Monthly Archives: July 2012

When everyone else is watching the Batman movie,

I was at Cinemalaya to see three gala premieres. Warning: This is heavy on spoilers. If you’re planning to watch, I do not encourage you to read past this sentence so feel free to skip this and read on my past posts. ūüėõ

  • Ang Nawawala – This is indie film + indie music + vinyl records + vintage cameras + joint. I therefore like it but not as much as I like Rakenrol. This is a story about a boy meets girl, but you should know upfront that this is not a love story. Yes, a reminder to 500 Days of Summer, it is. Quite predictable that the boy¬†with¬†a¬†self-inflicted selective mutism will utter his first words like “I love you” to his girl of interest. I feel like the reason for the boy’s choosing not to speak could have been shown in a much stronger sense as well as his love-induced breaking of silence after 10 years. I wish the growing love between Gibson and Enid was made more intense to credit an “I love you” as his first words. The film was not bad at all, the reasons were there, to/for me, it just had to be clearer. But more importantly you have to see the film yourself to find “What Isn’t There”.¬†
  • Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino – Although I love tahong (especially when grilled), I didn’t expect to like a film shot in a tahungan. It is a love story without the conventional exchange of sweet nothings save for the last scene. Intoy is a hardworking mussel harvester while Doray is a simple girl turned¬†whore prostitute to provide for her sisters. His slightly-holded-up and coy love for her was perfectly delivered. I like that they made their first romantic scene well-anticipated and almost didn’t happen until the end, when Doray admittedly avoided him to prevent him from acquiring her incurable and infectious disease.
  • Kamera Obskura – This is about how a camera works and dirty politics combined, obscure combination noh? Juan was trapped in an enclosed dark room until one day he discovered a small hole that allows him to see the life outside as¬† invertedly¬†projected on the wall. He eventually made a bigger hole out of it enough for him to escape. In a camera store he came across a magical camera that forced itself to him to hold, merely replacing his right hand. Rival political parties discovered him and his camera’s ability to absorb bad people so he was being urged each to run for councilor here and there. With the usage of the terms “pabaon”, “boksingero ng bayan” and “tuwid na daan”, one could easily identify the stinking inspiration to this movie. I forgot to mention, that this is a silent film.

It was so worth braving the stormy weather for these three. Oh no, I think I’m dropping my tickets for all these films, it’s such a pain to pick just one. Sigh. I’m in it again tomorrow, tara!

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Quest for the Best Ramen: Omakase

Good morning early birds! Feels good to wake up early in the morning like this. Duh, so fake. Of course this is on queue. I must still be lying flat on my stomach dead asleep at this time of the day. I just wanted to write something about my quest for the best ramen in the world! Yes, I should be in Japan, but my world is confined in Metro Manila so let’s start with Omakase in Greenhills. No laughing please.

Since we started faking this, I mean, I started with faking my wakefulness, might as well deceive you again. Whut? Let’s pretend that this is my first attempt in search for the best-tasting ramen there is, okay? I regret that I didn’t write about the past ramen-tasting sessions(?) but since I just numbered this first, then I must create a second and so on.

Quest of the Best Ramen #1 

  • Restaurant:¬†Omakase (where I allegedly lost my precious films, huhu.)
  • Branch:¬†Greenhills
  • Ramen of Choice:¬†Shoyu Ramen

Presentation: The soup is not So Hott. If it’s a big bowl of soup, isn’t it supposed to be caution-worthy hot? Yes it’s a big bowl of ramen they served, but not the biggest I’ve ever downed. Nyaha. (I shouldn’t be comparing, this is truly a fake first attempt.) Speaking of bowls, theirs is quite thick that could have helped keep the freshly-cooked feel had it been served, again, So Hott. Bottomline, I want my ramen as super hot as to melt a thermometer. Verdict: 3 out of 5 pairs of chopsticks.

Taste: Shoyu ramen is very common, it’s like a generic kind of ramen if there is such. Correct me if I’m wrong but as far as I can remember, Shoyu is just what the soup is called, just the base, the broth. In Omakase, Shoyu ramen is topped with chicken, fish cake, hard-boiled egg and a few leaves. The soup was so tasty and I can attest that there is no hint of Knorr cubes. Verdict: 4 out of 5 pairs of chopsticks.

