulansya (Ambulance)” is 15 minutes and 22 seconds long–which is surprising to learn since the narrative is so strong and so seamless, it seems to be over in one breath and one is left stunned in the end by feelings of tragedy and wonder.

Alan Paule (as Nato the ambulance driver) seems perfect for the role. The premise upon which the entire story revolves is based on a superstitious belief among Filipino ambulance drivers–or at least, among the ambulance drivers in Nato’s circle.

One of these drivers mentions to Nato during a cigarette break this curious phenomenon: whenever he (Nato’s fellow driver) accidentally runs over a dog, cat or some other animal as he rushes to drive a dying patient to the hospital, the patient makes it alive to the emergency room.

This driver then makes the conclusion that the life of the unfortunate animal had been “sacrificed” and serves to literally give its life-force to the dying patient.

The short film nowhere indicates how prevalent this belief is among Filipino ambulance drivers, but Nato–who laughs at the notion initially–eventually gets to test the theory later on. And what a test it is–to tell you more would ruin your viewing of this gem so we’ll stop here.

Stressed-out sister

In Anna Isabelle Matutina’s “Puwang” (The Space Between), a family grapples with the impending death of their ailing father.

The eldest daughter, Arlene, is married with children but has to shoulder all the expenses and responsibilities of caring for ill parent.

The youngest sibling, Anne, is pregnant and was recently abandoned by the father of her child–who is a married man. While she and Arlene are watching over their father, Anne goes into labor. This naturally places more burdens upon Arlene.

To make things worse, the father keeps calling for his favorite son, Angelo. However, he and Angleo had a falling out and the latter has not shown up for the last five years.

Just when Arlene reaches the end of her rope from all the stress and passes out on the sofa on the hospital lobby, Angelo finally appears. He proceeds to his father’s room.

We’ll avoid giving spoilers about “Puwang” but will only say that it succeeds in painting a gripping, emotional portrait of a Filipino family in difficulty–many if not most Filipino families in the Philippines will surely be able to relate to the plight of Arlene et al. That the film nearly falls into melodrama at some point is forgivable.

The hues of the film are all in gray, the lighting is consistent all throughout–a technical achievement as well as a success in terms of mood and atmosphere.

The only complaint I will make is in the choice of showing certain scatological elements: Angelo wiping his father’s excrement off the floor of the hospital room; another scene where the camera focuses on Angelo cleaning up his father on the toilet.

My reaction as a member of the audience was perhaps natural–hey, this was shit up close on camera. Still, my question is: Was it was truly necessary for the camera to close-in on the excrement? It seemed overkill to me.

On the other hand, for a film that had been understated and restrained all throughout, maybe the scatological shots represented a kind of peak point in the film–when certain repressed, unspoken, and perhaps repellent elements, metaphorically and literally–needed to be loosed upon us.

After all, the father unleashes these elements in Angelo’s presence and he is left, literally, cleaning up after the shit (literal and metaphorical) between him and his dad.

There’s a brief but terrifying moment, right before Angelo approaches his father, when the son locks the door–shutting himself in with his father. One wonders, in a panic, whether Angelo has more sinister plans for his dad.

Is Angelo going to put his father out of his misery by suffocating him with a pillow? Is Angelo out for vengeance over the still unrevealed conflict with his father? Or is he after forgiveness and reconciliation?

The film’s ending is no surprise and is actually quite deflating–but then perhaps that just adds to making one’s sense of relief and loss more acute at the conclusion of “Puwang”.

“Dead Letter”

Things got boring for me in “Dead Letter”. I found “Dead Letter” to be much too talky and static in too many parts. I loved the opening shot, though, with images of pages from letters flipping, flappin and falling, the crisp, crackling sound of paper very audible, inspiring a nostalgic mood.

I just couldn’t relate to the main character, who is a writer struggling to finish a script in time for a competition’s deadline. The introspections the writer goes through–which we are made privy to thanks to voice-overs–seem unengaging to me now at my age.

Maybe when I was in college there was a point when such thoughts seemed profound or important, but now come off as rather juvenile.

There were good scenes though. Like when a character, Felipe, from the writer’s script comes to life and confront’s the latter. Felipe is angry and even threatens the writer, “Papatayin kita! (I will kill you!)”. As the film progresses, you hope the character makes good on his promise.

There are scenes and locations that would be nostalgic to anybody who spent his youth in Manila. The shots of the Central Post Office–which processes mail for the entire country–were very compeling. We see postal workers working with thousands upon thousands of snail mail–yes, snail mail still exists, folks, despite the Initernet. We wonder what those workers would do in case an anthrax-laced letter comes in.

Of course, we zoom into the Dead Letter Section, which is where the writer’s script ends up after he mails it. We don’t know how it ends up there since the writer paid the right postage–or was he just dreaming that he paid postage? Did he even write a forwarding address?

Towards the last third of the film we feel that our hold on the film’s reality has become tenuous and anything can happen: the writer after all has been seeing people who may not really be there, and time seems to have been moving in a loop, etc.

I thought that the whole idea of a Dead Letter Section was not exploited enough. I thought it that it would be central to the film because of the film’s title. I felt a missed opportunity there and thought of several ways in which the Dead Letter Section could have been better used in the story–but then I’m not the director; I was just there to watch the film.

One of the characters, the lady smoked fish vender who hands the writer two pesos in change to allow him to pay the right postage, tells the writer, encouragingly, something like, “Okay lang kahit hindi sila maniwala sa iyo (It’s okay even if they don’t believe you)” before he mails his entry to the competition.

I don’t know if that’s useful advice to a young artist, who needs tons of belief–from himself and from others–in order to practice his art amid all the uncertainties, doubts and discouragements inevitably faced by any young artist facing poverty, ignominy and possible insanity in a society that only values TV and movie stars.

