Class

Class

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Black....

i have always had a perverse liking for the very dark films...
those with storylines that are very depressing and somewhat horrific which jolts the human capacity and almost instantaneous desire to achieve homeostasis everytime they veer off their comfort zone....The cinematography and technical cohesiveness combining to supplement an already-excellent "dark film" script is almost certain to stir my bowels and make me enjoy the movie...

Itim is a Filipino word which means "black." It could either refer to that color or hue in the painter's pallets or our color wheel as the darkest possible shade the human eye can recognize or in another context it refers to vagueness, the unknown, taboo, and many many references...It is also the title of the movie I am referring to, a stirringly gorgeous masterpiece of Director Mike De Leon.

Beautiful motion picture that it is, it depicts the unearthly experiences of a photographer as he comes to discover a skeleton in his paralyzed father's past. His surgeon dad had performed an abortion on a woman he had had an affair with in the past. He had also killed the woman (whether intentionally or as a result of the complications from the abortion procedure I have forgotten) and thrown her into a river. Both the father and the son at present time in the video were caught up in the maelstrom of the anger of an unseen yet omnipresent entity. Painful recollections and confessions from father to son was an expected spice to the film. The son had glimpses of clues in dreams and seconds-fast apparitions of people whose identities he had no inkling whatsoever...until everything fell into place at the end of the film...of course hehehe

The movie is very very mind-boggling not in the sense that you have to think too much (well you do have to think to string the clues and events together) but because most of the scenes were so disturbingly quiet and others so symbolic. Small hints of light afforded by the slight opening of a door to a very dark room, shapeless beings in the most unlikely of places, religious icons, and hazy riverside scenarios in the characters' dreams, uncomfortably long moments of silence among others I have forgotten already all adhere to give the movie a very intense impact on me.

The movie deals with many issues too in Philippine society even today. Adultery, abortion, and honor and face in the Philippine community are just among them. In a strange juxtaposition, the prevalent condemnation of the Roman Catholic Church on extramarital affairs matches against the wide social tolerance for womanising in today's Filipino male culture. Our social strata has many ironies within its realms, a clown with one side of his face smiling and the other in tears would be an acceptable symbol of our society I presume....

My biggest frustration is the movie is too old to have archived pictures. I believe some classic film collectors and vintage Filipino movie lovers may have original videos and WOULD be able to take snaps of moments in the film and then upload it to the net for people to see but I have not found any. :( (It would have been nice to share the magnetic effect the film has with my readers but of course what am I saying? I don't think any image can match the effect a moving video has though!

Itim by Mike de Leon....what an experience...no doubt if I catch it again on a boring Saturday night on Filipino movie channel I would watch it rather than get drunk in some hot and packed bar with the bitch LOL (sorry bitch my inner cinephile will prevail over you but i love you LOL)...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Liisa,
I haven't seen the movie "Itim" and in the past have associated that Filipino word with the color black or with a person of African Origin. I didn't realize that the word could also be used to describe the darker side of life. Thanks for a lesson in the Filipino Language.

Have you ever seen the movie "Cavite"? We watched it a few months ago and it is also pretty dark for a Filipino movie. It describes the hostile recruitment of a Filipino American Man by a terrorist organization. There are parts of it that are very unpleasant, but it is very thought provoking.

Thanks for the blog, I always look forward to your entries.
John

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