I don’t know if I can blog back but we have been watching a lot of movies lately. The birthday month started with 3–“Dagitab”, “War is a Tender Thing”, and “Beauty and the Beast”. It was great but it was also exhausting. Maybe we’ve been so excited we ended up doing too much? I’m not sure, but hopefully we’d pretty much adjust to where we need to be.
“Dagitab” was a Cinemalaya film that I regret missing at Trinoma. Carlito Amalla invited us to watch it with him and since we don’t really have a solid plan for Friday night, we thought to ourselves, why not? The film was not bad, but it was far from great. The central figures are two UP teachers and their life after spending it mostly inside the university. There are certain inside jokes that I got but I didn’t really appreciate it. It was a bland look at a university life and it didn’t really do justice towards the passionate lives that UP teachers live. It centered upon the thought “Masyado ka kasing matalino eh” mocking the intelligence that is one of the strengths of a university professor. Also, given the assumption that these two characters are just too smart, why on earth did they marry each other if the man is still in love with another and the woman knows it? It gives such a petty interpretation of the characters, that in reality, if they chose to stay in the university so long because of their passions, would actually be far from being petty.
I required my students to watch “War is a Tender Thing” so I have to watch it with them. This was an activity by UP CONTEND and I am happy to be a part of it. I want my students to learn how to watch movies outside the box that Hollywood and popular Pinoy films trained them to watch. It was a very steady film that didn’t follow the typical pattern of introduction, conflict-building, climax, resolution, and conclusion. Watching a steady narrative was very new for a lot of my students. The demystification that the film offered towards the supposed Christian-Muslim war in Mindanao was also invaluable. They understood the importance of personal narratives that are outside the grand narrative of history. They saw the political machinations that is actually at the heart of the conflict, rather than the simplistic media interpretation of religious conflict. It also made them more in touch with the real lives of people, rather than looking at it from an impersonal distance.
Our third film was the lightest one–“Beauty and the Beast”. We discovered that it was actually a French film dubbed into English and it doesn’t have anything to do with the Disney version. It made me want to read the writings of Charles Perrault again. I am happy to see the film highlight the significance of picking the red rose. The Beast was actually helpful of the lost Father and even gave him food and gifts. In the fairy tale, the Father even spent the night in the Beast’s castle. It was just over-stepping the Beast’s generosity when he picked the rose. Supposedly, the Father brought Beauty (Belle) back to the Beast because he picked the rose for her. I did not fully understand this as a child but the Father used Belle to save himself. Belle did visit her family eventually because her Father got sick, but then her siblings grew jealous of her apparent wealth. The film was closer to the fairy tale but it still glossed over a lot of ugly narratives originally present in it. On the lighter side of things, the film had very beautiful costuming. The design though, is similar to Rivendell of the Lord of the Rings, Ian pointed that out. There’s just no recovering from that comment. But Belle’s gowns were just so beautiful.
Weekend movie marathons are fun, but incredibly intense. I have a feeling that I should slow down and given that its my instinct kicking in, I should probably listen. One of these days, we should really just kick back, relax, and enjoy the show.
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