Huckleberry Finn

Bedtime reading: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Clemen's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer had its fun and fine moments, but too much of it was spent on longwinded digressions and editorializing, with plenty of fifty-cent words thrown in to sound impressive; I found myself cutting a lot of the prose  and almost all of the adult satire out (not because it was shocking but because it might go over children's heads). Huck Finn is almost the polar opposite--it's a pleasure to read out loud, because Huck's way of speaking is the way most people round these here parts speak anyway; plus he has a common-sense attitude that's downright refreshing. I tend to read the passages exactly; take a word or phrase out, and the beautiful rhythm of the sentence, sometimes the whole paragraph, is ruined, somehow.

Final note: Huck's accent was a lot thicker in Tom Sawyer than it is in his own book. I suppose Clemens had to tone it down for the long haul.


Guess the film

Was playing this in People's Forum, wondered if anyone can name the film from the plot outline:

woman is a partner in her husband's business, which involves travelling. While he's away, she feels lonely, and has an affair. Eventually she leaves her lover to join her husband. Then one night, when having drinks, the three of them meet.

(Regulars from People's Forum are not qualified to guess!)


The Bride of Frankenstein

Call it my Halloween special:



I remember seeing this years ago on a Betamax tape, right after seeing the original (I had the films taped off HBO, way back when the channel was new). "Frankenstein" impressed me with one scene, where the good doctor (Colin Clive) exposes The Creature (the indelible Boris Karloff) to sunlight, and The Creature gropes helplessly, trying to reach the unreachable source of warmth and brightness; the rest of the picture looked cheaply done, with an ending I thought particularly disappointing, the extras running up what obviously was a soundstage set to surround the Creature, and The Creature tossing what patently looked like a dummy off the top of the windmill he was trapped in, before burning to death.


Which meant I wasn't in a good mood when I got to see "Bride." The opening scene with Mary Shelley (Elsa Lanchester) spinning off a new story to Lord Byron and her husband already struck a wrong note--it felt like a cheap attempt to justify a sequel. Dr. Pretorious's homunculi I thought silly--Dr. Frankenstein's stitched-together monster looked obsolete compared to those perfect (if tiny) creatures, making me wonder why Pretorious would bother asking the doctor for help at all (they were to combine Pretorious' black arts with Frankenstein's resurrection techniques to create a "a man-made race"). The rest of the film was more bizarre than bloodcurdling, down to the Bride's flowing robes and daintily birdlike gestures. I don't really understand it at all, at the tender age of (I'm guessing) twelve or so.


Viewing it so many years later, I finally got it, to the point where I'd just about consider it one of the greatest horror films ever made.


Why Luxo, Jr. is the best piece of computer animation ever

From Pinoyexchange:

deathcradle: What has Pixar done na hindi Disney?

Luxo, Jr. (tho it was distributed by Buena Vista). Still Pixar's best, in my opine.

greatbop: uh... right the 2 minute demo that can be seen in Fiding Nemo DVD...yep.. it sure had excellent script writing.

You only need one good idea to tell a good story.

Luxo's an important film because it reminds us that emotions and story are far more important than innovative digital technique...something Dreamworks would do well to learn (they did with Shrek, but not much else).

I'm not too crazy about Pixar's brand of sentimentality, though; two minutes is about most I can stand. Finding Nemo's well-told, but give me the wild, anything-goes, nonsentimental quality of Spongebob and, come to think of it, Looney Tunes: Back in Action anytime.

greatbop: it's a 2 minute technical demo. that was that. facial expressions were next to nonexistent then too. the Ps2 could do a better job of rending the animation, too.

Oh rendering is nothing; that's a matter of how much money you want to throw at the computer. Luxor Jr. was important because for the first time, computer animation had a heart, it created characters, a mother and son, it created a delicate fairytale mood (using office desktop equipment) and it moved people.

And it did all this without facial expressions! That's the magic. Movement, the tilt of a lampshade, the slightest flicker of the power cable. Lasseter's artistry recalls an older art, that of puppetry, of bringing inanimate objects to life.

It's still one of the few pieces of computer-animation that can move people...one of the few pieces of computer animation that I actually like.

greatbop: i... c... so you're no fan of pixar.. no big deal.

No. Give me Studio Ghibli or Gainax anytime.


The Batman

Finally saw The Batman. The art looks suspiciously like that of the Jackie Chan cartoon series; the whole thing looks like it's pulling in the general direction of anime, maybe Korean anime (I should give the credits a closer look).

