Wednesday, March 28, 2007

YCC bares winners of film awards for 2006

THE Film Desk of the Young Critics Circle formally announces the winners of its annual film awards. “Inang Yaya” directed by Pablo Biglang-Awa and Veronica Velasco makes a clean sweep of the YCC honors for all categories, namely, Best Film of the Year given to the directors; Best Screenplay; Best Cinematography and Visual Design; Best Editing; Best Sound and Aural Orchestration and Best Performance for lead actress Maricel Soriano.

From the past year’s total local film output of 49 regular releases and more productions including digitals that had multiple screenings in any public venue that a paying audience has had access, “Inang Yaya” produced by Unitel Pictures emerged as the sole nominee and ultimate winner for most of the categories for the YCC film awards.

Only two other films managed to figure in YCC roll of honor this year by scoring nominations: “Kubrador” (MLR Films) with nods for Best Cinematography and Visual Design and Best Editing and “Kaleldo” (Centerstage) with Cherry Pie Picache in the roster for Best Performance. Nominated as well for Best Performance is the entire acting ensemble of “Inang Yaya.”

Awarding is on Thursday afternoon of March 8 at 2 p.m. at the Faculty Center Conference Hall in UP Diliman.

Established in 1990, YCC is the critics group with members coming from various disciplines. Through the years, they have become attentive observers of Philippine cinema constantly bringing into the analysis of film an interdisciplinary approach.

The organization departs from many conventions of other award-giving bodies both here and abroad in bestowing cinematic honors. For instance, the award for Best Film of the Year is reserved for the director such that no separate prize for direction is needed. The Best Performance award is most coveted as it is conferred on a screen performer whether male or female, adult or child, individual or as part of an ensemble, in leading or supporting role. To uphold a more dynamic and encompassing way of looking at films, technical honors refer to fusion of outstanding efforts in fields otherwise deemed apart. In this case, the Best Cinematography and Visual Design recognition covers both camerawork and art direction. Similarly, Best Sound and Aural Orchestration encompasses not just sound engineering per se but musical score as well.

The following is the roundup of complete winners and nominees for this year’s YCC film awards officially billed as the 17th Annual Circle Citations for Distinguished Achievement in Film for 2006:

Best Film of the Year
Winner: Inang Yaya directed by Pablo Biglang-Awa and Veronica Velasco (Unitel Pictures; Tony Gloria, Producer; Wyngard Tracy and Maricel Soriano, Executive Producers; Jun Reyes and Tito Velasco, Co-Executive Producers; Noemi Peji, Line Producer)
No Other Nominee

Best Screenplay
Winner: Inang Yaya (Unitel) – Veronica Velasco
No Other Nominee

Best Achievement in Cinematography and Visual Design
Winner: Inang Yaya (Unitel) – Gary Gardoce, Director of Photography; Norman Regalado, Production Designer
Nominee: Kubrador (MLR Films) – Roberto Yñiguez, Director of Photography; Leo Abaya, Production Designer

Best Achievement in Film Editing
Winner: Inang Yaya (Unitel) – Randy Gabriel
Nominee: Kubrador (MLR Films) – Jay Halili

Best Achievement in Sound and Aural Orchestration
Winner: Inang Yaya (Unitel) – Mark Locsin and Angie Reyes, Sound Engineers; Nonong Buencamino, Musical Director
No Other Nominee

Best Performance by Male or Female, Adult or Child, Individual or Ensemble in Leading or Supporting Role
Winner: Maricel Soriano in Inang Yaya (Unitel)
Cherry Pie Picache in Kaleldo (Centerstage)
Entire Cast of Inang Yaya (Unitel

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

On the Verge by Patrick D. Flores

On the Verge
Patrick D. Flores

It is interesting to observe that Kris Aquino, a lead star of one this year's success stories, was around two decades ago the herald of Philippine cinema's decline. If the industry today is totally moribund because of an array of problems plaguing it, in the mid- to late 80s, it was significantly unhinged. It is curious that Aquino's stint was a crucial element then, as it is an unnerving presence as we speak. The image of the daughter of the man whom the dictator deemed his rival and the woman who deposed a repressive regime inevitably became, at least to the more buoyant among the post-Marcos faithful, a foil to the promise of her forebears. Within the much-vaunted democratic space ordained by her mother, the art of film spiraled into final defilement. That she currently thrives is a sign of the fallout.

