New Filipino Cinema, opening this evening and running through Sunday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, is “a showcase of new cinema from one of the most exciting independent film scenes in the world: 29 films, 24 US premieres, 5 days. From drama, to documentary, to mockumentary, to cutting-edge experimental work, it’s the most comprehensive survey of contemporary Filipino cinema presented in the United States.”
The program’s co-curated by curated by Joel Shepard and Manilla-based film critic Philbert Ortiz Dy, who writes at Michael Guillén’s Evening Class:
The last decade or so has seen Filipino cinema die and be reborn. At one point, the country was home to one of the most prolific film industries in the world. The country has a surprisingly long history in filmmaking, and by the 1950s, we had entered a golden age of cinema. In the 1970s, we had our own New Wave, defined by socially relevant films driven by accomplished dramatists. By the 2000s whatever filmmaking tradition the country had was largely considered comatose if not dead…. And then a lot of things suddenly started happening. In 2000, Raymond Red won the Palme d’Or for his short film Anino. In 2001, Lav Diaz released the five-hour Batang West Side, which seemed to indicate that Filipino film still had the capacity to be bold and challenging. Digital filmmaking entered the picture, which made production a lot more affordable. New festivals opened up, each with their own corresponding grant system, giving would-be filmmakers venues to fund their ideas. Filipino films traveled the world and won all sorts of awards. Brillante Mendoza won the best director prize at Cannes for Kinatay. Pepe Diokno and Lav Diaz received honors in Venice. And so on.
Michael’s Class has been previewing the series extensively, running Alex Hansen‘s interview with Raya Martin, whose seven-minute short Boxing in the Philippine Islands (2011) will be screened in the program Sex, Drugs and the Avant-Garde: Filipino Shorts, also featuring 123 (2001), directed by Carlo Obispo, whom Michael interviews. Then there are the reviews of and roundups on the features: Monster Jimenez‘s documentary Kano: An American and His Harem, Jade Castro‘s Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington (Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings, 2011), Lawrence Fajardo‘s Amok (2011), and Benito Bautista‘s Boundary (2011). And in the Bay Guardian, Dennis Harvey surveys the full series.
In other news. The Festival del film Locarno will present a Pardo alla carriera, a lifetime achievement award, to Johnnie To. The 65th edition, running August 1 through 11, will also see the European premiere of Motorway (Che sau), To’s latest production, directed by Soi Cheang.
In the works. “David Gordon Green, you sly dog.” Todd Brown at Twitch: “While the media focus on Green in recent days has largely revolved around his proposed remake of Dario Argento‘s Suspiria, Twitch has learned that the Pineapple Express director—with actors Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch—has very quietly shot a remake of Icelandic road comedy Either Way, under the new title of Prince Avalanche.”
List. Wes Anderson‘s ten favorite New York movies.
Browsing. ingmarbergman.se presents a guide to the “Ingmar Bergman Universe.”
By now, you’ll have heard that the first trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is out. There it is, down there, for the record. Meantime, Flavorwire‘s found an infographic by Noah Daniel Smith mapping all the goings on in Pulp Fiction (1994) in chronological order.
More viewing. Rhys Tranter‘s posted Mysteries of Love, Jeffrey Schwarz’s 2002 documentary about the making of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.