AN INTERNATIONAL jury headed by American filmmaker Gregg Araki will decide the winner in the Venice Film Festival sidebar in which Lav Diaz's "Kagadanan sa ba nwaan ning mga engkanto" ("Death in the Land of Encantos") is competing. The rest of the jury in the Horizons (Orizzonti) section of the fest is compose d of Frederick Wiseman, Hala Alabdalla Yakoub, Giorgia Fiorio and Ulrich Gregor . Horizons, which highlights trends in cutting-edge cinema, has two categories , Fiction and Documentaries. "Death..." by the Mindanao-born filmmaker is in th e latter category. The other entries include "Useless" by Chinese director Jia Zhangke who won the fest's Golden Lion plum last year with "Still Life;"Man From Plains," Oscar-wi nning director Jonathan Demme's look at former US president Jimmy Carter; and " Berlin," Julian Schnabel's concert docu on Lou Reed.
July 2007 Archives
IN OUR job of interviewing Hollywood stars, one of the biggest challenges is tr anscribing the interviews and making some celebrities sound coherent. In addition to wading through so many "You know" and "I think" remarks, our tas k is made harder by the stars' predilection for using jargon that is unintellig ible or has not yet made it to the masses' consciousness. (There are some stars though who are a dream to transcribe. They speak complete , coherent sentences.) So it was with great pleasure that we read Patricia T. OâConner's essay on the new use of the word "like" in the July 15, 2007 issue of the New York Times' Su nday magazine. Those who read our column (thank you) have probably noticed that more and more stars are using "like" as in, "I was like, 'Come on, I donât hav e that big of an ego.'" We used to grapple with this dilemmaÂ -- should we replaceÂ the words "was like " with âsaid"? But not anymore. As Patricia wrote in her wonderful essay:
â¦Like definitely has legs. In just a generation or so it has sprea d throughout much of the English-speaking world. O.K., the new like is hot and itâs useful, but is it legit? Aren't some rules o f grammar or usage being broken here? Linguists and lexicographers say no. It's natural, they say, for words to take on new roles. In this case, a "content word" (one that means something) has bec ome a "function word" (one that has a grammatical function but little actual me aning). Academics call the process "grammaticalization." It's one of the ways l anguage changes. So is the new like proper English? Well, the latest editions of The American He ritage Dictionary of the English Language and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dict ionary now include it as a usage heard in informal speech. That's not a ringing endorsement, but it's not a condemnation either.I e-mailed this essay to my two teenage daughters. I wrote, "I just have to sha re this piece with you. When I first read it, I was like, I have to share this with Nikki and Ella." By the way, one of our pleasures whenever we are in New York on a weekend is wa king up and reading the Sunday edition of the Times. Unwashed and our hair look ing like porcupine quills, we stagger from the hotel bed and dare show ourselve s to the world as we open the door and pick up our thick, promising copy of the Times.
"ROME and Juliet," a Filipino film starring Andrea del Rosario, Rafael Rosell a nd Mylene Dizon, will have its US bicoastal premiere this month. The movie will be shown first in the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which is popularly known as OutFest, on Saturday, July 21, 12 noon at the Rege nt Showcase on 614 N. La Brea Avenue (e-mail email@example.com). Then the film gets its East Coast premiere at the New York International Indepe ndent Film and Video Festival on Tuesday, July 24, 10 p.m. at the Village East Cinema 7 on 2nd at 12th Street. The lesbian drama tells the story of Juliet (Andrea del Rosario), a conservativ e preschool teacher, who is engaged to be married to a young politician (Rafael Rosell). But when Juliet hires Rome (Mylene Dizon) as her wedding planner, an unexpected bond develops between the two women. The resulting dilemma provides the film's emotional crux. "Rome and Juliet" also stars Tessie Tomas, Glydel Mercado, Liza Dino, Miko Pala nca, Lui Villaruz, Joshua Deocareza, CJ Mercado, Crispin Pineda and Francis Mak il Ignacio. It will be interesting to see how a Pinoy lesbian drama is received at these US festivals. The film is directed by Connie S.A. Macatuno with Ronal d Arguelles as executive producer.