All by itself, is telling, a horror flick that defies logic, manipulates folklore, and thrills its audience with aimless technical automations. It is helmed by Chito Roño, one of the country's most inventive filmmakers who made his bid more or less in the same season when Kris Aquino was being propelled to the heights of inane stardom by titles like, which in the economy of those blighted days merited several sequels. But unlike the hacienda heiress, Roño manifested serious artistic intentions, and no one in the right mind would dismiss the efforts of his filmography. What could have possessed him to do something like?

Perhaps the variables of the time could not be explained and are no longer amenable to any form of sane analysis. If it is profit that must rule, then the twists and turns of the market pave the path to the bank. And here Aquino's antipathetic co-star Claudine Barretto lights up an alley. Barretto came into view at a moment when the trade was fading away from the map of the studios and was settling on the grounds of conglomerate interests, which amassed investments in media, utilities, and even insurance upstream, downstream, in the entire cycle of our lives rendered banal by soap operas, reality television, and a seemingly endless supply of amateur competitions. The landscape would become scary in the long duration, with many among the youth merely wishing to be in call centers and audition rooms, with only instant noodles and dreams of a make-over as sustenance. They form part of the public that the industry has diligently dumbed down for an eternity.

Indeed, in this century, the commerce of moving images is poorly placed to overcome the dominance of television, the tenacity of piracy, and the ravenous appetite of a global Hollywood; the 90s had sort of foretold this flaw. That Barretto had failed to become a movie queen like Nora Aunor or Maricel Soriano, who participated in making the 70s and 80s the allegedly new-wave phase after the first surge of modernism in the 50s, simply demonstrated that majesty was out of the picture and that self-styled stars have become but hapless statistics in the vagaries of ventures. And what about the ruin before us?

In the last two decades, the usual genre movies were concocted, with digressions here and there, but with no substantial innovations with both material and method. There were hybrid genres that combined melodrama, action, and sex as exemplified by the massacre movie, which made a killing at the tills. There were schemes on the theme of catastrophe, be it about a volcano or an epidemic. There were outings on overseas contract workers. And there were scenarios on Philippine nationalism to commemorate the centennial of the revolution against Spain, a remembrance by the way that intriguingly forgot the war against the Americans that had aborted the earlier revolution.

In the much-augured millennium, in light of the deterioration of the industry, only a handful of films deserved to be praised, and some of these were by figures from the 70s and 80s like Mario O'Hara, Laurice Guillen, Gil Portes, Jose Javier Reyes, and Chito Roño, they who have plodded on after the death of the era's luminaries Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal. Younger practitioners like Lav Diaz, whose conceit to make marathon movies is singular, Jeffrey Jeturian, Yam Laranas, and Brillante Mendoza have done interesting work. Complementing this emergence is a new circle of cinematographers, editors, musical directors that has thankfully stepped up to the plate, intimating a little hope amid the creeping disenchantment. Also, the face of the Filipino talent has mutated considerably, owing to immigration and intermarriage, deepening the dimensions of the local as irrevocably, from Spanish to Russian. We pray that the diasporic experience further chisels this already graven profile.

The rest of the aspirants are trying to express their ideals in a digital realm in which technology is more accessible and less cumbersome. Thus we witness, as a matter of routine, film workers who make films with minimal gestation, uninflected by the tension arising from contention and concession. The outcome is usually selfish, self-referential, and oblivious to the broader scale of society and ideology. This is what the problematic concept of independent cinema has bred: a self-absorbed exploration of ulterior motives that cannot seem to look beyond a certain zone of convenience, something that a truly popular cinema requires and guarantees. And it is not only selfish; it is also indifferent and, in fact, compromised by the fact that the patronage of this coterie comes from government, corporations, and the typical conduits of international film distribution through gargantuan festivals and those with dubious pedigrees. Surely, there are exceptions, and we laud them. But the garden-variety Filipino arriviste in world cinema revels in whatever screening in any gathering of reels or discs in any corner of this universe, forgetting that the process of selection is skewed, the agenda of representation is colonial, and the gains of inclusion are commercial. In other words, the digital technique in the contemporary immersive atmosphere of post-cinema is not necessarily radical as seen in many digital sorties that are more reactionary and stylistically bereft than so-called formula staple, which sometimes are surprisingly competent and enlightening.