The series is set early in his career; Alfred isn't a grouchy old codger, but a grouchy young codger; the voice of our hero sounds younger, more vigorous. A lot of understated acting and meaningful looks.

And it's expensive. Lots of tricks used to suggest depth, like out-of-focus smoke or foreground object, and even some shots that look as if they used a multiplane camera (do they use multiplane nowadays, or is it all done by computer?). Lots of light effects. Motion blur. Pretty impressive, actually, except it doesn't seem to come together into a look, the way Burton's Batman movies did, or the succeeding animated series did (with far less elaborate animation, at that). And I miss Elfman's theme.


Eyes Wide Shut: the ending

From a_film_by:

Matthew Clayfield: which makes EYES WIDE SHUT, to my mind, the only Kubrick picture that ends on such a note of hope (albeit a slightly jaded and cautious one).

I had a rather different interpretation (similar to my reaction to the end of It's a Wonderful Life--the two come to similar
conclusions, come to think of it). If, thanks to Kidman's marijuana-induced moment of honesty, a whole world of erotic possibliites was opened up to Cruise, the rest of the movie was Kubrick's way of demonstrating (comically, magisterially) that that world wasn't open to him.

So when he finally comes back to Kidman and she says "let's fuck," it's not just an affirmation of their marriage; it's an invitation to possibly impregnate her, engender a child, further seal their marriage (and seal off Cruise's sexual freedom) all the more solidly, forever and ever, amen. Those two words are the sound of Cruise's velvet cage clanging shut.

Which may be why it's the one Kubrick film I've liked in a long time.

Kevin John: You don't think Cruise welcomes that invitation after such a horrible descent into hell?

Isn't that the worst part--that he's not only cut off from every avenue of escape, but has (like Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life) lost the will to even try?

It's hell because there's no fulfillment. Cruise is teased, seduced, led towards one tableau or the other, but when he's at the point that he might participate, the possibility is shut down, flat.

Death might be preferable.



Finished Louis Feuillade's Judex last night and it was lovely; much of it--the multicharactered, multistoried narrative--seems at the very least inspired by Victor Hugo. It's old-fashioned, but not in the embarrassing way Griffith can be old-fashioned--it's more evenly told. 

Interesting to note that Judex, a masculine, capable and undoubtedly virile man, is hemmed in at all sides by women--Jacqueline, with whom he falls in love; Diana Monti (dark-eyed Musidora--Irma Vep in Feuillade's Les Vampires), his antagonist; and his own mother, with whom he pleads to be released from his sworn oath. He's helped by the men--his brother, Cocantin, that delightful Licorice Kid (a gamin if ever I saw one). 

There was one moment that threw me off: a girl (Cocantin's fiance) dives off the ship to try recover Diana Monti, and when the ship docks, Cocantin asks about her, and Judex shrugs him off! Tad callous, I thought, even if it was the punchline of a quick joke; she had helped him at one point. He could at least wonder where she went. 

Kerjean and Cocantin seem like variations on Judex's theme--one's fate veers towards total tragedy, the other towards total happiness. Judex is relieved (or should be) to get what he does get, a measure of both. 

The power structure too is interesting: Favreaux lords it over lesser (and poorer) beings until he's kidnapped; Judex wields power over Favreaux until he falls for Jacqueline, Favreaux's daughter; Jacqueline, who is forever being assaulted, bound, and kidnapped at one point or another, wields the ultimate power, of love, over both Favreux and Judex.



Johnnie To's Lifeline is fifty minutes of shameless melodrama sprinkled with a handful of tautly directed rescue sequences, attached to forty-five minutes of the most massive, intricate, fiendishly plotted "firefighters escape burning building" sequence ever created (it adds to the thrills that Hong Kong doesn't have nowhere near the same safety standards as the United States, either in fire prevention or in filmmaking). This thing makes Backdraft and Ladder 49 look like marshmallow roasts--can't get the image out of my mind of the firefighters groping around in the building's dark belly, when suddenly the huge air ducts that line the ceiling start belching a thick snowfall of sinister dust and ash. You wonder if the firemen are insured against what they are in danger of breathing; then you wonder if the actors are...

If not for the first fifty minutes I'd call this one of To's best, but even the melodrama wasn't that bad--To whips them along nicely, and the actors play their cliched roles as if they've never seen a firefighter flick in their life (who knows?).