"NAGTITITILI siya!" was how director Yam Laranas described the reaction of Iza Calzado upon learning that she landed the plum role in his Hollywood remake of "The Echo." Yam fought for Iza to reprise the role of the battered wife who haunts an apart ment. Roy Lee, the producer of "The Echo," agreed, saying "she was perfect in t he original. Why shouldn't we get her for the remake?" The management of GMA Network, where Iza has a TV show, has allowed her time of f to film in Toronto starting on August 20. Yam sounded just as thrilled for Iz a when he called us in London from Toronto to share the good news.
"CO LMA: The Musicalâ is now also showing in New York at the Quad, 34 W 13th Street . The indie musical film, which features Fil-Am talents, was reviewed by The New York Timesâ Manohla Dargis. Here are excerpts:
An itty-bitty movie with a great big heart, "Colma" is about three young people on the brink of that terrifying adventure called life, but itâs al so about how we learn to give voice â joyfully, honestly, loudly â to the trues t parts of ourselves, parts not everyone else hearsâ¦ Out of the closet to ever yone but his darkly glowering father (Larry Soriano), Rodel (Mr. H.P. Mendoza) scribbles on scraps of paper that mirror his disconnectedness and sings with as much hurt as he speaks. Heâs the familiar angry young man with the caustic wit thatâs as much shield as weapon.
About the only people who have breached his defenses are Billy (Jak e Moreno), an aspiring actor who calls himself a thespian (itâs unclear if heâs in on that particular joke), and the beautiful Maribel (L.A. Renigen), a vamp with a face as round as the moon. Together these three restlessly peer into the fog, talking smut and Emily Dickinson and, every so often, pouring their heart s out in song. (They dance, but not much.) â¦In "Colma" being young (or gay or Filipino) isnât a recipe for automatic disa ster; itâs what helps define these specific characters at this specific time. I tâs a poignantly brief moment that â much like home â they may only really know after they leave. â¦The idea of youth as a cause for self-discovery works well with the movieâs b elief in music as an intimate means of self-expression. Mr. Mendozaâs hooky son gs, both the short and semisweet and the epically narrative, look as much outwa rd as they do inward. Yet even when the songs convey a sense of the larger worl d, they remain as personal as a confession. When the three friends sing the mov ieâs opener, "Colma Stays," both separately and together, they are literally traveling through a physical space ("Everybody has their call/And eve ryone in Colma ends up at the mall") that has also shaped their interior landsc apes ("Colma stays, a place I was born/Wanting, sad, forsaken, forlorn").
WE missed the first ever Filipino zarzuela in English, about a sabungero (cockfight enthusiast), in LA. Hereâs a photo of (from left) the youthful Roces brothers: Francisco "Pipo" Roc es (85), artist Rodolfo Samonte and Dr. Alejandro Roces (83). Dr. Roces based t he sabungero character, Kiko the Cockfighter, on Pipo, who lives in LA . Fortunately, our friend Zen Lopez, the Arts and Culture Commissioner of Glendal e, California, shared this with us: "Director Cecile Guidote Alvarez said that it's a miracle that Philippine National Artist for Literature Dr. Alejandro Roc es' âSomething to Crow About,â a modern zarzuela, became a reality in LA. "Given our time constraints (only six weeks to prepare), all the hurdles that t he group had to go through to get here -- up to the last minute, they did not k now if they would get their US visas, the challenges putting this event togethe r and accommodating and arranging for a group of 50 people, it was amazing to w itness the miracle of the first-ever Filipino zarzuela (in English) unfolding l ast Thursday, June 28, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. "Los Angeles being the City of Angels, we are grateful for the abundance of ang els without whose help and generosity the zarzuela would not have been possible . The group felt the warmth and welcome of LA. The cast gave us such an outstan ding performance, lifting our spirits and inspiring pride in our heritage." Zen, a former Bayanihan dancer and tireless promoter of Pinoy culture in LA, th anks the communityâs support on behalf of Dr. Roces, Cecile (executive director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts), executive producers Susa n and Ed Dilkes and co-producer Ted Benito of TDRZ Productions, Inc. "Something to Crow About" was also staged in New York.