In the mainstream, a much-derided word but a destination that mostly everyone would covet furtively, the waters are muddled by television/network-fabricated serials that are made into films, horror fodder from a hodgepodge of sources, comedy straight out of rather vulgar comedy bars, fantasy mimicking the technological advancements of western models, mestizo action forays starred in by politicians with sagging careers or also-rans with petty ambitions, erotic merchandise verging on white slavery and women trafficking, and effeminate romances featuring heartthrobs who, if half of what we hear is true, are closet homosexuals (or are they, as the chat rooms would have it, “discreet bi-male/straight trippers looking for same?”). In between this grind is, without doubt, ceaseless trans-media gossip, peddled by pseudo-glamorous personalities whose sense of self-importance, vanity, and self-righteousness is, to the more discriminating sensibilities, sheer vexation.

And so, at the end of every year, as we sit through the Christmas fare prepared for us by the local government-engineered Metro Manila Film Festival, another lamentable remnant of the failure of the industry, steered by an ilk chosen by the state as it is with all agencies concerned with the motion pictures, we would be treated to yet another spin cycle of generic detergent, dirty linen, and shrunken expectations. If we must believe, against all omens to the contrary, that our beloved film industry is still to expire, because it is kept alive by the triumphalist claims of the digital cohort and the dowager Mother Lily, then we could at least, to use an apt term, entertain the thought that it is temporarily laundered and will soon be hung out to dry.

This is the rear view mirror look at the horizon within which the Young Critics Circle situates the gains, or the leavings, of film year 2006. The Philippine film industry produced 49 films within the typical mode of production and circulation. Around 12 were released as digital output, and 28 more within the independent film festival circuits of Cinemalaya, Cinemanila, and Cinema One. It has been quite a while that digital films made and distributed within a distinct scheme have knocked at the doors of the YCC, an organization that has committed itself to generate independent film commentary and appraisal. When this type of films was brought to our attention, we thought hard how to respond to it and devices a method of accounting for its deeds. We did not immediately consider films without a regular run for consideration as this might force us to evaluate all types of films, including those submitted routinely in film courses for instance, something that are impossible to monitor.

But beginning this year, we have modified the parameters so that we could deliberate on all films that have had multiple (more than two) screenings to which a general paying audience has had access. This will address the emergence of a different typology of filmmaking and at the same time stress the popular potential of cinema as a collective practice and not an elitist obsession of a coterie. In the intervening time when we were trying to sort out ways and means in this regard, certain films passed through on our watch and we feel diminished for not being able to recognize the achievements of Mes de Guzman's and Neill de la Llana's and Ian Gemazon's , among others. That said, we refuse to be swayed by some in the industry that has hailed the advent of digital cinema as the
newest wave in Philippine history; this self-serving proclamation differs very little from the belabored prognosis that Philippine cinema is dead. Cinema can never die; only the industry as corrupt as the one Philippine cinema is in that deserves perdition.

And so, we at the YCC are very circumspect in acknowledging the efforts and initiatives of young filmmakers in what may well be a transitional cinema that has spawned a deluge of discourses in peculiar places and in the corners of cyberspace, where incidentally everyone seems to be a pundit sheltered by a rarefied blogosphere. We can only but persist to discuss and debate certain terms like independent and digital because these concepts are fraught and highly charged, embodying a stance and implicating modes of production.

It will also serve as well to be less wound up in declaring ourselves the pilgrims of a frontier and busy ourselves instead pondering critical aesthetic questions regarding the ethnographic tendency of digital films or their irresistible lapse into melodrama, the inclination to instill ideas through fable or to fulfill the obligations of fantasy. Of course, there is the irksome matter of indulgence, which we hope is a mere passing affectation and not a defining trait of this cinema in the wings, or in fact already in flight.

With these changes in standards and norms come changes in structure. Beginning this year the YCC will put in place a second tier of membership to be composed of members who have reached a certain age; they will continue to be a vital part of the YCC but will attend to other tasks and projects like publications and seminars and leave the award component to the succeeding generation of young critics. This will ensure continuity and movement as well as interaction.