Edgar Ulmer on a budget

Just saw Edgar Ulmer's Pirates of Capri, about the pirate Sirocco (Louis Hayward), who raids the ships of Queen Carolina (Binnie Barnes) the same time he doubles as Count Amalfi, Carolina's favorite courtier, and am I exaggerating matters a bit much if I say this is at least as enjoyable as--and perhaps more visually interesting than--The Adventures of Robin Hood? Louis Hayward affects what sounds like a Spanish accent (actually, he's supposed to be Italian) when masked as Captain Sirocco and the oddest titter this side of Steve Buscemi (or do I mean Beavis?) when playing Count Amalfi ("You're very talented, Amalfi!" "Thangk kew! Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh!").

Ulmer juggles a somewhat complicated plot that throws together revolutionary fervor, talk about social reform, and intricate court intrigues, making room along the way for grand ball scenes, a breathtaking escape (Hayward or his stunt double--but Shirley Ulmer claims Edgar always made his actors do their own stunts--drops down what looks like a hundred-foot building in 24 seconds), and a massive palace takeover scene straight out of the French Revolution (this is the Revolution with a happier ending).

You'd think Ulmer, used to four-day shoots on zero budgets in films like Detour, would be lost in a production this big, but he directs as confidently as Cecil B. DeMille, using the sumptous costumes and gorgeous sets (built in the legendary Cinecitta Studios) to give the film a luxurious texture, at the same time employing noir shadows, crisp editing, and odd camera angles to keep you alert, visually stimulated.

It's full of sly moments of character revelation (Amalfi in a carriage with his Countess orders soldiers with spears to charge a gang of unarmed convicts, showing that Amalfi (or Sirocco, in posing as the Count) has his ruthless side, while the Countess, disgusted with the charge, has her softhearted side). Hayward's Sirocco is remarkably likeable, even with the vocal eccentricities (or is it because of them?): he has an easy Bruce Wayne/Alfred Pennyworth chemistry with his loyal aide Pepino (Mikhail Rasumny), and real erotic tension opposite the Countess Mercedes de Lopez (Mariella Lotti), who despises the Count she's forcibly engaged to, the same time she's secretly in love with the pirate. There's a surprisingly complex treatment of Queen Carolina--Sirocco believes that she's a kindheartedwoman frightened and out of her depths, and insists on protecting her from the revolution (the same time he's mounting it). He's trying to play the game both ways, attacking from without, eating away from within, not just because it's effective, but because he's a believer in both sides--in the justice of the people's cause, and in the goodness of the queen (you wonder if maybe there isn't a love quadrangle here--Amalfi loves the Countess loves Sirocco loves the Queen). Ulmer doesn't stint in giving us the complexity of the problem Sirocco/Amalfi's solving, the same time he manages to make us believe in the hero's confident, surefooted (he has to be, the slightest slip and he could be hanged as a traitor or shot as a reactionary) way towards a solution. Wonderful, surprisingly intelligent fun.


House of Wax

Saw Andre de Toth's House of Wax. Wonderful fun, especially with Vincent Price's velvet-voiced villain (a wronged villain, something--I'm not sure, but I seem to remember it that way--he often liked to play (well, there was the Phibes movies)) and Charles Bronson perfectly cast as his mute assistant (lovely touch there, where the camera pans past a row of grotesque wax heads, then zooms in to point out Bronson's among them--a shot parodied in Young Frankenstein).

The subtext seems to be the transient nature of art, and the inverse manner in which it is received by its audience. Price's character (which seems to borrow elements, even images, from The Phantom of the Opera) starts out as a genuine if unsuccessful artist; when the fire burns his prized waxworks, he continues as some kind of horrible but commercially triumphant parody, ingenious in the way he continues his trade, but with something essentially perverse, essentially false under the surface success (funny--what makes him a false artist is that he uses real material for his art). What ruins him is the temptation to reach out once more, to recreate a past masterpiece (his beloved Marie Antoinette), to become, however fleetingly, an artist again (As a final stroke of irony, he becomes, in effect, what he strives to achieve).

Of course, de Toth had to make concessions to the 3-D effect. Some of the staging is painfully odd (the fainting lady, the fencers) some of it, I'm guessing (not having the necessary glasses), must have been a startling success (the swinging pinata, the skeleton turning its hand, the hanged man in the elevator cage).


