Tug of War! / 綱引いちゃった!(2012)

From: Japan

Director: Nobuo Mizuta

I just love it when I get to watch something that I know nothing about. I’m always in for a surprise, whether good or bad. Tug of War! was no different. I did not know it was a comedy; didn’t know it was literally about tug of war. Wasn’t aware I was up for a light heartwarming ride. Didn’t even know the title. Just sat there and waited for it to reveal itself to me.

The movie was okay, satisfactorily entertaining with all its slapstick humor and caricatures. I enjoyed it. But the surprise hit to me was Tetsuji Tamayama who played Kimio the coach. He was introduced as a shy clumsy tug of war competitor immediately smitten with the female lead. I paid no attention to him at first, as he coached the team and ludicrously professed his affections in secret. He was deliberately awkward and clumsy. Didn’t really pay no mind.

BUT NO. He was a surprise hit. I was surprised by the way his gorgeousness hit me. After the film. TWO DAYS after the film. He’s a revelation. Can’t get him out of my mind. I watched the film during Eiga Sai last week and still, I keep thinking about his face. When I looked him up, lo and behold, he’s more gorgeous in Google. I mean, come on. I keep researching his movies, looking for videos. I am smitten.

Okay, so this is more about a crush than about a movie. I’m sorry.

Tetsuji in Tug of War!

Tetsuji in Tug of War!

What Google gave me

What Google gave me

Thank you internet

Thank you internet

What this film holds for me:

Who: TETSUJI TAMAYAMA, that’s who

What: nothing else I’m afraid 


16th Cine Europa Manila

I cannot wait to finish writing this so I can plan my festival itinerary.

cine europa poster

Now that it’s back for its Sweet Sixteen, it’s running for two months and featuring 21 films. It’s probably the biggest one in the country and this year, it will be in six cities giving more Filipino enthusiasts the chance to celebrate European Cinema. I’ve been a silent but dedicated fan since my high school days and it just makes my hear rate faster everytime this comes to town.

From just 11 films in 1998, Cine Europa will now present 21 films from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Cine Europa schedules in all cities:
4 to 15 September – Shangri-la Cineplex Mandaluyong, Manila NCR
17 to 22 September – Cinematheque Baguio City
23 to 29 September – Cinematheque Iloilo City4
4 to 6 October – Ayala Center, Cebu City
10 to 13 October – Liceo de Cagayan University
15 to 20 October – Cinematheque Davao City

cine europa schedule
Admission is free for all screenings at all locations for the two-month festival. Have to prepare a checklist and queue early.


For more information, you can refer to:



Silent Film: Phantom of the Opera (1925)

From: USA

Director: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney

This was just awesome. Beaver and I had the almost-hopeless chance of seeing this film as part of the SIlent Film Festival last week. We took the risk since it was first come first serve and we literally were the seventh to the last patron to be let in. We were anxiously chattering, pretending we weren’t sweating buckets on the inside.

When we got in, we were blown away. It already started and Razorback were already engrossed in their set. In my last silent film post, I mentioned there were two kinds of musicians in this specific context. Now in the case of Phantom + Razorback, Razorback’s both. They laid down a breathtaking score – seamless, fluid, and cohesive. Didn’t hurt that they created all new material just for this feat. It was the first time I’ve attended this festival where someone sang actual lyrics. Weirdly, it worked. It could very well have been a contemporary soundtrack for the film. What was amusing though was that they added skillful details adn sound effects as well – the haunting laugh, the tiny screams, the thought bubbles. It was uncanny but it worked.

Now besides the two kinds of musicians, I think there are also two kinds of viewers of silent film festivals of this kind: the audience who go for the film, and the audience who go for the music. Shamelessly I always go for the film, rarely really knowing who the musical act is. But I go home always with a new musical discovery. Practically a win-win for me everytime.




What this film holds for me:

What line: If I am the phantom, it is because man deems me so.  -sad

Who: ugly scary phantom with exagerrated hand gestures

How (I felt): triumphant!! seventh to the last will never give up hope!


Silent Film: Keisatsukan (1933)

From: Japan

Director: Tomu Uchida

The Silent Film in Manila just concluded and I’m so psyched I witnessed a couple of the films. Although not meaning to, I always end up watching the Japanese offer and most of the time it’s a comedy. This time around though, it’s Keisatsukan (A Police Officer), a superb film noir about gangsters and policemen. So I was extra excited.

In my self-deprecating opinion, I think there are two kinds of musicians in the context of this city’s Silent Film Festivals. One: musicians who accompany the film by providing different sound effects for each scene, or two: musicians who provide a fluent score and seamless atmosphere.