Finally, after hours of assessing last year's harvest, we face the public with choices that are as vested as any other set of preferences.We do not apologize for our position, but will never own up to prejudice. In a field where award-giving bodies have become mere instruments of the industry, we pride ourselves on the independence that we try to defend the best way we can. We confer the highest honors on the film for its emotionally compelling tale and telling of a nurse mother's complex affection for her daughter and her ward or charge. Set in a social milieu of asymmetries, she toils but does not let go of her integrity, abides by her entitlement with grace, and refuses to reduce her plight to the ploys of sentimentality. It is uncanny that the title is contrived in such a manner that it recalls the more well-known phrase Inang Bayan. And in this convergence, thenurse mother distills the roles of contracted labor and authentic nurturer, a native maternal figure and a surrogate parent, a sharply faceted metaphor of the changing constitution of the family and the household in a time of migration and hybrid lineage. Its ultimate achievement is being able to calibrate commensurate dramatic impulse in varying situations and dispositions within an extended kinship: there is nostalgia for traditional roles, pragmatic responses to social advancement, and the realization that ties are contingent but intimate nevertheless. It is this intimacy and melancholy that steel the film's center.

Inang Yaya edges out the less provocative, though arguably relevant, Kubrador , which surveys the lay of the land of through the eyes of a dazed collector, and the overwrought , which unveils a chronicle of intricate conflict among siblings and their father in an uneventful cinematic excursion into an affectedly windswept but unlamented Pampanga.

Pagtagos sa Interyor ng Teritoryo ng KUBRADOR

Sinematograpiya at Salaysay sa Looban
Ni Romulo P. Baquiran, Jr.

Itinatanghal sa Kubrador ang interyor ng looban at mga naninirahan sa sala-salabid na espayo nito. Ang interyor ng looban ay nailalahad sa pamamagitan ng pangunahing tauhang si Amy(Gina Pareño). Siya ang sentro, ang nagpapadaloy ng iba’t ibang salaysay ng pagkubra sa ngalan ng sinasabing bawal pero namamayagpag na laro ng huweteng.

Sumusunod ang lente ng kamera sa bawat pitik at pasag ng katawan at mukha ni Pareño, pati na rin ang mga nakakasalamuha niyang masa ng potensiyal na tagataya, habang ginagaygay ang pasikot-sikot ng bituka ng pook ng mga informal settler. Dahil siya’y katutubo ng lugar—katulad ng isang langgam sa malaking punso—nakapaglalagos siya maging sa mga natatabingang espasyo ng teritoryo na hindi basta nabubunyag sa
tagalabas. Pribelihiyado at nasa kuwadro ng atensiyon ng kamera ang kadalasang mardyinalisado sektor ng lipunan. Narito ang pang-araw-araw na kolektibong
tiyan ng siksikang mamamayan na sinisipsipan ng sustansiya ng mga walang pakialam na politiko.

Sa panahon ng bitbiting kamera at maliliksing sinematograper, nagiging moda sa kontemporanyong paggawa ng pelikulang independiyente ang teknik ng cinema verite. Halos dokumentaryo ang produksiyon. Hindi matagumpay ang ibang produksiyon sa paggamit nito. May ilan na parang ikinabit lamang sa likod ng mga tauhan ang lente at bahala na kung ano ang mangyari. Nasasabi pa ng ilan na ito na ang abanggarde
sa sining ng pelikula.

Mabuti na lamang at hindi naakit na sumadlak sa ganitong tendensiya ang sinematograpiya ng Kubrador. Bagama’t gumamit ng ganitong estilo ang pelikula, sa
katotohanan, lalong naitatanghal ng sinematograpiya ang panloob na realidad ni Amy (Pareno). Sa mga krusyal na mga sandali, maging ang mga nasa isip lamang niya ay nagkakaroon ng presensiya sa iskrin at ipinapahiwatig na naninirahan pa rin sa mga
sulok-sulok at patay na dulo ng looban. Emblematiko ang espektral na paglitaw ng binatang sundalong anak ng kubrador sa maipapalagay na sapilitang paglahok ng
pamilya sa mga kontra-taong proyekto ng estado. Katuwang na mukha ng militarisasyon ang pagkunsinti at pagsasamantala ng politiko sa huweteng na napagkukunan
ng limpak-limpak na ganansiya.