Philip Kaufman

From The Forum With No Name:

On Kaufman:

Simply put, I love his filmmaking. He's got an eye, he knows how to cut, and best of all, he gives his films a wonderful, voluptuous texture, a lot like De Palma (tho not as showy). They're great to look at, at least.

I thought his putting the Invasion of the Body Snatchers story in an urban setting cast the whole story in a new light--if these aliens can win in a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business, and it's easy to spot a strange move, how much easier would it be to conquere a city? Plus, Kaufman's Invasion is funnier, and done in that inimitable style.

He's not perfect; I don't like his "European" films as much; I prefer it when he subverts some genre film (science fiction, film noir, historical epics). Too bad about Twisted.


Still More Kong

David, there's an interpretation of Kong I keep hearing about (well, Kael mentions it in her review of the remake), that Kong represents the black man--wild, then fettered, then unleashed--and I suppose his fascination for white women. I think I can see some basis for that kind of reading, and that the filmmakers tended to play up this angle in a sort of 'horror of miscagenation' way (that sex with a black man, savage, ape, is horrifying). What do you think? Does it impair your enjoyment of the film?

David Ehrenstein: Well the black angle is very obviously there, for films is all about a white woman being kidnapped in order to be raped.

Except that Kong can't rape he because he has no penis.

We don't see one, true.

Science Fiction writer Philip Jose Farmer (now there's a pervert) wrote a short story ("After King Kong Fell," nominated for a Nebula in 1973) speculating about what happened after the end of the film. Denham was sued, bankrupted, and eventually murdered by one of the island natives, who never forgave him for taking their god; Ann sued Driscoll for 'promises not kept,' which had New York abuzz: what kind of promises? Farmer points out that the gorilla's penis is an inch long when angry, which makes it physically impossible for him to rape a human woman...only with a gorilla forty feet tall, proportionately speaking you're talking about a twelve-incher, to which Farmer concludes 'we may never know.'

Doc Savage makes a quick appearance. Well, it is his territory, after all...



More Kong, The Most Dangerous Game, Joel McCrea

David Ehrenstein: Noel, are you familiar with The Most Dangerous Game ? It was shot at the same time on the same jungle set with the same Fay Wray.

Ted Fontenot: And with a very young Joel McCrea in the lead. It's all hokum, but, taken for what it is, very enjoyable.

Wray and McCrea appeared together in the excellent little comedy The Richest Girl in the World although it is really a pairing of McCRea and Miriam Hopkins. Wray is sort of a foil/bestfriend/stooge. I highly recommend it. Good story executed and acted well. My other favorite McCrea and Hopkins collaboration is Woman Chases Man. Another screwball comedy, need it be said.

That was an very good review of King Kong. I started to see it the other night on TCM but didn't finish. I haven't seen it all the way through in years. You reminded me that I need to finish up on that re-viewing. You're right, it could have been titled, Kong: The Tragedy of.

David: I love McCrea with Jean Arthur in The More the Merrier, and above all Sullivan's Travels and The Palm Beach Story.

He was the best.

Ted: Yes, he works fine with Arthur and Colbert (even V. Lake). I like the way he does the man/woman repartee in those movies you mention, David. Not to mention, the authenic sexual heat he generates and seems to bring out in the leading ladies. The stoop scene in Merrier and the massage scene in The Palm Beach Story are remarkably similar in the sexual texture and tenor.

Indeed, he brought some sass to his role in Foreign Correspondent, which came out right around the same time as those other movies, that isn't necessarily in the script or direction. Gary Cooper was who Hitchcock wanted, I understand, but Cooper, who although I'm a big fan of, definitely wouldn't have brought that sort of All-American boy verve and (yes) ingenuousness to the role.

David: Joel McCrea's magic was that he really looked and acted like someone you know. You could imagine meeting him and having a perfectly ordianry conversation with him. The same can't be said of Cooper who while "salt of the earth" was emotionally remote. That's why he worked so well opposite Dietrich in Morocco.

On Kong:

Just learned that Obie--Willis O'Brien--was a boxer. Hah. I caught that, or at least the sense that he knew something about hand-to-hand combat.

I've seen The Most Dangerous Game and liked it, David, even heard the story that they shared sets and star, even that the giant wall set was a leftover from De Mille's King of Kings (figures; it has De Mille's sense of scale). Kind of like the short story better, but it was clean and efficient, and effective for its time.