Although I am in love with this particular festival, I was struggling to avoid being disappointed by last Friday’s musical act. Pulso is wonderful and they create gorgeous electronica harmonies but their set for that film left me questioning. It was in some parts serrated and failed to invoke the undertones and mood the scenes already held on their own. Perhaps it was just me, but they did not quite stir up and intensify the proper emotions. I would consider them as the first kind of musician, although not consistently. The film was 121 minutes long, and I felt all of that 121 minutes, sometimes quite impatiently.


What this film holds for me:

What: gorgeous long takes; some proper subtle acting

What was said: “Sons of blue bloods invariably become reds.” 

7th Silent Film Festival Manila

silent film poster

I love Manila for the film festivals that have been running in the city for years and for continuously inviting new ones to come. But out of all the festivals I have attended, this one takes the cake for me. I am overtly biased in saying this is the best. It may be the shortest one (just 3 days running!) but the most eventful for me.

This festival brings together not only countries together but different genres of movies ranging from comedy to horror to to intense drama. It creatively overlaps the world of moving pictures and live sound. No words are needed because the music is tasked to speak to the audience. The score is the dialogue. WHAT CAN BEAT THAT?!

If you are ever in Manila in the coming weeks, make sure to drop by and see this. It’s free which makes it more glorious.

silent sched



For film synopses, click here. Based on experience, it is better to call ahead and reserve your slots.

For inquiries you can go to their Facebook page and website.



Shorts for Dad

I could not help myself. It’s dad’s day and despite already posting a Father’s Day Festival line-up, I find myself queuing up another slew of films; this time of the short kind. I just love shorts, and I love dads, so it makes sense. To make this short list short, I just collected three of my most favorite ones, each of a different style.


Will  by Eusong Lee (Animation)

I’m all about to give up on the whole 9/11 theme, but Eusong Lee just needed four and a half minutes to pull me back in. Let me tell you, a telephone call and a yoyo could actually change your life. With stirring music and precise sound editing from the team including Julian Kleiss, it serves a whole plate of emotions whether you lost your dad in 9/11 or not.


Father and Daughter by  Michael Dudok de Wit (Animation)

This won the 2000 Academy Award for Best Short. It’s beautifully illustrated and the shots are stunning in sepia, grey, and tinges of blue and green. A father says goodbye to his daughter and rows off into the sea. Every moment afterwhich, you feel a sense of longing, hope, then incremental sadness.


Last but not least is a recent favorite…

Cargo by Ben Howling & Yolanda Ramke

This one deserved a separate post when I first saw it, and everytime I watch it, it has the same effect on me. This one is closest to my heart. I could have been Rosie and my dad would have done exactly the same thing.


This seems like such a somber list. For a happier note to Father’s Day, here’s Gridlock – sarcastically funny. Enjoy!

Father’s Day Festival

I’m pretty sure I’ll be perusing my collection for a Father’s Day short film (I just love ’em!) but there’s just something about this holiday that coerces me to dedicate a personal festival to it. Perhaps it’s the undeniable fact that I am a daddy’s girl, my father’s princess. I’ve come to the point that I unabashedly admit this. We have a weirdly special relationship. Or perhaps it’s because my stone heart rarely weeps for films, although it squeezes out tears when it’s a scene with a father and his daughter. Such occasions baffle my senses. Whether they are my strong suit or my kryptonite, father-daughter films have a hold on me.

Favorites! – have watched this and have turned my stone heart into wet tissues

1. Armageddon (1998) – Never fails! Bruce Willis, why did you have to break your promise? Why did you let your daughter say goodbye to you through a crackly screen? Why?


2. Grace is Gone (2007) – Father has to tell his two daughters that their mom dies in Iraq. On a beach. After a road trip. WTH. Thanks Clint Eastwood for the tearful soundtrack.

3. The Descendants (2011) – All right, this one didn’t really make me cry but it was still a refreshing film during that season. Well-acted, beautifully scored.


4. La vita è bella (1997) – I cannot believe this is not included in the list to see before I die. It’s one of the greatest stories and one of the saddest endings ever. Never mind it’s not father and daughter, tears for both laughter and heartache. Principessa!

5. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – How a father is seen through the eyes of the daughter. One of the most powerful books put into film.



Challenges! – let’s test the waters in my eyes

1. Kramer vs Kramer (1979) – Okay so this doesn’t really involve a daughter, but still.


2. Tree of Life (2011) – Terrence Malick, I am a fan. Will watch.

3. The Bicycle Thief  (1948) – Simple story of a father looking for his bike, or so we think. Must watch.




**Italicized titles are included in the list of 1011 Movies You Must See Before You Die which means, they get me closer to the end of my quest