an ordinary name for a film that reenacted a very out of the ordinary event for those who lived through it. a 2012 spanish / american mainstream film production adapted from a spaniard family’s real account in the 2004 south-east asia’s indian ocean earthquake and subsequent devastating tsunami. the story revolves around the bennett family, whose mom and eldest son were separated form the dad and the younger two kids when the tsunami hit. the visual effects looked real and dramatic, with people and much bigger and at sharp debris bouncing back and forth in a gigantic whirlpool. naomi watts, whom i have been watching since her performances in 21 grams and king kong, gave a solid performance, with all the bruised make-up and such. her son in the film, tom holland, also delivered, with the scene reuniting with his two younger siblings especially touching. i dunno why the director casted ewan mcgregor, who just appeared a just tad too photogenic for someone running around in rags searching for his wife and kids.
the earthquake and tsunami were daily headlines for at least a few weeks for what i recall – my friend and i were glued to tv and interest newscasts re reports coming out nightly at home for much of the christmas and new year holidays then. what stuck me, apart from the good story-line (the real story can’t be bad, eh?) was the still the very european / white (well actually anglo, for the characters’ names were anglicized) narrative. the thai people were pretty much in and out of the background. perhaps the white privileged expats (an insurance company paid for medical evacuation flight to singapore for the five-member family at the end) did only hang out with each other, but this answers exactly the posts i ‘ve been seeing these days on “crazy rich asians” (the film) perpetuating stereotypes. society won’t advance unless diversity of storytelling take centre stage
Hidalgo, The Never Told Story.
Miguel Hidalgo, whose name wasn’t even mentioned in full in the
introduction when it was screened at a local film festival. The
presenter, however, highlighted that it tells a lesser known and
more controversial side of Hidalgo, who is probably one, if not
the grandfather of the Mexican independant revolution.
Digging up his more mainstream info I found on wiki, he was born in the colonies of Spaniard descent. His prisethood mingled with his love life, his European ancestry intertwined with his
friendship as well as appreciation of indigenous peoples and their
languages, his references to the destiny of French royalties as a
result of the aftermath of the French Revolution, and ironically
his attraction to French bourgeoise or théâtre français (as accused by certain people he came into contact with), are a sampling traits of a revolutionary in the making. Even though his death as well as those around him, directly or remotely linked to the rebellions were bloody and graphic to say the least. It is not difficult for the uninformed to take a peek into the more playful, colourful or non-conventional aspect of the martyr in the modern Mexican nation building process.
Hidalgo, La Historia Jamás Contada
I had to opportunity to see two British films with secondary school settings within the past year. The History Boys, which was adapted from a screenplay. and Notes on a Scandal, originally a novel. The History Boys centred on a selected few of higher achievers of Upper Six students preparing for a place at Oxbridge, Notes focused on a school presumably with a more working class setting. What is interesting was several taboo themes that exist in the “real” non-film world of education. Homosexuality, of both the teachers as well as students and Teacher-student love affair.
英國人保守乎？抑或是開放乎？ 本人最近觀看兩齣英國電影其內容皆是在吾國會成為爭議性的話題。退一步說，基本上這類題材的電影在本地上畫不易。說社會保守也罷、宗教也罷 就是沒有這樣的空間。當然我不是認同電影裏那些不同學生的越軌行為，只不過這些現實社會裡的問題，咱們還沒膽量放到公眾空間裡談論。
It has a strange name. It had a strange beginning. It has some strange scenes such as the meticulously counting-down of daily chores superimposed by fake, sci-fi and high tech graphics which looked equally mysterious and grey. It has some strange reminiscences of films like Gattaca or Minority Report.
Can a boring, middle aged geek whose life is intruded into by a narrative voice make a good storyline? This “hearing voices” expereience became so huanting that it eventually changed the life of this officer worker over the course of a few weeks. With the feel of a sci-fi movie, this actually evolved into a comedy-drama. Will Ferrel plays the arithematic and detail oriented IRS agent Harold Crick, who audited the tax return of Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the Bohemian Harvard Law drop-out and bakery shop owner. The strange voice following Harold led him eventually to Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman), the knowledgeable literary expert at a local college. Slowly eliminating the probable culprits giving Harold the headaches, a dated television interview pointed Harold to Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), the more schizophenic author who also appears to be the voice of narration. Harold managed to catch up with Eiffel, who is in the midst of wrapping up her next novel with the Hero who would have been written off to a tragic ending. If my brief résumé has been confusing enough, you would definitely appreciate the quasi-clarity brought on by the director Marc Forster, based on the screenplay penned by Zach Helm.
Even when I was watching the film, the plot didn’t seem very clear nor logical. The beauty of this film was the ability of the director and the actors to hold my attention together and not dissipate until the intriguing finish, evening though conventional wisdom could point to flaws if one really wants to dig deep into cause and consequences. Apart from the sci-fi mentioned earlier, this project also shouted John Nash and A Beautiful Mind for the self-indulgence references. Even though three Hollywood flicks dotted this review, Stranger Than Fiction ended up a sleepy but pleasant delight as I saw it on latenight TV.
jay, a philipino film in 2009
Neil Postman said that America was the only country fixated on television, I beg to differ. As a matter of fact, the venom of “reality television” that told off over in the late 1990s has been spreading like wild fire. In this funny and made-to-believe-it-is but in reality a non-documentary was a good mix of drama, humour and at times almost horror.
A murdered teacher named Jay left behind a family in grief. The initial sadness was convoluted bit by bit as the reality TV director/producer, curiously also named Jay and his crew visited and filmed the family for his programme like vultures. The anecdotes when the sister of murdered Jay mistook a telephone call as her selection to the “Big Brother” show to various relatives and acquaintances of the dead “reenacting” their grief for the TV programme mocked on the obsession and the near-complete surrender to TV in many cultures. The “staging” of the apprehension of one of the suspects by the police was more than hilarious. If you watch this movie and can relate crack up to the humour in it, it seems natural that your culture, apart from that of the Pilipino and American, has succumbed to the far-reaching daily influence of reality TV are NOT the only two.
In an impoverished province where stable employment is hard to come by, getting famous on reality TV seems natural to the locals as it might bring money and fame and better lives in probably Manila. That is a depressing but sober observation.
This film garnered the best actor and best supporting actor and actress roles of the Golden Screen Awards in the Philippines in 2009.