Filipino Film Festival in New York

I've known this for some time yet put it off till now; I hope my late post isn't too late.

All the Brocka and Bernal films are worth watching, but Brocka's Makiusap sa Diyos is at best well-made melodrama with a wooden actress in the forefront. Likewise more recent efforts: Naglalayag features the Philippines' finest actress, Nora Aunor, being pretty good, if not at her best; Magnifico features a script by a Japanese writer that has a nice understated quality--no loud histrionics, no high drama, just ordinary life with a touch of humor, a touch of (for want of a better word) enchantment; Sakay is the first feature length film of Raymond Red, whom Tony Rayns (and I agree with him) considers an extraordinary filmmaker (his best works are shorts; this one moves slow, but has a hypnotic pull to it).

But the priority films I'd say are the following:

Relasyon (Relation): Ishmael Bernal's finely wrought low-key kitchen-sink drama, about a woman having an affair with a married man. June 14 at 5.30

Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (You Were Judged and Found Wanting): Lino Brocka's first great film, a cross between I Vitelloni and The Last Picture Show, but infused with Brocka's sense of neorealist urgency. Not just important artistically, important historically: this was the film that signalled the beginning of the '70s golden age of Philippine cinema. With a great performance (and script) by Brocka's collaborator, Mario O'Hara. June 10 at 9.30, June 11 at 3.

Batang West Side (West Side Avenue): Lav Diaz's 5 hour epic, about a Filipino-American community in West Side Avenue, Jersey City. Diaz's masterpiece, I think (even over "Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino"), one of two great films made A.B. (After Brocka), and the film to see if you can see only one. June 16, 6 pm.

To confirm schedules and venue, check their website:

Imaginasian Filipino Film Festival

And for Batang West Side's sked, try this link

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