I wondered how “It’s okay even if they don’t believe you” will keep the young artist from giving up and applying for a call center job, instead.

We can’t ask the smoked-fish vender anymore because she disappeared, as in–poof!–leaving only a smoked-fish smell in the air after giving those words to the writer.

I found Felipe to be the only solid character in the film, strangely enough–but then I could be biased since the actor who plays him is Filipino-Vietnamese Roel Hoang Manipon who happens to be a poet, playwright, ficitionist and journalist as well, and who happens to be a friend from way back in college.

The film’s lead character, the Young Writer, is practically a blank slate. We see him walking across Manila’s streets and underpasses, drumming his fingers on the underpass walls–something I found icky, being familiar with the kind of grime in Manila’s underpasses, surpassed only in ickiness by the grime all over the Pasay-Libertad areas–and we wonder, is he looking for inspiration? Or do young writers simply have too much time on their hands?

Our young writer, by the way, uses a manual typewriter to write–a device that was in use when most young people today were not born yet. And yet, the final script when we see it, doesn’t look like it was typed on a manual typewriter but printed from a computer printer.

The voice-over comes back at the end of the film as the writer tries to make his way home–we learn from the voice over that he’s walking home because he wants to save money for food.

The most poetic lines in the film are uttered by the disembodied narrator in the end (it’s supposed to be an internal monologue by the writer, a device that seems to have been used to make up for the impenetrable blankness one encounters in the lead character), lines that I don’t remember exactly–but I remember having liked very much.

The lines that were uttered, in Filipino, said something about November the 16th and hunger and… I don’t know anymore. It’s not that I didn’t like “Dead Letter”–I just don’t believe it. But then maybe that’s okay.

“Lababo” (Kitchen Sink)

The first few minutes spent watching “Lababo” gave me this one-word impression: propaganda. It seemed to rehash every bile-soaked sentiment and opinion against the United States that the filmmakers could possibly throw at us.

Now, like most Filipinos, I also hate America. I hate the United States as much as every Filipino out there, who has relatives in US, who uses the Internet (a US invention); who learned and later corrupted American English; who waits for remittances from OFWs (in US dollars), who watches US TV shows on cable (legally or illegally), who pays to watch Hollywood films, who knows Joyce Kilmer (that fraud) but not the great Cirilo Bautista; and who will probably go and migrate to the US the first chance he gets.

That said, I watched “Lababo” some more and found that it wasn’t simply propaganda: it was ranting and propaganda.

That said, I will say that the University of Makati Film Society did a good job, technically, in making this film. I didn’t like how they depended on voiced-over faux radio reports to move the “story” along–there wasn’t much of a story, just a pastiche of images–but I would be the first to tell them that my views about “Lababo” should not discourage them from making more films.

Those guys know how to handle the camera, know how to compose shots, to create pacing–I just disagreed with how they chose to present their anti-American message. With a better story on their hands and the moxie and creativity to go beyond set opinions (about the US or otherwise)–watch out! These guys have potential. The Umak FilmSoc should keep on making more films–and the University should suppport them in that.

“Lababo” has participated in various film festivals and has also won awards including the Grand Prize, Viva –PBO Digitales Short Film Competition 2007.

The film was also in competiton in festivals like the 19th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video; the 48th Bilbao Film Festival in Spain 2006; and the 8th International Panorama of Independent Film and Video in Greece.

It was also exhibited in the Jakarta Slingshortfest 2006 and the 8th Cinemanila International Film Festival 2006.

So, as a viewer, I may have missed something that these festival organizers and jurors saw–which is okay, as my Inner Smoked Fish Vender tells me.

“Walong Linggo” (Eight Sundays)

The way it was lit and shot, “Eight Sundays” seemed like an extended coffee commercial. More coffee house than art house, this short film is perhaps one of the most charming and endearing renditions of the Filipino male phenomenon of “ka-torpehan”.

In gist, it’s about this guy who spots a pretty young woman at a coffee shop. They see each other for eight consecutive Sundays as the guy tries to muster the courage to introduce himself to the young lady, with whom he is quite smitten.

Will he succeed before the eight Sundays are up? With generous close-ups of Jaymee Joaquin’s pretty face, you enjoy the ride.

Lead actor Joey Santos does a great job as a not really bad-looking guy who has to write his opening lines on paper napkins to figure out what to say to the girl of his dreams.

Each Sunday encounter between the torpe guy and the pretty girl is preceded by short love poems that are flashed on-screen–like dialogue flashed during the silent movie era–yes, there are no speaking lines audible in this contemporary silent film.

The poets who contributed their poetry include the venerable Benilda Santos and National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera.

This short film’s a charmer and, whether you have good or traumatic memories about young love, “Walong Linggo” is sure to linger on in your memory like a pleasant morning at the coffee shop, when all your worries seem to drift away like the steam from the espresso machine.

“Ang Kapalaran ni Virgin Mario” (The Fate of the Virgin Mario)

Mario wakes up in the apartment he shares with his lover Jose. Mario screams: Oh my God, I’m pregnant, how could this happen?!

Jose is jealous–is Mario sure the child is his? Jose convinces Mario to get an abortion.

This film by Ogi Sugatan really turns reality on its head with its minimalist, Pinoy absurdist approach.

What are we to make of this situation, where a gay man appears to have had a Not-So Immaculate Concepcion, in defiance of biology, physics and theology?

But then that’s what we all like about independent films, full-length or short: you walk out of the cinema with more than just the fading vapors of escapist fantasy; you may get insights about life, feel some genuine passion pierce your “deadma” disposition, or have an epiphany flash through your shopping-addled mind, or whatever it is that art is supposed to do to you.