Revisiting an old piece

I realized that back in March, I anticipated a critique made of a recent Cinemalaya film (the response to which I have re-posted on this blog), and this was during the time I was more closely tied to another side of the musical divide, if you will. (The aspect of the critique I anticipated, a classic Marxist theme, was about the means of production.) What changed?

In one sense, not much. I told a friend that the one critique that had not been raised was the one that dealt with the privileging of a particular independent scene over the others. (Eventually, a left-wing cinephile took up this point in the context of the perceived absence of films set in the punk scene in Manila.) The point was driven home by another colleague from GMA News Online, who reminded a visiting German friend that there was more than one indie music scene in Manila and some of them wouldn’t have anything to do with the others.

The thing that did change though was that I watched Ang Nawawala and I had a chance, some time before that, to hear what Marie Jamora and Ramon de Veyra and others involved had to say. I began to understand why Vinny Tagle’s defense focused on why the “class divide” issue did not matter to the film as it stood. (Another left-wing feminist critic angrily dismissed as “insensitive to the flood victims” even if the article was [quietly!] posted on Pinoy Weekly just as the storm was breaking out.)

Yet what I wrote in March of this year still has some truth. I may as well quote anew what I had to say at the time:

The downside is that as we form connections, the choice must come as to whom we must include or exclude. And no matter how we may make claims to be inclusive or welcoming, there are limits to inclusivity…. The trouble with exclusion is that the choice often takes on an emotive/personal quality, one that shatters relationships, and that is crucial in our context in a greater way than elsewhere.

Eerily prophetic.

And the point came home to me over the weekend when I learned that the Ang Nawawala after-party will not be the only thing going on at the Collective this weekend. Yet I will be happy to be at the after-party. I admit that notwithstanding whatever residual idealism I have, there is something to be said for the kind of music that will be playing at that event.

Someone recently reminded me that one must separate the music from the musicians, but I do feel that this can only happen with the distance of time. For now, let me put it this way. The musicians playing at the after-party are people I respect and appreciate for several reasons. One of these is that they knew not to compromise, but were honest if they did. More importantly, in the words of the title of an upcoming album by one of those bands, they decided to say, “Tama na ang drama.”

And that, dear reader, is why I managed to make a course correction.

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