Ang nostalhiya para sa namatay na anak ang isa sa mga impetus ng buhay ng kubrador. Nang mabalitaan niya ang pagkamatay ng isang binatang kaedad ng sariling anak,
naging mabilis at natural ang kaniyang pakikidalamhati. Tulad niya, sumandaling nakiramay ang lente ng kamera sa pagtatanghal ng lamay at sumuot sa interyor ng naulilang lolo (Domingo Landicho).

At kahit nasa Bulacan ang lokal ng pelikula, nagkaroon ang probinsiya ng katangian ng dusing at sikip ng looban. Tila ba ang lugar ng malawak na espasyo ay nagiging ekstensiyon ng daigdig na kinabibitagan ng Kubrador.

Kung gayon, nasa ganap na pagkagapos sa galamay ng dekadenteng sistemang panlipunan ang nakaraan, kasalukuyan, at hinaharap ng kubrador. Kumunoy ng trahedya ang sitwasyon niya lalo pa’t tila wala siyang katiting na kamalayan sa kinalulubugan; kahit nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na harapang makita ang representante (Johnny Manahan) na humahamig at nagdidistribyut sa barya at salaping pinaghirapan niyang kolektahin. Pinalilitaw itong kabaitan at pagmamahal sa kapuwa kahit ang kapuwang minsan tinulungan ng kubrador na makalabas sa presinto ay naging maramot at walang pakialam sa kaniya sa mga unang eksena.

Kahima’t pinili ng mga prodyuser ang reaktibong trajektori ng salaysay at interyoridad ng isang taga-looban, nagtatagumpay ang plastik na kalidad ng
sinematograpiya at disenyong biswal na mailantad ang mga ugat at manipestasyon ng malalim na bukal ng korupsiyon sa lipunang Filipino.

(Appeared in Young Critics Circle Film Desk’s Sine-Sipat: Recasting Roles and Images-Stars, Awards and Criticism for 2006, March 2007.)

Kaleldo (Summer Heat) Loses Steam

Kaleldo (Summer Heat) Loses Steam
Eloisa May P. Hernandez

Sizzling summer heat loses steam in Brillante Mendoza’s Kaleldo (Kampanpangan for “summer heat”). Mendoza’s directorial skills turn arid Pampanga into a beautiful setting for a family drama hampered by a problematic screenplay. A story about the Manansala family of Guagua, Pampanga, it stars Johnny Delgado as Rudy Manansala, a woodcarver and father to three daughters: Jess, wonderfully played by Cherry Pie Picache, is the eldest daughter and a lesbian who suffers the scorn of her father; Lourdes, played by Angel Aquino, is the favored middle child who is married to a weakling of a husband, Andy (Alan Paule); and the youngest daughter, Grace, played by Juliana Palermo, who is married to a mama’s boy Conrad (Lauren Novero).

Kaleldo is a movie in three parts; each daughter’s story is prefigured by an element. The first part, Wind, is Grace’s story and how she tries but fails to integrate with her husband’s family. Fire prefigures the story of Lourdes, her failing marriage and costly indiscretion. Water, the last part of this trilogy of elements, is the story of Jess and her girlfriend Weng (Criselda Volks), and is highlighted by the death of the father and ends with Weng walking out of Jess during the father’s wake. The fourth element, Earth, is the landscape of Pampanga. The importance and purpose of these elements in the narrative is never clear. Are these just devices to divide the narrative? Or are there stereotypical characteristics of the elements that are present in the stories of each daughter? Are the daughters’ personalities akin to the elements? The screenplay is out of its element. The three parts are not woven tightly and is far from seamless; the division is more disruptive than unifying. It is safe to say that the sum of the three parts did not achieve a cinematic whole.

Kaleldo created a buzz in the public’s imagination with a lesbian, Jess, as one of its central characters. Once marginalized and close to invisible, there has been an abundance lately of lesbian representations in Philippine cinema with Joel Lamangan’s Sabel, Connie SA.Macatuno’s Rome and Juliet, Auraeus Solito’s Tuli, and Babae by Sigrid Andrea Bernardo. Though films with lesbian characters offer a deeper understanding of the woman-loving-woman relationship, some representations are problematic (Carlos Siguion Reyna’s Tatlo…Magkasalo comes to mind as one of the most). Even if these films render lesbians visible in predominantly patriarchal representations in Philippine cinema, the discourse about lesbians that these films generate leaves much to be desired. Most lesbians are represented as drunkards (Jess’ lesbian friends in Kaleldo spend most of their screen time drinking or drunk), confused, criminals, evil, violent, and spurned by men they love and so turning them into men-hating lesbians.