On McCrea:

I loved him most because what ever he did, he did quietly. He was the master of understatement and of effortlessness (what Grant employed to present glamour McCrea employed to present a number of things--naive idealism; hardwon honor; what have you). And I do think one of the highlight performances of his career was Ride the High Country.




King Kong (1933)

(plot discussed in detail)

Saw King Kong again after--ten? twelve?--years, and better still, recorded it. Crummy VHS copy, but that's better than staring wistfully at the Netflix link to the Jessica Lange remake.

What can I say? It's a thriller, built to tell its story as fast as possible. The first few scenes are there to do nothing except hammer home several plot points: that the expedition's destination is "mysterious," that the crew is "tough," and that they're armed with rifles and plenty of "gas grenades." Only the scenes with actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) really stand out (almost in contrast)--that haunting fog-shrouded moment when she reaches out for an apple (is she stealing it or buying it?), and the extended scene where, decked out in her Beauty costume, she receives instructions from film director Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) to look terrified, so terrified that she can't scream, and if she covered her eyes maybe she can let one out. She covers her eyes; she screams (as only Fay Wray could); and then (delicious, delicious touch) First Mate Jack Driscoll (tough guy Bruce Cabot) flinches, not out of fear, but out of fear for her (two character details, one an important plot development, revealed in a single moment).

I love it that when on Skull Island they gradually learn that the native ritual they stumble into is a wedding, the girl in the middle is the bride, and left it at that; I love it that Ann keeps saying she's glad to be on the trip, that she's glad Driscoll couldn't keep her on the boat, and when she finally is the star of the night, abducted by the natives and offered to their god, the look on her face is as much pleasurable thrill as it is terror. Kong's subtext is kidnap and rape (and wild, bestial (and interracial) sex), and that's what gives much of what happens its lurid charge (that was the mistake of the remake; it put everything in romantic soft-focus). This was a big family hit back in the '30s, right? Can you imagine all the young boys (wonder if it was as popular with girls?) being exposed to stuff like this?

And when the monsters finally come out--okay, forget that herbivores shouldn't just charge without provocation (I'm looking at you, Stegosaurus), but Kong's battles with the various animals are actually well-thought-out sequences. When he faces off with the T-Rex, it's two wide-stanced wrestlers angling for the best hold, the T-Rex trying to reach with his long neck over Kong's thick back with his razor teeth, Kong continually trying to push the Rex off-balance by grabbing at one of his powerful feet (at one point he uses a judo throw) and landing bone-crunching punches; he finally uses his definitive advantage--his arms--and climbs on the Rex's back, and--did I mention how violent this movie is?--rips his jaws apart. Less elaborate but even more ingenious is how he deals with the whiplike Plesiosaurus--by cracking him like a whip.

And of course, there's that little after-battle detail we all love Kong for--cradling his conquest in his arms, examining their limp necks for signs of life, he drops the corpse, beats a tattoo on his chest and roars his triumph and approval. "I am Kong! Hear me roar!" he is undoubtedly saying, but he could as easily be saying "This is the life! Man, this is the life!"

Then there's his private session with Ann--it isn't just that he sniffs her clothes, he tickles her and she can't help but respond, kicking out her shapely legs; to top it off, he sniffs his fingers after tickling her (Kong has a scent fetish). Did I mention wondering how all the boys in the audience must be taking all this?

Finally there's the finale atop the Empire State: Ann is at the base of the domed top (this was before they attached the TV antenna), and Kong is hanging on to the dirigible docking post, puzzled at why he's so hurt. He picks up Ann; puts her down, then looks (the ambiguity is thrilling) like he's nuzzling her, almost affectionately; if you  hadn't been conquered by his frowning at all the blood on his chest, you must have succumbed to this (either that or you just ain't looking). It's perfect that Ann never reciprocates, never returns his affections; this is Kong's tragedy, not hers (Jessica Lang is a pretty good actress, but that her character can grow to love a monster like that is not just a huge stretch of credibility, it's soft-headed). 

His final gesture just before he falls--why, he's hamming it up, raising his arm in the air like Caruso about to sing his final aria, or Hamlet about to take a bow. Cut to a long shot of a patently fake dummy plummeting to its death. That it looks fake is immaterial; you need that plummet, because that's exactly what you feel like doing in response to Kong's fate; that sexist, brutal, murderous bastard has committed the final crime of stealing your heart.


Cinema One Originals looking for a dream film proposal

Helping a friend spread the word on this. Anyone interested should email Ronald Arguelles at Ronald_Arguelles@abs.pinoycentral.com, there are two attachments he needs to send you.