Service: Their team is not well-trained in customer service. The restaurant was a little more than half full but the service crew were already confused on who’s to attend to whom. Our bowls were not placed directly before us. I feel like although it wasn’t a hard work pulling our bowls from the far end of the table, it is still considerably uncourteous to just leave the food without even asking which is for whom. Verdict: This is 3 out of 5 pairs of chopsticks.

Ambience: I like the wall papers and the lamps. The couch is comfy. The interiors looked like it was intended for little Japanese girls but the lighting was a little dim for it. I like it like that!Verdict: 5 out of 5 pairs of chopsticks.

Price: Price range for ramen is around 195-245 per bowl. (I will get back to you on this, I’m not so sure.) Price is just right. Verdict: 4 out of 5 pairs of chopsticks.


A Guide to Cinemalaya 2012 at CCP Theaters

July 20—Cinemalaya 2012 will open with the film by Mario O’Hara entitled¬†Babae sa Breakwater¬†as a tribute to the late filmmaker who¬†succumbed¬†to Leukemia a few weeks ago. To those who haven’t seen the film and will not be able to make it to CCP this Friday,¬†poor you¬†you can watch a poor copy of the film¬†here.¬†

 

Cinemalaya has added its screening venues to—I think—reach out to more people who find traveling to CCP as too much effort just to see low-budget films. Or rather the more obvious, to increase their sales. It will now also be shown in two theaters in Greenbelt 3 (from just one last year), and one in Trinoma. However, this is a guide to watching Cinemalaya at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, because for one, you won’t need a guide if it’s in the malls, and two, the spirit of the festival is more felt in the main venue. At the CCP lobby, you’ll find posters of the competing films with photographs and the most remarkable mementos from the film like a maroon gown from Mayohan, a fake plastic halo-halo from Pink Halo-Halo and an orange campaign vest from Vox Populi. Cocktail party food (used to) be/is served too.

 

Here I’m supposed to make a guide in watching Cinemalaya films at CCP so before I lose track, let’s start.

 

Read the screening summary and watch the trailers and be able to identify favorites just by them (or research some more, your call). If you plan to watch all of them, rank them from the best to worst.  

  • Screening Summary in PDF here.
  • Trailer Round-up from lagarista.com here.¬†

 

Plot your favorites on the schedule of film screenings.  You prioritize gala presentations of your better list, you won’t regret that I swear. You can get a hard copy of the schedule from every corner of the CCP. 

  • Schedule of Film Screenings in PDF here.¬†

 

Know the theaters. Why we need to know or at least get an inkling on the seating capacity of a theater is because firstly, it will determine the volume of tickets sold for each screening. Through the years of watching, I have developed a phobia on sold-out screenings. Give yourself a slack. Cinemalaya is no longer unknown to many. In fact, ticket sales skyrocketed to over 50,000 last year, the highest recorded so far. With the swarming of mainstream actors and actresses in the festival this year, the likes of Judy Ann Santos, Dennis Trillo, Jodie Sta. Maria, etc., it is expected to be record-breaking in terms of sales and heart-breaking in terms of crowd control.  Secondly, familiarizing yourself with the CCP theaters will let you identify which venue is most comfortable for you. If you like crowds and wide screens, choose the big theaters. For more intimate setting choose the smaller ones. Here are the CCP theaters sorted by seating capacity.  

 

Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo or the CCP Main Theater 

  • The largest of the theaters. It is advised (by me) that you select a seat anywhere in the orchestra to get a better view. Else, extend and strain your neck the whole time at the balcony. I’m not so sure about this, I may just be a little short in height, I don’t know. There are also boxes hanging left and right if you notice. I haven’t seen them used ever by the audience, although I see “CCP Authorized Personnel” or some sort getting in and out of it¬†occasionally.¬†
  • This is the theater you’ll first see when you use the ramp on either side of the water fountain to the entrance. The giant wooden sliding door at the center is the main entrance to the Main Theater.¬†
  • Relevance to Cinemalaya: This is where Cinemalaya opens and closes the festival every year. Therefore,¬†Babae sa Breakwater¬†will be shown here and the awards night will be held here as well. All gala presentations are screened here too. I suggest that you choose as much gala presentations as you can, or as deemed fit to your sched. Not only that the tickets are less-likely to be sold-out, but it’ll allow you to hear it from the directors, writers, actors themselves before or after the screening. It’s more like a “premiere night” as called in the mainstream.¬†

Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino or The Little Theater

  • I think the capacity of this theater is less than half of the Main Theater. The first time I’ve been here was when I saw the play¬†“Ang Mga Huwad”¬†an adaptation of the novel The Pretenders by my favorite National Artist, F. Sionil Jose. Just a short addition to that, the playwright was Rody Vera, the Virgin Labfest festival director until last year.
  • This one-level theater is perfect for theater plays that require ample space for actors to move but not sacrificing the¬† good¬†audience-to-actors proximity. The screen is still relatively big for film screenings, but not as wide as what you’re used to at mall cinemas.¬†

Tanghalang Huseng Batute or The Studio Theater

  • It‚Äôs a two-level theater, often used for experimental plays like Virgin Labfest. Fairly small but its variable seats are used practically to make adjustments for whatever the production requires. So in film showings, the stage is replaced by a few comfortable seats with additional monobloc chairs to maximize the space. While the bleachers, though looks moveable, have always been fixed to their places ever since. The latest Cinemalaya entry‚Äôs ¬†I‚Äôve seen here were¬†Ranchero¬†and¬†Ang Paglilitis Kay Andres Bonifacio.

 

Tanghalang Manuel Conde or Dream Theater

  • It‚Äôs comparable to half the size of an average classroom, much smaller than Huseng Batute. Trivia: This is where Eiga Sai or the Japanese Film Festival used to be shown back in the olden days when most viewers were Nihongo students and Japanese nationals. There were no falling in long lines here; viewers barely full the theater.
  • The floor seats are inclined only by a small angle which is a no-go for me.

 

Bulwagang Alagad ng Sining or CCP MKP Hall

  • It, being a multifunction hall, is understandably the smallest of all the venues. It is equipped with a huge flat screen TV and a pair of couch in front for VIPs. There are monoblocs scattered and stacked all over the place and viewers are allowed to get inside up to standing-room only. ¬†I only go for this on desperate situations like when I watched the film about a gay reporter (played by Baron Geisler) entitled Jay.

 

Additional reminders:

  • No cameras allowed. I hate them for this because they were never consistent about it. One day you can bring an SLR inside, the next you‚Äôll have to deposit it in their baggage counter. What I notice is that they get stricter as the festival is nearing to close. And boy, you‚Äôll discover that many have successfully hidden their digicams in their crotch once an artista emerges from the sea of people. This, applicable not only for Cinemalaya but for other festivals, events, theater plays etc.
  • Keep your tickets, not for inspection, but for voting for your favorite film. You drop the other half of your ticket to their people‚Äôs-choice-award dropbox.

_________________
Blogger’s Note: This is probably the lengthiest thing I’ve ever written on tumblr. I, myself, yawned by just looking at it. I hope I didn’t bore/tire you…much. Whatever kind of writing I did here please forgive me if you ever get to this part of the post. It’s just something you really need to know and I have to post it just before Cinemalaya starts…today. Haha. And I just made this post even longer with non-sense. Goodnight.


A Guide to Watching Eiga Sai at Shangri-La

We still have until this weekend to complete all 10 entries to Eiga Sai this year. I think as an avid fan of Japanese films, it’s just right for me to write a short smart guide in watching Eiga Sai particularly in Shang.¬†

  • To secure yourself a ticket, you must be in line an hour (weekdays) or two (weekends) before the film showing. I’m not kidding. This has been so commercialized and every year more and more people are anticipating this film festival. No wonder, films are getting more exciting every year. Tickets are distributed 30 minutes before the show starts. Strictly one ticket per person on a first-come, first-serve basis. Last year, when the fest was coming to a close, they distributed the tickets an hour before the show, perhaps to disperse the crowd at the Cinema lobby due to increased public demand. So it’s your call what/who to bring to kill boredom. I watched the first hour of Hunger Games when I was in line this afternoon.¬†
  • Figure out how to get a VIP/Festival Pass. We just learned about this yesterday and today I saw what it’s like. Someone from the Shangri-La staff recognized me from yesterday and lent me his VIP pass. I was prioritized along with the other few VIP pass holders. Wow. No more waiting and falling in line. I was able to watch all three films when the maximum you can get as a regular viewer is just two (because you are most likely to be inside the cinema when the tickets for the next film are distributed). There was a hint of guilt looking to the people behind me who patiently waited but I convinced myself I deserved it because I never had used one in my many years of watching and that I didn’t asked for it instead I gladly welcomed an invitation.¬†
  • Chance Seats, this is where you go when the line to the entrance was cut before you. You fall in line again (yes.) by the door of the dedicated festival cinema and wish that expected VIPs won’t make it until 10 minutes after the film starts. Don’t fret, there are usually just a few of them showing up. In which case, your wish will grant you the reserved seats for them.¬†
  • You cannot bring your food inside the cinema unless you bought it from the Cinema Snack Bar. You can deposit your food to their staff before the cinema entrance in exchange for a reference number or just finish your food before you get inside.¬†
  • Complete the survey. It is not required but in order for us to get better Eiga Sai cinema experience, we have to. A few pen strokes wouldn’t hurt.¬†