Most films also dichotomize lesbians into butches and femmes (for lack of more appropriate terms). The butches are depicted as very macho and patriarchal, and the femmes are depicted as very feminine and subservient. At the end of the film, the lesbians are turned straight, made to go back to the altar of heterosexuality, and married off to the next available bachelor, thereby fulfilling the heterosexual happy-ever-after plot. Kaleldo places itself in this quandary. After exposing the flawed heterosexual relationships between Lourdes and Andy and younger sister Grace and Conrad, and portraying the lesbian relationship between Jess and Weng as a stable, loving, caring, and supportive partnership between two women, it chooses to break up and destroy the lesbian relationship and marry Weng off in a church wedding. Why deny lesbian love its much-needed and deserved happy-ever-after? Why succumb to the heterosexual and patriarchal notion of relationship?

A voice-over narration feebly attempts to explain that Jess had to let go of Weng because she loves her, unlike the kind of love her strict father had for them that left her scarred. Whatever happened to fighting for one’s love? Where is redemption here? Where is empowerment? Instead of liberating Jess from the scarring and stifling patriarchal love of her father, she succumbs and is defeated by it.

Brillante Mendoza, winner of last year’s Young Critics Circle Film Desk awards for his first film Masahista, creates some stunning picture-perfect scenes with sparkles of cinematographic brilliance that turns lahar-stricken Pampanga into a beautiful setting, albeit some scenes are devoid of context.

The acting is uneven and inconsistent, making it difficult for us to empathize with the characters. Johnny Delgado’s acting during his daughter’s wedding seems more lustful than loving. Angel Aquino, Alan Paule and Lauren Novero render forgettable performances. Liza Lorena is over the top. Juliana Palermo and Criselda Volks are competent.

The bright spot in this acting ensemble is Cherry Pie Picache who turns in the most subtle yet searing portrayal of a devoted and dutiful lesbian daughter that still does not command the love and respect she deserves from her father. Picache’s transformation is effective and detailed - in small quiet gestures, a painful look, a longing stare. Her characterization is intelligent and void of histrionics. Picache inhabits Jess in a convincing manner and blends with the landscape that is Pampanga. We ache as she strives for her father’s respect, acceptance, and ultimately, his love. We cringe as she is constantly berated and publicly embarrassed by her father for how she dresses. We cheer as she defends her sister from a rampaging husband with a leg of pig as a weapon. We experience her love for her girlfriend Weng with her intimate caresses. We flinch as she is slapped by her father for answering back and standing up for herself and Weng. We sense her fear as she ever so slightly recoils in the presence of her domineering and violent father. We empathize with her vulnerability as she mourns his death.

Contrary to prevalent, albeit erroneous, representations in film and other mass media where the lesbian is typecast as macho, brusque, uncouth, and abrasive, Picache’s portrayal of a lesbian is strong yet sensitive, willful yet tender and loving, and impenitent yet compassionate. Defying pervasive filmic and societal lesbian constructs, she intelligently captures the nuances of Jess’ character portraying her as a dutiful, hard-working and responsible daughter, a protective sister, and a loving partner. Picache does not characterize Jess solely as a lesbian, but more importantly, as a person. This is reminiscent of Jeanette Winterson’s musings on being a lesbian in Art Objects, “I am not a lesbian who happens to write. I am a writer who happens to love women.” Cherry Pie Picache’s Jess renders more depth and humanity into a lesbian character than most of lesbian representations in recent Philippine cinematic history.

Cherry Pie Picache is the saving grace of Kaleldo, and yet it is her character, Jess, that suffers the most tragic loss as lesbian love wilts under the sweltering heat of summer in Pampanga.

