Short: Umshini Wam (Bring Me My Machine Gun) (2011)

From: USA

Director: Harmony Korine

Since there are still left-over Halloween spirits lurking, thought I’d best join in and put out something for the still-celebratory lot. Now, I’m not much a fan of ghouls and gore, and also Halloween for me is mostly about the bizarre. So, here’s a film that’s brilliantly bizarre. I mean, I love me some Die Antwoord (fre$, futuristic, zed rap-rave krew from da dark dangerous depths of Afrika) BUT OH NO SIR, this is a Harmony Korine + Die Antwoord collaboration. WTF. Two of the world’s most unpredictable entities join forces for a short film about a wheelchair-bound duo. Well, Happy Halloween indeed.

What this film holds for me:

Who:  Ninja and Yolandi Vi$$er in onesies and wheelchairs

What: the song by the fire “I’m old enough to bleed, I’m old enough to breed, I’m old enough to crack a brick in your teeth while you sleep.” GETS STUCK IN YOUR FRICKIN HEAD



A Royal Affair (2012)

From: Denmark

Director: Nikolaj Arcel

Cine Europa is in town and the first film I catch in the line-up is also its feature film: A Royal Affair. If I am being completely honest with myself, I wanted to see this film because of Hannibal Lecter. Mads Mikkelsen can drive you mad. You never know if you’re scared of him or you’re in love with him. But you know you want to see what he makes happen. This film has him having an affair with the queen of a mad king. So much insanity in just the short length of two hours. How can you not line up and sit down in front of it?



What this film holds for me:

Who: Mads Mikkelsen – Hannibal Lecter sporting long unruly hair, having an affair, speaking in Danish

What: insanity of the king is convincing, hence, pitiful

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

Short: This is Vanity (2012)

From: United Kingdom

Director: Oliver Goodrum

Major crying happened. Seeing that the film is 20 minutes long, it could have been a challenge to watch online especially now that we have shorter attention spans and much shorter stolen in-between work breaks. But less than 2 minutes into the film, you know you’re hooked. I was. The literally explosive beginning just draws you right in and will not let you go.

It’s daunting and terrifying and pitiful and gut-wrenching all at the same time; your heart can only take too much. But you want to know how far a mother’s love can reach and how cruel society can become. You already know the ending but you want to find out how it got there. The narrative is utterly captivating and the direction and cinematography is hard-hitting. And to know that this is based on a true story is just beyond comprehension. My stone heart rarely wimpers, but like I said, in this case, major tear-shedding happened.



What this film holds for me:

What: major crying

Who: Angela, the priest

How (I felt): guts out, flood of tears