Here's the letter:

Cinema One, the premiere Filipino movie channel has always believed in the unique vision and innate gift of the Filipino filmmaker. As a leading proponent of Filipino films we are aware that there is a wealth of talent out there just looking for the perfect break, opportunity or venue to showcase their craft.

In light of this, Cinema One is launching an exciting new project that will give Filipino filmmakers the funding and impetus to create original full-length features in digital video format. The chosen commissioned works will then be aired both locally and internationally under the Cinema One Originals banner.
To this end, we would like to invite you to submit proposals, including all information specified in guidelines to the following address:

Office of the Programming Director
Creative Programs, Inc. (CPI)
10th Floor, ELJ Communications Center Building
Eugenio Lopez Drive, 1103, Quezon City

or you can submit thru email with all the requirement indicated in
the attached guidelines to

With your participation and support, we see “Cinema One Originals” as an on-going, long running series that will not only put much needed focus on Filipino films and filmmakers but will also expose, inform and educate our Cinema One audiences to the wide and wonderful spectrum of Philippine movies, available for their viewing pleasure.

Respectfully yours,

Ronald Arguelles
Director of Programming

Attached Application Form and Guidelines

Cinema One Originals Guidelines

1. All filmmakers are eligible to join Cinema One Originals - the commercial or the non-commercial, the young or the seasoned.

2. Interested parties must be able to accomplish and/or submit the following on or before Oct. 15, 2004, Friday, 5pm,
to the
Cinema One Originals Secretariat,
CPI Programming office, 10th floor,
ELJ Communications Center Building,
Eugenio Lopez Drive,Quezon City:

a. a duly accomplished application form
b. a synopsis in either English or Filipino
c. a brief resume
d. two (2) recent 2X2 photos of the filmmaker/s
e. samples of previous work dubbed in VHS, CD, or DVD

3. The Cinema One Originals Secretariat will choose eight (8) qualifying proposals by Oct 18, 2004.
Formal announcement of accepted proposals will be made on October 20, 2004.

4.The final produced digital films must be submitted in DVD format on or before January 12, 2005, 5pm,
to the Cinema One Originals Secretariat (see the address above).
The submissions should be labeled properly with the following information:

a. title of the film
b. production company address
c. contact numbers of the filmmaker/s
d. full name of the director
e. running time

5. The preferred running time of the digital production should be anywhere from a minimum of ninety (90) minutes
to a maximum of one hundred-twenty (120) minutes.

6. Narrative features, as well as full-length documentaries, will be accepted—so long as they fall into the inclusive time restriction.

7. A total of eight (8) finalists will be selected. Creative Programs, Inc. (CPI) will award to the chosen fillmakers a total production grant of six hundred thousand pesos (P600,000.00) per project.

8. All eight (8) finalists will be required to attend a one-day briefing with the project organizers, the date of which shall be announced accordingly.

9. Fifteen (15) days after the announcement of the finalists, the filmmakers should submit the following to the Cinema One Originals Secretariat (see the address above):

a. the full screenplay and/or a detailed treatment
b. production schedule
c. production budget and counterpart financial plan

10. The release of the project fund will be as follows: 50% of the P500,000 production budget upon signing of the agreement with CPI, 50% of the P500,000 production budget fund based on the submitted production budget requirement. One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000) will be given to the filmmaker or production group upon submission of the final product.

11. By January 05, 2005, the filmmakers of the qualifying proposals should submit the following miscellaneous requirements:
a. production stills
b. behind-the-scenes footages
c. a one-minute trailer
d. production credits

12. Announcement willbmade early next year for the screening or film festival of the eight (8) qualifying films.

13. The filmmakers and the major cast/actors of each feature production are obliged to participate in the promotion of the project.

Cinema One Originals Rules and Regulations

1. Only entries by certified Filipino citizens shall be accepted.

2. Employees of ABS-CBN, Creative Programs, Inc. (CPI), and their affiliates are disqualified from joining the competition.

3. All entries must be completely original and independently produced (i.e., not produced by commercial outfits).

4. Entries that have been previously exhibited in any public screening will be deemed ineligible.

5. All entries must be in digital video format (i.e., digital editing and postproduction).

6. Two (2) DVD copies must be submitted for screening and archival purposes.

7. Due to copyright laws, the music used in the digital entries must be original, licensed, or in the public domain.

8. Dialogue should primarily be in Filipino but may occasionally include English or other Filipino dialects, provided that the production has Filipino subtitles.