(Appeared in Young Critics Circle Film Desk’s Sine-Sipat: Recasting Roles and Images-Stars, Awards and Criticism for 2006, March 2007.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Paghuhunos ng Melodrama sa Inang Yaya

Paghuhunos ng Melodrama sa Inang Yaya
Leo Zafra

NAKABIGKIS sa isang ironiya ang pangunahing tunggalian ng pelikulang Inang Yaya.Kailangang arugain ni Norma (Maricel Soriano) ang anak ng iba para buhayin at itaguyod ang sariling anak, at dahil dito, nawalay at halos mapabayaan naman ang tunay na supling. Sa huli, kakailanganin niyang mamili bilang Yaya at bilang Ina sa dalawang batang kaniyang kinalinga, at nasa paglalahad ng dramatikong tensiyon at paggalugad sa mga konteksto ng bubuuing pasiya ang kabuluhan ng pelikula.

“Inang Yaya” na maituturing si Norma kay Louise, anak ng kareristang magasawa na ginampanan nina Sunshine Cruz at Zoren Legaspi. Abala ang magasawa sa trabaho at sa ibang obligasyon, kaya halos ang yaya ang tumayong ina kay Louise. Lumaki man sa layaw ang bata, makikitang mahal na mahal niya ang kaniyang yaya. Ngunit ang pagmumulan ng salimuot ng naratibo --may anak si Norma, si Ruby, na nasa probinsiya, inaalagaan ng kaniyang lola (Marita Zobel), at nangungulila sa kalinga ng ina.

Iigiting ang takbo ng kuweto sa pagpanaw ng ina ni Norma. Bunga nito, mapipilitan ang siyang bitbitin ang kaniyang anak pa-Maynila, at itira sa pinagtatrabahuhang pamilya. Bagaman kapiling na niya ang sariling anak, hindi pa rin magiging madali para kay Norma ang bagong sitwasyon. Bukod sa pagtupad sa mga responsabilidad sa pamilyang pinaglilingkuran, kailangan niyang hatiin ang sarili sa dalawang batang nag-aagawan sa kaniyang atensiyon. Masasaksihan din niya ang hirap ng paninimbang ni
Ruby kasama ng kaniyang alagang pinalaki sa luho at layaw ng mga magulang.

Pinatitingkad ang pelikula ng mga katangian ng melodrama na makikita sa ilang ipinamalas nitong kumbensiyon. Pangunahin samga katangiang ito ang pagtatampok sa katauhan ni Norma na tigib ng hirap at pighati sa araw-araw na pakikipagsapalaran sa pagtupad sa mga tungkuling iniatang ng lipunan sa babae. Bilang ina, kailangan niyang tiisin ang pangungulila sa sariling anak habang kinakalinga ang anak ng kaniyang amo. Bilang yaya, kailangan naman niyang hatiin ang hapong katawan sa samot-saring gawain ng pagiging katulong sa bahay at tagapag-alaga ng bata, at balikatin ang iba pang domestikong pasanin ng pinagsisilbihang pamilya.

Ngunit binibigo rin ng ang karaniwang ekspektasyon sa isang pelikulang melodrama. Isa na, maingat na binuo ang karakter ng mga tauhan kaya naman kumikilos sila hindi ayon sa paghuwad sa mga gasgas na karakterisasyon kundi ayon sa maingat at talinong paghimay sa iba't ibang tensiyong kinakaharap ng mga tauhan. Ang Lola (Liza Lorena) ni Louise na sa simula'y mapangutya't inaasahang maging dagdag na pasanin kay Norma
ay siya pang makatutuklas sa kalinisan ng budhi ng anak ng Yaya; ang dalawang batang tauhan, na mahusay at matalinong nagampanan ng mga batang aktres, ay nailarawang may kakayahang umarok atumunawa, mag-isip at dumama, magpasiya at kumilos tungkol sa iba't ibang hamon ng kanilang mga munting mundo, pati ng samot-saring komplikasyon ng mas malawak na realidad ngmga taong nakapaligid sa kanila.

Sa pagsapit ng kasukdulan ng naratibo, may magandang oportunidad na naghihintay sa pinasisilbihang mag-asawa sa ibang bansa, at iaalok din nila kay Norma ang pagkakataon para kumita nang mas malaki sa pangingibangbayan kasama nila. Ngunit mangangahulugan ito ng muling pagkawalay ng ina sa kaniyang anak. Kung maghahandog lamang ng idealistang pagtatapos ang ay madaling hulaan ang mga posibilidad para wakasan ang pelikula. Sasama si Norma, o isasama rin niya ang kaniyang anak sa pangingibang-bansa. Ngunit taliwas sa inaasahang masayang wakas ng anyong melodrama, yayakagin ng pelikula ang manonood sa pagninilay ni Norma, at sa bandang huli, sa paglilimi sa konteksto kung bakit magpapasiya si Norma na manatili sa sariling bayan, sa piling ng kaniyang anak.

