1. I will be writing an essay for my old online outfit–a return engagement if you will–about Ang Nawawala, so I will not write a review here about it. I re-posted Vinny Tagle’s review from We Talk About Movies on this blog a few moments ago, and I suggest reading that, along with Mara Coson’s own comments.
Needless to say, I have nothing but thanks for Marie Jamora, Ramon de Veyra, and the team behind the film.
I urge everyone to watch not only this film but the others in Cinemalaya. The films are worth supporting, but I do think that at some point the festival itself has to change. That point might very well be now. But the cultural, economic, and media status quo that we have makes this a Herculean task. (Preferably the one about clearing the Augean stables.)
2. Speaking of cultural agendas, one of the two things noteworthy about Raymond Red’s Kamera Obscura is its willingness to talk about the need to preserve our film heritage. To drive the point home, the film is book-ended by mock video footage featuring some of the country’s film historians, including Teddy Co. (His presence at arts events makes them, for me, less tedious than they sometimes are.) They claim to have discovered a hitherto unknown silent film of supposedly unknown origin–which is the film within the film.
The film itself is a technical marvel (which is the other noteworthy thing), and I agree that it took a while for technology to catch up with the high concept. I do admit I was a little unimpressed with the socio-political allegory, which was in some parts quite blatant, and I found the ending a little baffling at first. (It took me five minutes to figure out its meaning and the referent.)
I think Red was as much concerned about making a “love letter” to the craft of making movies as he was trying to drive home a point or two. The references to other films, most notably old silent pictures and even other film classics, would make for a good guessing-game for cinema buffs.
However, I do hope they get around to fixing the subtitles. Just a minor point, but since the festival circuit would be happy to have Red around….
3. This week, I will be at the festival to watch, among others, The Animals. I have read early feedback from other festival-goers and I am very curious as to why they viewed this film the way they did. I do intend to keep on writing throughout the week.
Incidentally, I fully expect The Animals to have a different soundtrack from Ang Nawawala. As much as these are two sides of the same social sphere, there are different musical worlds that emerge in these films. I hope I could say more about that in the full review.