Related:

  • My Review on the Movie Tomorrow’s Joe, an entry to Eiga Sai 2012 here.

Eiga Sai 2012 Entry: Tomorrow’s Joe

I can miss Cine Europa and many other international film fest in Shangri-La, but Eiga Sai (Japanese Film Festival), no. Never. Today’s plan was Virgin Labfest marathon but after learning that the tickets are sold out for all remaining shows, I ¬†rushed to follow my good friend Grace to Shang, who’s early in line for the 4:30PM film.¬†

The film Tomorrow’s Joe is a story about two boxing rivals: The slum-dwelling amateur, Joe and a world class professional, Rikiishi. Powered with their strong will to destroy each other, each led different ways to make the most-awaited match happen in their boxing careers.

  • The film, as most Japanese films I’ve seen, is very unpredictable.¬†
  • Musical scoring is perfect. Different guitar distortions that adds excitement on every fight scene and a remarkable guitar riff every time Joe rises up from knockdown.
  • They didn’t speak of boxing as a technical sport. Identifying weight limits of featherweight and bantamweight was the hardest.¬†
  • Japanese films are seldom set in slum areas (this is actually the first I’ve seen) in around 1930’s or 40’s (personally identified as hinted the cameras used) That alone piqued my interest.
  • The Japanese are excellent in creating a movie character personality, not¬†necessarily¬†a strong one, but always interesting. Keeping the consistency ¬†of ones character (through gestures or/and dialogues) from start to end of the film is another great thing. In this film, Joe never laughed or cried. He speaks very little and there you’ll get yourself acquainted with him. The writer must have spared him the memorizing for he needs to learn boxing.¬†
Disclaimer: This is my personal¬†review-reviewhan¬†of this film, not a critic or anything expert on film reviews. To gain myself a little credibility, let me share that I have been watching Eiga Sai since 2007 when it wasn’t even shown in malls but in a small theater in CCP (Manuel Conde Theater).¬†
This also serves as my invitation to you to give Eiga Sai a try. This may mean combating a bigger crowd for me but may earn me more Japanese film buddies, right? By the way, the tickets are normally distributed 30 minutes to an hour before the film starts, be there an hour ahead, believe me, you don’t want to disappoint yourself.¬†

Related:
  • Watch Tomorrow’s Joe full-length with English subtitle here. (If you can find all other entries from the internet, send me links please.)
  • Download the Eiga Sai 2012 flyer/schedule¬†here.

Quiapo | Cosplay | Yashica

I was the girl with those hip cameras. I was the girl with Yashica too. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being identified as the girl with this or that camera. In fact, it may not be me if you see me without any.¬†

Yashica’s always getting plenty of attention from almost everywhere I carry it with me since day one¬†and the camera slave is quite jealous already. I just thought that some of you might be interested in seeing the photos it makes too. So here are some from the Quiapo Goes Anime event, shot using none other, than the star amongst my collection, the attention-sucker, vintage rangefinder, Yashica Electro 35 GSN.

Click this link to see the digital photos I took from this event. 

http://angelisantina.tumblr.com/post/25784947413/quiapo-goes-anime


Testing Aquapix Underwater Film Camera + FujiColor 100

Aquapix Underwater Film Camera Specifications:

  • Aperture: f9
  • Shutter Speed: 1/100s
  • Lens: 28mm
  • Focus: Focus free
  • Film Type: 35mm
Where else would I take the first few shots using a new camera but in Hidalgo. I got the camera for P600 (some online stores priced it at P400) while FujiColor 100 film is P60. The photos were sharp and clean for a toy cam and it’s pretty much how I expected the results with the specs above that makes a leeway for possible fuzzy underwater shots so to produce still acceptable blurs. Happy that this cheap combo appears to be a great deal for underwater lomography which I’ll be trying out soon.


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