Sa pagtatampok sa proseso ng pagpapasiya ni Norma, naipamamalas kung paanong ang melodrama ay nagagamit sa paglalarawan ng damdamin, ligalig,at iba pang aspektong personal, at kung paanong sa pagsasadula ng mga dinaranas na mga agam-agam at pighati ay mapatingkad ang pakikibaka ng mga tauhan samga institusyon at estrukturang panlipunan.

Hindi lamang ang paluhain ang manonood ang pakay ng pelikulang
kung gayon. Nagpapahiwatig din ito ng bagong kabatiran tungkol sa
pagkatao at lipunan, at ng posibilidad sa paghuhunos ng anyo ng melodrama
ng sineng Filipino.

The Young Critics Circle

Established in 1990, YCC is the critics group with members coming from various disciplines. Through the years, they have become attentive observers of Philippine cinema constantly bringing into the analysis of film an interdisciplinary approach.

The organization departs from many conventions of other award-giving bodies both here and abroad in bestowing cinematic honors. For instance, the award for Best Film of the Year is reserved for the director such that no separate prize for direction is needed. The Best Performance award is most coveted as it is conferred on a screen performer whether male or female, adult or child, individual or as part of an ensemble, in leading or supporting role. To uphold a more dynamic and encompassing way of looking at films, technical honors refer to fusion of outstanding efforts in fields otherwise deemed apart. In this case, the Best Cinematography and Visual Design recognition covers both camerawork and art direction. Similarly, Best Sound and Aural Orchestration encompasses not just sound engineering per se but musical score as well.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Film Desk of the Young Critics Circle

Film Desk of the Young Critics Circle:

Romulo P. Baquiran Jr.
Flaudette May V. Datuin
Noel D. Ferrer
Patrick D. Flores
Eli R. Guieb III
Eloisa May P. Hernandez
Jason P. Jacobo
Nonoy L. Lauzon
Eileen C. Legaspi-Ramirez
Gerard Lico
Jerry C. Respeto
Neil Martial R. Santillan
Galileo S. Zafra

The Criteria

Best Picture: refers to vision and direction that pay sensitive and keen attention to both the language of cinema (“presentation”) and social reality (“representation”), in the process refunctioning the possibilities of film as progressive art and popular culture. The Best Picture citation is awarded to the Director not so much because he or she is the auteur or the central intelligence of the film, but because his or her work lies at the conjuncture which coordinates filmmaking.

Best Screenplay: refers to the rhetoric of writing for film that articulates the complexity of social life and personal perturbation through narrative logic or
political conviction; or simply through well-thought out dramatic tension that explores contestation between the personal and the political, the individual and the collective, the private and the public. The Best Screenplay award is given to all the writers of the film.

Best Cinematography and Visual Design: refers to the mise-en-scene and its visual/plastic qualities production design, lighting, art direction, visual effects that lend form to whatever representation is projected on screen; and absorb the differences of social forces and cultures in instances of contradiction, confluence, contact, resistance, or affiliation with one another, as well as imbibe the relationship between people and the structures and institutions they mediate through social practice. The Best Cinematography and Visual Design honor is conferred on the cinematographer and the production designer.

Best Editing: refers to the configuration of relationships of time and space among scenes in a film that is able to synthesize, engage in collision, reconcile, or transgress connections through the complex interplay of mise-en-scene and montage. The Best Editing trophy is given to the editors.

Best Sound and Aural Orchestration: refers to the rendering of the auditory aspects of film music, natural sound, sound effects as these are counterposed against or harmonized with the language of image, and so become meaningful sign systems on their own. The Best Sound citation is awarded to the sound engineer and the musical scorer.

Best Performance: refers to acting, to the playing out of a role or character that implicates emotion, feeling, and experience in the social conditions of the personal and in the political economies of habit and gesture and how these forge the body politic. The Best Performance citation is handed to the Performer, whether male or female, adult or child, in major or supporting role, individual or ensemble.