9. For joint directorial efforts, the filmmakers must assign a single representative to act on their behalf. All official correspondence shall then be addressed to the representative. The organizing committee shall not be held responsible for any controversy that might ensue amongst the partners regarding the sharing of the production grant/budget, cash prizes if a contest will be mounted on the project launching next year, and the like.

10. The Cinema One Originals Secretariat will ensure the safety of the films throughout the period in which the cinematographic materials are in its custody. In case of print loss or damage, CPI is obligated only for the cost of replacing the damaged DVD.

11. DVD shipments to the Cinema One Originals Secretariat/CPI must be prepaid. The organizing office shall not accept any collect shipments of any entry.

12. CPI or Cinema One (the host channel) reserves all the intellectual rights to show and distribute all eight (8) full-length features in their perpetuity.

The Parson's Widow (Carl Dreyer)

Dreyer's second film and, believe it or not, a comedy, and a funny one too. Young theologian Sofren (Einar Rod) wants to marry Mari (Greta Almroth), but her father won't allow it until he has a decent position as a parson; he gets his chance at a small village, with one catch--he has to marry old Margarete (Hildur Carlberg) the former parson's widow. Sofren agrees, thinking Margarete hasn't many years left to her, but then she's already buried three of her husbands...

The film doesn't have too much of Dreyer's distinctive visual style; if anything, it has almost everything else Dreyer lacked (or shed) in his later films--a (relative) lightheartedness, a (fairly) swift stortelling pace, a (rather grotesque) sense of humor. The moment when Margarete asks guilelessly if Sofren already has a girlfriend and he stares at her, slack-jawed, is priceless; so is the moment when Sofren, beguiled by a glass of schnapps (possibly drugged) and a (mouthwatering) piece of herring, mistakens Margarete for an attractive young girl and proposes to her. Some moments of slapstick, as when Sofren is beaten up, or when he flirts at who he thinks is Mari but turns out to Margarete's old-maid servant are funny, but seem to suggest an unsettling flavor to Danish humor--often deadpan cruel, even violent.

A small complaint: this being his second film, you can hardly expect Dreyer to be the master of all aspects of filmmaking. I thought he relies too heavily on intertitles to tell his story, myself, at least this particular story--you don't see that fondness for text in his later Master of the House, least of all in his silent masterpiece, The Passion of Joan.

The final passages, where Margarete finds herself contemplating life in all its awful and wonderful complexity, are intensely moving. I might add tenderness and sweet acceptance as some of the qualities I'd never expect to find in a Dreyer film.



Fahrenheit's 59 deceits (Kopel's exaggerating, of course)

  From Pinoyexchange:

quote: Originally posted by Lucius

59 Deceits in Fahrenheit 911

Read it. Some of it is spot-on on Moore; he does tend to take footage or information and warp it to his purposes.

On the other hand, a good deal of those "deceits" are nitpicking. Documentary filmmakers since Robert Flaherty have either staged or massaged their images or details to help make a stronger case. If the basic idea is accurate, well...

And Kopel goes overboard with some of the attacks (well, going overboard seems the name of the game here). Deceits, fine, but cheap shots? What's wrong with them and so what if Moore uses them?

Kopel also flies in the face of what's known at certain points. No, despite all of Kopel's insisting and presenting thin evidence, Saddam has no direct connection with 9/11; no, invading Iraq was not an urgent priority or next step for the USA. Kopel makes a fairly good case, overall, but he destroys it by overselling (again, admittedly, the name of the game both Kopel and Moore--and Bush, for that matter--are playing here).


No end to the Passion!

From the online edition of BigO Magazine, fan mail regarding my article on Mel Gibson's snuff flick (The Passion of the Christ)

Excerpt (my replies in red):

> On the subject on The Passion Of Christ, all these talk about it being anti-semitic and not being accurate enough... I think those who are saying these just TOTALLY missed the point of the film. It's like seeing a few black little dots on a corner of a huge whiteboard.

Why, any great evil will look good if you stand back far enough. Hitler, Mao, Stalin, basically their message and intent was the upliftment of their respective peoples. When you look at the general outline of their rhetoric, it's all noble sentiments and beautiful ideas. It's in the details... the little black dots you spoke so disparagingly of... that their true nature is revealed.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Fahrenheit 9/11 article, temporary link (good until Thursday night next week)